Sunday, August 26, 2018

3 years ago today. I lost my mom to brain cancer.

At some point in everyone's life we loose a parent. Never in a million years did I think it would be this hard.

July 23, 2015 I found both my parents in
their apartment in a very poor state. My mom had been in bed for 7 days sleeping. No food, no showers no nothing. The brain cancer has put her to bed for 7 days. I had no clue until that night when I got a very broken email from my dad.

My dad emails as he is a mute so its how we communicate. His English in emails is poor being a landed immigrant. But this time his email was gibberish and scared me enough to jump in the car rush across town and find out what was happening.

My parents, more mom was meticulous. Dishes were always put away before bed. Coffee was already ready to go. Place was always spotless. What I found was the opposite.

My father was so weak he could barely speak. He didn't even have energy to stand or hold a bottle of water. in 30 min I got 3 words from him. 1. Mom 2. Bed. 3. Week.

I went to the bedroom and found mom sound asleep. When I woke her she recognized me. She looked ok...but anything I asked she answered " I don't know". The house was in disarray. Food left cooked on the stove from a week ago and it was evident that it has been there a week.  Something wasn't right. I called 2 ambulances because there was no way I could get 2 seniors from the 11th floor to my car. My father was so weak he couldn't stand let alone walk.

Paramedics arrived. Because they were both breathing, not complaining of pain. It appeared of no imminent danger.

I called my wife at work, she came and got Ozzy their dog. My mom did not want to go to the hospital. She knew. She knew she wasn't coming back. I felt it too.

Off to the hospital we went. So here I am in emergency with my dad on the left and mom on the right side by side. Any question they asked my mom she either gave a gravely wrong answer (like date or where she was etc). My dad to weak to talk. My dad has not eaten in 7 days. for 52 years of marriage and even to this day he doesn't cook or feed himself. So he was starving. Lack of fluids. Both ankles swollen from lac of movement, exercise and dehydration.

Within 12 hours they had sent my mom from Cat Scan and a MRI. And gave me the news. That has to be the worst part of being in health care. Telling a person that a family member is dying. She was diagnosed with 25 lesions on her brain, 1 on her adrenal gland, 2 large tumors on her liver. She had no chance. And maybe 1-2 months at best. My dad needed fluids and meds and rehabilitation.

For the next 15 days my dad was on the 4th floor and my mom ironically in the exact same room and bed and hospital staff on the 7th floor where I recovered from brain surgery. She spent 32 of her last 33 in that bed waiting for palliative. Mom was so resistant to going to palliative because she knew.

Dad spent 15 days on the 4th floor. Eventually coming home with us and still remains. My mom spent 1.5 days on palliative. They said she had roughly a week to go but when we were up there the last day I knew. She was given heavy doses of pain medication so she wasn't coherent. The day before she died the last words she spoke ever was to me. She lipped I love you to me. Opened her eyes for a nano second. It was the last time she ever spoke.

When mom was diagnosed alot of things had to be taken care of. We had to empty their apartment making decisions what to keep/sell and donate. We had to take a loan to renovate the basement for my dad to live in. I was spending as much time as I could with my mom. We were taking dad in a wheel chair down to mom and then rushing to the apartment they had to clean it, sell and pack. Then rushing home to gut the basement and find a renovator who eventually ripped us off, ran off with my money and left the place a shithole mess. Not to mention struggling with my own health. With NO HELP FROM NO ONE. NO ONE. It was just me and my wife. It was hard enough loosing a parent in front of my eyes. But getting ripped off by some goof and no help from anyone else was brutal.

My father never had to lift a single finger. He went from living in a furnished apartment to a furnished basement in a month.  Eventually he got better and was able to walk again etc.

For a year I cried everyday missing my mom. I never knew it was going to hurt this much. After 1 year I said to myself I am not going to cry. I was going to turn it into smiles when I thought of her and remember the good times and memories.  Being their only son for the last 16 years proved many things to them and me. That I was the only 1 who took care of them, That I helped them every chance I could and did everything I could and in the end they were very grateful I was in her life.

Sadly I don't think it will happen to me in my final days. Or should I say I hope I am wrong. But I doubt it. My mom in her final month said " DO NOT VISIT me when I am dead. you should have seen me when I was alive". That reigns so true in life. I found out the hard way myself being sick. I am expossible. My health dictates who is really concerned of my welfare. Because I am no longer healthy certain people no longer visit. Yet I am perfectly ok with that. I have never wanted to force anyone to be with me ever. Sometimes friends loss is a lesson not a loss. I am also a strong believer in Karma. In life we are remembered what we do for others not what we had. My mom was at peace with that. When she was cremated she took nothing with her but memories. In life it is about helping others. Being the best version of yourself you can be. I would hate to be remembered as a coward but some people wear that title with ease and pride!

3 years ago I lost my mom today. It was a very hard time in my life. But I look back and as hard as it was. My wife and I were there. No one else. I am proud to say we did it for them and helped them at their time of need and the last 2 decades of their life. when no one else was. My mom died very proud of me ad my accomplishments with my disease and what I have done around the world. The only thing I wish was my mom never seen me suffer. I can't imagine how hard that was for my mom.

I took from my mom to be kind to others, laugh alot. Give everything you got. And don't be a fucking coward in life. My mom died in peace. I plan on doing the exact same thing.  They say to people when they in peace. Why don't we live in peace?

Today is the anniversary of my moms passing. I know for many reading this, that have lost a loved one how hard it is. I am so glad I was there for her. And now my dad.

Miss you mom,

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