Dealing with the Illness of a Parent

by Claudia Cabrera

Drawing of Claudia's Mother

In El Salvador

I want to share with you, one hard experience that I'm living. It started in March 1996. It was the time we were planning to come to the United States. One day my mother went with my sisters to the U.S. immigration in our country because they had to take out their passports. I didn't go with them because that day I had a test at school.

When I arrived at home, my sisters were there but my mother and my older sister weren't. When I asked for them, my sisters told me that they had gone to the doctor because my mother didn't feel well. My little sister said, "My mommy fainted, and she looked like if she was dead." I got worried.

The Bad News

At 6:00 P.M. or 6:30 my mother and my sister came home. My mother called us to the living room and told us that she had a tumor in her head and that she might be operated in two days. We cried because we knew that those operations had a lot of risk. We knew about it on Friday. On Saturday morning my older sister who lived in another city arrived at our home.

On Monday, my three older sisters and I took my mother to the hospital. My mother was not operated that day; but on the day when my other sisters were with her, I went to the church of the hospital. I was there for long time. I prayed and cried. I really was afraid. I knew that the operation was a risk and that mother might die. I knew that sometimes I failed as a daughter. I knew that sometimes I didn't obey my mother. I really didn't know how much I loved her until those days. I didn't want to lose her.

On Tuesday, at 5:00 A.M. the nurses arrived at my mother's room and they cut off my mother's hair, and she was completely bald. Then, they took my mother to the operating room. The operation started at 7:00 A.M. my sisters and I waited outside for 6 hours. We felt that time was very, very long.

After those hours, the doctor came out and told us that we had to wait because my mother was still under the anesthesia, but he believed that everything was all right. Thanks to God our family could pay for the best specialist of surgery of my country.

I didn't see my mother until she was back in her room. She looked very bad. She had her head wrapped, but everything was good.

Two weeks later my mother was able to go home. We were happy because she felt well. But our happiness didn't last long. Fifteen days later the headaches started again. She went to the doctor and he took another test called MRI. He saw the tumor again. He told us that the tumor was growing up again, so he sent my mother to take chemotherapy in her head. Because of that radiation my mother started to lose her hair. The treatment finished, but the headaches continued and the doctor said that he could not do anything for her, because her tumor was in a part of the head where the nerves are. Also because of the tumor my mother lost sight in her left eye and she could see just a little bit with her right eye.

Coming to the U.S.

In November 1996, we came to the United States. Beginning at that time my mother is in remission. The tumor was not getting bad and, about seven months ago, her headaches disappeared. We were happy when the doctor said that it meant good news.

Later Problems

Everything was all right until December 11, 1998. On that day she felt very bad. She was dizzy and she could not keep standing up. My sister and I brought her to the hospital, and now we are waiting for another MRI.

This is very hard for her and for us, but we trust in God and we know that He is always with us. He never lets us alone.

Now I understand why I have to respect her - because today she is with me but I do not know about tomorrow. Maybe she will not be here. I know that she is my mother and she works very hard to give me everything I need but what is more important is she always gives me her love and her compassion. She gives me her hand when I fall. She is not just my mother but my friend also.

I want to tell my fellow students to not be afraid to talk with your parents. They are your parents but they can be your best friends too. Talk to them. Tell them how much you love them. But maybe you will not understand unless you are in a situation like mine.

Copyright © 1999, Silver International, Montgomery Blair H.S., Silver Spring, MD USA (This page was created by Bladimir and Mesheren)

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