Lisa Adams is a mother of three who was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 36 and is now, in her early forties, dealing with a recurrence in her bones. Bill Keller and his wife seem to be irritated by the fact that she’s bogging and tweeting “copiously” about her illness. In the Times today, Bill wonders if it wouldn’t be better for her to choose, like his father-in-law, to be “unplugged from everything but painkillers” and die already. Bill’s wife has also weighed in at the Guardian but I don’t feel like vomiting so I won’t read her column. Bill’s was enough.
There’s a lot to be said about the way that this country deals with cancer, but Bill Keller’s ham-fisted, condescending attempt isn’t the way to do it. As far as I can tell from reading Lisa’s blog, he gets a lot wrong. She’s not buying into the “I’m at war with cancer” metaphor Keller tries to foist on her. And, she’s not near the point where one wants to “unplug” (mainly because as far as I can tell from her detailed description of her disease and treatment, she’s not “plugged”, just getting reasonable palliative radiation, chemo and other procedures to ease the pain of her cancer and to address easily treated complications like her chest filling up with fluid.) Bill is also concerned that she’s a “proselytizer” for Sloan-Kettering, where he says she’s “bedridden”. Perhaps if Bill is overly concerned about that, he can be treated in Bangladesh or Zimbabwe if he’s unlucky enough to have cancer, just to be sure he’s far away from the questionable ethics of his city’s leading cancer institution.
I’ll outsource the remainder of my rage to Wonkette.