Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Here's a question for y'all

Are there any medical procedures that you would "rather die" than undergo?

I mean, if you are actually being given the choice. Like a doctor says to you, "You have to have X out, or you will die."

What wouldn't you have chopped out and/or off, even if the alternative is death?

Just askin'.

No reason, or anything...



Seraphic said...

I'd rather die than have an abortion, but that's it.

Today I think I still might have a five year window in which to have my husband's baby, but if tomorrow I were told I had to have a hysterectomy or die, I would have the hysterectomy. It would suck and I would be extremely upset with God, but I would rather do that than die or look like a coward.

Courage is not being without fear. Courage is what you have when you are shaking like a leaf but do the scary thing anyway.

Courage is one of the ways in which women inspire men to be better men.

Stuart said...

I simply could not undergo a permanent laryngectomy and have a stoma to breathe through.

The thought just terrifies me, I'd rather perish.

DP said...

Oh, crap. "No reason, or anything..."


To actually answer the question, I don't know that there is anything I couldn't "do without." I'd have to take into account there would be people who'd want me around for me even if it meant I'd be "Dale minus something important."

Anonymous said...

I'm not that proud. I've been through much, not all, that the Big C can throw at you. I've eaten the humiliation and the horror.

I'd live like Spock's brain were that my only choice. As Sir More said to his Meg:

"If He suffers us to come to such a case that there is no escaping... ...then we must stand to our tackle as best we can."

Bernadette said...

This may not be at all helpful, but I think it depends. If removing a limb or an organ could save my life (and would not endanger the life of another who might happen to be growing inside of me), then out it comes. The parts of my body are part of me, but they are not me. I will still be me even if I am missing one or two parts, and God willing, I will still be alive.

However, there's a limit. I watched a dear friend fight desperately against the liver cancer that was killing her, beyond the point of reason, choosing additional rounds of chemo and radiation when the doctors said it had close to no chance of helping things. It made the last months of her life more miserable for both herself and for those who loved her, including her teenage daughter, who was unable to even live in the same house with her mother for the last few months. It was far from a peaceful death (her last words to her beloved sister were, "Shut up.")

It made me realize that there is a virtue in having the prudence to know when the fight is lost, and being willing to embrace death and live out whatever time you have left with love. Death, after all, is not the end, nor the worst thing that can happen to you.

hyoomik said...

I could think of any number of medical conditions where I would just opt for relief of pain until I die of double-effect, and forgo abhorrent therapy. But what if I tell the world through this com-box about specific conditions, and then change my mind?
I have noticed that atheist philosophers usually extremely long lives --- I guess they really hang on tightly to this life.
verification word: rettahu

Martial Artist said...

My life, and all of its blessings and limitations are dependent upon God. Therefore, anything that He allows to befall me, I will strive to endure so long as there is reason to hope. My thought is that there is no part of my body worth keeping, it its removal would prevent my untimely death, provided only that the cost of treatment would not bankrupt my family. That having been stated, I would not lightly seek out a situation that would lead to facing such a choice.

Pax et bonum,
Keith Töpfer

df said...

It's an interesting question - one I've thought about since I saw an older man (a priest actually) I knew take a decision not to submit to major cancer-related surgery which would have removed much of his insides, and would have ensured that he'd be unable to eat anything but soup again and be plumbed with bags and tubes for the rest of his life.
What decided him was partly that he was a contrarian anyway, partly because he'd already suffered a great deal from a previous round of surgery and chemo, and partly because the post-op odds were not that convincing for him to be gung-ho about going under the knife again. He died, as the doctors said he would, not many months later.
I've also seen young people have whole organs removed which I'd really rather hang on to, and never breathe a word about their loss, nor let it show on their faces.
For myself, I can't think myself into a situation which would allow me to give you an answer to your question, but I'd rather see it as a duty to undergo massive and destructive surgery if the odds were good.
I once had appendicitis though, and pain, that advance herald of death just made me say exactly this to the doctor - "just cut it out... now!"

The Raven (C. Corax) said...

If there was a good chance of success they could cut off/out any bits they liked (with the exception of my frontal lobes, perhaps).

I'd be inclined to tell them to get stuffed if the chances of success were low and/or the post-operative prognosis was only for a few extra months.

(I do hope that this isn't significant; my verification word is "troloco")

The Raven (C. Corax) said...

Apologies for the post-script and forgive me if this isn't relevant: before I was diagnosed with diabetes at age eighteen, my greatest fear was syringes and injections and when I saw programs about diabetes on television, it struck me as being the worst thing that I could possibly get.

On the day that version 1 of my life ended (the day of the diagnosis) I was handed a needle and told to get on with it, I found that my fear had evaporated.

Anonymous said...


The list is too long. There are so many parts that I would never, ever, want to live without. But I want to speak about the parts I AM living without. Please forgive, as this will be a long post. I am not up on com box etiquette, and I don't know if this is an appropriate venue to tell you my story. Personally, I found it very isolating to have a gynaecological cancer, so I’ve felt compelled to communicate with you after lurking on your sight for years.

When I got my diagnosis, I was very keen to keep my uterus; I think I would have done anything to keep it, short of chemo. At any rate, I was not given the choice. There was no second opinion, because I was living in a province where there were only two gynaecological oncologists, and Dr. B was Dr. A's assistant, so..that was that.

I had friends who'd had hysterectomies due to painful fibroid tumors, and they were thrilled to have it out; they couldn't understand my horror. They weren't as emotional as I tend to be, and they weren’t Catholic either; when they were children, they had not spent hours reciting "Blessed is the Fruit of thy WOMB." This was my WOMB, and I was very attached to it, even though it had not borne fruit. But the doctors said, no dice, it had to come out (the cancer was in the endometrium, not the cervix). Okay, I said, but I can keep my fallopian tubes and ovaries, right? No, I was told, it's safer in the long run if they come out too. Well then, can I have laparoscopic surgery? No, because they needed to check all my lymph nodes, so it had
to be a full abdominal incision. My last ditch request was for a bikini cut, but that too was denied. It was to be a vertical incision, from the navel down. The surgery was scheduled to take place in a week.

This was all pretty hard to take; the worst was the feeling of loss of control. A friend who'd survived breast cancer (twice) told me, "This is no longer YOUR business. It is the doctors' business now, so don't try to do their job for them, because you can't". So I cleaned up my place, did my laundry, laid in supplies of food, books, etc, created a haven for healing in my apartment. I went and had the sacrament of the sick. Then and only then did I feel prepared for whatever was to come.

I can only tell you that after the surgery I was enormously relieved to have the cancer out, happy that they’d got it all, and glad that I didn’t have to have chemo or radiation. (Initially I also felt euphoric, but that may have been the morphine!)

The recovery was not a picnic, I won’t lie, but I can tell you with certainty that one heals, although the emotional and psychological healing can take longer than the physical healing. Even if one is angry and sad, if you eat nourishing food, take your prescribed medication, rest, and follow Dr.’s orders, the body heals itself anyway. God makes that so. Time heals the other hurts, too. Looking back, I know my treatment was the right one, and I am at peace with it.

I hope this helps, and I hope for a healthy, happy outcome for you.


Dymphna said...

I'll never go through another spinal tap. What a hideous experience.

Seraphic said...

Fern, your story almost made me cry. How come "my body, my choice" only ever pertains to killing babies?

All I can say is that I hope you were over child-bearing age because I just can't bear the thought of a woman who sti hopes to have chidren going through all that, with not even the assurance of a "second opinion" because she lives in the wrong province.

And I'm glad you're at peace with it all now.

Kathleen (Ottawa) said...

I think I could live without various body parts. I'd prefer to lose legs than arms, if given a choice. Blindness would be awkward, but it's manageable. Deafness is manageable. Blind and deaf together would be quite difficult, though. Overall, my greatest health fear is going insane.

Gary said...

Being a pianist, I would probably be very upset to lose a finger/hand/arm. That would be a very difficult trial, and I'm not sure I could endure it.

I suppose if I had a raging case of gangrene, I would still tell them to cut off the arm, however.