Resurrection 49Posted: November 27, 2016
This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.
Pancreatic is one of the most deadly forms of cancer. If discovered in Stage 1A, you have an 86% chance of being dead within five years even with the most aggressive treatment. By Stage 4, there’s a 99% chance you’ve been given a death sentence.
Not only is pancreatic cancer an almost certain killer, it has few warning signs until it becomes advanced. In advanced stages the victim will often experience pain in the back or abdomen, possibly discolored urine, a feeling of “fullness” and loss of appetite. Most people don’t seek treatment until these symptoms become too intense to ignore.
The radiologist’s report on Geoff Sanderson’s desk was clear. There was a large tumor not only taking over Dick Langston’s pancreas, it had also spread to his liver and lungs. No matter what treatment he received, he would certainly be dead within the year, maybe sooner.
He called Langston himself, rather than having Michele call. This was not the kind of news he would let an underling convey. He phoned Langston Farms.
Mary, Langston’s personal assistant, answered and immediately put Sanderson through to Dick Langston.
“Mr. Langston, I have your test results.” Sanderson sounded somber.
“I would like to come out to the farm and go through them with you, today if possible.”
Dick Langston had a principle: Deal with bad new immediately.
“Just tell me now, Sanderson, you don’t need to sugarcoat it.”
“Sir, you have adenocarcinoma. It’s a pancreatic cancer and it has spread to your liver and lungs.”
“I see.” Langston had feared similar after Sanderson was so concerned at his initial examination. “What’s the treatment plan? Surgery? Chemo?”
“Sir, there are some surgeries we can do if you get too uncomfortable, but they’re palliative. We cannot stop the spread of the cancer. We can possibly slow it with radiation and chemotherapy, but this is an aggressive type of cancer and it has already spread to other organs.”
“I see. How long?”
“Your prognosis is not good. With no treatment the cancer will likely take you within a few months. With treatment you might be able to increase that to six months or a year. There are no guarantees, some people live longer, but I don’t want to mislead you. You will almost certainly succumb to this in the next year, sooner rather than later.”
“Thank you, Doctor.” With that, Langston hung up the phone.
People deal with bad news in a variety of ways. They deny it’s reality. They consider impossible, improbable ways to try to change reality. They plan to fight a battle they most certainly will lose.
Langston dealt with the news the same way he had dealt with every problem or setback he had seen in business over the years. He accepted its reality, then began to consider how he would proceed. He accepted his death sentence stoically, now all he needed to do was consider how he would spend the remaining months of his life.
Jon could handle the business, he was sure of that. While he and Jon often differed about small details, the big picture was the same. Langston Farms and their other enterprises would continue to grow, continue to be profitable. Jon would see to that.
Langston picked up the phone and pressed the button to buzz Mary. “Mary, cancel the rest of my day.”
“Certainly Mr. Langston.” Mary put together the call from Sanderson along with Langston clearing his day and decided it must be bad news. She had worked for Langston for 23 years and she was the closest person to a friend he had.
“Is there anything I can do for you?” She new better than to ask if he was “OK.”
“No, Mary, that will be all. Just cancel my day.” Langston hung up.