A radio discussion encompassing the above this evening raised some interesting points so I thought I'd try to divert some of the bright minds here to this question.
It's probably best begun by offering a hypothetical scenario, as follows:
You have been diagnosed, out of the blue, with a life threatening disease.
Prognosis is six months maximum, perhaps a couple of months longer if you choose to have intensive chemo and radiotherapy.
You're only 45, so this represents a quite shocking abbreviation of your planned lifespan.
How do you react?
Do you simply accept the prognosis and get your affairs in order, preparing to die in a few months?
Do you choose the treatment option, even though you know it will make you feel very sick and diminish your quality of life for what remains of it?
Or do you believe that if you take the treatment option, it could have an unexpectedly positive effect and you will recover?
Do you simply deny to yourself that all this happening? Maybe start praying if you believe in God, or even start to believe if you didn't before?
Do you get angry and go through the 'why me?' story?
Do you think you have the responsibility of ensuring your family doesn't suffer along with you, and make a huge effort not to show your fear, for the sake of protecting them from sadness and worry?
What part does hope play here? Is it worth hoping the medical opinions are wrong and if you just engage in some positive thinking techniques, it will all get better?
Some of you may well have already been through something like this.
I'm not at all attempting to engage in some prurient curiosity, but am interested in what I expect would be a considerable variety of human responses to such a situation.