To The World's Best Mother

My mother was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in September 2009. She had been visiting doctors for her symptoms but none could diagnose her cancer. It was during ramazan in 2009 that she had a terrible pain in her lower abdomen which led to a colonoscopy and biopsy being done. One thing led to another. I have no words to describe how I felt when I learned that my mother has cancer. My whole existence was shaken. My mother has cancer? This reality was really difficult to sink in. Somehow it became really difficult to accept that my mother has been diagnosed with this illness. The denial continued for many weeks.

She underwent surgery and started chemotherapy. She got a total of 28 sessions of chemotherapy during a span of almost 3 years. I was there with her during all the chemo sessions. I was there with her during all the scans. I was with her all the time. I had just completed my studies and I devoted all of time looking after mum. Those years were filled with an obsession to keep mum alive and help her fight off her disease. Things weren't bad in the beginning. She did have some side effects of chemo like hair loss but she started putting on weight and started looking healthier. She actually gained 12kgs during her chemo sessions. I thought of it as a very big achievement. But inside her body nothing was going right. The cancer was progressing as expected. The doctors tried various medicines but all of them failed. Her cancer was slowly spreading to her lungs and adrenal glands. It was already in her lymph nodes when she was diagnosed with it. When she started getting physically better then she insisted me to take up some job as she knew how ambitious I was. She disliked the fact that I am staying at home all because of her. I tried to explain that I myself want to stay at home to look after her but that made her even more depressed. So I took up job for a couple of months in Dubai. Those few months were probably the best phase of our lives after mum's diagnoses. We used to eat out at her favourite restaurants every friday. We used to go out for movies regularly. We used to go out a lot for shoppings and long walks. We had endless conversations about everything. She was full of life. She was happy then. I was happy at work so that made her even more happy that I actually enjoyed my work and workplace co workers. Every weekend was devoted to going out with mum. I wanted to make the most of it since I didn't know for how long things would continue this way. I knew everything about her illness's progress. I didn't want to accept the fact that she won't be here for long. I had firm faith in Allah that He would make things right.

But our happiness was short lived. My dad resigned and we had to come back to out homeland in September 2011. Things started getting worse the moment we came here. No body was there for our support. My mum and I visited many oncologists here but all refused to take her case. It was when a female oncologist was ready to take her case, we started her chemotherapy here. But then other issues arose. Her weight started declining at a rapid pace. She started getting agitated and restless all the time. She was sad and depressed. She had been very optimistic since her diagnoses but it had changed into pessimism. We had severe financial issues so we didn't keep a maid or anything and I started doing everything on my own. This took up a lot of my time. Then weekly chemo's and visit to the doctor's and tests made her very tired and irritable. She got gastro enteritis in February 2012. Had to be admitted in the hospital for 10 days. She became very weak after that. But then I thought gradually things will improve and she will put on weight just like before. I never lost hope. But Allah had something else in store for us.

On 9th of April 2012 she complained of severe headache. We had her visit to her oncologist scheduled and she asked us to get her admitted immdiately and get an MRI done. On 11th of April the tests revealed she has multiple cancer lesions in the brain. I devastated by the new but I still thought maybe a miracle could still save her. It was her birthday on 15th of April. She said she doesn't want to celebrate it in the hospital and asked us to wait for her discharge. A minor surgery was done on 17th of April to place a shunt in her brain to reduce the edema caused by pressure by the lesions. It was after the surgery that mum's oncologist called us (My uncle, brother and I) and broke the terrible news that my mum doesn't have a lot of time to live. Just 2 or 3 months or maximum 6. I was too stunned to react. I couldn't cry in front of mum. She was too weak to handle the news. My mum wasn't ready to die anyway. So I acted normal in front of her but my tears just wouldn't stop when I wasn't near her. I still had hope. I wasn't ready to accept that my mum would leave us so soon. Then her radiation started and some of the symptoms of brain cancer went away. But then radiation had its own side effects and she had to be admitted again after only 3 days of stay at home. We brought her a dress and cake on mother's day. She was still in the hospital and we didn't want to wait till she got discharged. She got discharged after a couple of days when radiation ended. But then depression started settling in. She was always agitated and refused to eat , refused to go out with us, refused to do everything we said. She wasn't happy. She knew she was dying and she wasn't ready for it. She had many dreams which she had to fulfill. The biggest was to attend her kids wedding.
After a couple of weeks she had fits and had to be re admitted again. She didn't act normal for 3 days and doctors said this was case of epilepsy and this is being caused by cancer in her brain. The neurologist gave her medicines and she got better but developed chest infection in the hospital. The doctor gave her anti biotics and discharged her. That was the last time I saw my mum walk on her own. After getting discharged she became too weak to walk or even get up from bed. It used to take 2 hours just to eat a bit of lunch. Then one morning I woke her in the morning for breakfast and noticed she was unable to speak properly. We rushed to the emergency and she had to be re admitted again. This was on 2nd of July. Her last admission in the hospital. The next day n/g tube had to be put in and she developed severe cough. X rays revealed she had pneumonia. I turned 24 on 4th of July. Mum still couldn't speak properly but she still tried. I told her on the day of my birthday that it's my birthday today so she wished me happy birthday multiple times. She couldn't get up from bed to hug me so she ran her hand on my head. I couldn't hug her properly as there were a lot of things attached to her but I got near her as much as I could. I spent the whole day crying and praying for my mum's health. I had been praying a lot since her diagnoses and even before that. Then in the evening my brother got cake and I cut it a midst a lot of tears. I still wasn't ready to accept that this would be my last birthday with her. I was still waiting for a miracle. Things started getting deteriorating fast after that. Doctors told me she is on supportive and there isn't much they can do. Then she completed stopped speaking but used to move a bit. She did try to follow doctor's command when they used to ask her to open her mouth and all. But by then the doctor's suspected she is losing her eye sight. She was unable to speak so there were many questions left unanswered. By sunday 8th of July she had completely stopped moving. The doctors said she was in a semi comatose state. I was still waiting for a miracle. I used to stay in the hospital all the time with her. Then on 10th of July my brother stayed with me too. He said he wanted to. We stayed awake the whole night to monitor the blood oxygen levels since it had gone dangerously down that night. I offered my prayers in the morning and still prayed for a miracle. I just couldn't accept that my mum's end was near. The previous night we spoke to mum a lot. She had opened her eyes for the last time. May be she could hear us so we told her she was the world's best mother. We told her we loved her immensely and all we want is to get her back again just the way she was. We said if there is something we did that hurt her then please forgive us.

On 11th of July her pulse started falling. I informed the doctors and they said her pulse is coming back to normal and it had been high before. Then it was time for changing her bed sheets and clothes. It was then that the nurse noticed the pulse had gone. She rushed to call the doctor and all the staff came in with injections and all. I was too scared to look so I started praying. After a couple of minutes I looked up at my mum and doctors trying hard to revive her. Then they stopped. My brother asked what happened. The doctor said she is dead.

I don't have words to describe what I went through when I heard that. I had been dreading that moment but it was there staring at my face. I kept on screaming and crying and calling out mum's name. I just wouldn't let go of her body and tried hard to wake her up. But she didn't budge. I stayed with her body till the end. The shock was too much bear. Seeing my mother's lifeless face and body was too much too bear. The cancer had ruined my mother. She used to be a beautiful person with a smile on her face all the time but cancer took all of that away. I still cannot forget that moment and that day. I wasn't ready to let go of her when men were taking her for the burial. I wasn't able to accept the fact that this was the last time I would be seeing her. I kissed her one last time on her forehead before she was taken away. I remember her forehead being extremely cold.

It's been two weeks now. Every day that passes is none less than a nightmare for me. I still call out her name in the morning when I wake up. Its been a habit since many years. But then it hits me she won't answer and she won't come looking back for me upon hearing my voice. Everything reminds me of her. I cry a lot but even crying doesn't make me feel better. Nothing will ever make me feel better. Nothing can compensate this loss. There will always be emptiness inside. The gap can never be filled. She just wasn't my mother, she was my world. My day started and ended by looking at her loving face. But its no more there. After almost 3 years of battle, I am left empty handed. I have nothing except her memories and belongings.
Jul 25, 2012