I’m hoping. Praying. Begging. That this will be a year of good health. Of strength. Of hope. And of Happiness.
My family needs it. My mom needs it. I look at her and I can see the sadness in her eyes. I know that she’s trying to wear her mask, like me, like my dad, like my brother. But I can see it in her eyes. We really need this.
If I could switch places with her, I would. I would give up everything just so she could be ok. But life doesn’t work like that. And I know I’m going to have to be stronger than I’ve ever been before. They say that God will never give you anything that you can’t handle. Well. If anything goes wrong, I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it through. This is already killing me, and we’ve just started. It’s going to be a hard year and I’m going to have to figure out a way to be strong. But I need to be optimistic. It is a must. Because it’s one of the only things that we’ve got going for us right now. I need optimism. I need prayers. I need a miracle.
I wake up with a sense of optimism that comes with the new year. Let this year be one of health, happiness, strength, and hope. Im determined to make this right and fight for my mom’s life. I need to be strong. I feel like I’m bipolar. One minute I’m hopeful, optimistic. The next, I’m crying myself to sleep. During the day I put on my mask to help my family out. To keep them uplifted and encouraged. Then I take it off and cry myself to sleep every night, purely from the exhaustion when no more tears will come. I hope I can be stronger than this.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
Had a scare a couple hours ago. Mom was feeling short of breath and was getting a head rush. Measured her BP. First reading was 177/110!!!! I tried my best to conceal my panic as that is the highest it has ever been. Very bad number. We told her to relax, breathe, and calm herself. Dad figured that all her coughing from her cold was causing her blood pressure to spike up. You know how you feel a lot of pressure in your head when you’ve been coughing a lot? I didn’t know what else to do and was about to get ready for a trip to the ER. But we waited 15 minutes and had her calm down and try to focus on not coughing. Took another reading, 144/90! wtf?! Best reading so far. Took another reading a couple minutes later, just in case. About the same. Good news. But when she went to sleep, I know she could still feel a little bit of pressure (even though she said she was ok). Definitely have to get this checked out tomorrow. This fucking thing could not have hit us at a worse time. It’s the very beginning of the new year and the WEEKEND. Meaning no one is open! Fucking frustrated and panicked and scared like I’ve never been before. I’m constantly living with a sense of panic and fear at the back of my head. It never goes away. I need answers and I need them NOW.
I am strongest when I am with my family. When I am with my mom. I don’t know if it’s because I have to force myself to be strong, or if my mom and my family make me strong. Am I helping my mom, or is she helping me? Hopefully both. The times when I am by myself are the times where I feel the most scared. Helpless. Vulnerable. Being around other people helps me to momentarily forget what’s going on and live in the moment. It helps ward off the ever-constant cold hand of fear that always seems to grasp my heart. I’m scared, yes. But in such simple moments as enjoying a movie or going for a walk, I momentarily forget and all seems good again. My home feels like both a refuge and a prison. It brings all the comforts of what a home represents, but isolates us from the rest of the world. When I am at home, I am just that, at home. But sometimes it gets a little depressing. When we go out, even if it’s just for a walk, it feels like we’re normal again. With normal people, living normal lives. Although it is a little painful, to see other people laughing and chatting without a care in the world, it is comforting, being among “normal” people. You feel normal, despite the very fact that you know your life will never be normal again from this point on. For a split second, you feel like everything will be ok. But the fear is always there, ever present, at the back of your head and around your heart. All I can do right now is be optimistic and strong around my mother, encouraging and supportive. The future, regardless of the results we receive from the doctor, will be, undoubtedly, tough. Right now, ignorance is bliss. Sort of. Its like a double-edged sword. On one hand, I’m trying to enjoy the good moments we have right now because I know tough times are coming up, but at the same time, we need these results as soon as possible so we can do something about our situation. I need some good news. Please let there be good news.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
I’m really scared right now. My heart is literally aching and I don’t know what to do with myself. I am terrified. Losing my mind. Once my mom gets better, I think I’m going to have to see a therapist because I’m about to have a meltdown. Whenever I’m by myself, I feel like breaking down. I think the reason why I am my strongest when I’m with my family, my mom, is because I focus all my energy into making sure that she is as comfortable, happy, and healthy as possible. I need to be there for her. My energy would be wasted if I did anything else. But when I’m alone, I have nowhere to channel that energy except onto myself, and it is exhausting and painful. Look at me, complaining while my mom is downstairs (hopefully sleeping by now) in the most pain she has ever had in her entire life. The pain was especially bad today. It always comes during the evenings, during the night. Almost as if our optimism and strength go down with the sun. Fucking winter. Mom’s pain was described as a level 8 on a scale to 10. EIGHT. She was almost in tears. I feel completely and utterly useless and cannot believe the weekend isn’t over yet. These days have been the longest of my life. I’m scared to leave her side.
Coughing is really bad today. She needs to get rid of this cold so she can focus on whatever treatment she needs. Her body cannot have any distractions during that time. Warm honey water and an elevated pillow seem to make a big difference. The coughing itself isn’t that bad. But the resulting high blood pressure and pain caused on her back is the worst. She’s had a lot of medication tonight and I’m scared to give her anymore. She’s already had her normal pain meds, but on top of that, took Tylenol with codeine. Mixing and taking too much of these painkillers is very…risky. And the very last thing we need is another problem. She needs to get a good night’s rest. Usually during the daytime, her coughing is minimal and almost nonexistent. It’s like each night is a battle. I need to draw strength from others, from my prayers, from God, and direct it her way. It’s going to get harder.
My mom needs us. She needs us. And she will feel better with all of our full support. Mentally, I’m preparing myself for whatever comes our way. Preparation leaves little room for blurriness and confusion later on. When mom came home from the hospital, my parents wouldn’t tell us why she had been discharged at the hospital. As I was unpacking her stuff at home, I read a paper that had a doctor’s name, number, and the word “oncology” written underneath. My heart has never dropped so low or suddenly before that moment, and hopefully will never again. When my parents sat us down, my mom started to tear up and started by telling us that “everything would be ok”. Shit. My dad started to explain but started to cry. That was when my mom said she had cancer. My dad continued to cry and my brother cried into his hands. But me. Blank. Shock? I started asking question upon question to get a better idea, to get more information. Since I had found the note before, I think my mind was still in shock. My defense mechanism was to ask questions and to surround myself with as much information as I could get in order to prepare myself and find more information later. We don’t know any details, and actually don’t even know if she has cancer 100% yet. But, the doctor at the hospital said it was very good chance that it was. Her symptoms pretty much lead to it as well. But, I still need to be optimistic and hopeful. Miracles happen everyday, and I’m hoping with every fiber in my being, that the day we get the lab results will be such a day.
To think that before I came back home, my biggest worries were my final grades and telling my parents about my tattoo. HA! It all seems like such a joke now. Those are the very LEAST of my concerns. Like I said, my top priority is to make sure that my mom is as comfortable as possible. Is it sad that what I look forward to everyday is to cry myself to sleep every night? So that I can release my emotions when I am alone in order not to do it when I’m around my family? I need to stay strong and show them strength so that they can be hopeful, encouraged, and optimistic. Strength and optimism help to boost morale, and we need as much of that as we can possibly get right now. Tomorrow I’m supposed to meet a friend for coffee. I don’t know if I’ll be able to hold it together, since I could barely do it when I was on the phone with her. I need to talk to someone. The stress is eating away at me and I need to be as strong as I can possibly be. I feel like a balloon that’s about to burst. I need to talk to someone and just release everything that’s been bottled up. My emotions can be seen as like a glass of water. Every night I let a little bit of water drip out, but not enough. I need to dump all the water out so I can be focused and driven to do everything that I possibly can. Is it sad that I am looking forward to this tomorrow? So that I can just break down? I feel guilty that I’m complaining about all of this when my mom is the one with all these emotions PLUS probably some other ones that I don’t want to even think about PLUS her pain. I don’t want to leave her side, ever, until she gets better. I need her to get better. We all do.
Monday, January 4, 2010
Couldn’t do it. Met with friends for lunch and coffee and I just couldn’t tell them. It was too hard for me. But I am lucky, so lucky that I have people here for support.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Life…is like a rollercoaster. Cancer…is like a rollercoaster. Life with Cancer is fucked up. It’s almost as if someone, somewhere is playing some sort of sick joke on you. Sometimes there are days where you feel…weightless. Like the weight of the world, of your world, has been lifted. There are times where you feel like everything is good, like the word “cancer” has no place in your life. You feel optimism, strength, and a general enthusiasm for life. The skies seem brighter and the bond between our family, stronger. And even though you know, at the back of your mind, that this is too good to be true, you feel like you can conquer anything. You feel uplifted. You feel like cancer isn’t that big of a deal, that, although a challenge, it can easily be beaten down and destroyed, like the seasonal flu. There is a whole community of those affected by this disease. Patients, family members, doctors, nurses, randoms. A group interconnected by the sole purpose of beating cancer while remaining optimistic, strong, and enthusiastic. It’s incredibly therapeutic, reading the blogs and comments of those who are going through or have gone through exactly the same thing as you. You feel like you can do anything and everything, knock down every single hurdle in your way until you get to where you need to be. But sometimes, like a rollercoaster, there are days where everything goes down. Where you feel completely immobilized by fear, by sadness, by helplessness. As the days have gone by, coping with this has been…a little easier. No. Maybe that’s not the right way to put it. Because it doesn’t get easier. As the days go by, we get a little stronger. The initial shock and devastation has worn off, replaced by reality and realization. Clarity. A sense of purpose, a drive, focus. Your sole mission is to beat the shit out of this thing so it won’t come back. But I’m scared… I’m terrified. At the moment, we’re in Cancer LaLaLand. That is, we don’t know much. We’re playing the waiting game because these doctors seem to be taking their sweet ass time. And as painful as it is to endure, not knowing, it also gives us a little bliss not knowing the road we have ahead of us, one that will surely be full of many trials and tribulations. We rent movies, go for walks, and try to keep each other happy, try to keep my mom happy. Because the day that we sit down with the doctor and receive an official diagnosis, no “ifs” or “maybes”, that’s the day when everything will be 100% real. Where we’ll have to suit up and get ready for a war that no one should have to fight, the war against your very own body. My mom puts on a brave face, but I know she is terrified. And I can start to see her crumble. Slowly. She sleeps with the light on, with the door open, with our childhood blankets. She clings to us and calls out to us. All of which, are breaking my heart. I can see the fear in her eyes. I need her to be the strong woman that she is and has always been. She is the matriarch of not only my family, but her own, always leading her parents and siblings in the right direction. I need her to be that woman. Understandably, she is scared. I don’t think there is a single person on this entire planet that wouldn’t be. But if there is anything stronger than cancer, it is the power of love. Of hope. Of faith. Although many times it may feel like it, We Are Not Helpless. We are surrounded by the love and support of those around us. We are consumed by our faith in God and the drive to give everything that we’ve got. And we will always have hope, a light that will always burn bright even in the darkest of times if we allow it to. I need her to realize this, to go into this battle with a running charge yelling bloody murder at the very top of her lungs. I need her to have the passion for life. I need her. Cancer. A 5-letter word that has the power to bring men to their knees and the strength to take down an entire nation. But, as horrible as the circumstances may be, it is (sadly) one of the rare things that makes us appreciate everything so much more. That inspires us to truly value our lives and those we share it with. It forces us to see, to truly see the world for what it is, Beautiful. It forces us to live our lives the way they were meant to be lived, appreciatively. Sincerely. Unapologetically. It paints the world with brighter colors, it makes the air we breathe all the more clearer, and it makes the love we have for each other, all the more stronger. The strongest. It is a test. A test to see how hard we are willing to fight for everything that we love and value. This is not a war that we will lose. If I could do this for her, if I could take this burden upon myself, I would do it in a heartbeat. In my mind, I am praying that this is some crazy disease. But I think we have all generally accepted the fact that this is most likely cancer. Multiple Myeloma, to be specific. If this turns out to be true, my mom, statistically, is one of the least-likely candidates for this type of cancer. She is below the age of 60, a woman, Asian, and has had no problems with her health in the past. It’s not fair and doesn’t make any sense. This thing has come out of nowhere. But we can’t give up hope. Never, ever give up hope. Because once you lose hope, you’ve lost everything.
Friday, January 8, 2010
We need a sign from God. I need God to give my mom strength and health. The strongest woman in my life all of the sudden seems so fragile and delicate. She’s very very emotional and sensitive. And you know, it’s very understandable. She’s an emotional being. I think it’s important to have a support system outside of your immediate family. For me, my friends. For my mom, her sisters. For my dad, his brother. It’s a way for us to divert our emotions and stresses away from ourselves and out into the world. I think crying is important. It’s a way for us to release our emotions so we can regain that sense of clarity and focus. I think its important to let everything out once in awhile, or really, whenever you need to. But afterwards, I think it’s important to focus, really focus on getting better. Get motivated. Get ready to fight. I’m not the one with cancer, so I won’t 100% understand the despair and helplessness that my mother is feeling. But I need her to be strong. She’s downtrodden a lot, and I completely understand it. But sometimes, I feel like shaking her so she can wake up and focus, really really FOCUS everything she has into getting better. That’s why I think crying is good. Having a good breakdown is important because we can get rid of everything in our system and not waste our energy constantly trying to keep our emotions in check because we have so many of them bottled within us. I know she has a right to be the way she is. But she also needs to be able to motivate herself to get better, she needs to be able to gather strength from her family and friends to get better.
Today, we went to the doctor. The news we got was actually not anything bad or anything we weren’t prepared for at least. My mom’s blood count went up from 80 (which was what it was at when she was discharged. When she was admitted, her hemoglobin levels (I think that's what the nurse told us) were at 60!!!!!) to 116. Optimal/normal levels are 120, so that was incredibly encouraging. We also got notice that we would be able to get my mom in to Calgary for an appointment for next week, which was also good. It means we can get the ball rolling. The nurse told my mom that because she was so young, aggressive treatment would be the best so we could get rid of everything. Her body can handle it. We called a couple of my aunts and uncles today just to get some support and information/opinions (from those that work in the hospital). But even still, my mom started crying…a lot today. I think… it was everything bottled up inside that finally got to her today. The realization that she would get treatment soon, the fear. It got to her today and the dams broke. But you know what? It’s ok. It’s healthy. Emotional balance is very important. She’s terrified of going to the hospital. I can see the fear. I’m trying my best to do everything I can to make her feel better. I feel like I’m giving my all and doing everything that I can, but it still doesn’t feel like enough.
And there you have it. That was the last entry I made before things started to get a little busy.If it has helped you, then sharing this personal experience will definitely have been worth it. Stay strong and never give up, friends.