Rudy Giuliani: "I used to think the core of me was in politics. It isn't."

 Note: In early 2000 Rudy Giuliani, then the Mayor of New York, learned he had prostate cancer. He subsequently held a number of press conference and interviews in which he revealed that the diagnosis had transformed his attitudes toward life. Prior to the diagnosis he was known as a tough politician who worked constantly, neglected personal relationships, was vindictive to his enemies and, by his own admission, neglected the poor. His views changed dramatically immediately following his diagnosis. Although his critics would argue that he did not always lived by these views in the years that followed, his post-diagnosis statements are an interesting example of how substantially our attitude toward life can change when we face death in a way that affirms life.

Statements by Mayor Giuliani following his diagnosis of prostate cancer:

"Politics is important, but it is by far not the most important thing in life. Your life is more important, your health is more important, the people you love, your family, the people that are close to you and really care about you. I used to think the core of me was in politics. It isn't".

"When you feel your mortality and your humanity you realize that, that the core of you is first of all being able to take care of your health, and second your obligations (to) the people that love you and you love."

"I tend to think now that love is more important than I thought it was."

"I have very good friends and people that I love and love me but, being the mayor of the city that I love very much, people that I've always had a great deal of love for."

"You confront your limits, you confront your mortality. You realize you're not a superman and you're just a human being ... I'm going to think about how I can be better as a person."

"Many people in the city have felt a big change. But it hasn't reached everyone in this city. And I'm going to dedicate myself to trying to figure out how we can get them to feel that too ... I'm going to try and reach out to more people to try to help more people."

"I will see what I can do about increasing the number of people that are covered with health care. I mean, one of the things that I feel is a tremendous sense of compassion for the people that have to make decisions like this alone."

"There is something good that comes out of this. A lot of good things come out of it. I think I understand myself a lot better. I think I understand what's important to me better. Maybe I'm not completely there yet. I would be foolish to think that I was in a few weeks, but I think I'm heading in that direction."