TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Tuesday that his family has “a road ahead” since First Lady Casey DeSantis was diagnosed with breast cancer, but that she’s already met with doctors and is facing it head-on.
In his first public comments since last week’s announcement of her diagnosis, the governor talked about her mindset ahead of treatment.
“Her view is, ‘Better me than somebody who may not be able to deal with it,’” he said. “That’s just kind of her spirit. I got faith in the big guy upstairs, and I’ve got faith in her, and I know that this is a bad break, but she’s got an awful lot to live for for the rest of her life.”
He also acknowledged the toll on her and the family. The couple have three children, ages 4, 3 and 1.
“It’s not an easy thing when this happens,” he said. “Your life is going, then all of a sudden this is something that puts that in the balance. So it’s not been easy as we deal with that as a family.
“She’s basically come to the point of, ‘Ok, this is what I’m going to have to deal with.’”
Casey, 41, plays a central role in her husband’s administration. The former television journalist from the Jacksonville area is also a policymaker, with initiatives focusing on improving substance abuse and child welfare systems. She’s also considered one of the governor’s top political advisors, and she has an office in the Capitol.
DeSantis said Tuesday that his wife wanted to announce the diagnosis so that people knew why she was stepping away from some of those initiatives.
“Some of these things that she might not be able to do in the immediate future, maybe she’ll pass the baton to me,” he said. “She just wanted people to kind of know that.”
DeSantis has not said the stage of the first lady’s cancer or where she was being treated, but he did say Tuesday that she’s already met with doctors.
“We’ve been in and out of getting medical (help) already, and she’s like the healthiest person in the whole hospital,” he said.
He said the cancer was discovered after she had a feeling she needed to get a breast cancer screening.
“It wasn’t like she was in a lot of pain,” he said. “She just had a feeling she needed to do it, so thank God that she did.”
DeSantis said his mother was treated for breast cancer while he was in elementary school, but that he hardly remembers it. That could be a blessing for their kids, who are younger than he was at the time, he said.
“I was just too young to appreciate it at the time,” he said. “So our kids have no concept of what’s going on. And in some respects, that’s something that will hopefully not provide any type of a load on them.”
He also encouraged men and women to get screened for different types of cancer.
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“These screenings and the things that you do can really, really be life-saving,” he said. “Make sure you go in and do that when the physicians tell you to.”