The past few days have been quite surreal for me. Fighting for three lives now: mine, my unborn baby, and my mom. And it’s crazy. Abso-fucking-lutely crazy. I am bedridden, manually riding the waves of a full blown depressive bipolar episode, reeling from preterm labor contractions threatening to eject my baby boy out of my uterus, and deciding about my mother’s hospitalization and bulk of her hospital bill requirements as she battles for her life 3 hours away from where I am currently on total bed rest. I am only allowed to go to the bathroom and nothing else. I force myself to write a page or two of an article when my tummy is not hurting and when I am not crying. My OB gyne told me: “Your mom may be dying already.” and “You are not allowed to be stressed out for your baby.”
Before I set up a fundraising campaign for my mother in Go Get Funding (https://gogetfunding.com/bedridden-pregnant-woman-with-bipolar-disorder-and-hyperemesis-gravidarum-needs-financial-assistance-for-moms-advanced-endometrial-and-cervical-cancer-therapy/) and seeking Vince’s help to post it at When in Manila (http://www.wheninmanila.com/please-help-me-save-my-mommy-and-my-unborn-baby-writer-seeks-help-to-raise-funds-for-moms-cancer-surgery/), I was living in a quiet cave. I only switch on my Facebook account once a year and was content in living like a hermit and spending my days on Twitter and on this personal blog.
This week, I was compelled to connect to so many people because I need to raise funds to save my mom’s life. This week, I pestered everyone I can pester. Kinapalan ko yung mukha ko because I needed to do it to raise funds and save my mother’s life as she crumbles to an advanced stage of multi-organ cancer. And with all this stress, I also endanger the life of my unborn child. At 4.5 months, I am now having contractions that threaten miscarriage or preterm labor.
Are there even words to describe what I am currently going through? I thought that I already lived a hard life these last 30 years; I did not really know that it will get EVEN HARDER now. It never ends. I always had to work my way up when I was young, always starting at a disadvantage. It never gets easier. And for this particular crisis, lives are on the line.
I lost all my appetite for food. Even my favorite spaghetti fails to cheer me up. I did not even bother opening a book to try to escape and make myself feel better. None of my hobbies are enough to cheer me up. I am listless, like a zombie. I am alive externally but I am very much dead on the inside.
At night, I stare at the ceiling and think, what on earth can I possibly do in my bedridden state to make things easier for my suffering mom? What on earth can I possibly do to reverse this situation so that my unborn child can have financial freedom in the future?
I am thinking both about the consequences of the past and the implications on the future while handling this very present moment of crisis.
I have all these things running like stocks and investments before all our savings got used up in this financial crisis. What use is knowing where to invest your money when you no longer have any money left to invest in your accounts because it all goes to the here and now?
It all just felt meaningless to me– all those years of juggling six jobs and making an effort to reverse the tide of a never ending stream of financial bondage.
Waking up every morning and feeling broken in different places is not a good environment with which I am to nurture a growing fetus. I am losing weight instead of the required 2 kg gain per month. I am losing my mind and I am having the worst of my mood swings but I am not allowed to take any medication because it’s fatal to my baby’s heart.
I cannot even begin to express how painful these are, all happening at the same time.
I started seeking help from strangers after my husband and I spent the last of our savings and childbirth money. You might think, “don’t you have an immediate family to do this for you?” That’s the thing. My stepfather has a heart condition and he can die ahead of my mom if we stress him out. I tried a financially stable aunt last June and she promised to help me out. But she did not deliver her promise when she arrived. She psychologically tortured my mom and made her do household chores during their vacation even when she knew that the doctor explicitly stated that my mother should have some rest. And she even said she regretted spending 40,000 during that one time my mother came to visit her on a Christmas vacation. The truth was, my mom borrowed from a credit card to fly there and spend 9 days with her because she did not want to make her younger sister spend Christmas alone in a foreign country. She thought they were welcome to stay with her. On her sister’s mind, they were liabilities who made her spend 40,000 pesos even if it was her who invited them there. Worse, she even forced my mother to pay up a long standing debt when she is reeling with cancer and unable to report to her work at the culinary school. I was so offended that even when we were already in so much financial trouble, my husband and I worked to pay off the 54,000 pesos that she wanted my mother to settle during this crisis last month aside from my mother’s medical emergencies. I stopped asking help from her after that.
“Go to PCSO or PAGCOR or charity institutions.” I went that route and there is a long list of paper requirements that I cannot personally attend to because I am in bed, three hours away from my mom’s barangay where some clearances need to be acquired. And she is losing her life by the day. If I wait for the approval before I get her operated, she will die before I get the check from PCSO or PAGCOR or wherever. So I turned to fund raising, to knocking on stranger’s doors– the digital equivalent of begging so that she can have a few more months to live. These days, I feel exposed and naked digitally as I explain our situation. I was frustrated with the existing situation, worried about my mom’s welfare, worried about the baby, worried about life.
I am overwhelmed with the support that I was not able to count on from my own flesh and blood. At the same time, I struggled to make sense of why this had to happen.
And it still does not continue to make sense. I don’t think it will ever make sense, to be honest.