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Get well soon, Rep. McClendon!

I was shocked to read that State Rep. Ruth Jones McClendon was diagnosed a few months ago with stage 4 lung cancer, but I am very glad to see that she has responded well to treatment of it.

“It just felt like I was laid out on the floor, and somebody just dropped a bowling ball in the middle of my stomach,” said McClendon, D-San Antonio, who had quit smoking in 1998. “It was just like — just everything went out of me.”

Then she got busy figuring out what to do.

“You are in shock for a day at least, but then you’ve got to pull yourself together,” McClendon said.

Surgery wasn’t an option, so she embarked on a course of radiation and chemotherapy that drove the cancer into remission.

McClendon plans to start “maintenance” chemotherapy in December. In the meantime, she has gone public with her story because she wants to share her good fortune by urging people to get potentially lifesaving screening and checkups — and not let fear hold them back.

“I wanted people to know if they get detected for it early, if they get treatment, then there is life,” she said. “It’s not a death sentence.”

I’ve corresponded with Rep. McClendon’s staff over the past year – they’ve been very good at sending me information and responding to questions about legislative matters. My very best wishes go to Rep. McClendon, her family, and her staff as she works through this.

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