In an interview with 60 Minutes, John McCain revealed his doctors gave him a “very poor prognosis” when he first found out about the rare and aggressive brain cancer that he continues to battle.
The Arizona senator said his doctors told him at the time that his condition was “very, very serious”.
“‘So I just said, “I understand.” Now we’re going to do what we can, get the best doctors we can find and do the best we can. And at the same time, celebrate with gratitude a life well-lived,” McCain said during an interview on 60 Minutes, that aired Sunday night.
McCain underwent surgery in July for a brain tumor that was later found to be a form of glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer that is nearly always fatal.
He recalled how he went back to Washington, against his doctors’ requests because it was only 11 days after his brain surgery, to vote on health care.
“I got very choked up,” McCain said, recalling the standing ovation he got on the Senate floor. “And then, of course, you know, all of them coming over and giving me a hug. It was deeply moving, I had never seen anything like that.”
McCain said he’s heard his odds of survival range from 3% to 14%.
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) September 25, 2017
The cancer that McCain is suffering from is the same type of cancer that took the life of his former Senate colleague Edward M. Kennedy in 2009.
He told CBS’ 60 Minutes that he thinks about Kennedy a lot. McCain said Kennedy continued to work despite the diagnosis and “never gave up because he loved the engagement”.
McCain said he has “feelings sometimes of fear of what happens,” but counters that with gratitude for having lived “had a great life”.
“Now we’re gonna do what we can, get the best doctors we can find and do the best we can,” he said, with his wife by his side in Arizona. “And, at the same time, celebrate with gratitude a life well lived.”
McCain is now 81 years old, and has, indeed, lived a full — and heroic — life. His colorful career has seen him walk away from two plane crashes, battle through two presidential campaigns and survive torture as a Vietnam POW for five years.