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Friday Dilemma #1 – The Tumor

friday tough-questions

This is the first in a new series I will call “The Friday Dilemma.” Every Friday I will post a thought provoking question or situation for you to think about going into the weekend. I would love to hear your responses!

Some of these will come from Chuck Klosterman’s game “Hypertheticals” which can be found HERE

So here goes #1. Remember to comment below, that’s the fun of it!

The Brain Tumor

friday dilemma_brain_tumorsYou have a brain tumor. Though there is no discomfort at the moment, this tumor will unquestionably kill you in six months. However, your life can (and will) be saved by an operation; the only downside is that there will be a brutal incision to your frontal lobe. After the surgery, you will be significantly less intelligent. You will still be a fully functioning adult, but you will be less logical, you will have a terrible memory, and you will have little ability to understand complex concepts or difficult ideas. The surgery is in two weeks.

How do you spend the next 14 days? (Add your comment below)


  1. on a small chartered boat … floating around in the keys enjoying every moment with my kids! (snorkeling, diving, eating and soaking up life)

  2. I would take pictures of everyone and thing that I love to make a memory scrapbook. And, I would make the most awesome bucket list (maybe, with instructions) so that I would know what I wanted to do with the rest of my days, post-surgery. 🙂

  3. Outsource everything that requires a brain, attorney, cpa, financial planning, etc. After that, relax and enjoy the simple life.

    • I think Sheryl is being very practical and wise. I might not be able to remember a name or a particular event but I would know I am loved by my family and friends. As long as I am happy and loved I will still be able to enjoy the remainder of my life.

  4. In the arms of the person I love most, to be loved is everything!

  5. I would take a trip to Italy and Greece with my close family members and friends, and take lots of pictures. I would visit all the great sites, eat wonderful food and drink good wine.

  6. Crying! Maybe not have the surgery as it would be so terrible to keep living in that state. Even if you don’t remember being smarter, it’s a very sad situation. Hope it never happens as there would be no one to care for me..

    • Liz, I was concerned to read your note. I have felt the same way and shame for it, although only compassion toward you. May I suggest we both be nicer to ourselves for being afraid. But what should we do about it? The only way forward is to live more genuinely and reach out for help. I tend to practically wield a brave face. Let’s get to know neighbors, join organizations, find and work to keep friends.

  7. First, I would have had a second opinion. Then I agree to the operation ~ my next two weeks would be busy. I would go over important papers and discuss all this with my family or whoever is in my life at the time. I would catch up with those I haven’t spoken with for awhile. All while this is going on I would be in direct touch with God, letting Him know that what is meant to be is His will and I accept it. Once things were caught up I would try to do things I have never done, but meant too. Call friends to set up luncheon dates, movies and anything else to bring brightness into my life and theirs. Try to read a book I’ve been meaning to read, but my concentration perhaps wouldn’t be that good. Also, I would be looking ahead to my future and making decisions. Let family and friends know ahead what my wishes would be, and make everyone aware how much I love them at the moment, and if I couldn’t express that in the future they are to remember I love them dearly. Also, they need to let me have lots, and lots of ice cream!!!!!!

    • I would start writing. Writing my will; my living will; my business contacts and needs. I would have my family compose lists of questions to answer in person or in writing. Write my story. Write letters to each member of my family and significant friends. I have a lot of books that have questions and lists…and would write answers. This writing would happen when my family was asleep.
      When they were awake I would want to be with them as much as possible-sharing our love and letting them know I was writing. Go through pictures with them and tell hem the stories. Mainly, I would make sure they knew what was happening, ask for any questions and especially let them know I LOVE THEM.

  8. I would write letters to my family and close friends and tell them how much I love them and what they all mean to me and how thankful I am for them. Although, I will miss my old life, I feel fortunate to be given a second chance and look forward to experiencing my new life knowing my family will still be beside me to support me.

    • Rita P. Richardson

      I would spend that 2 weeks in prayerful thanks, that I was going to be given the opportunity to continue to live except in a diminished capacity. I believe that would be the decision that my friends and family would be in agreement for and with there help I would do fine. Also, there is a lot of space between diminished capacity and vegetable!

  9. On vacation with my family!

  10. This question truly hits close to home–I had a brain tumor, when I was 16 years old. I had the obvious surgery, but definitely feared that I would also lose my straight A status (thankfully, I didn’t have significant intelligence loss.)
    I would definitely rather live a long life, surrounded by people who love me. I would force my family and friends to compile a video for me and write me personal notes. It would be a tough recovery, but keeping a bright outlook, family/friends close and my faith, everything would be okay! In those two weeks, I would write like a maniac, a memoir of the life before the surgery.

  11. I spend my next fourteen days beginning to make the most of the six months I have left!

  12. I might not get the surgery….depending on the circumstances. If there is no one to look after me afterwards. What’s the point of living like a vegetable person. I won’t be Ur own self. People will distance and you won’t understand why ?

  13. Making sure I tell my love ones how I feel about them and how they impacted my life…allot the people in my life that I love.

  14. So it will turn you into a 14 year old girl. Hmmm, how about playing chess and reading reading Churchill’s “history of the English Speaking Peoples.”

  15. If I had a brain tumour, I’d consume ridiculous amounts of wheat grass juice and raw vegetables, sauna and detox like my life depends on it (which it might in such circumstances), and follow every natural approach to healing that has ever anecdotally cured cancer. I’d hope to see the tumour start to shrink within that 2 week period, so that I have some evidence my approach is working and can delay brain surgery indefinitely, in the hope that I never need it.

  16. Like Sheryl wrote: ….Outsource everything that requires a brain, attorney, cpa, financial planning…

  17. Great question! I’ve had a pretty full life, great loves, children now grown and happy, deep sadness (death of my daughter) world travel… I would probably stay home and read the best books I could find. I would have the surgery, as you say I would still be a fully funtioning adult. Cheers to the new challenges of a new ‘simple’ life.

  18. I would definitely be shocked, how would I manage to get all my present works finished? Fact is, I wouldn’t in just two weeks … so I might gather my family together to spend as much time as possible with them and be thankful for the second chance.
    And maybe after the surgery and after the recovery enjoy a simpler life. Who knows?

  19. Wow .. Love that.. Hmm I will search an learn anything I can for my illness and how the brain can recover, I will put the hard work on me after the surgery, because life is about fighting.. I will learn methods of brain improving and fight that the rest of my life being happy near god and know that my life target is happiness no matter what I posses.. Maybe I will be even happier when I understand less 😉

  20. I would get my affairs in order first, then spend time with my family and go visit someplace that I have always wanted to go.

  21. What happened to the question “how would you live the next SIX MONTHS? Surgery isn’t automatic (at least not in my 50’s like I am now). Especially a surgery that would take away the essence of what I am in order to prolong a life. What is a life without our unique gifts?

    I’ve also seen people get “death sentences” of 6 months to a year and they never happened. I’ve had loved ones drop dead in front of me. WE ALL DIE. Tomorrow or 100 years from now, we all return to the dust.

    I am an artist and I would spend the remainder of my time NOT having surgery that would diminish me. I would create what I love, love whom I love, and enjoy what life has to offer every day that is left to me – just like I do everyday!

    • I completely agree with mosaicwenchPat. I, too, am an artist (glasswench on here), and i am not sure a life without my art, or my humor, or my wit would really be a life worth living. I have watched both my parents waste away thru prolonged illness, struggling with their increased diminishment and really would only wish that for my absolute worst enemy.

  22. Prepare everything financially and have all my funeral plans completed. Make sure there are no questions as to what I would like done if I were to succumb. I would enlist friends and family to help me label where necessary items are in my home so I can locate them if my memory is impaired. After having all of these settled I would do the things I always told my husband we would do; zip line, hot air balloon, cirque du soleil (those we haven’t attended), etc. Then write or record my love to all of my family that will need it if I die and to those friends I truly value. Then a letter of forgiveness to each of those I feel I have made a mess of our relationship. Lastly, a wonderful party with everyone, so that we may ring out the old and, hopefully, bring in the new.

  23. This assumes one would do the surgery. This is not reasonable. To lose my mind like that woudl be to die. I would cease to be for all intents and purposes. Essentially I would die in two weeks rather than six months. I’d just forego the surgery, set my affairs in order and let it happen.

  24. At the suggestion of one of my eight children, I started a blog (motherof8.org) just over a year ago where I could write down my thoughts, aspirations, opinions and family stories that might become more meaningful to family should I meet with an untimely death or say a tumor such as the one described aboved. Sounds a little morbid I know, but I have actually enjoyed writing when I have found the time. If I were to experience such a tumour I would spend a couple of mornings writing to each of children & my husband telling them how important they are to me and the world around them. I would put down on paper everything that I wish for them including personal advice that I would give them if I had a clear mind etc and I would share my most valuable philosophies on life. Then I would spend the rest of the time on holiday with my family.

  25. Looking at your description of life with the tumor, isn’t all that bad, by the way. I personally know people with bad memories, lacking in logic, with perhaps a litlle less intelligence than others at times. And there are plenty of people in this world who struggle to handle difficult concepts. This could describe me after a week of very little sleep. lol
    As far as I’m concerned life would still be worth living!

  26. I don’t think I would get the surgery. I wouldn’t want to be that kind of a burden on my children. I’d rather enjoy the last 6 months to the fullest, and bid them a loving farewell.

  27. I wouldn’t have the surgery. But until I die naturally, I’ll write and write. Diary, letters, experiences and last thoughts about death. Im 18.

  28. You’re assuming I want the operation…

  29. After a serious motorcycle accident, my husband sustained a moderate to severe diffuse brain injury with significant loss of frontal lobe brain cells. Two and a half years later, he struggles with memory, critical thinking, sometimes judgment issues, lacking occasionally in logic. I would not call him less intelligent. He still works his general construction business and lives life in a way that only another person who has suffered such an injury would even notice his subtle differences. The previous comments posted indicate a lot of fear of the unknown and of change. Yes, my husband is changed. Yes, he’s a fully functioning adult. Yes, our three adult children and I would rather have him somewhat changed, than to not have him at all. Life is a gift. Don’t be afraid of life changes. They define you. If you honestly feel like there is no one who cares enough about you to care for you, you might be surprised. We were amazed by the people who came out in droves to care for us. But, I would also tell you to get out of your cave, volunteer in places where people have greater need than you, go to church, join clubs, make friends, be a servant to others who have need. People will care about you especially if you care about others.

  30. I have had two operations to remove a tumor. Mine was called an ogliodendroglioma (sp?). The second time they removed what was left of my right frontal lobe and did focused radiation. Although I have small mental hiccups occasionally, I am 35 and going to school for applied mathematics. I live every day of my life knowing that I am on overtime, because so many people do not survive a brain glioma.

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