Rush Limbaugh, Just Diagnosed with Advanced Lung Cancer, Now Has the Flu
“My doctors are insisting on a veritable quarantine as I prep for the beginning of my treatment regimen.”
Published Feb 10, 2020 by Sarah Fielding
One week after announcing he has advanced lung cancer, far-right radio host Rush Limbaugh, 69, shared on his website Monday that he has the flu.
“What I thought was the onset of just a cold during Friday’s show turned out to be the flu,” he wrote. “This flu is unrelated to anything else going on with my health. In fact, I could probably be there today but my doctors are insisting on a veritable quarantine as I prep for the beginning of my treatment regimen.”
Given that its flu season, the diagnosis is not overly surprising.
“Patients with cancer are at a much higher risk of getting the flu and, of course, if they get it, they’re going to be much sicker than the average person,” Dr. Jessica Geiger, a medical oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic Cancer Center, told SurvivorNet in a previous conversation.
Taking Time Off
His being under the weather was first alluded to near the beginning of his Friday show. “I’ve gotta a cold coming on here, and I’m not gonna worry about hitting the cough switch as often, so just bear with me here,” he said. Later on he added, “Told you I’ve got a little bit of bronchial congestion, a chest cold is coming on.”
Limbaugh noted he would be unable to do “The Rush Limbaugh Show” as planned.
Limbaugh’s Lung Cancer Diagnosis
Limbaugh announced his cancer diagnosis last week, saying, “The upshot is that I have been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer, diagnosis confirmed by two medical institutions back on January 20th.”
At the time he reported being asymptomatic and that he was implementing an undisclosed treatment plan.
Taking Politics Out of Cancer
Shortly after the highly controversial diagnosis, some people posted comments on social media saying they were glad he was ill. Many others who don’t agree with his politics, however, were wishing him well.
Now, as some social media posts continue with the negativity, a growing number of liberal commentators are pushing back, saying that this isn’t a time to spread hate.
On the Overtime online segment of “Real Time With Bill Maher,” host Bill Maher discouraged people from joking about Limbaugh’s cancer diagnosis. “Yes, I’m not a Rush Limbaugh fan,” he said. “He did some terrible things. But I’m not going to do jokes about that.”
He went on to apologize for mocking sick or deceased people in the past, specifically calling out his torch of David Koch several hours after he passed away.
Then Brian Stelter used his Reliable Sources panel on CNN to speak out about those excited by Limbaugh’s poor health.
“As much as we talk about Trump and misinformation, there is a strain of contempt on the left that also worries me,” Stelter said. “Why can’t people just say, ‘We hope that Rush gets better quickly?” He expressed his desire for people to simply send their best wishes instead of dredging up his controversial comments.
The Flu Shot for Cancer Patients
If you are a survivor, especially in treatment, you might wonder whether it’s safe to get the vaccine. It is.
Dr. Geiger told SurvivorNet that patients with cancer should absolutely get the flu shot, but they should make sure they get the shot, not the “mist.”
The “shot,” which is administered through a needle in someone’s arm, is technically an “inactive” version of the flu virus. The “mist,” which is given as a nasal spray, provides a “live” version of the virus.
Patients with compromised immune systems should make sure that their family members and close friends follow get vaccinated, too, Dr. Geiger said, adding that it’s a good idea for them to stick with the shot version as well.
A resilient Rush Limbaugh returned to his golden EIB microphone on Friday after missing three episodes to undergo cancer treatment just in time to mock the “implosion” of the Democratic Party and downplay his diagnosis as something with which “millions of Americans” are also dealing. He also thanked supporters for making him feel like “one of the luckiest people alive.”
“What a week. What an incredible week,” Limbaugh said at the top of the program, on the heels of Monday’s shock announcement that he’s been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer and being presented with the Medal of Freedom at President Trump’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.
Limbaugh wasn’t only referring to his own week, but also to a wild news cycle that included Trump being acquitted by the Senate and the disastrous Iowa caucuses.
Limbaugh told listeners that the Democrats have “lost their entire moral foundation” because they became consumed with hatred.
“Hatred is a poison, it destroys you,” he said. “Hatred can never make you happy.”
After putting a spotlight on the left’s rough week, Limbaugh, 69, addressed his own situation a few minutes into the program.
“The last thing that I did on Monday was inform all of you of a medical diagnosis, advanced lung cancer. I told you Monday that I really wished that I could not announce it because I don’t like making things about me, and I promised you that I was not going to live every aspect of this on the air. Millions of you have been through it. It’s nothing that millions of Americans aren’t experiencing… so you don’t need me sharing all of the details with you,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to do it anyway because there is a lot of factors involved including privacy and distraction.”
Limbaugh said he didn’t have a prepared monologue related to his cancer and the immediate aftermath of announcing it to the world, but would essentially speak form the heart.
“Despite living in the public eye, I really am a private person,” he said. “That’s just who I am. I want whatever I’m known for to speak for itself during these three hours… I’m not interested in being in the news all the time.”
Limbaugh told viewers that all the support he has received has been a blessing and evoked New York Yankees legend Lou Gehrig, who famously declared that he considered himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth” after being diagnosed with the fatal ALS back in 1939. Limbaugh said he has seen the historic footage of Gehrig’s speech numerous times over the years.
“The first two or three times I heard it, I had trouble processing it. How in the world can anybody feel lucky after having been told that you have a disease for which there is no recovery, and that it’s fast… there was a part of me that thought, okay this is something that famous people are supposed to say… I thought, clearly there is a portion of Lou Gehrig that thinks he has to say this,” Limbaugh said. “Now I know that’s all wrong. Now I know that there was nothing forced or phony or public-relations related about it. Because I feel the same way.
“I cannot thank all of the people that I have heard from since Monday,” he said. “To have this kind of support, and to know it, to be fully aware of it, it does make me one of the luckiest people alive.”