Tonight's broadcast has health news of interest to millions of heart patients. We have an update on the Tillman case, and we will substantially advance the story involving Attorney General Gonzales. We have a fine piece on global warming, an explainer of today's child care story in the news, and an unusual look at the war in Iraq. We also have a look at this day in the life of Elizabeth Edwards, on the campaign trail after being in the news these past several days following the announcement of the return of her breast cancer.
This next item is related. We are today, as members of the Nightly News family, prepared to share a bit of a "family secret" regarding one of our own. My friend and colleague Anne Thompson has written something, which I post below with her permission, which has to do with the topic in the news these past few days.
Cancer isn't about dying, it is about living. I know, I've been living with cancer for the past year, and you've been watching me.A year ago, this month, March 31 to be exact, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. They labeled it stage 3 because of its size. It wasn't a lump, but rather like a piece of risotto -- elliptical in shape.The first pathologist recommended I go straight to mastectomy, but I wanted options.
I attacked my cancer like it was a story -- learning everything I could, finding the best experts, and most importantly finding options. The tests showed I won the cancer trifecta: surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. The only choice I had was what order in which to have them. Determined to save my breast, I chose to have chemotherapy first, surgery, then radiation.
Work was also part of the cure. It gave me purpose. It made me feel normal. 30 Rock became my cancer-free zone. I didn't tell many people because I was scared. I didn't know what was going to happen. I had lost control. I didn't know what the future held. In truth, I didn't know if I had a future.
Chemo took my long blonde hair. I replaced it with two wigs, nicknamed "mata hari" after the glamorous World War I spy. Chemo took my eyebrows. I replaced them with wax and powder. Then it took my eyelashes, so I wore false ones. But what it couldn't take -- what cancer couldn't take -- was my desire to report. Or my desire to live.
Chemo also took all the cancer. My hair, as you can see has come back, and my desire to report is as strong as ever.
You can live with cancer -- millions do. Quiet battles that never make headlines, but are remarkable nonetheless. It is a battle you cannot fight alone. My sister Mary was my rock. My brother, Bill, my bald buddy. He shaved his head. My brother, Jim, my comic relief. My mum was determined to be the mother of the year, but couldn't stop herself from doing a little reconnaissance at Bloomingdale's as I slept through one of my chemo treatments.
And I have remarkable friends, many of whom work on this broadcast. They sat through chemo, wig appointments, any number of tests, and kept me laughing.
I am told I am cancer free, but I don't think you ever really are. The fear is always there, but it is not nearly as strong as the desire to live.
There are few words to add to the above example of the humanity and courage of our friend Annie. She has been a marvel to watch. We were as impressed with her strength during the worst times as we are elated now with her best-possible bill of health. It is a joy to be able to publish her story here. It's wonderful to have her as a colleague. We will see Anne tonight from the Everglades in Florida.
THE LOST AIRMAN
This week here in New York, all of the living Medal of Honor recipients who are able to make the trip are here in the city for a semi-annual meeting. I'm honored to be able to emcee their dinner, but the gathering comes on the heels of an awful loss. As the New York Times chronicled today, Medal of Honor Recipient Jay Zeamer died last Thursday. Captain Zeamer was a B-17 pilot in the Pacific Campaign. In October of 1942, a shell burst inside his aircraft, and he was wounded in all four extremities with shrapnel...one of his legs was broken. He kept flying, stayed at the controls, shot down several Japanese planes, evaded several others, and landed his aircraft safely. He was one of the greatest members of the Greatest Generation, and he will be missed. His death leaves us with 111 living recipients.
If you have HDTV, you'll notice the broadcast has a few more details tonight, visually, that is. This is our HD debut tonight, and as I said Friday evening: for those without HD, we should look the same. I don't quite know of anything to do differently, so here goes nothing.
I have a board meeting of the Medal of Honor Society that will be in progress during the time I would normally post. Tomorrow's post will be brief if I can muster one at all. Apologies, but duty calls.
We hope you can join us for tonight's broadcast of NBC Nightly News.