At those critical junctures, the question is not simply whether to live or die but what kind of life is worth living. Would you trade your ability–or your mother’s–to talk for a few extra months of mute life? The expansion of your visual blind spot in exchange for the small possibility of a fatal brain hemorrhage? Your right hand’s function to stop seizures? How much neurological suffering would you let your child endure before saying that death is preferable? Because the brain mediates our experience of the world, any neurosurgical problem forces a patient, and family, ideally with a doctor as a guide, to answer this question: What makes life meaningful enough to go on living?

―Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air