Clements Continues Senate Work Despite Cancer
WHEELING – These days, West Virginia Sen. Charles Clements isn’t just worrying about dollars and cents and tax reform within state government.
He is also taking cancer treatments.
Clements, R-Wetzel, has been present each day of the special session in Charleston as members of the Legislature put in extra hours to hammer out details of a 2018 state budget.
He says he is feeling fine despite regular treatments for multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells that produce antibodies.
Clements, 73, was appointed to the 2nd District Senate seat in January, and it was after the regular session of the Legislature began in February that he began to experience health issues while in Charleston.
“I was feeling a pain in my right leg at 10 a.m. one morning, and by 2 p.m. that afternoon I couldn’t walk,” Clements said.
His 2nd District colleague, Sen. Mike Maroney, R-Marshall, a Glen Dale radiologist, accompanied him to Charleston Area Medical Center for testing. The results led to his diagnosis of multiple myeloma.
Maroney then drove Clements to Parkersburg, where Clements’ wife, Eugenia, met them and took Clements home to New Martinsville. He missed just a week during the Legislature’s regular session, and began his cancer treatments at the Charleston Area Medical Center in between Senate meetings.
Clements is now under the care of Drs. Lowell Shinn and Jondavid Pollock at Wheeling Hospital. His treatment runs in 28-day cycles, and requires he take a chemotherapy pill the first 21 of the 28 days.
Also, the first three Mondays each month he must drive from New Martinsville to Wheeling Hospital for a shot that accompanies the medication. During May, the special session of Legislature has convened on Mondays, meaning he must then make the two-hour, 40-minute drive from Wheeling to Charleston after the shots.
Clements said all the activity doesn’t bother him.
“I’m used to it,” he said. “I’ve driven all my life. I’m fine. I just have to take certain medicines – and steroids that keep me propped up.”
The coming week is his week off from his injections, and it coincides with a break in the special session. The Senate isn’t scheduled to meet again until June 5, and Clements said he is grateful for the recess.
He is going to Roswell, Ga. this week to visit his daughter, Charla Murphy, and grandchildren.
Then it’s back to therapy and budget discussions in the Senate on June 5, and Clements said he will be there.
“There is no way I will see state government shut down,” he said. “I will do everything in my power to see that doesn’t happen. I think I am doing my job in the Senate, and it’s what I want to do. I will continue to do it.”