Compare and Contrast: Good News vs Bad News

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Our extended family recently went through a very difficult time with one of our members diagnosed with a large brain tumor. That tumor was removed this past Monday, March 12th.

My husband and I had the privilege of keeping the spouse of this family member company at the hospital during the day’s nail-biting, angst-filled four-hour surgery. All of us, family and strangers with a loved one in surgery, were gathered in the same neurosurgery waiting room, a room where the surgeon meets up with families immediately after the surgery to deliver the exploratory news that summarizes the surgery and its outcome.

Approximately fifteen minutes prior to our surgeon’s meeting with us, another neurosurgeon met with a family fifteen feet away from us in the waiting area. Their news was not at all good. The only words I heard were, “I know you hoped this surgery would be the end of it but that is not the case I’m sorry to say.” The four daughters and husband immediately started sobbing. I felt I was an unwelcome observer because of the grief I witnessed.

Then my family member’s surgeon met with us and declared that he had removed all of the massive tumor from my sister-in-law’s brain and it was not cancerous. We were relieved and felt exhilarated but tamped down our excitement.

How can it be that in the course of a quarter hour’s worth of time, one family’s extreme happiness could co-exist with the other family’s extreme devastation?

I guess the answer is that life happens to all of us; sometimes it is good, and other times it is not. Very sobering, to be sure.

I am ecstatic that our news was good but very much aggrieved that the other family’s was not.

9 thoughts on “Compare and Contrast: Good News vs Bad News

    Theresa Hupp said:
    March 16, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    I’m glad your family had good news, Irene.
    Twice in the last month, I’ve sat waiting for my husband while he was in surgery, though neither time was it as serious as brain surgery — both outpatient procedures. On one occasion, a friend joined me unexpectedly, which was a blessing — so your presence was a blessing for your relatives.
    And I’ve been in the situation you were in, overhearing another family’s results. The waiting room is a great leveler across incomes and races and ages — we all care about our loved ones, and we all wish the best for each other.
    Best wishes for a speedy recovery to your loved one.
    P.S. My husband is doing very well after both his surgeries.


      Irene Olson responded:
      March 16, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      You are so accurate stating that the waiting room is a great leveler. It’s a horrible place to be, regardless of the degree of surgery difficulty. I am glad your husband is thriving after his surgeries.

      Liked by 1 person

    Jill Weatherholt said:
    March 14, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    I’m relieved to hear your sister-in-law is doing well, Irene. Last year, a co-worker was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. Sadly, he passed away within a week, leaving behind a wife and a son who was only a year old. Life is precious!

    Liked by 1 person

      Irene Olson responded:
      March 14, 2018 at 2:45 pm

      Life is indeed precious and we need to acknowledge that before anything as serious as these types of medical matters show up at our doorstep. I just got back from visiting my sister-in-law at the hospital and am thrilled to say that she will be discharged today after only two nights in the hospital! Amazing.

      Liked by 2 people

    Emily Gaffney said:
    March 14, 2018 at 11:27 am

    Tough to witness someone else’s pain like that. Prayers to all.

    Liked by 2 people

      Irene Olson responded:
      March 14, 2018 at 1:19 pm

      It certainly was, Emily. Thank you for your prayers.​


    laura bruno lilly said:
    March 14, 2018 at 10:08 am

    Your sensitivity towards the other family whose space you shared during such a personal event (surgery/outcome) is poignant.
    Bless you.
    I’m relieved for you and pray for strength for your family’s continuing journey on that path of recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

      Irene Olson responded:
      March 14, 2018 at 1:21 pm

      We too are relieved. I just visited my sister-in-law in the hospital and am thrilled to report she is going home today. I hope the other patients on her floor receive good news today as well.​

      Liked by 1 person

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