>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.