Rush Limbaugh, nine months into an aggressive treatment plan for stage 4 lung cancer, took to the airwaves on Monday to update his listeners on his physical condition.
Referring to the ordeal as a “roller coaster,” the nation’s top-rated talk show host acknowledged in sober and emotional terms that despite some recent positive progress, the cancer is currently going in the “wrong direction.”
“So, we have to tweak the treatment plan, which we did, and the chemotherapy drugs in hopes of keeping additional progression at bay for as long as possible,” he said. “The idea now is to keep it where it is or maybe have it reduce again. We’ve shown that that is possible. If it happened once, it can happen again. So that’s the objective of the current treatment plan.”
Neither fame nor fortune inoculate anyone to the ravages of physical disease, of course, and Limbaugh was quick to point out that many in his audience are familiar with similar battles, either personally or through a painful journey with a loved one or close friend.
Since his early days in radio, Rush Limbaugh hasn’t always been everybody’s cup of tea, but his success has been matchless – ascending to the summit of radio royalty and remaining there for three-plus decades.
Brash, boisterous and controversial from the very beginning, Limbaugh was fired from radio stations in Missouri and Pennsylvania, retreating in desperation to a ticket sales job with baseball’s Kansas City Royals.
But the bite of the radio bug never relented, and the Cape Girardeau, Missouri native didn’t give up the dream, eventually landing in Sacramento before riding the wave of his popularity to New York City and syndicated radio stardom that would eventually make him the industry’s most popular and profitable broadcaster.
Radio stars don’t always make or break politicians, but they do persuade and influence their listeners. For the last 30 years, Rush has been interpreting the business of the Beltway, simplifying the complex and translating much of the cultural doublespeak into shirt-sleeve English.
Yet, as I listened to Rush reflect on his current challenges, it occurred to me that he may very well be on his most important crusade of all – not selling conservativism – but rather pointing people to the Cross and to the only person who can actually save us from the mess and mire of 2020.
Not a political party. Not a politician.
“I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” Rush said matter-of-factly on Monday’s program.
“I wake up every day and thank God that I did. I go to bed every night praying I’m gonna wake up. I don’t know how many of you do that, those of you who are not sick, those of you who are not facing something like I and countless other millions are. But it’s a blessing when you wake up. It’s a stop-everything-and-thank-God moment.”
At nearly 70 years of age, and fighting for his life, Rush Limbaugh is fully in touch with his fragility and mortality.
“There’s some comfort in knowing that some things are not in our hands,” he told his audience. “There’s a lot of fear associated with that, too, but there is some comfort. It’s helpful … It’s helpful to be able to trust and to believe in a higher plan.”
Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, we’re all on the edge. The young believe they have many years left and the old feel they don’t have enough.
In reality, we don’t know.
People of a certain generation will remember the popular soap opera tagline, “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”
Like so many, I’m praying for Rush Limbaugh. In the realm of conservative talk-radio, he is indispensable. But because of his faith in Jesus Christ, the ultimate outcome of this battle is assured.
Photo from Gage Skidmore
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