Sunday, August 26, 2018


Senator John McCain has died of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) at age 81. This makes me realize that his family's statement about it being his choice to discontinue treatment was probably disingenuous. If you're that close to death because of GBM, you're not making your own decisions. That burden has passed to whichever family members have taken up the duty of care and/or been given power of attorney.

People are also saying that McCain somehow "beat the odds" in his fight with this most common and most vicious form of brain cancer. By my reckoning, McCain barely made 13 months, i.e., one month beyond the average post-diagnosis life expectancy. Technically, this constitutes "beating the odds," but not by very much, and given one's quality of life at that stage, it's a hollow "victory" at best.*

If you hate the man, then hoist a glass to celebrate the world's having become a better place. If you love the man, then hoist a glass to celebrate a storied military and political career. If you're indifferent to the man, then hoist a glass simply because you're thirsty.

*I've heard the life-expectancy stat phrased as either "about a year after diagnosis" or "11-13 months after diagnosis." If we go with the latter, then McCain didn't beat the odds at all: 13 months is still within the average range for this statistic.

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