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The Survivor Monologues

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CHARLES TANENBAUM, 92, is a retired attorney and an avid book collector. Last year, he was diagnosed with stomach cancer and insisted on having aggressive surgery. He is currently cancer-free.

One doctor I talked to, he said, “A man at 91, he can bide time with chemotherapy and radiation.” And I said, “I want to live! What’s wrong with surgery?” He said, “At your age?” I said, “I figure I have a 20 percent chance of dying in surgery, and I want to gamble.” I think a lot of people die because they lose interest in life; they stop caring about anything other than playing golf or going south. Florida is a place I wouldn’t mind going after I die, but not while I’m alive.


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