Tuesday, November 1, 2011
How do you tell somebody you have a brain tumor? (part 2)
Aside from telling close family members personally, there are a whole slew of people who would want to know—business associates, close friends, and relatives. With that in mind, my socially perceptive wife suggested that we inform many of these people via email. Why? The deep-felt emotions that got conjured up every time we told somebody became onerous. Every conversation reminded us of how horrible the outcome could be.
With that in mind, my wife crafted an informative yet calming email about my condition. This is what it said:
I wanted to send you a quick note today to let you know of some surgery that John will be having this week.
John had been experiencing some odd, random vision problems over the last couple of months, and finally went to have it checked out. An MRI finally revealed that his symptoms are the result of a slow growing brain tumor.
Now before you freak out...
The early diagnosis is good. The surgeon believes it is benign and has probably been there for some time, and is optimistic for a successful surgery and full recovery.
John is in good shape and has not experienced any other symptoms, which also bodes well. But obviously, it is major surgery and John's recovery will probably take a few weeks.
Please forgive the email. We've both been finding it hard to tell people about this over the phone. But we wanted to let you know what was going on, and to ask that you keep John in your thoughts and prayers this week. Surgery is scheduled for Thursday, and I'll be sure to keep you posted.
We'll sure appreciate your positive thoughts this week -- thanks.
Barb and John”
As you can imagine, the responses to her email were thoughtful and considerate. For example:
“Barb and John,
Thanks so much for letting us know. For certain, our thoughts will be with you this week and in the coming weeks.
We are so sorry to hear of this hurdle in your life, John, but relieved to hear that the prognosis is so positive. And as anyone can attest, you are a strong dude on several levels, so that will surely be a plus.
We'll be thinking of you and please keep us in the loop. And if there is anything we can do, please don't hesitate to let us know.
All the best, fondly”
And the following:
“Hi Barb and John:
XXX forwarded this email to me; I am sending prayers and positive thoughts to you. Please add my email to your list; I would love to know how you all are doing.
Much love and prayers”
And even this one from one of my old college buddies:
“Hmmmm. "Been there for some time" you say. Like back to the seventies on Lake Lansing Road (where our rental house was located)? I wondered what was going on in that brain sometimes.”