What a crazy 24hrs that has gone past.
OK. The story goes a lil something like this...
My mother has been fighting cancer furiously for the last 7 yrs and unfortunately at 2pm yesterday(Wednesday) cancer won.
Its not like she didn't put up a good fight, as she was always in good spirits and maybe to her downfall, never let anyone let on too much how she was really feeling(pain wise). Always with a smile and telling everyone everythings ok.
This all started back in 2000 just after she got back from the Sydney olympics with a tumor in her right breast the size of a 50 cent coin(which originally started as a 10 cent size then the following day a 20 cent then 50 cent. I always found this very suspicious). After the inital shock and having some sort of hope of them actually getting it early, with enough radium/chemo, an operation to remove the cancerous tumor and to remove her right lymph node all looked good.
There were ups and downs, she had to travel initally to Brisbane, her body reacted badly to the chemo treatments so they opted for radium treatment, her lungs got burnt by it and she had to go on steriods to recover from it. While she was trying to getting better and not receiving chemo, it was actually giving the cancer(what was left) some breathing space. The damage done in this 7-8mth period of not receiving chemo was to be the worse(I only found about this 10 mins ago).
She was lethargic, the steriods had there own side effects, as mom had received a small amount of chemo her hair was falling out as well. Of all the things I remember, this troubled her most.
I still can't get over how tough and resilent she was about the whole thing and this troubled her most? Wow, so her wig collection built up and I reassured her that she didn't need them. Everything was going well, her lungs were healing, her tumor markers were down, but because of the removal of her right lymph node her right arm was susceptable to anything, a cut could bleed and bleed, a bruise would take a long while to fade and if a mosquito bit her if could infect her arm with anything and her arm could not fight back. Her body was also dealing with the huge amount of steriods that she had to take as well, there was major swelling everywhere and this also impacted on her arm. She had to wear a tight full arm length pressure bandage to stop the swelling of her arm, her hands and feet became itchy and painful. Which in turn made it hard for her to walk and to write/user her hands.
This carried on for a cpl of years, with a few hospital visits here and there, a lil scare every now and then and more chemo/radium. But she actually became more busier then I had known her to be. She arranged for the Cairns Chinese Association to enter the "Relay For Life". Which is a fundraiser to raise funds for Cancer treatment and prevention. I had this joined this every year, filling in spots in between working at the restaurant and djing in the wee hours. She also helped the Chinese Association with documenting and archiving, chinese historical artifacts found in the North QLD region. On top of all this she was also helping my grandfather who had also taking a turn for the worse with his ups and downs as well(I was his cab driver for good 8-10mths as well which made for pleasent early morning fun).
By early '04 she was looking really good, she had stopped the full blown chemo(oral only), the tumour markers were down, she had some hair and she didn't have much pain(that i know of) at all. Early 05 things changed. The cancer had sparked up again and this time it was in her bones(her spine to be exact), it was slowly eaten her bones away and the broken peices of bone were floating in the spinal cord and causing her some serious pain. Her pain threshold went up and she took it on the chin, the problem with it being in her bones is they cannot treat it at all, only try to slow it down. Another hard period.
After a year of more treatment, her not slowing down with her everyday lifestyle and her great positive outlook on life things were lookign good again. During this time I also moved to Melbourne, given her full blessing of course.
06' rolls around and my parents go back to the motherland: China. She had enough strength to survive the 3 week journey without being too weak/tired, find the small provinces where both my parents families originated from and to climb the great wall. It's so amazing and gobsmacking that this took place. They almost didn't go as their flight was set to go the week after the big Cyclone hit the Nth Qld coast hard and about 20-30% of my fathers crop was destroyed. He was one of the lucky ones, if you were in the main Banana population of Innisfail/Tully, 100% of all crops were wiped out.
The journey must've taken a lil bit of a toll on her body as she was very lethargic when she got back. Somewhere during this time, she told myself and my sister that the cancer had spread to the brain lining in her head, so initially it could have spread to her brain. Another hard period indeed, but the funny thing is that she actually learnt this back in 2001 and hadn't even bothered to tell us(Dad knew). I'm not mad at all, it's just the way she was, not wanting to make people bother too much. Crazy, I know.
I travelled back home quite a few times in the last 12 mths(for holidays/djing e.t.c.), so it was great to see her everytime and hangout at every chance I could get. Everytime not letting me know how bad she was actually getting.
Around September this year she informed me that it had spread to her liver and as there was no where for this liquid to go, it started to swell up in her stomach region. It was causing her some discomfort bu pushing on certain internal organs. The doctors could not remove all of the fluid as it contained specific proteins that the body needed and if it was to be all removed, then these proteins would be taken from her bones, so essentially her body eating itself. She had lost alot of weight and her appetite had dimished rapidly as well.
This brings us to a week ago, she went in for the fluid to be removed, everything was going fine, we talked about me visiting at xmas time, she sounded great. I rang a cpl days later and she was still in hospital with a lil bit of pain coming from her liver and back. By Sunday I was informed(she was stil her perky self) that she would last only about 6 mths. Jaundas had set in as her Liver was shutting down, but everyone still remained positive as she was to go on some new medication that would help her. I was looking at getting a flight back within the next 2 weeks as i felt a cold coming on and by this time she had no immune system, so if i visited her with influenza, it would kill her.
I called on Monday to see how it was, still again she sounded good, she was walking around, eating her own meals(not much of, but she didn't need help) and i informed her of my flight arrangements. She sounded very happy at this and I also let her know that if she ever needed me to be there, to let me know and I would be there in a second(I had told her this before, I wanted to give her positive reinforcement that i would alwyas be there for her).
Monday night was a bad night for her, as her pain incresed ,she refused extra morphine(she liked sticking to her regimented routine, her next dose was set on tuesday morning) and by Tuesday she was in a bad way. The doc's administered alot of medication and she was very drowsy. I called and she didn't even remember me calling. But once again she thought she would get through this and this wasn't any cause for alarm.
Tuesday rolls round and at 11am I receive a call from the head nurse stating that "I don't know if Mum will last the next 24 hrs...". Who the fuck gets that type of call at work. I'm guessing that this happens a bit, but coming from Sunday which was a shock of "6-months" to 2 days later "24 hrs". How does one react to this? I can't even describe it.
So I book the first flight out of Melbourne back home (5:45pm via Sydney, which gets me in at 10:50pm), hightail it out of work and head home to pack and try to deal with this shit. Which is drinking Pimms straight(only alcoholic beverage in house) and playing guitar hero to keep my mind of things while waiting for this godforsaken late ass flight. I call Dad at about midday to let him know my flight details and he puts me onto Mum, who can't even speak at this stage, I tell her how much I love her and to pls hold on as long as she can as I will be there very soon. Dad let me know that he could see the recognition in her face and her will to try to reply to me.
2:35pm, I get the call from my father that no one wants to hear. "Mum passed away half an hour ago".
I can't write anymore.
My beautiful girlfriend Emma will be here soon and to all my friends and family who have/will support me through this tough time I want to thankyou, as if you were in my shoes I would want you to feel the same support.
I love you mum. You mean the world to me.
R.I.P - Teresa Mary Wah Day
T-Pain - Calm The Fuck Down
I don't know how , but for some reason the chorus kept me level headed this last 24hrs, the calm the fuck down bit.