'RBG' Directors Assure Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is Tough After Cancer Surgery

Ruth Bader Ginsburg- 2-Getty-H 2018
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"RBG's biggest challenge may be to pace herself," Julie Cohen and Betsy West say.

It was announced Friday that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg underwent a successful operation to remove two cancerous nodules in her left lung. After news of the operation sent progressives into a panic about the health of the 85-year-old, who also recently broke three ribs, the directors of CNN Films documentary RBG assured that Ginsburg was an extremely tough woman in an op-ed they penned for the news network. 

"So today, the segment of the country that obsesses over Ginsburg's every sneeze, knowing her health is the only thing standing in the way of a third Trump Supreme Court pick, holds its collective breath, asking 'How much can one woman take?'" Julie Cohen and Betsy West wrote. "The answer, from everything we observed during three years researching and directing RBG, our feature documentary about her life: A LOT." 

Noting her "superhuman determination and toughness," the directors point out Ginsburg has always been full of determination. 

"RBG's biggest challenge may be to pace herself," reads the op-ed. "Her natural inclination is to get the job done, even if it requires staying up well past midnight, as she often does. She loves her work, she loves the law and she is determined to keep at it as long as she is capable."

The directors continued, "During production of our documentary, we and our camerawoman were often exhausted trying to keep up with her — whether at a law school speaking engagement, at the gym or at the opera. So today, we weren't surprised to hear that on her flight to New York last night for her latest cancer surgery, she appeared to be reading legal papers."

According to the Supreme Court's public information office, Ginsburg underwent a pulmonary lobectomy at New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. "Two nodules in the lower lobe of her left lung were discovered incidentally during tests performed at George Washington University Hospital to diagnose and treat rib fractures sustained in a fall on November 7," read the statement.

No further treatment is planned for the 85-year-old, who is "resting comfortably" and is expected to remain at the hospital for a few more days. Ginsburg previously beat cancer twice, first being treated for colorectal cancer in 1999 and then pancreatic cancer in 2009.

Ginsburg — who was the subject of Cohen and West's critically acclaimed documentary RBG, released earlier this year — was set to participate in several On the Basis of Sex screenings and panels, but was unable to do so because of the fall. However,  she was able to attend a screening Dec. 12 in Washington, D.C., where she posed for photos with the film's stars.