Now that mum’s Stage 4 Colon Cancer is in remission with her PET-CT scan showing resolved metabolic activity and her CEA markers consistently in normal range, there are days even I tend to forget the details of this blessed journey we have been on this year. It has really been a very epic year from being told my mum had stage 4 cancer in February when all she had was irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, to being told in March she only had 6 months to live if she didn’t do chemotherapy, to her being in remission by Jun and now even healthier than before, without having to take her high blood pressure medication she was taking for 20 years before this. ALL in the same year!
Hence, I decided I will be slowly write on our journey to capture God’s blessings every step of the way, to remind us to be thankful for everyday and also to let all of you out there who might be going through similar struggles to know that you are not alone, and you too can overcome cancer.
Continuing where I left off early this week. On February 22, I finally managed to catch hold of a doctor in TTSH who had some time to answer my questions. As I sat the doctor down for a chat, I realized the original abdominal CT scan had shown the presence of nodes in mum’s lungs! So I wondered why they had told me the day before that my mum would be fine once the primary tumour was removed from her colon! Many of us have spots in lungs due to scarring in the lungs from asthma etc, but the doctor still agreed to send her for a Thorax CT scan to check for lung metastases. Meanwhile, the stent in mum’s colon appeared to have moved, so she could not go home to rest, as originally supposed to, before her operation to remove the main tumour.
February 23 is probably the GRAYEST day of my life ever – The Thorax CT scan showed multiple cancerous nodes in both her lungs, confirming that she had Stage 4 cancer. Though the doctors didn’t want to say it explicitly, it seemed unlikely she could be treated successfully. However, they would still go ahead with her colon surgery to remove the primary tumour to improve her quality of life for as long as she should live. This was the day my family broke down… I had never in my life seen my dad shed a tear before. Not even when he underwent a very painful operation some time ago.
But that day, I know my dad really broke down. I knew I shouldn’t be crying in front of mum, or dad, but there are moments I really cannot help my tears. In the end, I took refuge in the Toastbox cafe of Tan Tock Seng Hospital, and just sobbed uncontrollably in the arms of my husband for the next 2 hours. Many thoughts of self blame came into my head… “I shouldn’t have ignored my mum’s earliest IBS symptoms,” “ I should have asked her to do a scope earlier when the scan was contained,” etc etc… As much as I knew they were useless thoughts, I couldn’t help them flooding my mind. And when finally, I thought I had gotten my emotions in control, I went back up to the ward, to see my mum.. and then, I just feel like crying all over again. I went through so many cups of tea and plum juice at Toastbox to just hide away from mum when I was crying.
I felt this constant stabbing pain in my heart.. Whenever I thought my tears had stopped, and I had gained my composure, my thoughts drifted back again to images of my mum suffering and lying on the hospital bed, my heart ached and the tears just started streaming down again. Those who know me would know though I’m a feeler, I’m no drama queen. I never even knew I could hurt and cry so much.
So many times I have stood alongside friends whose family member suffered from terminal cancer, but NOTHING is like experiencing the news of your own loved ones suffering from terminal illness. I think I only really understand now that I have been through the pain myself.
My mum hadn’t worked since I was born, so we have made so many memories together. I remember the childhood rides on Bus 315 when we used to live in Serangoon North, how she used to pick me up from the PAP kindergarten in the void deck downstairs, how she used to scold me when I couldn’t get Tuesday vs Thursday right.. I was just overwhelmed with so many memories that I would be unable to make with mum once she left us. But I knew, these are useless thoughts. I know, I must be strong for my mum…
(to be continued)
Mum’s Stage 4 Colon Cancer Recovery Journey Series:
The complementary treatments my mum underwent to put her cancer into remission:
- Raw Diet, Vegan Diet and Juice Fast
- Electro Lymphatic Therapy (ELT)
- Colon Hydrotherapy (Colonics)
- Nefful Negative Ion Clothings from Japan
- Saline Flush, Coffee Enema, Wheatgrass Implant, Probiotic Implant
- Vitamin C High Dose IV
- Vitamin B17
- Ozone Therapy
- Insulin Potentiated Therapy (IPT)
- Exercise with Oxygen Therapy (EWOT)
- Breathing and Pilates Classes
The doctor (he lives what he preaches, on 100% raw, vegan diet) who treated my mum, and health educator who transformed the way I look at a “healthy” lifestyle: