Blog Updated!

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These are really very touching articles from the relative of a leukemia patient. I like the title “making a difference” as that is my ultimate goal in life.

Sometimes life is so short that we forget to realize that its a gift from God which is so precious and fragile that if dealt with in the wrong manner could be totally damaging to the human soul.

I just hope that one fine day, our scientists will find a cure for this deadly disease.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Making a Difference

Yesterday was a heart-wrenching day for all of us. The late Rusina’s children stayed up all night for her the previous night, surrounding her with prayers for her soul. All eight of them stuck together around her bed facing her cold lifeless body. It would break anyone’s heart to see the pain in their eyes.

It was also far too painful for her parents who were together with her children. This is the third time they lost a child. The first was their first born son, who left this world due to high fever at a very tender age. Ten years ago, Ani who had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) passed away when she was 25. She was diagnosed of leukemia when she was 16. She went through rounds of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for a year. After that, she recovered and led a normal life for 10 years finishing high school and went to college to pursue her undergraduate studies. It was before her final year that she relapsed. She went through another round of treatment but it was too late as her body had weakened. Now, ten years after her passing, her eldest sister had Acute Myeloid Leukemia which took her within a month and was buried next to her yesterday.

For the late Rusina, many came to visit her. What touches everyone was the fact that four school buses of her students came to see her for the last time and prayed for her. It was a traumatic time for her children as they wept uncontrollably as they prepare to carry her away yesterday at noon.

She must have touched hundreds of lives. Her children, her parents, her siblings, her nieces, her nephews, her relatives, her friends, her colleagues, her business partners, and even the bus driver who sponsored the trip for the students to see her. She must have made a difference in his life too.

Today, July 24, 2007 is a very sad day for all of us.
Today, we were supposed to get the blood match so that a stem cell transplant can be done to save her life. The plan was to take her blood sample today at 8.00 a.m. and then all siblings will gather in another hospital at 9.30 a.m. to have their blood samples taken so that a match is sought. In a week, the results will be released and the right donor is identified. It will then take a further 6 weeks for the stem cells to be cultured and then transplanted into her body.

Today no one knows whose blood is the exact match for her, as today she is no longer with us.
Today, she has left us and God had spared her the suffering and pain.
All of us shall now begin our healing by staying strong.
We shall keep memories of her close in our hearts as she had made a difference in our lives.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Life is so precious

A month ago, I received a call from Ann informing me that her older sister was warded in a hospital an hour away from where I live. As usual, with my hectic schedule, things had to run as scheduled and I ended up traveling to visit her after midnight.

I reached the hospital and was stopped by the guard at the door. She looked fierce and said I could not get in. I told her I came from far and my sister-in-law had leukemia and I needed to see her. I managed to get in and sat down with my sister-in-law for more than an hour that night. I tried to motivate her and told her how important it was for her to visualize that she is going to get better. That she had to be strong for her children.

She had 8 children ranging from 5 to 24 years old. Her husband is a teacher. What moved me most that night was when she shed tears and told me that her children needed her. I kept trying to motivate her that she must be strong for them. That night made me think how precious life is.

At that point her platelet count dropped to 9000. A healthy platelet count is between 150,000 to 450,000. When I called my sister who is a doctor, she told me that at 9000 it was a condition when all the internal organs are already bleeding. The best part was there was no sign that her condition was that bad if we see her from the outside. She could still talk, walk and move around.

I did not get to visit her very often, only during weekends. Last weekend I was training off site and did not have the opportunity to see her. During the week, Syazwana, her daughter asked me whether my husband can spare a day this upcoming week to get blood samples to find a match. We later agreed on July 24th, 2007 to gather all siblings and get the blood samples to be matched against hers. The plan was the hospital would take her blood sample on July 24th at 8.00 a.m. to be taken to another hospital and the rest of the siblings will gather together at 9.30 a.m. to have their blood to be analyzed for an exact match to hers. The best bet would be siblings and not children. What they would do next is to culture the stem cells (which would take six weeks) and then transplant the stem cells into her body so that she would recover. Initially the date was set at August 6th but I guess the doctors discovered that it’s getting far more urgent and they were running out of time since all blood transfusion and platelet transfusion did not help in getting her platelet count to rise above 9000.

Yesterday, we went to visit her. I have not seen her for two weeks. The moment I walked in her room, I saw that she looked far worse than the last time I saw her. My tears just welled up my eyes and there was no way that I could control it. I then spotted the swollen toe and red spots on her legs. When I asked Syazwana why, she said it was rashes. As she told me that her platelet count was 2000, it dawned on me that it was not rashes but her blood cells had ruptured internally. I knew deep inside the magnitude of her condition. As usual, I gave her words of encouragement. As the family members gathered around her, one of her sons said,”Mom, when you get better, we can go for a holiday.” That was so touching to me as I could sense how slim that hope was. I left her yesterday at 8.00 p.m. after sharing her condition with other siblings.

Today, we planned to visit her after our Asr prayers. By 5.10 p.m. we received a called that she has left this world for good. It came as a shock to us. Like zombies we packed and got ready to go to the hospital. At the hospital lobby, we bumped into her sons carrying items and walking like zombies looking down with somber expressions and oblivious of our existence. It was so very sad to see the pain on their faces.

As we reached the 6th floor, they were on their way with her body to be taken to the mortuary. We followed them in the huge elevator and later waited for about an hour before the van arrived. Iskandar came to be with us and helped carry the body into the van. That was thoughtful of him.

When I thought about all these, that she was warded a month ago, was in the hospital all the while and never came back home until today, a lifeless body leaving behind 8 children, it dawned on me how precious life is. With each minute that I am still breathing and able to see the greatness in every single living thing in this world, I thank God for this great blessing.

May God bless her soul. Let us all pray for her. Al-Fatihah to the late Rusina Yusoff.

One Response to “Blog Updated!”
  1. Mentor says:

    I felt so touched that you shared my writings. Thanks for inspiring me to write. Thanks for that little note on my windscreen.

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