They say politics makes strange bedfellows. Well, try a dire sickness. That's what Democratic strategist, CNN analyst, and Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign boss Donna Brazile found during a series of medical emergencies that sidelined her. "I am one humble sister now," she tells us.
ILLUSTRATION BY JOE CIARDIELLO FOR USN&WR"ok, I thought I was dying," she says, revealing that three weeks ago she had a biopsy to explore a cyst on an ovary. It was cancer free, but the docs found 12 uterine fibroids. Surgery followed, but she was allergic to the morphine. "Yep, the painkillers almost killed me."
Friendship from entries in her bipartisan Rolodex saved the day. Al and Tipper Gore E-mailed regularly. Ex-boss Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton brought chicken soup and protein drinks. But it was Condoleezza Rice's counsel that calmed Brazile, as the secretary of state had the same surgery some three years ago. "She was like an older sister counseling me," says Brazile. Rice even called regularly while traveling in Australia and the Middle East. Prayers helped, too. "I scheduled my surgery on Rosh Hashanah, when my friends would be praying. I wasn't taking any chances." Now recovering, Brazile says a funny hospital dream signaled she'd be fine. "I was screaming for [cnn's] Wolf [Blitzer]. Turn on Wolf, the Situation Room. From there, I knew I'd survive."