For Mrs. Reagan, Cookies And A Kiss

Posted: October 20, 1987

WASHINGTON — Nancy Reagan, who "feels wonderful" just days after breast-cancer surgery, yesterday got a get-well basket of cookies and a kiss from President Reagan as she continued a rapid recovery, her press secretary said.

"She'll be coming home soon," Reagan called out to reporters as he left the White House for his fourth visit to Bethesda Naval Medical Center in nearby Maryland.

The President's physician, John Hutton, issued a statement earlier in the day saying Nancy Reagan's recovery from surgery Saturday "is continuing very well and she feels wonderful."

The President, questioned by reporters when leaving the White House in late afternoon, held up a poster reading "Get Well Mrs. Reagan," and a small wicker basket lined with red-and-white checkered fabric and filled with cookies.

The poster was given to the president by a group of children who were honored earlier in the day at a meeting with him for performing heroic deeds.

Elaine Crispin, Nancy Reagan's press secretary, said the President gave his wife a "big kiss and hug" upon greeting her in the hospital's presidential suite.

They scheduled a dinner of broiled steak, baked potatoes, asparagus, Caesar salad and apple fritters, she said.

Nancy Reagan was reported earlier in the day to be eating well, walking up and down the halls at Bethesda Naval Medical Center and talking on the telephone with her children.

"She looks terrific," said Crispen. "She's smiling, laughing and taking walks. We're all perfectly pleased with her recovery."

During a 50-minute surgery Saturday morning, surgeons removed her left breast and the lymph nodes underneath her left arm, a procedure known as a modified radical mastectomy.

The operation was performed immediately after doctors had performed a biopsy on a suspicious lesion that was detected in her annual mammogram and determined that it was cancerous.

After examining the breast tissue and lymph nodes under the microscope, her doctors described her prognosis for full recovery as "excellent" and said that "we are completely satisfied with her progress in every respect."

Most women who undergo a mastectomy experience temporary discomfort and difficulty moving the shoulder, symptoms that usually disappear in four to six weeks.

Nancy Reagan is expected to stay in the hospital five to seven days, depending on the speed of her recovery.

The White House has not made her physicians available to answer inquiries

from reporters about her condition and prognosis, citing her desire for privacy.

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