To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?
What if? Such a short question but loaded with implications of what follows the "if". What if the stem cell transplant had not worked? What if they hadn't found a donor? Those fatalistic what ifs mean little to me. They involve externalities which are beyond our control, beyond our realm of choices.
But what if my dad decided not to have the stem cell transplant? What if he had decided to delay it? After all, he was doing well after the chemo. Why not try to eek out as much of a comfortable living as possible? It's not as if stem cell transplant was not dangerous or did not require a serious cost to be borne. The devil you know versus the one that you don't. What if he never went to MD Anderson? That, too, was questioned. What if? Those were questions not of fate, but of choice. The scales were weighted with elements of the unknown, fear, hope, maybe, maybe not, danger, grief and something tipped the balance towards a certain course of action. At the time, these were all very real questions, to be wrestled with as Hamlet anguished over the course of his fate. Choices were made. And a year later, my dad celebrates his new birthday - the day he gained another man's blood, and another chance at life. Happy Birthday, Dad!