Former Indiana first lady Susan Bayh is continuing treatments nearly a year after being diagnosed with the same type of aggressive brain cancer that killed Arizona Sen. John McCain.
She sat between her husband, former Gov. Evan Bayh, and their twin sons Wednesday during a memorial service for his father, former Sen. Birch Bayh, at the Indiana Statehouse.
The Bayhs say 59-year-old Susan has undergone multiple surgeries and radiation and immunotherapy treatments in fighting the malignant glioblastoma discovered in May 2018.
Evan Bayh said they’ve been told that 17 percent of patients undergoing such advanced treatments survive for at least three years but they are optimistic about his wife’s health and progress.
“She’s doing great,” Bayh said. “I can’t tell you how much better she looks, how much stronger she’s getting.”
Susan Bayh previously underwent brain surgery in 2015 to remove a benign tumor.
“I think I’ve gotten probably more prayer letters from Indiana than anywhere,” she told reporters Wednesday. “It really doesn’t matter what religion it is, just as long as people are praying and keeping me up in somebody’s thoughts.”
Susan Bayh wore a Harvard lacrosse cap during Wednesday’s memorial, a nod to the sports team her son Beau was a member of before he and his brother Nick graduated from Harvard last year. The now-23-year-old twins were born in 1995 while their father was governor.
The twins both did readings during their grandfather’s service wearing military dress uniforms. Nick Bayh was commissioned an Army second lieutenant last month, while Beau Bayh is to complete Marine Corps officers school next month.
Susan Bayh is an attorney who’s been a member of several corporate boards. The Bayhs have lived in Washington since Evan Bayh was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1998. The Democrat didn’t seek election to a third Senate term in 2010. He launched an unexpected comeback bid in 2016 for the Senate but lost to Republican Todd Young.
They ruled out another return to politics when asked Wednesday: “I should’ve been little bit tougher the last time,” Susan Bayh said about the recruitment efforts of her husband by national Democrats.
Evan Bayh said the family would keep up the health fight for his wife.
“You believe in science and you appreciate the doctors, but you keep praying because ultimately we’re all in his hands,” he said.