The Bitter and the Sweet

Friday, 27 June 2008

June 17th--Andrea arrived more than three weeks ahead of her expected due date of July 11th; our healthy, bawling bundle of a miracle. We were both cleared to go home the next day. The delivery itself was easy (only in hindsight). I was admitted on the morning of the 16th with mild contractions, and we were told that I was already 5cm dilated--committed to labour. Instead of opting to burst the water bag right away as we had done in Brandon's case, Han and I agreed to wait it out overnight to see if active labour would start naturally. When nothing happened till the following afternoon we took Dr Wong's advice to burst the membrane.

Again, I only had entonox as pain relief. Its woozy effect is the same as having too much to drink, only you won't puke afterwards. Andrea was born after 30-40 minutes of mind-boggling pain.

We are thankful that she seems to be healthy overall, with the exception of a slightly jaundiced appearance. She could already lift her head briefly at 7 days, and her fine, spindly fingers are usually wide open instead of being clenched in a fist. She seems to be more alert in the middle of the night.

That's the Sweet.

A few days ago my parents came over to my place to tell Han and me that my mom's cancer is back... This time the cancer cells have settled on her bones. They turned up as ominous black patches on her full body x-rays. The radiologist's report said that there were three spots that were degenerative in nature--one of her shoulders, one hip and a knee. She could be wheel-chair bound permanently.

...

Time suddenly has become cruelly short.

If you know my mom, please don't mention this to her directly if she hasn't already told you herself. She tends to hide these kinds of things. I don't know why she tends to prefer to suffer in silence. But I do ask that you spare some time to say a prayer for her as she prepares to battle the thing that we thought she had already overcome before.

God works in mysterious ways. I can only hope that something tangibly good comes out of this next challenge our family faces.

I cried about it one night. I feel helpless about it all. And I'm afraid that it could happen to me too. Or Han. Or the children... Not knowing whether I would have the strength to cope with such a situation in a dignified manner that can still benefit those around me, as my tendency is to be self-centred and self-pitying. It paralyses the will to do anything at all--which probably is just as destructive, if not more, than the challenge itself.

Han said that all we can do is to live our lives well.

Could it be that simple?

6 Comments

#1Gravatar imageYen says:

Baby Andrea is Beautiful 🙂 I can’t wait to see her next month. And unbeliavable how you managed to do all that with JUST ENTONOX! You are a brave, strong woman, Mich…

I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. Not much in life is really within our control isn’t it. Always unpredictable. But we cannot live in fear for what may or may not happen.

There’s a saying that really helped me through my time working in Oncology, that could be applied to life in general really.
“To cure sometimes, to relief often, to comfort always”.

We can always give comfort. That’s what’s most important.

#2Gravatar imagevvayz says:

No wonder it’s been silent here. Congrats to the both of you on baby Andrea! Sorry to hear about your mom’s condition though…

#3Gravatar imageruach says:

Sorry to hear about your mom’s relapse. 🙁

#4Gravatar imagekOtAk says:

Sorry to hear about your mum’s condition. Hope everything’s ok. Take care 🙁

#5Gravatar imageChristine says:

First and foremost, congratulations on the arrival of baby Andrea.

I’m sorry to hear about your mom. I’ve experienced first hand the challenges cancer can throw to family members. But be strong for God is with you always.

Take care and dwell in Him alone.

#6Gravatar imagesmeagroo says:

It has been awhile since i last came in here. I dont know what made me to drop in here today but I just did.

I too received a pc of bad news today. My cousin a tthe tender age of 35 has been diagnosed with nose cancer. I was numbed for awhile. We have heard of many of such cases but until and unless it happened to some one dear to you, one wouldnt normally think about it. I too share your concerns.

As for your bundle of joy, congrats!

And on behalf of my daughter (ahem) Andrea Lim to the lil Andrea, eat more vege!

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