Sunday, August 7, 2011

Mum's big fight

No, Mum is not from Ateneo chanting "one big fight -Ateneo!"This blog entry is about her courage and strength in spirit... waaaaayyyyy overdue but something tells me I should post this anyway. Perhaps one of you may find yourself in a similar situation as we had been. So here it goes...

 Last April, Mum completed her last chemotherapy session. It was a cycle composed of six sessions to treat her Stage 2 Breast Cancer. I was literally glowing, a smile plastered on my face even the day before she got admitted. I was cheering her on and kept reminding her that it was the last session. I was exceptionally pleasant to all the hospital staff that day and shared that it was Mummy's graduation from chemotherapy. Looking back, it felt like it was just yesterday when she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. Cancer brought all of us in the family together; each one of us took a role with a common goal - help Mum get well.

Mum found out when she felt a lump on her right breast in October 2010. She had other excisions to remove two other lumps in 2008 but the results were all benign. According to my Auntie Binky whose husband Uncle Edwin performed the surgery, the lump didn't look good. It was a sugar-coated way of saying the lump looked malignant. The biopsy confirmed their doctors' hunch - it was indeed Cancer, Stage 2. When they told me and Mum over lunch, I was so affected and scared I only managed two spoonfuls and lost my appetite after. Uncle Edwin said it was good we found out earlier because it meant Mum's cancer can still be cured compared to those who had late detection. He told Mum her right breast had to be completely removed (mastectomy) before starting chemotherapy. The next month, Mum went under the knife. A few weeks later she started her chemo. We were blessed to have a good oncologist (a doctor specializing in Cancer), Dr. Abdiel Galicia who gave us all possible scenarios related to her treatment. His light and calm demeanor in my opninion helped Mum carry on even when she was about to give up after her 4th session.

What does chemotherapy (chemo) mean? Well, from a MassComm graduate's limited medical knowledge, it's a mode of treatment to kill cancer using drugs. Mum had to stay 24hours in the hospital (to avail of her PhilHealth) while the cocktail of anti-Cancer medicines are entered into her body through IV. Her chemo was one of the two reasons why I had to set aside my job-hunting, the other one was my little Leia. Undergoing chemo meant that she had to experience vomiting, nausea, loss of appetite and yes, Mum lost her hair. A cousin, Ate Lulung advised us to get a short haircut so that come the time Mum's hair would start falling off, it won't be too traumatizing for her. I too had to cut my hair short, I wanted it shorter (like Demi Moore in GI Jane) but Mum said no because it might scare my daughter. :)  So from December 2010 until April 2011, Mum and I went to Brokenshire every 21 days. I have also instantly became a nurse and girl Friday, researching on the benefits Mum can avail from her SSS and GSIS. There were more than a few times Mum and I would fight because I was on OA mode - I didn't want her stressed from work, I don't want her exposed to elements, I want her to eat healthy, etc. Mum complained I was treating her like a child but I argued it was for her sake. Every after chemo session, Mum would stay in bed and refused to eat for like three days. She would vomit until her throat gets painful and would be so weak. I had to do the marketing so she would eat fresh  vegetables and fruits, I had to monitor her meds. In short I was a daughter looking after her Mum who was battling Cancer. But all of us knew never doubted that she would be completely healed and the Lord was using chemo to make her well again. Those of you who knew Mum personally know of her gentleness and calm nature. In her silence, she fought a brave fight against Cancer, her steady faith made her strong. She's a flower but she stings like a bee.

It's a few months now after her last Chemo, Mum's hair is growing back and she's back to her old self. If not for her Halle Berry hairstyle, you would find it hard to believe she had Cancer and went through Chemo. Her last x-ray was clear which is a very good sign of her recovery. She takes Tamoxifen orally every night and will continue to do so for five years. But hey, no complaints! We celebrated her "graduation" with our relatives and some very close friends. Cancer never defeated Mummy's spirit and I know she went through this test for a purpose. In every aspect, the Lord met her needs and we were amazed at His love and faithfulness towards Mum. She is a living testament of the Lord's goodness despite the trials.

For my readers who may have a relative or know someone who is fighting the big C, I encourage you to show your love and support in any way you could. Cancer is a reality but it can be defeated through prayers and a positive attitude. More than any drug, a courageous heart and strong faith in God are our best defenses.


  1. wow i didn't know your mum had a cancer ate lan... ka sad..=( but happy as well that she's recovering.. wish her well and god bless your family..=)

  2. Hi Nicole,

    Yup, but she is better na, parang wala lang nangyari. :) thanks for the reply and I hope you are well there in Cebu. God bless you Nic!