One of the greatest tragedy a family can ever encounter in their lifetime is to know that a loved one is terminally ill without any signs (or probably subtle ones we failed to recognize).
November 3, 2018, Saturday afternoon, was the last day we last saw my mom healthy, strong and full of stories to tell. It was the day we all went out to fetch my husband Joeld from the airport. I even felt her desire to join the gang but we were all jampacked inside the car. As soon as we reached home, our usual second level of the house was dark and quiet -- an indication of rest for her.
The next day, we were the usual 4 people in the house. My husband and I, our toddler and my mom. She usually goes down during the day to play with Mita (our toddler kid). But it was past 10AM when I have not felt her presence. I went up to her to check and ask if she was able to get her car keys. She was lying down on her fave spot watching TV. She nodded and pointed to the direction of the car keys. I kept asking the same question because she seemed like not her usual self. After few more attempts to get verbal answers from her, it was then I realized that she lost her expression of language -- unable to speak or even write.
We arrived at the hospital after 2-3 hours (of panic, preparation and travel) where we were advised to be admitted immediately. We spent 4 full days in the hospital where she was treated for her mild stroke. Prior to this, she has been coughing badly thinking that she contracted a virus after sitting beside an infected person. Upon discharge, they said nothing about her bad cough -- like some ordinary allergy that would go away on its own. So we were hopeful about her recovery, that a speech therapy will somehow make things normal for all of us.
But as days went by, her cough was not getting any better. It took us another 2 weeks to do follow-up checkups from her Neuro, ENT and Pulmo (failed to visit her Cardio). None mentioned about anything unusual except that she probably has an asthma. And so we nebulized her everyday, diffused oil and religiously took all her meds. She was pale and lethargic but we mistook it as side effects of the many drugs that she was taking.
So on November 28, 2018, we were supposed to visit her Cardio but complained lightheadedness and striking pain in her head (which could mean another impending episode of stroke). As soon as we reached ER, she was severely dehydrated with very low blood pressure and very fast heart rate. Cardio did a 2d echo and saw volumes of water surrounding her heart sac. It was an emergency situation for all us. They needed to drain the fluids out of heart so it could pump normally again. It was a very fast-paced day with no chance to think things through. They called the procedure as "Pericardiocentesis" while her condition was called "Pericadial Effusion". The procedure took only an hour and was welcomed by the Anaesthesiologist for successfully doing it without problem. Few more minutes passed, the surgeon showed up. He also welcomed us with a good news, but also with a bad news. He was so upfront in telling what he saw in a short period of time without any laboratory proof. Yes, the fluids were drained with no signs of complications during the procedure. But, it was bloody (as he say) which could be a sign of cancer. I was left speechless. For all we know, my mom has been an advocate of herbal supplements. Name the brand and we almost know it and its ingredients and use. This is the very least disease we expect her to have!
She was transferred to the ICU that midnight and showed great signs of recovery. Sitting well, interacting, complaining (like she usually does) but with little appetite. But after 2 days, she became agitated and anxious. She was complaining how she lacked rest and sleep because the ICU was so bright and loud. She wanted to be transferred to a regular room the soonest. But her heart rate was unstable and we were unsure of the underlying cause. Because she was so insistent, we signed a waiver and was transferred to a regular room by midnight. After an hour, her vital signs plummeted causing her to be intubated. My dad has been in panic mode while trying to call me. Being a breastfeeding mom, I can only ask for updates, go and see for myself about the whole situation as soon as my child settled down. From hereon, we have been in the ICU for more than 15 days already. To summarize her medical condition-- she suffered 2 strokes, septic shock and was only given strong antibiotics after being intubated (Day 4). After a week of waiting, it was confirmed that she had cancer but it is unknown as to where it came from. She was too weak to undergo biopsy and we could only see metastasis and progression of her cancer cells. To date, she has Stage 4 cancer with multiple organ failure, relying on medications and hemodialysis to make her stable. We are also reaching the point of doing tracheostomy and attaching a pacemaker due to the many complications we have been experiencing as days go by. My brother has even witnessed her convulsions, heart rate drop and blank stares like it was the last time to see her alive. In as much as we wanted to transfer her to a government hospital, she is no longer stable to withstand a ride to the elevator.
November and December have been the longest months for our family. We lived each day from one bad news to another. Our life revolved in waking one morning to another to go to the hospital: sign waivers, consent forms; pay bills and meds using credit cards and little savings from the three of us (my dad, brother and me) down to our last cent. We are all too tired, hopeless and undecided on how to make things better for her. I don't know if this is even a compelling story for you to read. But it is a story of immense pain that happened in a very short time no one could ever prepared us. If you're asking us how we are taking it, we are all blank and clueless. We live each day going with the flow of life -- deciding things on what we think is best for her.
As of this writing, our bill is reaching 2 million pesos and is still piling up. We are a family of independent working employees (with a retiree father) who have never asked any monetary help from anyone because that is how we have been raised. But if this is the only way to extend her life, we will do whatever we can to give it to her. With that, we humbly ask your support so we could finish this battle -- win or lose.
It is Christmas season, a discouraging time to experience a tragedy. But maybe out of it, in your giving, we could somehow feel that Christmas spirit.
If ever you find that we deserve your hard earned money, you can give via Paypal with email address [email protected] It is my first time to setup something like this through Paypal so let me know how we could change the settings.
In case, Paypal is inaccessible to you, you can do bank deposit or bank transfer to the following bank accounts:
Acct Type: Peso Savings
Acct No.: 0021-4036-5751
Acct Name: Miracle Singh/Joshua Senedrin
Acct Type: Peso Savings
Acct No.: 066-3-732-84055-0
Acct Name: Miracle Senedrin
Acct Type: Peso Savings
Acct No.: 0069-4009-73
Acct Name: Miracle Senedrin
To those who need a copy of our medical bill and abstract, just send us a message. You can reach us through these numbers:
Mobile Number: 09985101091
Lastly -- from families, friends, co-workers, acquaintances and mere strangers, thank you for reaching out and extending your help in whatever way you can. It means a lot and THANK YOU will never be enough. Whatever the future holds for us, we will accept it in due course. And with your support, you have showed what true happiness and generosity is to my mother who is an extreme introvert. She may not be able to meet and thank each one of you. But she will hold you close to her heart because that is how she is from the beginning -- a selfless person who is willing to give her all.
THANK YOU AND GOD BLESS YOUR GENEROUS HEART!!!