Iowa’s governor says her husband, diagnosed with lung cancer, ‘never smoked’

DES MOINES — Governor Kim Reynolds says her husband’s lucky to be getting a break-through drug to treat his recently diagnosed lung cancer.

“He’s been in treatment for about a month,” Reynolds told reporters Wednesday. “I’m happy to say that the radiation has really eliminated and kicked the pain that was in the spine and so that has been a true blessing. It’s helped his attitude quite a bit to not be in so much pain. He’s on an oral immune therapy drug for the tumor and hopefully, if this works, he won’t have to do chemo.”

Reynolds issued a written statement last month, announcing that her husband had lung cancer. He went to the doctor because of back pain. “We thought he had a ruptured disc, so it was really was kind of a gut punch,” Reynolds said Wednesday. “He’s not a smoker, never smoked.”

Wednesday was the first time the governor has talked publicly about the diagnosis. She grew emotional during a news conference as she thanked Iowans for their messages of support. “Every day we get two or three cards in the mail to say that: ‘We’re praying for you and keeping you in our prayers,”‘ Reynolds said. “It’s just another reflection of Iowans and who we are and it matters and it makes a difference, so just a heartfelt thank you for that.”

Reynolds said she and her husband are grateful and feel lucky to have the medical team at the John Stoddard Center Center in Des Moines and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics who’ve been working on his case.  “We really are very optimistic and he is a strong dude and we’re really feeling the prayers and we’re ready to move through this,” Reynolds said.

The type of lung cancer Kevin Reynolds has is not considered curable, but with treatment it can go into remission, according to the governor.