I met a gentleman last week.
He was 84 but didn’t look a day over 60.
He was very polite and listened intently to the group.
He spoke very gently.
He had to decide on wether to have any treatment for his sarcoma.
What a decision to make, eh?
Some people reading this will think it’s an easy decision. A no brainer. “Of course he should have treatment”, “don’t give up”, “keep fighting”, “why wouldn’t he have treatment”. I hear you though. I understand why you would think that.
Well, it’s not that straight forward. The surgery he must have will be very damaging for his leg and will massively impact his mobility, permanently. For a man who lives alone and enjoys not only his independence but his lifestyle, this is a torturous decision. He made reference to the fact that this cancerous lump could ultimately end his days but he needs to weigh this up against the kind of life he would have if he opted for treatment.
The support group immediately willed him to opt for surgery, to convince him that it’s a breeze to adapt to life with a disability, to not give up. But it’s easy to give someone else advice. I’ll tell you, it’s damn hard to pick yourself up after major surgery and face being disabled and the whole host of challenges that it brings. I also expect that it’s also hard when you are doing this alone and are in your eighties.
The NHS allows patient choice in their journey and it’s the best way as people can collaborate with the medical experts and make the choices that are right for them.
No one can decide for our friend. We can only be there to support and respect his decision when he finally makes it.
What a decision to have to make.