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I’m not savvy with social media by today’s standards. I’m pretty good with texting and emailing, but for the most part, I’m old fashioned and appreciate a face-to-face conversation or phone call. I’ll admit – some of the social media platforms make my head spin. But, I do like Twitter because you’re able to follow who you want and skip past most of the nonsense. This isn’t a Twitter endorsement, by any means, it’s just another place to find news in my opinion.


If you’re like me, the hashtag (#) deal is a little confusing. My grandkids tell me to put a hashtag on messages that’ll relate the story or issue to similar topics. “Ok, whatever that means,” I tell them. To which, they laugh at me and make fun of my relative tech-illiteracy. Laughing at grandpa…go figure.


Last week, Jean and I were at Mayo Clinic for her scheduled checkup. As you probably know, last year she battled an aggressive, malignant tissue cancer, known as sarcoma. So, this follow-up visit was all part of the regular game plan. The results from an unscheduled biopsy due to a newly found “hotspot” were not. Her “cancer team” notified us on Thursday that the biopsy revealed a malignant spot near the original tumor. The next morning, she had surgery to remove it. What a week…


Anyone or any family that has gone through cancer knows this disease doesn’t care about your plans. It has no empathy for timelines or votes or family functions. Cancer swoops in, unexpectedly, and wreaks havoc. It can be overwhelming.


While sitting in the waiting room at St. Marys Hospital in Rochester, I searched #CancerSucks on Twitter. The stories were endless. Cancer hits indiscriminately. It doesn’t matter whether you’re an actor, doctor, plumber or farmer. It hits.


I’m pretty sure I’ve never said anything “sucks” publicly before. But, I do now. Cancer sucks.

For us, we rely on our faith and our great team of healthcare professionals. And, we rely on each other. Our family has always been close. And, in South Dakota, we’re one big family at the end of the day. We’ve appreciated your support and prayers.  If Jean and I could thank all of you in person, we would. Just know that we feel those prayers and we see your support. For that, we are eternally grateful.     


Long before Jean had cancer, I advocated for improved access to healthcare and investing in research. But after watching Jean battle this vicious disease, my intensity of commitment has certainly increased. Some things really are bipartisan. Improving quality of care, accessibility and affordability are things we all agree on, even if we disagree sometimes on how to get there. These aren’t partisan issues and more than ever, I’m dedicated to this cause.


As a family, we will get through this with your support.