Read the Afterword by Resident Editor, Jonathan Klein, MD
by Frédéric Messier, caregiver and supporter
My wife Weifun and I had several good conversations around life and values after she was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumour at age 28, a mere 4 months after the birth of our baby-boy. ‘What’s worth living for?’ was a pivotal question that accompanied us at nearly every turn. Despite appearances, we were quickly forced to think just what it was that was worth doing on a daily basis, beyond the obvious (i.e. raising a child).
Almost right upon diagnosis, Weifun’s world became smaller as a result of being confined to a new life of medical treatments and physical rehabilitation. Life: redefined. Options: fewer. Scope: narrower. Frustration: (much) higher.
Contemplating the best-case scenario, we were looking forward to a long life of birthdays, anniversaries, meaningful work and parenting. Every day, small victories – over rehab, fatigue, daily activities – compounded into one another, paving the way towards the goal of a long, healthy and purposeful life. At many junctures, this felt absolutely awesome.
Yet cancer forced us to consider the worst-case scenario. What if… things went south? What long-term impact could Weifun still have on our son? On this world? On the lives of others around her? Shouldn’t this, too, be a part of everyday life, just in case?