Friday, February 16, 2007

Ambition vs. Family

The Boston Globe and ABC broached the subject. We didn't. But we can't help commenting. Having a family member with MS (multiple sclerosis), which Ann Romney has, makes us wonder about Mitt Romney's decision to run for President. It obviously made the Romney family wonder too, for a while at least, though they obviously decided to roll the dice.

If you have a regular job and a spouse with this condition, it's hard enough on both of you. But if you're running for President? Or become President? It's simply hard to imagine how the Romneys came to this decision. Chronic illnesses don't do well under stressful conditions. Imagine the stress of being First Lady while coping with a degenerative, unpredictable disease...

The Globe reports ("Romney's wife opens up on campaign issues," 2-16-07):

... this week, Ann Romney delved into some of the most private and charged issues facing her husband's campaign. In an extensive and surprisingly frank interview with ABC News, she described her battle with multiple sclerosis, saying her husband will forge ahead with his pursuit of the presidency, even if her health declines.

... and disclosed that she did not want him to run for governor in 2002, when the couple was on a high after the successful Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. "It was just this euphoric feeling, and I did not want to step immediately into something that is so negative, with the campaign, after that," Ann Romney told Kate Snow during an interview that aired Wednesday on Good Morning America. "I wanted to take a breath; I wanted to enjoy what we'd done," she said....

Discussing multiple sclerosis, which she was diagnosed with in 1998, Ann Romney said she was weak for several years and felt "completely crushed."

"I was not an example of strength and courage when I was going through it," she said. "I was pretty frightened."
These says, she said, "I'm feeling well. . . . My health is good." She credited yoga, Pilates, reflexology, and acupuncture, as well as a diet low in sugar and white flour. She also loves horses and tries to ride every day, she said.

She said the family has decided that even if her health worsens, her husband will not stop campaigning for the White House.... "We decided that once we crossed that threshold, that he was going forward, that he was making a commitment," she said. She added, "That was a commitment that I made him promise to make."

Web MD: "Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the brain and spinal cord. Its symptoms may include vision problems, muscle weakness, and difficulty with walking, coordination, and balance. Some patients experience relatively mild MS; other cases are severe." (But the course of the disease is unpredictable.)