health · medication · top tips

How To Decide Whether To Have Surgery/Radiation/Take the Medication…


I’m a member of lots of Facebook support groups for people with pituitary tumours and other chronic or long-term illnesses. One of the most common types of post is people saying they’re not sure whether or not to go through with whatever treatment has been recommended by their doctor. It’s a big decision, and not something that strangers on the internet can really answer for you! But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any process or technique you can use to make healthcare and treatment decisions… That’s why I’m writing this blog.

I want to share a process I learned doing National Childbirth Trust classes when I was pregnant, which I think is a great technique to follow to help you make these kinds of decisions. It doesn’t have to be restricted to use in healthcare settings, either.

The process is called “BRAIN” and it’s an acronym to help you to remember the questions you should ask about your recommended treatment. You should consider:

  • Benefits – what are the possible benefits of this treatment?
  • Risks – what are the risks of doing this?
  • Alternatives – what alternative options are there? Why are they not the recommended option?
  • Intuition – what does your gut feeling tell you?
  • Nothing – what would happen if you don’t do anything?

I think this provides a really great format to have a constructive conversation with your healthcare provider, and to ensure that you’re fully informed about your treatment. It can be helpful to take this list to your appointments so you can work through each question when you see your doctors (if you’re anything like me, you forget what you want to ask if it’s not written down!), to inform your treatment decisions.

I’ve also written previously about my experience of pituitary tumor surgery and making the decision to go ahead with surgery (twice) – you can read about that here.

4 thoughts on “How To Decide Whether To Have Surgery/Radiation/Take the Medication…

  1. dSavannah – Southern Belle, yall – ~ #disabled #spoonie fighting numerous, chronic, painful #InvisibleIllnesses ~ when brain & body cooperate: #blogger & #advocate ~ also #wife #feminist #ally #papyrophiliac ~<a href="" rel="noopener">My Blog</a>
    dSavannah says:

    What simple yet effective advice!

    @dSavannahCreate from dSavannahRambles

  2. O’ this is so fantastic! I have an important appointment tomorrow and this BRAIN will help me so much. Thank you for sharing it and making our lives easier! 😀

  3. Katie Clark – Michigan, USA – Retired ELA teacher of 32 years: 6th grade reading and writing workshops, French FLES K-6, curriculum developer. Skilled in Peer Coaching, Educational Technology, Instructional Design, Curriculum Development, and Public Speaking. Currently, writing for online news and tourism magazines as well as a blog focusing on living FULLY while having the chronic pain from Fibromyalgia. Working on writing a MG, realistic novel.
    Katie Clark says:

    So, I had a surgery that I was promised was the GOLD standard and would fix the issues I was having with GERD. Nope. And it made my stomach upset ALL the time. (That was 10 years ago and still not good.) I sure wish someone had spelled things out more for me. This was also before I knew I had Fibromyalgia. Those living with FM often have so many unhelpful procedures done and there’s almost always a side-effect, from my experience.

  4. I’m loving the acronym! I go through a similar process nd definitely embrace the concept – it’s so importnt to understand your options and why one suggestion might make more sense than another in your particular case. I also love it because it’s a good way to double-check your doctor and help ensure that they aren’t taking an easy way out or forgitting to mention altrnative options. My experience with doctors is that while they are trained to generally be experts in human bodies, there’s only one expert in YOUR body and that’s you!

Leave a Reply Cancel reply