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For once, we'll use his official Senate portrait.


The U.S. Senate's angry grampa, John McCain, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, according to a statement from the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, where he had a blood clot removed from behind his left eye last week. McCain is not yet making any plans to return to work at the Senate; his office said that decision would be based on his doctors' recommendations.

McCain has a glioblastoma, an especially nasty, aggressive tumor that is the most common type of brain tumor. It can be treated with radiation and chemotherapy, but the tumor usually grows back, according to experts. It's the same type of tumor that took the life of Senator Edward Kennedy in 2009 and Joe Biden's son Beau in 2015. Unfortunately, the prognosis for glioblastoma isn't great:

Typically, said Matthias Holdhoff, associate professor of oncology at Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins University, “the tumors are considered not curable.

Typical survival time following treatment tends to be 12 to 16 months, but that can vary a lot depending on the individual case. As many as 30 percent of patients live over two years, and a small number -- 10 percent -- live over five years. As we say around here, fuck cancer.

This is McCain's second fight with cancer; he had previously been treated for melanoma, a skin cancer that was probably the result of his time being kept outside while a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. The Mayo Clinic's statement said the glioblastoma was a primary tumor, meaning it was unrelated to his previous cancers.

As the press release from Mayo noted, "The Senator’s doctors say he is recovering from his surgery ‘amazingly well’ and his underlying health is excellent." We'd like to hope John McCain can stare down that cancer and tell it he's got better things to do.

Messages of support and encouragement came from all parts of the political spectrum. Barack Obama had this message, which we couldn't agree with more:

Lindsey Graham, perhaps McCain's best friend in the Senate, told reporters, “He says, ‘I’ve been through worse.’” After about five minutes of conversation, Graham said, McCain was bored with his dumb cancer and wanted to talk about health care legislation and the defense authorization bill.

“God knows how this ends,” [Graham] said. “But I do know this: This disease has never had a more worthy opponent.”

His daughter, Meghan McCain, offered this statement on Twitter; its closing would be difficult to improve on:

He is a warrior at dusk, one of the greatest Americans of our age, and the worthy heir to his father’s and grandfather’s name. But to me, he is something more. He is my strength, my example, my refuge, my confidante, my teacher, my rock, my hero – my Dad.

President Trump's message is not worth linking to.

Yr Wonkette hopes all the best for the senator and his family: We have certainly not often agreed with him, but he's always stuck us as one of the most real people in the Washington madness -- we're thinking of his absolute opposition to the US committing torture, while his refusal to let Donald Trump get away with cozying up to Putin came from a very genuine sense of decency and determination that, no, the USA doesn't do that. He'd veer between his Senior Statesman and Crotchety Old Grumpbag personas, and both seemed equally genuine -- and in the latter case, frustrating.

The thing about McCain is that we often find ourselves wanting to like him more than he ends up letting us like him. John McCain has always struck us as a guy who could have been great if his intelligence and grit hadn't so often been overwhelmed by his ambition -- which is how he went from the Straight Talk Express in 2000 to choosing that crazy person from Alaska to be his running mate in 2008. But even during that election, the decent McCain sometimes struggled to the surface, as when he got booed by his own rally crowd for refusing to play along with a woman at a campaign event who insisted that Barack Obama was "an Arab."

We have a feeling that being beaten -- and so unfairly -- in the 2000 South Carolina primary by Karl Rove and his team of dirty tricksters, who used photos of McCain's adopted Bangladeshi daughter to help along a whispering campaign that he'd fathered a mixed-race child, turned John McCain mean, and that he took away from that loss a willingness to play dirty. [Editrix's note here: He'd been a mean sumbitch a long time before 2000, as you might remember from some longstanding McCain anecdotes popular in these parts, from "YOU TROLLOP YOU CUNT" to that joke with the gorilla raping the lady, or his "joke" about how ugly a teenage Chelsea Clinton was. HOWEVER, I agree with Dok that McCain also has a penchant for semiregular bouts of principle, certainly more often than most of them.] The respectable John McCain can rise to actual statesmanship; the win-at-all-costs John McCain can be a right bastard. It's hard to reconcile the two being in one person, but for the sake of the statesman, let's hope John McCain can deploy his inner bastard to take on this cancer. We'd like nothing better than the chance to keep being surprised by and occasionally outraged at him.

Also, let's just say it one more time: Fuck Cancer.

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[NYT / WaPo / Guardian /STAT]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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