Cancer and Emergency Scare: Update and Appreciation

Mom and Jo : Praying for grandma

I would like to start this post by thanking everyone for their prayers and kind words. Although I have been caring for my mother since she has been diagnosed two years ago. It has never gotten to the point she was last Sunday. Below is a full update about her condition. 

“I Did Not Know Your Mother Was Sick… “

I understand many of you were shocked to learn that my mother was sick although it has been almost two years since her diagnosis. Despite being open about a lot of things in my life. I often refrain from talking about topics that usually drained me the most. I mostly try to redirect my energy and focus on finding solutions and ways to deal with my challenges instead of talking about them because I feared people might be bored about reading or listening about all that was going on in my life.  Also, because I am usually the one giving advice and helping, it was hard for me to be on the other side.

As a single mother of a 6-year-old child with special needs and the sole caregiver to my mother, my life for the past few years has been crazy. While I keep working on my goals silently, I never bothered about showing the world my accomplishments because I wanted to make sure that I give my 100% to my mother and my son while putting on hold my dreams and expectations as well as other people expectations from me. 

The Back Story: Cancer Diagnosis

My mother was diagnosed with Stage 2 cervical cancer earlier in 2017, following a trip to the emergency room due to abnormal bleeding. For her first round of treatment which lasted about 5 months, she had six cycles of chemotherapy, daily external radiation for about 3 months followed by weekly internal beam radiation therapy. The tumor had successfully shrunk in her cervical area. We were all happy about the victory.

During a follow-up visit earlier this year, they noticed that the cancer had metastasized to other parts of her body including both of her lungs. She did a second round or chemo which lasted about 4 months. While most of the cancerous cells are gone, and her body was responding well to chemo, there are still more work to do. Last month she started another round of chemo, with 3 chemo drugs, one of which was different from the last 3 drugs she used to be infused with. 

Unlike the previous times, her response to chemo this instance is different, she is mentally and emotionally drained. She is afraid to eat to avoid throwing up, she dislikes most foods due to taste changes and sensitive gums. My mother also experiences shortness of breath. She has lost a lot of weight and becomes very weak. 

What Happened Last Sunday?

Early on Sunday, around 3:00 in the morning, from my room, I heard something fallen. From the kind of noise, I could immediately tell what happened. I jumped out of my bed and shouted “I’m coming”, I found my mom on the floor, she was trying to go to the bathroom. I put all my strength together and carried her to the restroom. Minutes later she fainted again right after throwing up. In addition, she was experiencing shortness of breath as her eyes started looking blank. I immediately called 911 to send an ambulance for help. I also called my neighbor, God bless her, to leave my son with so I can go along in the ambulance. 

In the ambulance, they started to care for her and put on an oxygen mask to help with her difficulty breathing. 

Once at the hospital’s ER and registered, it was difficult to draw her blood or administer her any medicine because they could not find any veins. In addition to fever and chills, she was still fighting to breath. They transferred her from the main ER to the Critical Care and Trauma unit where a dedicated team of doctors and nurses could work to give her individual attention and care. 

Screaming on the Lord!

Since my mom’s diagnosed, knowing I was the only one physically present for her and my son. I had no choice but to be strong. I am a public crier mostly when someone makes me upset, that’s the only way to calm me down to not go out of control. But in my caregiving situation, I have remained strong, cheering both my mom and son and giving them the attention they need to feel good because they need me. My siblings and close family members live thousands of miles away in different states and countries. When I noticed the sense of urgency and the tension in the room, I started praying… Veins keep popping, swelling, and the struggling for breath was real.

I knew my Lord wouldn’t deceive me and he did not. A little after 9 :00 AM I was a little relieved once they could find and hold on to a vein that made it possible for the team to draw blood for lab tests and administer medicines to help with pain, vomiting, and prepare her for PET scan. I then, made my way back home to cook for my son and supervise him during homework. We went back to the hospital at night to be with mom. My son was able to make her smile after showering her with kisses. She remained in the ER the whole day, then was admitted for further care. After a couple days, she was discharged. She is now home still recovering, but again, she is eating very little by fear of all the second side effects of chemo. 

From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU. 

Us: Mom, Jo and I
Us: Mom, Jo and I

I would like to thank each one of you who reached out by calling, texting, commenting, and sending your prayers. I was overwhelmed by your wonderful thoughts and well wishes for my mother. Though I wanted to respond individually, my stupid phone’s screen keeps acting up and texting was a big challenge since the screen wasn’t responding. Phone signal in the hospital is a joke. There was no phone signal in ER, and signal was weak in the room where my mom was admitted.  This week is the last school week before the Holidays, so there is also a lot going on at Jonathan school, including winter concert, class party, pajama/ ugly sweater activitues and more. Therefore, I spent most of my time  between home, hospital and school going back and forth riding Uber, trains and buses. I had little time for myself or going back online. 

My sincere apologies for letting you hanging. I went through your messages and comments last night. Many of you asked for updates. I am happy to report that your prayers helped and my mom is back home to continue her fight. I will from now on keep you update through my blog, or Single Moms Power upcoming YouTube channel Please Subscribe.

On behalf of my mother and family, THANK YOU and we wish you a Happy Holidays.