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Pale but Kicking Up Her Heels, First Lady's Happy to Be Home

October 22, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A smiling Nancy Reagan, escorted by her husband, kicked up her heels today during a jazzy, balloon-filled return to the White House five days after breast cancer surgery.

"I'm touched . . . I'm very, very happy to be home--very," Mrs. Reagan said in a wavering voice as a grinning President stood by her side.

"I'll say, 'Welcome home,' " Reagan said, adding, "I'm going to get her upstairs now."

Reagan, who had flown by helicopter to the suburban Bethesda Naval Hospital to bring his recuperating wife home, gingerly helped her step from the aircraft and walk across the South Lawn.

Mrs. Reagan, who appeared a bit pale, smiled and waved at the hundreds of White House staff members and children who had been brought to greet her return.

She gave Reagan's chief of staff, Howard H. Baker Jr., a big hug and kiss, as well as his deputy, Kenneth Duberstein.

Mrs. Reagan, following the removal of her cancerous left breast on Saturday, has been given a clean bill of health and has been told she has an "excellent" chance for a complete recovery because the malignancy had not spread.

Her press secretary, Elaine Crispen, described the First Lady as anxious to return home and to write of her hospital experiences in her diary.

The spokeswoman also revealed that Mrs. Reagan, still groggy from anesthesia following her surgery on Saturday, warned the President, "Don't let Bob Woodward in my hospital room."

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