FERRARO: Multiple myeloma. I was diagnosed in 1998, and I kept it very quiet. This was very brave of them to do. I wasn’t in public office, and I felt my private life was my life so I kept it quiet until 2001 when I was asked if I would help get hearings before the Congress with reference to getting money for blood cancer research and for education. So I testified, and that is when I became public about the cancer.
INTERVIEWER: Do you think that Elizabeth Edwards is up to this?
FERRARO: You know what, the cancer has been described as incurable but treatable. She will be treated. I am still in treatment. I’m not a survivor yet. I am living with cancer. I get chemo at least once a week, sometimes twice a week, but I go on with my life. The thing about it is, is a lot of these cancer treatments are not the kind that you see where you lose hair, you get very sick. It depends upon what kind of treatment she gets. Some of it is almost benign.
INTERVIEWER: But you can lead a normal life?
FERRARO: A perfectly normal life with the anticipation that it is going to happen, it’s going to happen soon, that they are going to have a cure for this. You have to give yourself hope when you have cancer. I think the worst thing in the world would be for her to sit back and say, "Oh, my God, what am I going to do," and for him to sit back and look at her. If my husband ever did that, I’d probably dump him out of the house. It would just be awful. They did precisely the right thing: getting on with their lives, living their lives. She has two kids to take care of which she is going to be able to do just fine.
INTERVIEWER: Dr. West, talk about that, this idea that this might even be therapeutic for her to be out on the campaign trail.
DR. WEST: Absolutely. It’s natural, normal, and necessary upon a diagnosis of metastatic disease to rise up and decide what is important to you. Get this whole new sense of determination and maybe she will be even more energetic on the campaign trail because she knows just how important life is, not just for herself but for the whole American public.
FERRARO: The edge that both Elizabeth Edwards has and that I have is that we have great doctors and we have access to the treatments that will be available to us. A lot of people in this country do not have health care. Cancer drugs are extremely expensive. I get calls literally from people all over the country who were diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and many say to me, "I can’t afford to do it." For those others, it is not such an easy thing.
Speech from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GX2RhdUKF5E.