Following my friend’s cancer surgery, her surgeon told her that he was “pretty sure,” or some similarly reassuring technical term, that he’d gotten all of the tumor. He also gave her his version of the odds that the cancer could reappear, reactivate or whatever technical term means it could come back. The comparative odds of its return with and without radiation treatment were sufficiently close to make her have to think about whether or not the treatment would be justified.
I’ve never been in the place of having to make that kind of choice. So far, my medical choices have been pretty simple. Back when I was in my early twenties, there was the “Have this procedure done or risk becoming sterile.” I chose the procedure. Five kids later, there was a similar but opposite choice to be made. Then, there was the kidney stone back in 2002. “Do you want us to go in and get it or wait and see if you can pass it?”
I’d already had a week of Option B. Option A’s successful, though not uneventful, conclusion revealed the wisdom of that choice. Imagine two miniature goats’ heads, interlocked with the pairs of horns turned in opposite directions. That boat would have never come through the canal, even if the channel had been three times larger. Although the recovery did not go as smoothly as the doctor’s prediction, I was still grateful for the procedure’s successful deliverance from the torture of the stone.
Such choices as that seem clear and easy to me. Like the choice between salvation and damnation.