Mar 07, 2008
Well, well, just as you are thinking that everything is fine, something hits you in the face. My mum’s OVCA treatment went so smooth that it is almost unbelievable. Just consider this – stage 4, abdominal filled with cancer spreading to liver, colon, diaphragm and spleen. As there is no hope of optimal debulking, the doctor tried chemo first. After 2 chemo, CA125 dropped from 165 to 15. CT scan revealed that most tumors were gone/shrunk. During operation after 3 chemo, very little signs of chemo and an optimal debulking. During the first 3 chemo, very little side effects except hair loss and occasional tiredness – no drop in blood count of red/white blood cells. Mum continued with her consultancy business throughout the chemo. Surgery went well – wound heal well.
Then on the 2nd day upon discharge from hospital, everything changed. My mum had depression – started to cry at every instance. This caught everyone by surprise since my mum broke down after responding to the treatment. My sister has to extend her no pay leave to look after my mum. I could hardly concentrate at work worrying. Mum getting better but still prone to depression and she refused to take remeron to stabilize her emotions for fear of addition. Oh, when bad news comes, they come in spades. The CA-125 one week after the surgery has elevated to 65. Rationally, I know that it may be a reaction to the surgery but at the back of my mind, there is this fear that the elevation is due to tumor activities. The doctor actually wanted to start the chemo this week but mum is not physically or emotionally ready. Next week is the most the doctor is willing to delay. The doctor did not want to take any chances on OVCA. Next week is not exactly the best time either for my mum emotionally as next week is the first year anniversary of my father’s passing from advanced cancer.
I have managed to contact a few support groups and they would be calling my mum. They have managed to find one OVCA survivor and I hoped she could help my mother.
Rationally, I can understand why my mum came undone at this stage. It is a testament to her mental strength that she lasted so long before breaking down. The last 6 yrs have been tough on her - and if stress is one of the factors leading to OVCA, I would say that this is probably the time where it developed. My father suffered a stroke 6 years ago, a probable result of decades of hard drinking. This is where dark family history rears its ugly head. My father’s mistress turned up at the hospital and we had a shouting match right in the middle of the wards. My father almost died at the hospital from stroke then and while he was struggling for his life – we discovered someone emptied his personal bank account. We made a police report and discovered that his mistress masqueraded as my father’s wife and together with my father’s sister and a rouge lawyer, emptied my father’s bank account. My father made a miraculous recovery although he was paralyzed at one side – and the moment he got better, his mistress and my father’ sister wheeled him out of the hospital for him to drop the case against them. Wonderful relatives.
We spent a lot of money on my father – we moved into another place with a lift landing and next to my father’s favorite coffee shop. We renovated the place so that it would be convenient for him to move about the house. We even hired a full-time maid to look after my father. All these cost money – and my father, never have a cent of saving. My sister was still schooling then. My mother and I were saddled with the financial expenses. My father, however, did not really treat my mum well, screaming at her and threatening to kill my mum – emotional blackmail. He became paranoid and wanted to see the doctors very often to check on his various ailments – I have to keep taking leave from work to take him to see the doctor. It is at this time that my ambition at my work place fizzed out – it is just too much to cope. And it is a really sad day when I realized that I did not have the passion for my work when I first started out because I just cannot keep up the demands both at home and work.
In 2006, my father was diagnosed with advanced voice box cancer. Paid a bomb for the surgery, radiation and chemo. My mum, myself and my sister took turns to bring my father to the hospital Monday to Friday for the radiation treatment at the hospital – a 45 minutes ride away from home. Amazingly, he did have a remission. My father, were again paranoid and wanted to take at least 6 cans of extra-vitamin milk to supplement his diet. I remembered that I have to drag cartons and cartons of milk home myself and I winced at the bill I have to pay for the milk weekly – there is even a time where my colleagues offered to buy the milk overseas because they were cheaper. He is also afraid of recurrence and wanted to see the doctors regularly – again I took time off from my work to accompany him to see the doctor.
Sadly, the remission only lasted a few months and he passed away shortly in 2007, around 1 year after the diagnosis. End of sad story? Nope – my father’s sisters turned up at the funeral – guess what’s their first question – how much money my father has left behind. They then claimed that my father owed them thousands of dollars – they can go to hell. They did not even give us a single cent when my father was ill and now they claimed my father owed them money? I think I am numb at the funeral – I feel really upset at myself not being able to cry. I tried rubbing my eyes – but not a tear came. I don’t feel sad at my father’s passing but is just simply resigned to it.
I shed buckets of tears at my mum’s diagnosis – really, to me, this is really unfair. My mum can finally have some peace in live and this happened? I am an eternal optimist – but I am tired too. But I would be strong for my mum – there is always hope, isn’t it?
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