Miriam Santiago and the Big C and thoughts on mortality


It has been ages since I wrote a very personal post and let me tell you why.

For the past few months, I have been confronted with mortality.

My mom-in-law and uncle died two weeks apart and on the day of my dad's first death anniversary, Toxie, my dog, died.

I know.  I am at an age where people my parents' age are dying one by one.  I know one day, someday,  I will be seeing friends in the obituary, and that makes me feel scared.

Fearful of what will happen if I unexpectedly go...

Paano na ang blogs ko?

Just kidding. But my cousin is right ha.  She is an anesthesiologist with those words of wisdom na sapul na sapul like the line na "we are more than half of our life span" which makes me fearful.  Come on, I want to take care of my grandchildren.  I look forward to growing old with the Vince.  I look forward to witnessing my Adrian discovering a serum to stop cancer cells from growing! I want to be a part of the biggest French resto operated by Nicole.  I want to see Paula be a doctor!

Kaya nga if these kids say I wanna die, hayy, I wanna kick them silly.

But wait, this is supposed to be about Miriam and her cancer, right?

I like her approach.  If I were in her place, I would be bawling my heart out and lashing at all the people feeling sorry for me.

But you know what, it is scary when death is so real. I feel so sorry for Adrian for having to go to wakes because older relatives are going one by one.

I have a co-worker, Ate N., who is such a healthy, happy person, who turned out to have Stage 4 Lung Cancer.  I cannot imagine the pain her children is going through.

I am taken back to the day I found my mom was sick and won't be getting any better.

You know when people leave the hospital so cheerful and happy because the patient is well?

With my mom, I left the hospital with dread.

She was diagnosed a day after Christmas of having falx meningioma, a big tumor on top of her head.  Now this tumor grows soo slow, affects women at around age 40, and usually has no symptoms.  With my mom, she probably had it in her head for around 20 years, and it only affected her when it became too big that it put a pressure on her head.

When I found out she had brain tumor and it will affect her mobility,sight and cognition, I cried.

I dreaded the day when she will not recognize me...

So every single day, I asked her if she knows me.

and every day, she tells me my name...

It was difficult watching her.  The doctor said she will have five years, wherein her sight and mobility will be affected unless she will be operated on.

But she was frail.  My dad won't have her operated even if I wanted to. The doctor said there will come a time when the cancer will try to take over the body and this may be the time.

So I see her standing up, leaning against the table and closing her eyes, because maybe, her brain failed to signal her muscles to sit down.

I see her bloated from the steroids, sleepy in the morning when she used to be up.

I see her being a shell of her former self.

And I take to crying.

And a month after she was diagnosed, she went.

It has been seven years and there is no single day that I don't think of her.

I look at my son who is now nine and feel bad that Lola has not seen him grow up.  \

She must be really proud of Paula, who insisted that she slept beside mom even if she was sick na.

She would love Nicole and her voice.  They used to vocalize with that Juanita Banana thing when Nicole was around three or four.

I would have asked her how her childhood was, her family history, stuff I failed to ask her because she was busy.

I would have told her I love her every single hour...

Teka lang, I was supposed to write about Miriam and the Big C! On the next post na lang.