Monday, December 31, 2007

My sister's gone

Y was the second of the 12 of us, a mother of 6 aged between 15 to 5, a doting wife, a daughter, an auntie to many nieces and nephews and also a teacher. She was 44.

Before I move on, let me share a conversation that one of the kids, a 10-year-old had with his father, just after the funeral.

Father: You know that now mama is gone, we won't be able to see her again (he was just testing)
Kid: Yes, I will heaven (all of us smiled)
Father: But in heaven, all of us would be the same...there will be no mother, son, daughter (not sure of the truth of this, I just relate what I heard)
Kid: I would remind her that I'm his son.
Father: What if you too are reborn as 18-year-olds, mama must be pretty as an 18-year-old, and you must be really handsome, what if she tries to tackle you
Son: I would remind her again, and again that I'm her son....

All of us laughed at that, and we knew that though the last two weeks before her death was very emotional and tiring, we just accepted the fate that she's gone to meet the Creator, just like all of us one day.

She had Colon Cancer. The first diagnose was only about two weeks before her death. First we were told that there was a tumor in the right colon, we visited her in Kuantan (where she and the family lived) right after the diagnose. What I heard from my bro-in-law was not really clear. He said the surgery to remove it was scheduled on the 18th of Dec. When asked about the results of scans that were done earlier, if it was cancerious, he said no but he mentioned about a chemo that was supposed to follow after the surgery.

I tried to talk to any of the specialists at the HTAA through calls from KL but to no avail. My sister was getting weak as the symptons getting worse, she was getting less food and liquid. I tried to get BIL to agree to shift to other hospital, for second opinion as I think to wait for the 18th is just too long, her condition was deterioriting and she might not be fit for the surgery at the end. And also we try to look for anywhere that has a cancer unit, to prepare for treatments that might take time after the surgery. But he just kept quiet.

Up to this stage we had not been informed that what she had was malignant as all was explained to my BIL (who for some reasons remained silent), until the MO in the ward asked her (with the presence of my eldest sister) if she could accept that she had the disease. We figured out that that was serious and finally we just accepted that it was cancer.

The word cancer was like a death sentence for the rest of the family but I remained positive. I tried to talk to specialist to one private hospital in Kuantan but I was passed to talk to a doctor from HTAA who was doing part-time there. I was frustrated but listened to him anyway. He mentioned that in this case, staging was normally done after the surgery.

BIL finally agreed to move my sister to other hospital but insisted that by that time it was too late for the surgery to be done elsewhere.

It was really emotionally draining to me to think about battling cancer, having to go through what I had for the past 5 years but for the family I remained positive. Over and over I explained to them that people could get cured, and lived many years with cancer. And i prepared for any outcome.

Y was getting weaker, surgery day came without the surgery as she no longer was fit for it. She was devastated and asked to be moved to Kelantan right away.

And finally the family managed to speak to the speacialist (who only talked to my BIL before). From him, we knew that she was at the advanced stage and he had given her a year to live.
I was in my room in the office, and I heard all that from my eldest sister who talked between sobs. She said she could not looked at Y as she was still talking about hope, to get second opinion somewhere and talked about holistic treatment.

Later, it just happened that the specialist was in the ward and one sister passed the phone to him. I asked him how he'd decided on the stage as from my understanding it would be done after the surgery. He said Y's case was already at the advanced stage where the cancer had spread to the liver, and they could see it in the CAT scan (that was done two weeks before that). I knew right away that only BIL was made to be aware of this, and chose not to tell us. The doc said he never thought that my sister's condition deteriorated that fast. I was not satisfied with a lot of things, especially on the late date of the surgery, on my worry of her condition might prevent her from getting the surgery done, my BIL attitude and Y's attitude on taking the light symptons that she had since Ramadhan as nothing etc. But I just could not say more as the doc explained, the surgery was just to remove the tumor and her condition might get worse due to it, she might be supported by the machine after that and not recover. He mentioned the the word "retgressive surgery". In other words, she has no hope and again mentioned about the one year to live. The last time a doc said something similar: 24 hours for my BIL, he died barely 10 minutes later.

I was drifting somewhere else but I still coud hear he said I better come back to see her.

Y was moved to HKB instead of HUSM, as we were told the specialist there was on leave. I drove with the kids with a niece and my brother to first Kemaman to fetch hubby who worked there, and later to Kelantan. It was drizzling, everyone else asleep when I got a call from my eldest sister. She said the doc in HKB was more transparent, she showed her the scan image and explained, even with only a small white dot on the liver, they already called it Stage 4, Y had 'clouds' all over it. She said "Your sister is dying". For the first time, I cried and despite me being positive all the while, I knew that we were losing her.

Eid was a sombre day, upon seeing me Y asked me to massage her hand, later her feet. I talked to other doc in other hospital in KL, just to put a closure to it just before I could accept the fact that nothing could be done except for prayers, or if anything that we should do might change things even a little bit. One oncologist said there must be earlier symptons and my sister might just ignored it, even if we forced her upon knowing the symptons during Ramadhan, it was already too late for her. And even if she survided the surgery, chemo would made her suffer more. He assured me that if she went to the doc. a year earlier, there was some hope left.

The next day, at about 8 pm she said she was going to sleep and she wanted it to be quiet. I let my kids saw her, and I told her that we were leaving (with the other guests). I looked at her face, I squeezed her hand I just knew it would be the last time. For the first time in my life, I saw a look on my father's face that I never saw before. He looked lost and tired.

We went home, according to mom Y said she wanted to sleep over and over. Mom said just go ahead, nobody there accept for her and one uncle and it was just quiet. She complained of some pain, the nurse called a doc and she was given some medication, I believe that was some drug to paralyse her, as she said she could not feel her feet after that. Y called out for my father, and when it was almost near, some of other family members gathered around her. My father said the "Syahadah" over and over at her ears. She's gone holding his hand. He had the experiences of being by the sides of dying people, saying the "kalimatullah" many times, I could only imagine his feeling doing it to his own daughter.

The next day, I helped in bathing her. I cleaned her toes and feet with images of my vibrant sister when she was alive in my mind. I remember during Hari Raya, she complained about bloated tummy, winds, nausea (all of these are the symptons), we joked that she might be pregnant. I will continue to pray for her and the wonderful kids she left. The number of visitors who came to pay their last respect exceeded the number of guests during her wedding.

We were not satisfied with how she had faced all the symptons, brushing them as nothing serious. We know she was a busy mom, putting others interest ahead of hers. We had grouses over BIL but now we stopped asking the why's and the if's, we have accepted everything.

For the kids, they have huge families from both sides and they are welcome anywhere. We discussed that we try not to separate them, and the best for them is the live near the father.
And to me the memory of my sister lives on, she is now with our little brother who were only with us for 2 short days.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Good time on concert day

It happened on a Saturday a few weeks ago. I only got to know that Bea2 was supposed to be in Chinese costume on Thursday afternoon. Thought I would try to look for it in Jusco during Friday lunchtime, but it would be unlikely to have that at this time of the year. Called someone in the morning, didn't expert to be offered to borrow from her. Got a very nice dress during lunchtime.

Since Bea1 was doing Malay, I decided to just settle for last raya's baju kurung. Tried to make do of things that we already hae, those ribbons are from a gift. I was glad that I didn't have to go out for anything, and the girls just looked great to me. Well, the shoes do not match but what matters most is they had a good time.

It was such a rush in the morning as normally school starts at 9, but for the concert we had to be an hour earlier. I was almost konked out once I got the seat but the sight of those beautiful kids, all on the stage, singing the welcome song was kind of rejuvenating.

They are beautiful, and two of them are mine;)

Bea3 made her own performance on the floor, shifting attention from those who sat in front to her. Adel napped as usual, the concert was not a big deal to him. I know hubby tried to stay awake, but I caught him falling asleep.

Had a nice lunch provided by the school afterwards, headed home, got some rest, went to Ikea, had dinner there and came back with an Ekorre moose.

Pic from the Ikea website
This entry is done mainly to show one of my wonderful readers (as if I have many...hehe) that Bea2 just looked great in her kid's dress;).

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Finally, the girls' own beds!

I was pretty sure that I wanted the white Minnen for the the elder girls but the price made Mrs Kedekut cringed, and waited and waited for some money to fall from the sky before deciding to buy.
However, Vikare is always another option. Kind of decided on those extendabale beds as we also already have one, an ugly one made of steel. Was on heavily discounted price during a sale, and as I suspected it was discontinued after that. It is a good bed, pretty strong compared to our rickety wooden queen bed (you figure out why, ok *wink*).

But again, Vikare is also priced about the same.
Until a few hours ago. We were at the Ikea, went there very late just to get out of the house and have a light supper. As always I must go to the As Is to look for some bargain.

Hubby and Bea3 went to the cafe near the check-out while me and the rest headed to As Is. There I saw two Vikare and upon seeing the price, I put on the fighting mode to get them already. There was a young couple with a teenager and elderly lady, inspecting one of them, measuring, discussing. I didn't need all that, just with some expression on my face I kind of persuaded and convinced them that we needed the beds more than they do. Called hubby, he instantly agreed. He surely did as we kind of tired of our current sleeping arrangement.

Before the arrival of Adel, we made do with the ugly extendable bed pushed close to the queen bed. A bit uncomfortable but we were ok that way. And the whole family have been sleeping in the kids room. Instead of letting the kids to 'leave' the parents room, my idea was it might be easier for them if we, one day move out instead. Now it is a bit herrandous, I sleep with Adel in the other room on a single daybed. Sometimes, the girls would look for mama, and other times mama has to go back and fourth during sleepless nights. Not to mention about the nights when they have too much water/drinks, I'm just tired of having to clean the big cover, matress pad and the bedsheet.

I prayed that I didn't have to leave Ikea with only one of them, think the family sensed the "kiasuism" in me, and moved away from the bed. The staff helped us to the check-out, hubby suggested that we made use of the delivery fee to get anything else. He tried to get me to agree with the extendable Norden table (yup, we are still without a proper dining table), but Mrs Undecisive said a firm "No". Besides, it was about 15 minutes to closing time. I'm glad with the delivery service we didn't have to dissemble the beds.

Pic are from the ikea website.

They will be home on Wednesday. Up till now, we still can't decide if the girls are ready to be on their own, or maybe the parents who have the problem;). We will fix the ugly bed to the smallest size, and try to get all the 3 kids beds with the big one in one room (maybe later with a baby cot). Hopefully finally, we will be in the same room again till the girls decided to kick the parents (and the little brother) out of their room...hehe!

The challenge now is to convince Bea3 that the ugly bed is for her, as it comes with guardrails. The elder girls also asked for "Princess" theme for the room *headache*. I would get dizzy with everything in pink!

Oh, I forgot to mention about the price. For the two beds (that need a little cleaning), and two mattresses, it came to RM374, and not even a price of one Minnen, without the mattress. Mr and Mrs Kedekut are on cloud nine! And I could hear from the other room, Bea1 said she loved to have her own bed.

And again, I'm not paid to write this...I'm just a self-claimed Ikea freak!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

A day full of memories

I'm not sure of what to call this, ironic maybe. Reading this entry fromSimon reminded me of Guns N' Roses. I did it yesterday just before signing off from work, I got a little nostalgic, memories came flooding my mind.

I wrote a comment, about how me and a friend found 5 stray kittens near the residential college kitchen, took them home (I mean the room), spent RM20 that was supposed to be for pizza (back then, we could get pizza delivered to our door with that amount) at some veterinary clinic as one of them was just too sick. I named all of them after the 5 members of Guns N' Roses. My friend cringed at that, though. Dizzy died (not Izzy as I wrote in Simon's), and she blamed it for the bad name.

While driving to the babysitter's, my mind wandered and I just could not figure out who that friend was. All I knew, we had been losing contact for a long time. Suddenly, an sms came and i saw a message from another friend, let's call her M, cursing me for being quiet for some time. I called her, we talked and she mentioned that ahe had 'discovered' a long lost friend, J and gave me her number. It was still vague but I thought she was the one.

I just could not wait to talk to her. After fixing dinner, I mean by giving a call to McD Delivery;) I quietly sneaked into the room with only Adel and gave my friend a call.

We were like two teenagers, giggling throughout the conversation. Though little arguments could not be avoided. It has been 13 years, we agreed with that. She cabut to pursue medicine in India during the 3rd year, while I almost made up my mind to stay and take geology. I remember farewell hugs but we didn't really vow to keep in touch. M who works in one hospital found her name in a website, and managed to locate her.

She confirmed she was the one who was dragged to SS2, PJ to look for a clinic for the sick kittens named after G n' R.

We summarised that 13 years of our lives, I'd rather say hers is more interesting, moving from one place to another. She said mine was not so bad, and was surprised that I'm also a doc. Told her, Doktor Batu is nothing compared to the one who saves lives. She said she was ok with the thought of me taking geology, but kind of hard to believe that I had the courage to pursue PhD, become an educator and the most shocking is how fast I 'multiply' (I mean the 4 kids;)).

She now owns a clinic, only about 15 minutes drive away, so of course we have plan to meet up. She is still single, and looking. Told him, I'm sure there are a lot of other single doctors out there, they are just too busy. She argued, saying that the only single doctor she knew was Sheikh, the astronout!

Anyway, back to G n' R, I never thought I would be an avid fan but I remember one afternoon back home in Kelantan. I was listening to Cassey Cassem "American Top 40", Sweet Child of Mine came at number 26 for the year if I'm not mistaken 1986. That was before my brothers influenced me with Sepultura and Sodom;). I bought all of the albums, and since they were the only band that my friends could tumpang listening (ok lah, maybe only a few of their more famous songs), I kind of sticked to them for a while.

And I'd say, I just listened without bothering much about their lyrics sometimes. Now, that makes me wonder, when it comes to a similar situation with my growing kids, how do I explain that. Well, just I just cross the bridge when I reach it.

My friend also reminded me of Kromok, a few local guys who made it big in Sydney during the early 90s. They were a bunch of engineering students in Woolongong Uni. They were famous for a while especially for their Ulek Mayang tune, think I went to one of their gigs in KL. I talked to two of them on a radio interview, that created a huge hooha among my friends. Tried to look for something in the net about them, but nothing is found.

That's a lot of memories in one day.