Newswire (Published: Thursday, April 4, 2019, Received: Friday, April 5, 2019, 2:27:33 AM CDT)
Word Count: 1271
When Bennet got to the phone, that is, in fact, what he did say. But it wasn't all he said or nearly the most important thing he said and definitely not the most scary thing he said. Which was this:
Just as he had finally become comfortable with his decision to run, he went to get a physical and received very discomfiting news from his doctor - he has prostate cancer.
His PSA was high. The biopsy showed malignancy. The doctors recommended that, at his age, surgery was the best course of action. His family agreed. The risk, he was told, was low.
And so, now Bennet is still committed to running for president if - and it's an important if, but an if that Bennet says he's at peace with - he will be cancer free. The surgery to remove the prostate gland is scheduled for soon after the congressional spring recess, which begins on
When I asked Bennet how he was taking all this - the cancer, not the presidential bid - he said he was okay. "I'm too busy to really sit back and think about it," he said, "and that's probably the best thing."
But it's one thing to be healthy and make the grueling, unforgiving run for president when no one is actually begging you to do it and quite another to make that decision when you've been told you have cancer.
Bennet explains that he decided to get into the race after finishing his book - The Land of the Flickering Lights, which comes out in June - and realizing that no one in the field was talking about the reasons for the dysfunction he sees on a daily basis in
"The idea was to announce sometime in April," Bennet said. "That was the plan. We hired some staff. We interviewed people for positions in
"That was two to three weeks ago. I was in
One in nine men is diagnosed with prostate cancer over a lifetime, but only one in 39 will die from the disease, which is the third most common cause of cancer deaths among American men. In 2017, the
"I'm 54," Bennet said. "That's relatively young. It seemed to make sense to have the prostate removed.... I'd be recuperating for seven to ten days and would need some rest after that. The hope is then I'll be cancer free and able to move on. If I'm not cancer free, then I'd have to make another decision."
And then to show he's in run-for-president condition, Bennet went full wonk on health care, an issue he has been passionate about for at least as long as the ten years he has been in the
"In all honesty, I know nobody likes being told they have cancer, but I see myself as actually having been lucky," Bennet said. "It was detected early. It is highly treatable. I have insurance through
"The reason I wanted to share this is that I didn't want anyone to make it other than what it is - a brief health care speed bump. Having said that, it is a reminder of how important it is for people to have health insurance and to have primary care checkups.
"I don't want to be hysterical, but if it was left in me undetected, it could kill me. It won't because I have insurance and decent medical care. The idea that the richest county in the world hasn't figured out how to have universal health care is beyond embarrassing. It's devastating."
Bennet watchers have noticed - actually, couldn't miss - the new passion he has been showing on the
"Today's votes will represent the latest degradation of the
Bennet's fervor has been a warm-up for the big run, but the emotion, as
And then he tells me advice he heard that
Bennet laughed. He is ready to bring the world back to normal, or at least as normal as a presidential campaign can be. Obama was a long shot, of course, when he announced. Bennet, who was an early Obama supporter, is a far greater long shot and one who faces cancer surgery this month. If it turns out that in a few weeks people are telling him he's crazy to run, that would be the best news he could hope for.
This column was originally published by the Colorado Independent.