What If?

>What if her cancer had been found earlier?

What if I would have said something more about her awful cough at the beginning of last year?

What if she wouldn’t have lost so much weight before starting treatment?

What if there was a different chemotherapy drug she could have tried?

What if we would have taken her to a different cancer center?

What if there was some clinical trial she could have participated in?

What if she would have tried drinking the Ensure even though she didn’t like it?

What if we wouldn’t have pushed her to continue treatments?

What if she had quit smoking sooner?

What if she had quit when my dad did?

What if she had never started?

What if I had been more encouraging and supportive?

What if I would have asked her more how she was really feeling and dealing with everything?

What if I had come to see her more or called her more?

What if there was a better oncologist we could have taken her to?

What if the ER nurse had been more competent and known how to work the vent?

What if there was a better ER, better doctors who could have saved her?

I wonder if any of it matters. If things had gone differently, would she still be here? Or was it predetermined that she was supposed to die that day? Even if she had never smoked and never got lung cancer, would she have had some different kind of cancer? A stroke? A heart attack?

I wonder if it would have been better for her not to do treatment at all. It didn’t work, so she went through five months of agony and literal torture for absolutely nothing. It didn’t even shrink the tumor. It made her lose weight, lose her hair, become depressed, become unable to eat or drink without excruciating pain, and ultimately it seems like it killed her. If she hadn’t done treatment, maybe her last moments — whether it was five months or five weeks or five days — would have been less painful and more dignified. Maybe she would have been able to die in her own bed instead of in the ICU surrounded by strangers and machines.

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2 thoughts on “What If?

  1. >I know I'm the last person to preach about self forgiveness, but I know you better than most people, and know for sure, that you are the most caring, thoughtful, loving person I know, and I'm sure you did everything that was in your power to do. I know in retrospect you probably wish you spent more time with your mom, now that she's gone. As far as her battle with Cancer, I think there's only so much you could've done and you did your best. I'm sure your mom felt that and knew how deeply you care for her. I know what it's like to dwell on "what ifs" and I haven't figured out how not to. I guess it's just good to remind yourself that a lot of what happened was out of your control, and you did as much as you could do. It sucks and it's unfair. I don't have any answers for why good people suffer. I wish I had those answers for myself. It sucks feeling powerless to do anything to fix your situation, or help the people you love. I know you just want her back, but I also know you believe in heaven. I just know what it's like to be deathly ill, and although I don't know exactly what your mom went through, I do find comfort in the thought that heaven might exist, because that means she's no longer suffering, and maybe someday we can join her again. Losing your mom has made me push my mom & sister more about quitting. I wish they'd wake up and see the realities of what they're risking. I don't want to see them have to go through something similar, if it could be prevented. My mom already has an awful, phlemy cough, and is forever making excuses. I think it's brave of you to share your story, and your mom's story. Maybe it can help other people.

  2. >Yes, I believe in Heaven, but I also believe in Purgatory. Everyone telling me she's in a better place and not suffering anymore does absolutely nothing for me, because although those are nice thoughts, they don't fit in with what I've been taught and believe about what happens when we die. I've been holding on to the idea that the priest put in my head: that people who suffer greatly on earth get a ticket straight to Heaven. I really, really hope that he's right and that that's true, because it kills me to think that she went through all that torture here just to suffer more for an undetermined amount of time.I know we all did the best we could when she was here, and we tried to push her to do what we thought was right, but hindsight is always 20/20. If I had known that the treatments weren't going to do anything, I would have encouraged her to look into hospice and maybe she would have been more comfortable, in less pain, and died with some dignity.

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