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Strahl announces he has cancer

Pemberton-area MP remains optimistic, hasn’t determined if he will seek re-election


Chuck Strahl, the Conservative MP representing Pemberton, announced this week he has lung cancer.

Strahl, who is also deputy speaker of the House of Commons, made the announcement Monday in the column he writes for newspapers in his Chilliwack-Fraser Canyon riding.

"I didn’t start the summer with cancer, but I did start with some medical problems that I kept sort of quiet," Stahl wrote. "My lung collapsed at the beginning of July, but I thought it was just the flu or perhaps pneumonia, and I was too busy and too stubborn to rush into the doctor’s office. By the time I saw him in July, he had me go immediately to the Emergency Room, where they re-inflated my lung and sent me home.

"The following week I toured the north part of our riding, met with the folks and did the usual summertime shtick. When I returned, however, the lung had recollapsed, and they stuck me in the hospital for a couple of days while they worked on it. But there were ongoing problems, so down I went to Vancouver General where I spent last week going through a third operation and a bunch of tests. The news didn’t get any better.

"By week’s end the pathologists had determined that the lining of my lung (the pleura) had developed cancer, likely because of exposure to asbestos when I was a young man. My logging days included a time when we used open, asbestos brakes on the yarders, and while my exposure wasn’t that lengthy, it was intense. Typically, 20-25 years later, the asbestos works its ugly magic. Unfortunately, I’m right on time."

Strahl has not made any decision about whether he will or won’t seek office in the next federal election, which is expected to be called early in the new year.

A treatment for Stahl’s cancer is being determined this week and he is expected to start that immediately. However, the MP remains optimistic.

"I’m hoping to be able to keep working while (undergoing treatment), and the shock and the disbelief will slowly make way for reality for me and Deb and those around us.

"There is always the ‘other side’ to a story like this," Strahl wrote. "While much of it is ‘unfortunate’, we chalk up many, many things in the positive column. My entire family was around me as the doctors broke the news, and while it’s very sad, knowing your loving family is close by makes it so much easier. My friends and people I know make never-ending offers to help, and they’re going to have to put on an extra shift in heaven just to answer all the prayers that are being offered up. I simply can’t be bitter about it, because so many people are expressing their love in so many ways to me and Deb, and we are so glad our Christian faith is mature and well-grounded. Things will be fine."

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