Roger Ebert on The Oprah Show

<p>Did any of you catch Roger Ebert on the Oprah Show yesterday?</p>

<p>A few thoughts:</p>

<p>1)As a nurse, I've always thought that the head/neck surgeries were the most brutal surgeries of all. This show confirmed that. My heart broke for him.</p>

<p>2)I am filled with admiration for someone who can keep a positive attitude in the face of such devastating circumstances.</p>

<p>3)He and his wife truly understood and meant the "in sickness and health" vows.</p>

<p>4)Technology is amazing. By scanning previous recordings, he is able to type out new movie reviews and his computer "speaks" for him in his own voice. WOW.</p>

<p>5)I hope he goes on to review many, many more films. I miss the Siskel/Ebert banter, though.</p>

<p><a href="http://gawker.com/5483834/roger-eberts-computer+generated-voice-is-far-better-than-we-imagined%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://gawker.com/5483834/roger-eberts-computer+generated-voice-is-far-better-than-we-imagined&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>That's incredible. The message from all of Ebert's suffering to any college kids out there: Please Don't Smoke. Not even one. You're life will be full and rich if you never put a molecule of nicotine into your body.</p>

<p>Here a couple of kids (17 and 19) that didn't have as many years of good health as Ebert:</p>

<p><a href="http://www.whyquit.com/whyquit/A_Gruen.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.whyquit.com/whyquit/A_Gruen.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p><a href="http://www.whyquit.com/whyquit/SeanMarsee.html%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://www.whyquit.com/whyquit/SeanMarsee.html&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>This one is near and dear.</p>

<p>If I remember correctly, Ebert's cancer began as Thyroid cancer which was the result of being treated with high dose radiation as a child. I too was treated with the same high dose radiation as a child (it was the treatment du jour for severely swollen glands) and have a badly damaged thyroid as a result. I have to get annual sonograms to monitor the abnormal growth on my thyroid as well as annual biopsies and I have a thyroid that is difficult to control with meds.</p>

<p>I am a non-smoker and certainly not in favor of smoking, but in this case smoking may have been involved but was not the primary cause of Ebert's problems.</p>

<p>Here's a link to the Esquire article:</p>

<p>Roger</a> Ebert Cancer Battle - Roger Ebert Interview - Esquire</p>

<p>And this is Ebert's response to that article:</p>

<p>Roger</a> Ebert's Last Words, con't. - Roger Ebert's Journal</p>

<p>I was so inspired by him. It is really great that he's gone public like this.</p>

<p>Eadad, I'm not a doctor so maybe a really dumb question but why can't they just take out your thyroid altogether? There is nothing left of mine at this point (autoimmune disease) and thank god for good ol' levothyroxine.</p>

<p>Regardless of the original cause of Ebert's cancer, the vast majority of similar jaw cancers today are the result of tobacco use.</p>

<p>Considering what he's been through, I think the guy looks fantastic. Seriously, I could only hope to look that good if I had my lower jaw removed.</p>

<p>I read Mr. Ebert's columns and reviews religiously. He is the only celebrity who I can honestly say has made my life more enjoyable.</p>

<p>The Esquire article DonnaL linked was so moving. It's long but worth the reading.</p>

<p>AND the strength of his wife!</p>

<p>I recently read that when there's a cancer diagnosis, most wives remain with their ill husbands, but most husbands leave their ill wives. Sad, so very sad....</p>

<p>I've never heard that. I believe that there's probably a disparity, but find it difficult to believe that "most" husbands leave their wives when there's a cancer diagnosis. Even if you limit it to a diagnosis of terminal cancer.</p>

<p>I read it, too, but I don't believe it. I'd have to see some data. I don't the "most" guys are that scummy.</p>

<p>I dont know about the "most men" thing. I do know from personal experience that none of us "know" what its like to be the other spouse in the equation with a seriousl ill partner UNTIL we are there. Its difficult to truly imagine. I find myself hesitant to speculate or judge others in this situation. Being a caregiver in such situations is hellish. I admire those that can and do and reserve thoughts/opinions about those that dont and cant. </p>

<p>Did anyone catch Oprah's comment to his wife to the effect of "you didnt let him die"? Is this what ppl really think? That you let or dont let them die? That if you were good enough, worked hard enough etc, that you could affect the final outcome? I dont know, guess I am hypersensitive these days but wondered how others took that comment?</p>

<p>^ I completely appreciate what you are saying. I wonder if Oprah was trying to echo the words his wife had used in the pre-interview stage...you know, that stubborn attitude "I'm not going to let you die" sort of mantra. </p>

<p>I think people believe all kinds of things in these situations, don't they? You kow, if they just were faithful enough, prayed enough, god looked after them, they were good enough people, they worked hard enough...somehow they could avoid tragedy. </p>

<p>While it might be useful to have a sense of control over the uncontrollable, when you need it the most, it's horrible when it leads to judgments of others (or judgments of oneself!) when the outcome is bad. Like I guess you didn't try hard enough or pray enough or god didn't answer your prayers for some reason. Sigh.</p>

<p>That's an astute observation. I knew there was something about the "didn't let him die" comment that didn't sit right with me, but you put my feelings into words. I really do wonder why we have this culture of fighting against all odds, against the inevitable. Some people are just plain going to die. (Well, come to think of it, we all are.) We should embrace death as a part of life, make it dignified, and not worship those who spend ten of millions of dollars and every ounce of their strength salvaging a few months of life that's too painful to be worthwhile.</p>

<p>^^^^^Interesting comments made by all.</p>

<p>This has always kind of bothered me: Have you ever seen an article or an obituary about someone who has just died after a long horrible bout of cancer or other awful illness and it says "Susie fought her illness with grace and dignity. Not once did she ever complain or mention her pain; she only thought of others and what she could do for them."</p>

<p>I think that's marvelous and all, but cancer can be very very painful. It can be emotionally devastating and frightening. It's a high standard indeed to meet-being completely stoic through pain and fearful experiences. Great if you can do it, but if I or a loved one wants to cry out when they're in horrible pain and occasionally rail against their circumstances, I'm all for that too. It doesn't mean they have less grace or dignity or that somehow they've failed some kind of test.</p>

<p>Maybe I'm overly sensitive to those kinds of remarks; it's just that as a nurse, I've seen a lot of brave people over the years who still react strongly at times to their misfortune. We are after all, only human.</p>

<p>Nrdsb4- I spent many , many years as an oncology nurse and I completely agree with your sentiment.
The other one that annoys me is "fighting the battle" as if one's strength is a factor in his illness somehow. I've always felt that it puts an enormous burden on people with cancer to be the "best you can be" all the time. As if someone whose diease is advancing has some sort of inner control over the course of the disease. Cancer - and the treatments for the disease are incredibly debilitating.
PS OOOPS! I missed the few earlier posts. Didn't let him die!!??!! Yikes What kind of bizarre magical thinking is that?</p>

<p>I've been reading his blog for a couple of years now. His writing has gotten better and better over the years (I'm a big fan of his from years gone by). Saw the Oprah interview and beamed with joy every single time he and his wife smiled (he had some amazing eye smiles going on there). There is certainly love and adoration in their lives. maybe because they found one another at a later age? It's quite lovely really. I hope they have many more years together (they've been together 18 years).</p>

<p>Diseases (Cancer and others) are cruel and painful. They rob the unfortunate they inhabit of comfort, time and often dignity. Of course I believe some ppl handle the circumstances (if able) with more grace, humor, etc than others. BUT any way you manage this illness is what it is-The best you could manage...... </p>

<p>When a child is born, they have no choice in how they arrive in this world. Often with illnesses an individual has little or no choice how they depart this world either.</p>

<p>i tried to watch, but had to turn it off. My older sister had salivary gland cancer ( i thought that was Ebert's first cancer diagnosis). She died 8 years ago after a 5 year struggle.</p>