The Restless Wave
John McCain
Contributed by Nina Calhoun
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Chapter 10

In this chapter, McCain delves into his personal life, with a keen interest in his health. Being in the Senate is very demanding, and in most cases, it entails long traveling which can often be physical straining. Before he was diagnosed with brain cancer, McCain reports that many times he felt extremely weak and sickly. When he went to the Mayo Clinic for regular checks, he did not expect that the outcome would be indicative of a serious medical condition. Even after learning that he had cancer, McCain was not deferred from his duties. McCain’s reaction to his serious medical condition is quite abnormal in comparison to how many people would take such news. He asks that “We’re in the middle of a big health care debate, and there will be votes I can’t miss. How soon can I go back?” The senator remained undeterred with the revelation that he had cancer, despite knowing his disease was the same disease that killed his friend, Ted.


Being diagnosed with cancer, particularly brain cancer, is not a light matter as it is physically and emotionally taxing. The thought of having cancer alone is enough to send some people to the grave. When McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer, it was an outcome he had not anticipated. Since he had only complained of fatigue, the thought of brain cancer was not even in his wildest imaginations. Impressively, McCain demonstrated an unrivaled level of courage when diagnosed. He was committed to continuing with his responsibilities to the nation. While effectively executing his responsibilities, it appears that the disease did not have any effect on his psyche. Perhaps this incredible mental strength that kept McCain going when many might with his condition may have given up hope or simply quit.

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