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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Sarah and Jim Brady on Sarah's Battle With Cancer

Aired April 20, 2001 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, an exclusive hour with Jim and Sarah Brady. They're dealing with a tough new challenge and they're ready to talk about it publicly for the first time. It's next, on LARRY KING LIVE.

Goode evening. We're in Washington, and they're certainly among the most famous couples in the world. They are Jim and Sarah Brady. Jim, of course, is the former White House press secretary, wounded in March of 1981 in that assassination attempt on President Reagan's life, just a little over 20 years ago.

And of course, Sarah Brady is chair of Handgun Control, Incorporated, the center to prevent handgun violence. Probably been the biggest vocal enemy of the gun industry in this country.

We're not here to talk about that so much tonight as we are about another matter. It's been the subject of rumors around for a while. We're gong to find out the story.

Sarah, you have cancer.

SARAH BRADY, CHAIR, HANDGUN CONTROL, INC.: Correct.

KING: Of?

S. BRADY: The lung.

KING: How did you find out?

S. BRADY: Routine examination, one I sort of insisted on -- a lung scan.

KING: How long ago?

S. BRADY: A little over a year ago. A year ago March.

KING: You insisted on lung scan.

S. BRADY: Well, Jim's doctor had -- you have to know, and I have to say this right off the bat, because I can't be quiet about it. I smoked all my -- since I was teenager. And my -- Jim's doctor the year before had said, "Sarah, You ought to get a lung scan. Don't just get a chest X-ray when you go for your next physical." So I insisted on lung scan, and my doctor down in Delaware gave -- wrote the orders. But I still -- of course, you're never ready for that...

KING: Is that a CAT scan of the lung, where they blow up the...

S. BRADY: Yes, it was CAT scan of the lung. Jim was out of town when I...

KING: Were you worried, Jim, when she was getting a scan?

JIM BRADY, FMR. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I'm always worried when they're doing something medically to her.

KING: OK. You get the scan.

S. BRADY: Yes.

KING: Were you worried?

S. BRADY: I went in and had it, and I came home, didn't think twice about it. Because, you know, we always think we're -- we're going to live forever.

KING: And no pain or anything? Coughing?

S. BRADY: Oh, no. I have no -- no symptoms whatsoever.

They called me the next morning at the crack of dawn and said, "Can you come in? We'd like to re-scan you." And I went -- I still wasn't that panicky, and I went back in immediately. And there had been a difference -- two of the radiologists had seen something different. So they re-scanned me, and by that time I was getting worried. And I called my primary physician when I got home, about 11:00 in morning, I said...

KING: In Washington?

S. BRADY: No, we...

KING: Still Delaware.

S. BRADY: We're in Delaware. And I called him, and I said, "You know what? They called me back for a second scan. There might be something there. Can you call over and find out so I don't have to wait for a couple days?"

And he said, "Sure." And he called me back at noon.

KING: And?

S. BRADY: And he said, "You have a carcinoma in the upper part of your right lung."

KING: First thing that came to your mind? S. BRADY: I said to him, strangely enough, I said, "Oh, well that's it, huh?"

And he said, "What do you mean, that's it?"

And I said, "Well, my father had died of lung cancer."

KING: Was he a smoker, too?

S. BRADY: Yes. And my uncle and my aunt.

KING: Smokers, too?

S. BRADY: Yes.

KING: So you thought you were going to...

S. BRADY: I mean, I...

KING: Bought the bullet

S. BRADY: Yes. And I am not one who can say -- I mean, I am guilty of smoking and knowing the facts all these years. I'm...

KING: Can't plead ignorance.

S. BRADY: I cannot plead ignorance. But I still was surprised at it. And, Charlie, Dr. Stanislav (ph), right away said, "No, there's lots we can do, and this is extremely tiny. It's very small." He sent me -- I had an appointment with a lung specialist the next day. Jim was out of town. He was out in Colorado, actually.

J. BRADY: Climbing rocks.

S. BRADY: No, you were not climbing rocks. But, he was out...

KING: Special wheelchair that goes up rocks.

S. BRADY: Jim was out speaking to a group, Tom Mauser, and a group of people who were working on the gun show loophole

KING: In the law...

S. BRADY: In Colorado, because it had been...

KING: So you told Jim on the phone?

S. BRADY: No. He was coming home that night.

KING: How did you tell Jim?

S. BRADY: Oh, they walked in the door. And -- Jim's nurse, our dear, close, friend -- and they walked in the door, and I said, "Well, guess what?" I said, you know, I told them. And once I told them, I felt better about it.

KING: You did. Jim, how did you feel when you heard it?

J. BRADY: Heartbeat's still.

KING: Do you ever feel like there's a cloud hanging over you, Jim?

J. BRADY: What's the guy, it's Andy Capp, that walks around, and there is lightning...

KING: Lightning and clouds always over him.

J. BRADY: ... striking his head.

KING: Do you ever feel that way?

J. BRADY: Yes.

KING: So, did they encourage you, discourage you? What was the medical approach?

S. BRADY: Right away, I went to see the local lung specialist, who was wonderful, who immediately -- I went to see this local surgeon who I had most confidence in and an oncological surgeon...

KING: Did they do surgery?

S. BRADY: And they were going to do, hopeful that they could do -- it was so small...

KING: Get it out.

S. BRADY: ... that they could get it out. But they do what's called a mediastinoscopy where they go down through here and check you lymph nodes. And there's been any spreadage at all of the lymph nodes, then they don't take out -- they were going to take out the whole upper right lobe.

And they got down, and there had been a little spreadage to that lymph node. So, they did not do the full surgery. So, when I woke up I could tell right away because if you have the full surgery, it is like being hit by a Mack truck, taking out a whole lobe.

(CROSSTALK)

J. BRADY: They have to break ribs to go in.

S. BRADY: Five hours, and the minute I woke up I knew that I hadn't been through the big surgery.

KING: And what did they tell you?

S. BRADY: Well, I just knew. I said I didn't make -- your biggest hope is that they can excise it. And I didn't make it.

KING: So, you've still got it, and it spread. S. BRADY: But it hadn't spread beyond -- it wasn't a far spreadage. It just a -- I mean, it wasn't like metastasized at that point.

(CROSSTALK)

S. BRADY: And the only thing I could think of when I first woke up was Scott and Jim. Scott's our son, and they had already been told. And so then I, you know, I knew that the next step.

KING: Think about dying?

S. BRADY: I don't think then, no, I didn't. I knew that it was still early, that there was lots of hope, that there was radiation and chemo. They had talked to me about that ahead of time. And oh, I think any cancer patient, every now and then you go back-and-forth.

KING: Your world changes as soon as you hear the world; right? I mean, it can never be the same.

S. BRADY: Oh, it absolutely does and you look at everything differently. But...

KING: Hold on a second. Our guests are Jim and Sarah Brady. Sarah comes out tonight to discuss this publicly for the first time. Her husband Jim is with her. We will take calls later. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Sarah just reminded me, she was last on this program two years ago tonight.

S. BRADY: The anniversary of Columbine.

KING: That's right, Columbine. Our guests are Jim and Sarah Brady, as we continue this story. OK, they can't do the surgery because it has spread; not a great deal, but it's spread. So what's is the treatment?

S. BRADY: The treatment...

KING: By the way, how did you keep everyone from knowing this? It was rumored. Some people said I hear Sarah Brady is sick, but it never got out.

S. BRADY: Well, it wasn't a purposeful secret, by any means. I mean, all our friends knew, and of course, we live in a small community now where everybody knows, but I think...

KING: You never issued a public statement.

S. BRADY: No. No.

KING: What then did do you?

S. BRADY: I began chemotherapy as soon as the scars had healed -- or the wounds had healed. I began chemotherapy.

KING: Is that a pill or an injection? How did...

S. BRADY: An injection.

KING: You take it how often?

S. BRADY: My first -- always every three weeks, I would get two drugs: Taxol. In the beginning, it was Taxol and Carboplatin. I have a wonderful chemotherapist.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: ... lose your hair?

S. BRADY: Oh, yes. You lose it between the second and third week. And when they say you lose your hair, it's the funniest thing -- about...

KING: Funniest thing?

S. BRADY: Well, no, it happens differently than I thought it would. About the second week, your scalp starts kind of hurting and itching. And then you touch your hair and some comes out. And then the next day, you touch it again and a little more comes out. And then it just -- I mean, it comes. When it comes out, it comes out in droves.

KING: Wow.

S. BRADY: And it is a very strange feeling.

KING: Isn't that debilitating? I mean...

S. BRADY: It was hard to see me totally bald. Once it was starting to come out, then you get it just shaved off.

KING: How did you deal with it, Jim?

J. BRADY: Well, I almost already have it.

KING: You commiserated.

S. BRADY: We felt like -- my hair dresser.

J. BRADY: Two of the Three Stooges.

S. BRADY: My hairdresser, to make us feel better -- it was so funny that day -- I said, "Clint (ph), I can't wait any longer. It's got to come out. The rest has to come out because it is just falling everywhere and going down the drains." And he came over and he brought a purple...

KING: Wig?

S. BRADY: A purple wig. It looked like one of the Supremes types, you know?

J. BRADY: It was coyote ugly.

S. BRADY: It was awful. And so Jim -- he brought it and put it on Jim. So when I got my -- because I already had bought a wig. So I was ready for all this. And Jim wore the purple wig. And I wore -- you know, well, first, I marched around with the bald head looking like I was from Auschwitz and then put the wig on.

So we sort of made light of it and took pictures.

KING: Is that a wig now?

S. BRADY: Yes.

KING: So you are bald.

S. BRADY: Again, yes.

KING: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: ... back?

S. BRADY: It grew back once, because I did chemo all last spring and summer -- and radiation.

KING: What else did do it to you: nausea, all the things we hear?

S. BRADY: I was very fortunate. I kind of -- I sailed through it a little more than everybody -- a lot of people. I never had nausea at all. They have really...

J. BRADY: Because you took anti-nausea pills.

S. BRADY: They give you very good...

KING: How about weight loss?

S. BRADY: No.

J. BRADY: No weight loss?

S. BRADY: In fact, I have gained 5 pounds.

KING: Was Jim very supportive? How were you -- how did you think Jim handled it?

S. BRADY: I think he was supportive. He was wonderful.

J. BRADY: I was trying to...

(CROSSTALK)

J. BRADY: ... wonderful. No, he was wonderful.

KING: How you were feeling inside, Jim?

J. BRADY: Hmm?

KING: How were you feeling inside?

J. BRADY: Well, Larry, you have known her long enough to know that her nickname is the "Raccoon." And raccoons, if nothing else, are fighters.

KING: So you knew she would fight this?

J. BRADY: And attitude is a great deal of it.

KING: Do you think attitude maybe helped you a lot in handling the therapy?

S. BRADY: I don't know, because that would make it sound like somebody who didn't do well on -- who got sick didn't have a good attitude. And I don't think those two are necessarily -- I think it's your body chemistry.

KING: So your hair came back and then lost it again. Why?

S. BRADY: Oh, I had to go through it again this winter.

KING: The whole series.

S. BRADY: A different drug. I went through two -- four drugs last year, last summer -- and radiation. And then I was totally clear. And so all fall -- and that is when we went back to campaigning. I had...

KING: For gun control.

S. BRADY: For gun control. And I just -- I had to stay close to home during the chemo, because you had to keep having it. But in the fall, then we did -- went out did a lot of campaigning.

KING: Did the people at Handgun Control know?

S. BRADY: Um-hmm.

KING: They did? Boy, how they kept this out of press is unbelievable

S. BRADY: And my hair grew back really curly and black. I never had black hair. And it was black and curly. I had -- it was really...

J. BRADY: You had a pearl for awhile.

KING: Why did you have to go back on chemotherapy?

S. BRADY: Well, I did have a small -- a reoccurrence in December.

(CROSSTALK)

KING: ... came back.

S. BRADY: Yes -- because you get periodic checkups -- and not in the same place. It was same in the same -- it's in the same lung. It's just a little bit lower. And so I went back on a new -- a different type of chemo. And...

KING: Also injections?

S. BRADY: Yeah, is -- they are called infusions. You go -- it's an IV.

KING: Oh, an IV, and you sit there...

S. BRADY: You go on IV, and most -- let's see, they are all different, but some of them -- some days it would be like six hours on an IV. And then, I had one called Navelbine -- I always called it "naval bean" -- anyway, it like -- it only took about 30 minutes.

KING: This was all done in Delaware?

S. BRADY: Yes.

KING: That is where you live now?

(CROSSTALK)

S. BRADY: We live Dewey Beach, Rehoboth, and this is...

KING: Is the hospital good there?

S. BRADY: Oh, Wonderful. The Tunnel Cancer Center at BB Memorial...

KING: You could have gone Johns Hopkins. You could have gone...

S. BRADY: That is a decision everybody has to make. Well, I will talk to you about Johns Hopkins in a minute, because I'm doing something there now.

But we happened to have a wonderful medical system them and a wonderful oncologist, wonderful radiologist. Everybody was there, and what I had is nothing unusual, it is not rare. It is something that people have -- I mean it is very common.

KING: Smokers get it.

S. BRADY: Smokers get it, and smoking kills. And it can be prevented. It can be prevented.

KING: We'll be right back with Jim and Sarah Brady. We will include your calls later. This is LARRY KING LIVE, don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: When it had completely gone, were you then saying, "I've licked it?" Was it over? Did you think you had beaten it?

S. BRADY: Yeah. I mean, I'm realistic. I know that this kind of cancer that I have is not an easy one to lick.

KING: And it reoccurs.

S. BRADY: It can reoccur.

KING: When they to told you it reoccurred, how -- what kept your spirits up, or did they get down?

S. BRADY: Well, I wasn't real happy. That it -- I mean, I was sorry and worried that it reoccurred. But it was very tiny, and it still is, it's just so minute.

And you know -- you have to remember, you do, the minute you hear you have this, you really study, and you call, and you look on the Internet, and you talk to...

KING: You're an expert now?

S. BRADY: ... doctors. I mean, you really get so you know your odds, you know. When you choose where you are going to go for your treatment, you do it not just because -- because that is easy, but because you have looked into it, and that is where you decide that is how you want to do it.

KING: What do you have now, and what kind of treatment are you getting?

S. BRADY: OK. I find -- after I had been through the traditional chemos and radiation, there was a trial drug -- in fact, CNN and NBC both did a feature on this last summer. And last summer, they had put it into a field studies, and it had shown absolutely wonderful results with my particular kind of cancer.

I have what's called "non-small cell carcinoma," which is slow- moving, compared to small cells, which is the very rapid one. My -- the good news is it is very slow-moving, but it doesn't respond quite as well to chemo as your faster-moving cancers, so.

KING: So, they gave you this drug, which is what?

S. BRADY: I'm on a trial drug now. I'm in a field trial. It's called Arisa, out of Johns Hopkins.

KING: Do you go to Johns Hopkins for this? Or they give to it you?

S. BRADY: I have to -- it's pills. You take two pills a day. I've been on it three weeks. I have to go back once a week to Hopkins and fill out a questionnaire and get checked over. And I am just -- I mean, I'm confident. Look at me, I feel fine. I have never been sick, I've never had a symptom.

KING: What -- frankly, what is your prognosis?

S. BRADY: I don't know that it...

KING: What do they tell you?

S. BRADY: That...

KING: Well, we're all terminal.

S. BRADY: Yeah. No, I have not been given a death sentence.

KING: You're not.

S. BRADY: No.

KING: Because rumors spread like that.

S. BRADY: Oh, absolutely not. No, I'm far from that, and I have great hope that this drug has great potential for my type cancer. And if not, there are a lot, because mine is still at a very, very small early stage.

KING: But the part that had spread, that's gone. Or is that back?

S. BRADY: The original tumor is gone. Totally gone. There is just two little tiny spots in the very same lung.

KING: But you don't cough? You don't spit up blood? You don't have any other -- is your hair going to come back again now?

S. BRADY: Oh, yes, it's coming back now.

KING: You're off chemotherapy now?

S. BRADY: I'm off the chemo and I'm on -- I have every hope in the world this one's going to work well. But the other ones -- I mean, kept things at bay. I feel wonderful.

KING: A lot of your close friends, I mean, you're going public for the first time -- are very worried about you. You're aware of that.

S. BRADY: Well, I -- I am not worried about myself.

KING: You're not.

S. BRADY: Not right now. I feel very good. Am I being a Pollyanna? I don't think so. I know that there is a chance that I can -- that this will take me eventually.

KING: Still smoking?

S. BRADY: It's the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with, is the smoking.

KING: You're still smoking?

S. BRADY: I try not to, but -- from time to time, yes.

KING: How many?

S. BRADY: More than I should.

KING: You're talking to a former three-pack-a-dayer. So how many do you smoke?

S. BRADY: I don't smoke near that much, but I did for -- I used to smoke two packs a day.

KING: How many do you smoke now?

S. BRADY: Oh, golly, I don't know.

KING: A pack?

S. BRADY: I don't think quite -- no. No. Nothing like that.

KING: Jim, did you try to get her to stop?

J. BRADY: Oh, yes.

S. BRADY: It's...

KING: Have you tried everything? The patches?

S. BRADY: Oh, yes. And -- no, I -- and I hate it.

KING: You hate it.

S. BRADY: You can't imagine. I hate the -- well, I hate the fact that I have been strong. And everything else in my life, I can handle, everything else but one thing...

KING: The raccoon is being knocked around by a little piece of paper with filler

J. BRADY: And leaves in it.

KING: And leaves in it.

J. BRADY: With leaves in it.

S. BRADY: And you know, it's...

KING: We all can ask the question, why do intelligent people do certain things? Some say this is the hardest thing to stop. I stopped after having a heart attack because I was scared to death. Aren't you scared to death?

S. BRADY: I'm not scared to death right now, because the energy I'm putting is into getting well right now. And I know people will say then, how in the world could you keep doing this? And I don't do it purposely. And I don't do it like I used to.

KING: When you light up, though, do you say, "I am countering what they're doing with the pills"?

S. BRADY: I don't know that that even comes. Sometimes when it happens, I don't even think about it.

KING: Now, what do you say?

S. BRADY: Stop.

J. BRADY: You don't need that.

S. BRADY: And sometimes I just put it our, and that's it. Sometimes I do it non -- without thinking about it. I mean, I did quit when I first had the surgery. The most important thing is, don't do what I do. Don't ever let yourself get into this position.

KING: Do you know why when you quit, you went back? If you quit after the surgery, what took that first cigarette to take it back?

S. BRADY: I think that I felt I was -- I mean, and this is an awful thing to admit about yourself. I think I was dealing with so much, and I think that's why I've smoked all these years, is -- I've had a lot to deal with, and that's...

J. BRADY: Trying to deal with an injured bear.

S. BRADY: It's a crutch. It's a horrible, terrible crutch, that -- and you know the whole time, you're gambling with your life.

KING: We'll be right back with Jim and Sarah Brady, the very honest Jim and Sarah Brady. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We are back with Jim and Sarah Brady. Now, Sarah is having the feeling a lot of people are going to be critical of her for admitting that she still smokes, but you're not telling people to do this. You also are showing up enormity of the problem; right? You are a victim of a obsession; not an obsession. You've got a terrible habit, addiction.

S. BRADY: You know, we have spent the last 15 years or longer working to prevent gun violence, which is preventable.

KING: Yes, sure.

S. BRADY: This is something else that is preventable for the most part.

KING: Absolutely.

S. BRADY: And the important thing here is not whether I am a weakling, whether I have not been able to make it correctly. The important thing, I try and I do better than I used to, and the important thing is what can we do to prevent these things.

KING: Why did you decide to talk about it tonight?

S. BRADY: Well, I don't know that it was a conscious decision to do that.

KING: Just happened.

S. BRADY: It just...

KING: OK, but you're telling people do as I say, not as I do.

S. BRADY: Exactly. This is a preventable disease, and for the most part, early diagnosis, and prevent it by never picking that up first cigarette. Don't smoke. It -- lung cancer would be...

KING: Gone.

S. BRADY: For the most part, and not all cancers are that easily preventable because we don't know the causes of so many of them.

KING: Jim, do you get angry when she smokes?

J. BRADY: Yes.

KING: Frustrated.

J. BRADY: You know it.

KING: do you have arguments over it.

J. BRADY: Yes.

KING: Have you sought out psychological help to stop?

S. BRADY: No.

KING: Would you?

S. BRADY: Why I...

KING: Hypnosis, something.

S. BRADY: Years ago I did hypnosis.

KING: Why are you laughing?

S. BRADY: But I'm really not smoking as much as...

(CROSSTALK)

J. BRADY: Tell Larry what you did.

S. BRADY: Oh, I'm not going to -- let's -- I don't think this should be a dialogue on all my weaknesses. The fact that I...

KING: You can't say something like tell them what you did and then not tell

S. BRADY: OK, this was years ago, 20 -- way longer ago than that; 25 years ago, 30 years ago. I wanted to quit. And I went to a hypnotist here in Washington, and he was very famous, and so I laid there, and -- and I could because I don't think I'm really hypnotized but he seemed to think I was when went through whole thing played tapes and he gave me this tape to take home. And I though to myself I don't think this did anything. And all I could think of how quickly I could get out to the car and have one.

KING: Have a cigarette.

(CROSSTALK)

S. BRADY: But I didn't want to hurt his feelings. I didn't want to hurt his feelings because he had an office on the same floor. Oh, this is just terrible to admit. So, I got out there and I got down on the floor of car to light it, because I thought it would hurt his feelings if he saw me lighting up. I spent a fortune to go to this man.

KING: We will be right back with Jim and Sarah Brady. We'll include your phone calls on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Over the weekend, tomorrow night, highlight shows of Lee Radziwill and one Sunday night, an evening with Bill Cosby. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back. We're going to go to your phone calls. Jim, how are you doing by the way? How are you feeling?

J. BRADY: I have good days and bad days.

KING: Is today a good day?

J. BRADY: Today is a good day.

KING: Your speech is much better.

J. BRADY: Thank you, sir.

KING: Do you work at that all the time?

J. BRADY: Yes.

KING: Do you think smoking continues a lot -- not to blame, Jim, but because of what happened to Jim, Sarah?

S. BRADY: I'm sorry?

KING: Do you -- you know, smoking is a crutch, specially in a situation like you faced 20 years ago? I bet you smoked a lot that day. S. BRADY: Actually, very strangely, I had quit for two years.

KING: Two years?

S. BRADY: When I got pregnant with my son Scott -- our son Scott, I didn't smoke until -- really until a year after Jim was hurt. So I had quit for two years.

KING: And you get infuriated at the gun people, right? Infuriated at some of them. What if they said, hey, I love my gun?

S. BRADY: Oh, I believe they should have the right to the -- not the right, but I don't believe in taking anybody's gun away from them. I just say let's -- we can do preventative things.

KING: You wouldn't ban tobacco?

S. BRADY: No. I would not ban tobacco. But I do -- I do think it should be...

KING: Controlled?

S. BRADY: Controlled. And I also believe that, you know, I respect the rights of other people, non-smoking places...

KING: If it were FDA-controlled, no doctor would give it to you.

S. BRADY: And they shouldn't.

KING: To -- let's get some calls. New York City for Jim and Sarah Brady, hello.

CALLER: Hi.

KING: Hi. Go ahead.

J. BRADY: Hi, New York.

CALLER: My father died of lung cancer, and my mother of pancreatic cancer, yet I continue to smoke. Is there anything you can tell me that I don't already know that will make me stop?

KING: You are asking the wrong person.

S. BRADY: Bless your heart, I -- you have not been diagnosed yet. Oh, I -- you know the odds are not in your favor. And I knew that, too. I believed I -- I was throwing the dice and believed it would never happen to me, but it did to me. And with your history, it can and very likely will. If you quit today, your lungs can -- can recuperate.

KING: I asked Jim if he feels there is a little cloud hanging over him. Feel there is one hanging over you?

S. BRADY: Perhaps. I am really working hard to live. I mean...

KING: You want to live?

S. BRADY: I want to live.

KING: Nobody wants to not...

S. BRADY: And in my case, I know that if I -- a new cancer -- that smoking would help bring on a new cancer, and that...

KING: Sure could.

S. BRADY: And this is not a an excuse for breaking down now and then and having one. It sort of like opening the barn door after the horse is out. You know, I mean, it did it, and I have already got cancer.

KING: So you are saying it can't harm you any worse?

S. BRADY: Nothing is going to harm me any worse than what I've got.

KING: That's a unique way to rationalize.

S. BRADY: But that's another rationalization, and it is wrong, because if I'm lucky enough to fight this one, and I feel confident I will, because the new drugs are wonderful, then is one I have got to...

KING: Putting it bluntly, do you know how much Jim needs you?

S. BRADY: Yes. And our son.

KING: Is that inducement enough to stop?

S. BRADY: Yes, it.

KING: Fullerton, California, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry, this is Beth. I have lung cancer. It started ovarian cancer. Six years ago, it metastasized into my lungs and liver. I just wanted to tell Sarah that there is hope. I have been on chemo constantly for six years. I have it either every week or every 21 days, and she has got the right attitude. If the can beat this -- they have given me a death sentence twice.

And Larry, I want to thank you for having programs like this, because you give us hope. You have people on there that give us hope.

KING: Thank you.

CALLER: And just tell Sarah we will pray for her to get through this.

S. BRADY: Thank you.

KING: Are your doctors hopeful?

S. BRADY: Oh, yes, very.

KING: They are not...

S. BRADY: No.

KING: OK. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for the Bradys, hello.

CALLER: Good evening, Larry. Good evening, Sarah.

KING: Hi.

S. BRADY: Hi.

J. BRADY: Hi, Edmonton.

CALLER: I have been diagnosed with stage four cancer. It is terminal. I'm an non-smoker. I have adenocarcinoma in my lungs. There is no treatment. My question to Mr. and Mrs. Brady is: how do you find the strength to keep fighting for the things that you believe in? Your Brady Bill, I think you are the epitome of class, and Mrs. Brady, I wish you all very best and you too, sir. Thank you.

S. BRADY: And you too.

J. BRADY: Thank you very much.

S. BRADY: Bless your heart. Stage four, she must have -- I heard her say, I think she's got the same one I have.

KING: Inoperable. But she asked where does the strength come from to keep fighting -- I mean, if both of you said, forget this gun control fight, I'm going to deal with cancer, and I'm going to deal with just getting better, the whole world would understand this.

S. BRADY: I believe the fight to stop gun violence is one of the singularly most important things that we are going to continue it. It is so -- today is two years...

KING: Anniversary.

S. BRADY: We need to -- the same with -- as with cancer, there are prevention techniques out there, we have to take advantage of this.

KING: Do you agree with continuing that fight, despite this?

J. BRADY: We are not going away.

KING: Despite the illness?

S. BRADY: Oh, the illness isn't going to stop that. If anybody thinks that I am ill enough to stop fighting for this issue, I will be out there for the next -- for many years, fighting this one.

KING: Tampa, Florida, hello. CALLER: Good evening. First of all, I commend your honesty, Sarah, you are wonderful. My question is, what can you say to all of us who smoke to make us stop?

KING: That is hard for her, because she is smoking, but -- what can you say...

S. BRADY: No, I'm not smoking all the time.

(CROSSTALK)

S. BRADY: And I can tell them, look what's happened to me.

KING: This is like Yul Brynner, though. "I smoked" -- remember that commercial.

S. BRADY: And nobody more than somebody who has been caught doing something that we know is wrong, and I knew all along I shouldn't be. And so, it makes me look like a hypocrite, but my mind can tell you, and your brains can tell you that it is wrong. It...

KING: By the way, you are only a hypocrite if you were hiding it. You would be a hypocrite if someone was saying, I saw Sarah Brady smoke, and she is coming on saying "don't smoke." You are admitting to smoking, and trying to help others not to.

S. BRADY: Yeah, I mean...

KING: That is hypocritical.

S. BRADY: We all know that it is wrong. But you are -- the chances, when you smoke, of this happening to you -- and if it wasn't cancer, what is -- even or just as debilitating is the emphysema.

KING: Heart disease.

S. BRADY: As you get older.

KING: Did you ever smoke, Jim?

J. BRADY: No, sir.

S. BRADY: Jim never has.

J. BRADY: I was a track man. Coach said: "Do you want to add two more minutes to your time in a mile?" He said: "Then smoke."

S. BRADY: You lose your breathing ability, your capacity to be able to walk as far or run like you did when you were younger. It just totally debilitates you as you get older, even if you don't get cancer from it.

KING: We'll be right back with Jim and Sarah Brady. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: Before we take another call, how has this affected the Brady relationship?

S. BRADY: Oh, we think it's probably brought us -- but we've always been -- we've handled a lot of things over the last 20 to 30 years.

KING: Would you say you were even closer now, even though Jim gets mad because you smoke, you are closer?

S. BRADY: Yes. Oh, we are the Bickersons, though. We fuss all the time.

KING: Are there any -- this is weird -- pluses to this?

S. BRADY: You know, this is the strangest thing, knowing that you -- that your life could be limited, your time on Earth can be limited, you do learn to enjoy every pleasure.

KING: You smell the flowers.

S. BRADY: Yes, and every day is a blessing, every day that you feel good, and that you can get up and we live at the ocean, and to be able to look at the ducks and the seagulls and to live the lifestyle that we want to live is just so wonderful that I don't ever spend my time...

KING: You don't get down?

S. BRADY: Not really.

J. BRADY: She's not a moper.

KING: Do you get down, Jim?

J. BRADY: Yes.

S. BRADY: Oh, you do not. Jim mopes for maybe 10 seconds. Neither of us are mopers.

KING: He might get down when you don't know it about you.

KING: It's not a productive way of...

KING: There is moments he's alone, you're not around, he might feel down because he knows.

S. BRADY: Are you ever alone? We watch him like a hawk.

J. BRADY: Rarely.

S. BRADY: We watch him like a hawk.

KING: When he's alone in his mind he could certainly think about it then. Do you?

J. BRADY: Yes.

KING: Don't dismiss it, he's worried about you.

S. BRADY: There are he -- I am fine, I'm going to be.

J. BRADY: Will you quit that?

S. BRADY: OK.

KING: What are you doing? What did you do then?

S. BRADY: Oh, he teases me because I...

J. BRADY: It's a neuroses.

S. BRADY: When I get nervous I make figure eight's on my thumb.

KING: That bandage is your dog bit you, right?

S. BRADY: Right.

KING: To Bear Creek, North Carolina. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, I was just calling to say that I have had cancer since '97. I'm 32 years old.

S. BRADY: Oh.

CALLER: And I just want to say that it's really a lot in your mind, and as long as you have support from your family and your friends, that is 80 percent of it right there. And as long as you keep fighting, you can go it.

S. BRADY: Oh, I couldn't agree more. I think the support system, your family, friends, having a good medical team, and I can't even begin to say both at Tunnel Cancer Center where I did my chemo and radiation, and now at Hopkins -- just -- I mean -- you feel like you're in a womb when you are around good...

KING: Do you get down when you read the paper if someone dying of cancer?

S. BRADY: No.

KING: It doesn't affect you? Do you worry about heart disease?

S. BRADY: I did. Yes, I did. I really was more worried about that almost because it can take so you quickly. I -- I feel like I can fight this cancer, and I also feel like it's not worth my worrying about. I mean, nothing is worth moping about.

KING: Do you have down days day?

S. BRADY: No, I might have down moments from time to time, but I don't think that's productive and I'm busy and we're really involved with the gun issue and really involved with enjoying our life. There is too many other things to be doing. We have lots of friends, and we love to go out and eat and we love to do things.

KING: Have you changed any of you dietary?

S. BRADY: I think I eat a lot healthier than did before. I've tried to eat really well.

KING: Branford, Ontario. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: Hi Sarah and Jim.

J. BRADY: Hi.

S. BRADY: Hi.

CALLER: I just want to encourage you to truly try to quit smoking because I myself was diagnosed 16 years ago with an ailment that is turning my life to stone, and I tried many different times to quit, and finally, I'm four years free of smoking. So, don't give up. And thank you for coping out and talking to us about your ailment, and the fact that you are still smoking because when I was diagnosed continued to smoke, people couldn't believe it.

And Jim, I have to you know commend you for being her support system, and are you doing anything to -- like counseling or anything to help you cope with everything that is taking place in your life?

KING: Yes, how are you dealing with it, Jim?

J. BRADY: Well, through my faith, Larry. That's one thing. I have been to Sunday mass more times in this last year than I was perhaps...

KING: All the years...

J. BRADY: No, two years prior to that.

KING: Is your faith diminished?

J. BRADY: No, it has increased.

S. BRADY: Tell him about how you had to have -- Jim thought he had so much to confess, he hadn't been to confession in a while. The priest came to the house for...

J. BRADY: He made house calls.

KING: We'll be back with the Bradys, who keep on keeping on. Don't go away.

J. BRADY: I'm not perfect.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) KING: We are back with Jim and Sarah Brady. What do you -- do you make attempts at any of the patches or anything or any of the things they talk about to help people stop?

S. BRADY: I have done all that in the past, and I think that that's not...

J. BRADY: Obviously, it didn't work.

S. BRADY: You know, the only thing that really works is your own mind and will, and that's where I think I have -- I know until the time.

KING: But this defeats the raccoon, doesn't it?

S. BRADY: It -- for me, it is the one place I have not -- I'm strong if rest of my life, but I do think that if I had really decided I wanted to quit, and I'm ashamed to say this, but during the years when I did smoke heavily all that he time, I loved it. I loved it.

KING: So did I.

S. BRADY: Taking in that breath...

KING: A great feeling.

S. BRADY: And it would calm you down moments of crisis. And, I mean, I could be in a room -- I know when I had my -- this little operation, the mediastinoscopy then I had quit. I had it in my mind I'd quit. And that was it. I went home, and two very good friends were there at our house, and I had just come home from the hospital, finding out that I was going to have to undergo chemotherapy.

Do you think that I was sitting there on the sofa looking at Courtney (ph) and Joe (ph), and thinking, "Oh, my God, I have to go through chemotherapy. I might die." No. You know what I was thinking? "What do people who don't smoke do?" Here I am, sitting on the love seat, and what do I do with my life now?

What do I do? You know, I just -- that was exactly how I felt. That is a -- was controlling me.

KING: Madison, Alabama, hello.

CALLER: Hi.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: I just wanted to thank the Bradys for coming on TV and speaking. I lost my father last fall due to lung complications -- things with his lungs. But he was diagnosed 15 years ago with lung cancer, and did survive it. He was given less than 10 percent chance of making it. I'm sorry, I'm nervous, but...

S. BRADY: Me, too. CALLER: It's just a real inspiration to see you and to have you come on TV and talk like this. And I think you're just a real inspiration to others, so I want to thank you.

S. BRADY: Thank you.

KING: Thank you. We'll be back with our remaining moments with Jim and Sarah Brady on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back with our remaining moments with Jim and Sarah Brady. All right. Summing up, you are now on this experimental drug, not approved yet.

S. BRADY: No.

KING: So you're part of a trial.

S. BRADY: The second-field trials, which means...

KING: And what are they telling you so far, about it and you?

S. BRADY: Well, it's too early to tell anything about me. I mean, even had a first scan yet. This is testing -- the prognosis, or the outlook for this drug has been very promising with my type of cancer. So I'm really optimistic that it's going to work. It -- the test is for side effects, it's called Arisa.

KING: Have you had any?

S. BRADY: None.

KING: Is the only side effect you've had through this whole thing loss of hair?

S. BRADY: That's about the worst. And that's not even horrible except -- well, there are good things about that, because you sure don't have to wash your hair every morning. It cuts out half an hour getting ready. You don't have to blow dry.

KING: It doesn't bother you to look in mirror?

S. BRADY: Well, in the summertime, I just wear a kerchief with fake bangs.

KING: Does it bother you, Jim?

J. BRADY: No.

KING: No.

S. BRADY: That's minor. And I didn't have the nausea, or anything of that type. The last one I took -- you get a little tired. I got tired, after about... KING: What about the radiation? What did that do?

S. BRADY: It did -- nothing until the very end. Part of the radiation hit my esophagus area, because that's where the lymph nodes were. And toward the end, you get Esophagitis, which means it's burning inside your esophagus. You have a...

KING: Like heartburn?

(HICCUP)

S. BRADY: Was that psychological?

KING: We just said heartburn and you burped.

S. BRADY: And Jim burped.

J. BRADY: Actually, it was a hiccup.

(LAUGHTER)

S. BRADY: But it was difficult in the last week or two to even swallow water, to be able to swallow anything. But then the minute that's over -- that's only for about a week that it -- a week and a half, that that happened. And there's this wonderful, pink, horrible- tasting swish medicine that you swish around in your mouth, and it helps you.

J. BRADY: You've been there, done that.

KING: Sarah, what's tougher, tobacco or the gun lobby?

S. BRADY: Tobacco is harder to beat. The gun lobby, we are going to -- we've beat them before. And the most important thing is we need to save lives. And there are ways to save lives from both of these things. We've got to close up this gun show loophole right away so that people are not able to get guns without having to go through a background check.

KING: You also realize now that you are public-public, that a lot of people are going to be talking to you about this cancer, and telling you. You're going to have a lot of naggers getting you on...

S. BRADY: Good. Because I need every bit of nagging I can get about that. I am better. I am better than I was. I don't smoke like...

KING: Chimney.

S. BRADY: A chimney at all, and I do quit periodically, for a short time.

KING: Are you going to have one right after the show?

S. BRADY: That's a good question.

J. BRADY: No.

S. BRADY: I'll call you and let you know.

J. BRADY: Hell, no, and no, but hell, no.

S. BRADY: No, maybe I won't.

KING: That would be really good.

S. BRADY: Probably not. Jim will keep me...

KING: Thank you, Sarah.

S. BRADY: ... satisfied.

KING: Thank you, James.

Jim Brady, former White House press secretary, and Sarah Brady, chairman of Handgun Control, Incorporated and the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence.

We talked about a personal subject tonight, her fight against lung cancer. We hope you found tonight informative, and hopefully can use it.

Tomorrow night, Lee Radziwill on a repeat broadcast, with highlights of our interview with her.

And Sunday night, a compilation of highlights with Bill Cosby.

And on Monday night, Dyan Cannon,

Stay tuned now for "CNN TONIGHT." I'm Larry King. For the Bradys in Washington, have a great weekend. Good night.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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