Monday, March 11, 2019

Breast Cancer Claimed Another Beautiful Soul

My mother when she was only 19 years old
February 12, 2019 at 9:55 am, one month ago today, my mother lost her battle with Breast Cancer. We were with her when she breathed her last.

Her cancer has spread to her hip bones which gave her so much pain with the slightest movement. I cared for her every day, kept her company, fed her through the tube in her belly, changed her diaper, watched TV with her and responded to her questions even if it was no longer in line with reality. I checked her blood pressure and oxygen saturation levels at regular times during the day.

I even argued with her when she asked for coffee. She was not allowed to have anything by mouth, because of the risk of aspiration. I just told her she'd have coffee when she was well enough to sit up.

Five days before she passed, Mama lapsed into a coma. She was no longer responding, no longer complaining of pain, no more struggling every time I had to change her diaper. She started getting a high fever, which did not go back to normal even with anti-pyretic medications. 

Then I noticed her oxygen saturation level was dropping. It went down to 84%. I told my sisters and brother that it was not a good sign. Her blood pressure was on the low side too. The following morning, my brother bought two medical oxygen tanks, a regulator and cannula. We immediately set it up to get some oxygen into her lungs. I took a reading after a few hours and her oxygen saturation went back up to an acceptable 95%. Mama's vital signs were stable the whole night. I then went home to attend to my own family.

At 5:00 am of February 12, my sister called me and told me that she took Mama's oxygen levels and it was down to 72% despite having oxygen supplementation. I rushed back to Mama's house and stayed with her. My sister started making calls to my aunts and cousins. Mama was slipping.

I sat on the couch beside her bed and turned on the TV. I then noticed that Mama's respiratory rate was getting slower. There was a long pause between breaths and I shouted, "Mama!" I took her vital signs again. She had high fever, her blood pressure was down to 80/50 and her oxygen saturation was 46%

My sisters and I held her. We knew it was time. Mama took her last breath at 9:55 in the morning. I thought I was prepared for this. In reality, I was not. No one is ever prepared for a loved one's passing.

I will miss my Mama for as long as I live. 

I will miss her cooking. 

I will miss our lively conversations about politics, college sports, current events and showbiz scandals. 

I will miss seeing her cuddle and kiss her great-grandson. 

I will miss everything about Mama.

I will seek comfort in the thought that she is now together with my Daddy. Mama has gone to a happier place, with no more pain and suffering. She is with God and with all her loved ones who have gone before her.

I love you Mama. I love you Daddy. Please do watch over us always.

No goodbyes. Just "See you again sometime" and "Till we meet again."


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