*This is a work of nonfiction and opinion based on actual events as told to me by a friend who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.
Have you ever heard one of those stories that is so heartbreaking, but is made extra heartbreaking by how it may have been avoided if people weren’t so stubborn, especially about their health?
This is a sad but cautionary tale to all of my friends out there about why you should go to the doctor if you feel like something is wrong with you.
Years ago my friend’s father rolled over in bed with his arm beneath him and felt a lump in his upper abdomen.
Apparently he did tell his wife about this, that he felt “some sort of growth” inside of him, but since it didn’t hurt at all, even when he pushed on it, he didn’t feel the need to go to the doctor and get it checked out.
His wife begged him to see a doctor about it, knowing that any kind of growth is bad, and anything wrong with the guts could be potentially worse.
But alas, he wouldn’t go.
Years went by, and every once in a while my friend’s mom would ask her dad how his growth was.
“Fine. Still growing,” he would sometimes say, and to her dismay, even when she pleaded with him, he wouldn’t go to the doctor.
Finally, one day the family went to the beach and my friend saw her dad laying out in the sun with his shirt off and could see a prominent bulge in his abdomen.
“Dad!” She scolded him, and finally convinced him to go to the doctor.
Well, it turns out his wife was right, he should have gone to the doctor a long time ago because the lump in his abdomen was cancer that had metastasized all over his body.
They immediately started chemotherapy treatments, but it didn’t matter, it was past too late: he died in his sleep within weeks of finding out that it was cancer.
My friend and her mom still carry around some guilt that they didn’t convince him to go seek medical attention sooner, but as the story goes, you can only lead a horse to water, you cannot make them drink.