Conservative icon Rush Limbaugh shared an update on his health with his radio listeners on Friday as he is battling stage 4 lung cancer: "The chemo drugs are working."
Limbaugh, who took several days off from his show, assured his audience, "I'm fine. I'm sitting here at my official home library desk, and I am fine."
A rare mutation in his lung cancer gene
"El Rushbo," as he is popularly called, explained to his listeners that the lung cancer he has involved a rate mutation of a gene that occurs only in 1% to 5% of cancer patients.
"Now," he said, "ordinarily that would be very bad news because it would be something that maybe there's no medicine for or that there's no targeted treatment for."
However, Limbaugh said the rate mutation is a blessing in disguise.
"It turns out it was good news because there is a clinical trial of a combination of chemo drugs that has been very successful in attacking this particular gene mutation in melanoma cancers," he said.
The chemotherapy drugs Limbaugh is taking is part of a promising stage 2 clinical trial to treat the specific kind of lung cancer mutation he has.
Off the chemo drugs for now
"America's Anchorman" noted that although the four weeks of the therapy went "great," he had to stop the treatment because of the medication's painful side effects:
I guess it got bad enough last Monday or whatever that we had to pull the treatment. We had to pull the treatment, and it was going to be just temporary for a week or two to see what would happen. I'm now taking drugs, steroids, to reverse the effects of the chemo drug.
Although Limbaugh said he now feels better, he said he spent several days with fevers ranging 102 to 103 degrees and unbearable pain in his legs.
"Imagine you have been sedentary for a year and then one day you go to the gym or you go practice football or you do a two-hour, strenuous workout. You know how you feel the next day, your muscles are filled up with lactic acid, you can barely move?" he said, "That's what it's like times five for me."
The good news is that "the chemo drugs are working," said Limbaugh, or at least they were until he suspended them.
"Trust me, it was working," he said while explaining he has to have quality of life with longevity.
For the time being, Limbaugh indicated he will stop participating in the clinical trial of the chemo medication, but that he remains optimistic about his prognosis.
"I've currently suspended the treatment and we're looking at alternatives, and there are plenty of those," he said. "But I've gotta get the swelling down and get this pain taking care of."