Maria Mercader is a producer at the CBS News Foreign Desk in New York.
When I came into the office yesterday morning, there was word that John Edwards would bow out of the 2008 Presidential campaign because his wife's breast cancer had come back. That made me very sad. Fighting cancer is like being in a war and it looked as if the Edwards family was losing. I WAS WRONG. John Edwards was staying in the campaign and his wife will be at his side.
I know that fighting cancer is war because I have been in battle not once, but twice. I have a team of 14 physicians and I have sat in doctors offices for hours and hours. I have had countless tests, invasive examinations, chemotherapy, radiation and several surgeries; I was even hospitalized for four months. Battling cancer can be a full time job. No one wants to hear those words, "you have cancer," but it is in that moment that you start the fight. When you want to live, there is no decision to be made. Fighting isn't a choice. You just do it; it becomes as natural as breathing.
When Nixon declared war declared war on cancer in 1971, cancer was an automatic death sentence. Don't get me wrong--there are many valiant efforts to win the war and sometimes the cancer wins. But Elizabeth Edwards is an example of a person living with, rather than dying from, cancer which is something I have lived with for 10 years. In those 10 years people have remarked, "How do you keep going?" Like Mrs. Edwards, I had to. Through treatment and recovery, I have been a hard-working TV producer, I have a social life, traveled domestically and abroad and have been an advocate for cancer issues. It hasn't always been easy to keep all the balls in the air, but what else could I do...sit around and be sick? If I did that, then cancer would be winning. So I live, and live the best life possible. Thank you, Mrs. Edwards, for showing people that we, survivors, can thrive.