Real Life Dilemma

I was on the phone with a friend who was updating me on his recent health challenges. He said his doctor had asked him a question.

His situation is serious. Actually that is an understatement. He is facing a life-threatening situation, a brain tumor in a very tricky location. Surgery is a necessity, and even then there are no guarantees.

The surgeon says that before the operation he has to make a choice. I was trying to concentrate, but medicine is not my specialty, so the information about tumor types and some of the options went right over my head. Ordinarily I would take notes, but I was in the grocery store when my friend called; I didn’t have a marker to write things down on a watermelon.

As I understand it, there are several ways in which the surgeon can attack this tumor, but he won’t know for certain which is best until my friend is on the operating table with his head cut open. That’s not a time when you want to be making snap decisions.

There’s a possibility it could be a trouble-free procedure with no lasting damage. However, depending on what the surgeon sees in that situation, he may have to approach the tumor in a way that guarantees that my friend would permanently lose the use of one of his legs. Come from the other direction and he could lose the use of an arm.

We talked about the possibilities. To me it seemed like a no-brainer (and yes I know that is a disgusting joke). I use my hands to create, my legs just get me places. My friend pointed out that lack of mobility can be far more restrictive than lacking an arm. I didn’t ask which way he was leaning – I could tell he is still processing he situation.

In the car on the way home from the store the discussion continued as I told my wife and daughter about the call. They both seemed to think better to lose an arm than a leg.

I can see the benefits and drawback of both options. For me though, it’s only an academic discussion. But my friend actually has to make this choice. That is a sobering thought, kind of like Solomon and the baby. There are no good options.

So, if it was you, which would you choose?

Click on the survey below.



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