On Mom’s Cancer

This journal entry was originally written last March 7, 2021.

She lost a lot of weight since we went to the oncologist 4 days ago. Her cheekbones were already visible. Her eyes were so deep. She’s so dark and her hair was oily because she does not have enough strength to take a bath. It sucks to see mom like that, especially for a person who takes a bath for more than an hour. 


I told her to be stronger because she will take her chemo in a couple of days. Then she dropped it. She does not want to take medications anymore. She told us that she’s not stopping the fight but for her to undergo chemo again given that Liver Cancer is hard to treat is no longer practical. 


I did not expect that. I was hopeful for the chemo treatment and the shrinking of her tumors for a potential liver resection. But that’s her body. That’s her journey. That’s her fight, not ours. This is the decision which is difficult to fathom and digest. And it’s not even anyone’s decision to make. It’s hers. 


After that, my dad and I had this heart to heart talk. He cried. It feels like 2018 again, when mom was first diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer, which she survived for 2 years. My dad accepted mom’s fate except the suffering that goes along with this fucking disease. He is the caregiver. He can see mom’s pain all the time, while I just have nightmares about it. Dad is super strong. 


That’s what I don’t want to see. Her suffering. In 2018, I prayed that if God will take my mom, let it be quick. Like a heart attack. Or death while sleeping. I know fucking cancer. It’s hideous. It’s horrible. It will literally eat you from the inside out til your are just bones, sores and skin. It will take your jolly good life away. But again, there’s no easy way to die. But the body knows how to. 


People would say “spend time with her”. I have a different relationship with my mom. I am generally an awkward person and opening up to her, being sweet is just unnatural. I usually have deep convos with my dad. Mom and I would often shout at each other on the phone, but that’s a normal thing to do. That’s how we talk. Mom knows I don’t want to see her like that. I don’t even need to tell her. Or anyone. My cousin told me that the last time she had a convo with mom, she told him that Darby doesnt want to see me like this. I never even told her that. But that’s maternal instinct. 


Earlier, before I left the house, I said goodbye to my grandma. She was 80 something. I stopped counting because she’s a badass and she’s ageless. She was a survivor too. Stage 3B Cervical Cancer. She survived the 5-year mark. She’s strong as fuck! She told me that she’s praying for my mom, that I don’t have to worry about her and that everything is going to be ok. It was a comforting situation, but in all honesty, it’s not going to be alright. And it’s fine. It’s fine that way.  Who says things should always be alright? Nothing is alright in this world right now but it’s ok. And that is comforting. That all of us are suffering right now. And ironically, that’s beautiful. Suffering and pain allows us to grow. It allows us to be alive and experience this beautiful human experience. I am more alive now more than ever. Life is ironic. 


Whatever you are feeling right now, wherever you are, whatever problems you are facing, you are not alone.