What Would You Do?

“Big Signs,” ©Aryana B. Londir, Digital Photography

A few weeks ago, I decided to stop at my favorite restaurant on the way home for dinner. As I was dining solo, I sat at the bar as I often do. It’s a really nice way to dine, perhaps have a conversation or two and meet new people without feeling any obligation.

That evening was very busy at the bar, as is often the case. I was fortunate to find a seat in between two gentlemen traveling for business, and immediately struck up a conversation with one.

He began telling me he is an attorney in town negotiating a legal settlement for people who live on a nearby Native American reservation. Apparently they have a lawsuit against a medical company who was negligent in their prescribing protocol, and some deaths and serious bodily injuries were incurred. Fascinating man and story.

As our conversation continued (and his wine intake increased!), he began telling me more about why he was here. Phoenix has an abundance of major highly rated medical facilities, some very specialized.

I must present a trustworthy appearance and demeanor; most of my life, I have been the recipient of many personal stories from strangers of a confidential nature. Not always by choice, as some stories stick with me. 

Like this one.

This gentleman continued to tell me that he was given the news, last Thanksgiving weekend, that he has a brain tumor. Not malignant, but will continue to grow over time and impact his life. Over the past year, he noticed some physical and mental changes, one of which affected his balance. He took a fall and was taken to the emergency room, at which time a CAT scan was performed. A nodule was discovered on his brain stem. (He continued with more detail and medical terminology which I don’t recall nor is likely to affect this story.)

Obviously, this was a very alarming discovery! He was directed to follow up with specialized medical care professionals, which he did.

He obtained a number of opinions, and decided he would gather the opinions of five of the most highly rated physicians in their field, at various medical centers across the country. (He has the wherewithal to do this; unfortunately, many do not).

Four of the five specialists gave him the same prognosis — removing the nodule would result in his loss of ability to swallow, lose his voice and require the use of a feeding tube. Ninety-five percent chance. No way of knowing how long it would be when — and IF — he would regain those facilities. Along with the chance that he may not survive the seven-hour procedure, is the possibility of other physical changes unbeknownst at the time. Some said to wait and see, since it’s “most likely” a slow growing tumor. One said he should have surgery right away to keep it from growing, but also believed he would lose the abilities mentioned.

Here is a man who is presumably at the top of his professional game. Has a six-year-old daughter who he adores. A life of success, satisfaction, health and accomplishment.

How do you decide? Do you go against the odds or do you accept the risks?

I have had to make many decisions in my life, some (what I considered to be) very serious, some not so?

When life presents itself with situations like this, is it best to be risk avoidant or take a chance?

I know what I would do at this point in my life. Would I have made the same decision ten years or five years ago? Would I make the same decision in five or ten years?

What would you do?

Leave a Reply