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What’s Worth Living For?

Messier Family Photo 2008

 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.

Satisfaction?  Hmmm…

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?

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