Dear Auntie Patti Koh,
In one of the working nights at the office, while all the agents on the phone isnot that busy, one of my co-worker came to me and showed me a lump of the left side of her neck. She was asking me if I know anything about those kind of lumps. I was so shocked when I saw it, but did not showed any reaction to her. The first thing that came to my mind was the memory of my younger brother whom we buried last September of 05.
Same symptoms. I told this co-worker of mine to check with her primary doctor and ask for a referral to see an Oncologist. I told her what I had before and my brother. I was not trying to alarm her and explained to her why I was asking her to see the Oncologist.
Then three days after, she came to me again, and told me that the Oncologists told her that she has cancer of the stomach, liver and lungs. We sat down together, I felt like crying but did not show it to her. This is a very nice and very religious lady. We talked and said to her that she has to set her priorities straight now. I told her, not to stop working until she can feel that she cannot work anymore. I even told her what I did when I was diagnosed with the rare illness of (STN) Severe Trigeminal Neuralgia. I told her that she needs to get it out, but when she tells people about it, to make sure that she was not asking for pity.
I told her to check on all the insurances that she has, including the ones that is provided by the company. This nice lady is a widow, and she still has under her care, her grandson who is 5 years old. The mother of the little boy died and the child was awarded to her. Not to mention her youngest son who also has health problem.
She told me she will be checking all the insurances that she is carrying. I told her to check the beneficiaries while she is still strong and could do the things that she has to do. She was telling me that when she is talking to me, she is not scared. I told her it is okey to be scared. Nobody wants to die, especially if there are kids and children that will be left behind.
I have advised her as her union steward to check the (EAP) Employee Assistance Program and ask if she could avail of Long Term Disability when she starts her theraphy next week.
She was telling me that if she needs to go, she knows where she will be going. Her faith was very unreal. I have never seen a woman with such strong faith in her heart and in her religion.
Then she asked me about the cancer of my younger brother. After I have described to her the pain and suffering of my brother, she told me that she is scared but if that is the path set up for her ---- then so be it.
She was telling me that at night she is scared to close her eyes. The reason she comes to work, is to make herself stronger. Our work are getting all the calls from passengers who are a bunch of whinners and complainers. I told her, that these whinners are the ones who have given me the courage to go forward. I have this rare illness, and these passengers who are calling and complaining thinks that it is the end of the world for them. What a pity.
So Auntie Pattie Koh, I wish there are more comforting words that I could tell this friend of mine. She is such a nice and good lady. I told her, that her strength will be the ones that will give the right direction to her two children and her grandbaby.
I told her, it is natural to get scared of dying. Even people at the death row,who are wild men, bound to die in the electric chair or lethal injection are also scared. That is just showing that all of us, wants to be immortal also, in a way.
I will always think of this lady. I make all the time now for her, when we are at work and I always sit down with her during my break period. She wanted to talk.
Please dont let her suffer and give her even an ounch of miracle. Her faith is beyind compare.