To The Point with Michael Hogan

To The Point with Michael Hogan

Michael Hogan

“Quitting is not an option.” It is a line spoken by most every head coach in every sports movie ever made. It has become so cliché.

But is there ever a time when quitting is not only an option, but the only option? Is there ever a moment when it is okay to just give it all up?

I ask specifically regarding my father. He has been fighting lung cancer for the past three months. His hair has become so thin that it looks more like a forest of wispy ghosts rising from his smooth scalp. Transparent almost. He sleeps most of the day, lies in bed the rest.

He has been fighting it because that is what you are supposed to do. You are supposed to get treatment. You are supposed to want to live.

When does that “obligation” end? At what point are you allowed to say, “Screw all of this!” and choose the other option?

There is always another option. The problem with cancer is the other option is often something that no one ever wants to face. The other option is death.

So, the question is: when are you allowed to choose death over life? When are you allowed to stop thinking of others and think only of yourself?

Is it after your first tough round of chemotherapy?

Is it when you look at yourself in the mirror and see real fear in your eyes for the first time?

Is it the day that they tell you it is back again?

And, who decides? Who gets a vote in this kind of thing?

There are a lot of people who would be affected by that kind of a decision. There are wives and children, brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews, friends and colleagues. Do any of them get any say? Do I get a vote? And, if so, how much are my wishes worth?

Are my desires enough to overcome the nausea? The fatigue?

It is a choice that sometimes needs to be made. It is a question that has floated through my father’s head a million times before, and will a million times again before that decision finally comes, if it ever does. These are questions that we have all thought about. They are questions that ultimately are not ours to answer.

How hard a decision is it? Is it something that just comes to you one day in a dream? Or do you mull over it time and again, letting it roll through your memories? Does someone whisper in your ear and tell you that it is time?

And, the ultimate question; the final question: what comes after that decision has been made?