Sunday, October 30, 2011

How do you tell somebody you have a brain tumor? (Part 1)

The phrase “brain tumor” is scary and difficult to slide into any low-key, “over-the-fence-with-the-neighbor” conversation.  I imagined the following casual conversation when running into a friend at Starbuck’s:
            Me: “Hey Fred, how’s it going?”
Fred: “Going great!  Our daughter Mary just made the high school jazz band as the bass player - the only student to ever be picked as a sophomore.”
Me: “Congratulations!”
Fred:  “And you, how’s it going?”
Me:  “Well, I’ve just been diagnosed with a brain tumor—the tumor’s as big as your wife’s fist.”
Fred:  “No shit.  Well…how about them Bears?”

And with your more competitive acquaintances, I could imagine the following conversation:
            Ashley: “John, how are you? It’s good to see you.”
            Me:  “Not as good as I’d like to be—I’ve just been diagnosed as having a brain tumor.”
            Ashley:  “Really, what kind?”
            Me: “It’s a Grade I meningioma. It’s about as big as your fist.”
Ashley: “Well, my brother Dave has a Grade III metastatic brain tumor.  It’s a gliomas – we’re very worried about it infiltrating adjacent brain tissue.  You should be grateful that you only have a Grade I meningioma!”

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