March 6, 2009


Its been a really long day... definitely a hard one. I couldn't sleep last night. The image of his 100 pound body lying on his bed kept flashing through my mind.

My Dad and I went to go pick up my Aunt this morning... around 8am. Her conditions have worsen since she knew that her husband (my Uncle) is sick. She's unable to walk, but she speaks clearly. She didn't even have the energy to hold on to the tissue paper in her hand. We carried her into the car, and she kept saying that she's not sure if she will make it over to the hospital. It was hard to see her like that... and we didn't know the right words to say. We arrived at the hospital and got a wheelchair for her. My heart just broke when I pushed her over by his side. He asked to hold her hand though it was shaky. Tears streamed down her face... no matter how hard she tried to control it. She told him to get better soon so that he can go home. She then went on and said that since the day that they met 49 years ago, they have never been apart for a day. Even when she was sick, he was still able to take care of her as she was bedridden, not knowing that he was sick himself. She later told the rest of the family that my Uncle had been visiting his family doctor, but they were so negligent of him being there. She said that whenever he went, he would tell them that he was in pain, but they sent him home on antibiotics. He continued to go see the doctor telling them that he was in pain, and they said to him that he's always back and always saying the same thing... advising him to just take his medication. WHY did they not look into his well being any more than they did? Again... I need to be reminded... WHAT the FUCK are they there for again?

Cancer doesn't happen overnight. If only they listened to his complaints and took more care of him, this might not even be as big of a problem as it is right now. A year he's been trying to tell his family doctor that he's sick, and did they take his words seriously? We can only wish they did. He's in his fourth and last stage and the cancer has already spread everywhere... even down to his bones. I can't even begin to imagine the pain that my poor Uncle is in right now.

My cousin walked through the door and I couldn't stop from crying because we both had so many memories with my Uncle. The nurse saw us together and came to give us a hug... which was very kind of her. Though my Uncle does not have any kids of his own, he is a Man with a HUGE heart and a HUGE family that loves him. Today, I saw at least 60 different faces of our HUGE family. I have relatives who are flying in to see him this weekend... some, all the way from Boston. I told you he is loved! :) Sopheap AKA "Moum" AKA Bumble Bee (my cousin that I mentioned before) and I sat in the car and reminisced about our childhood. Happy memories from when Oum Loun (my Uncle) would chase us and yell at us for being lazy. Our families used to pick beans (hehe.... no shame) during the summer and he would always be the first one there at the fields with his wife. They are such hard workers who were always hard on themselves. They worked so hard their whole lives and everyone who knew them knew that of them. There were times when my Uncle wouldn't let my Aunt in the car because she didn't wipe her feet ... LOL... he loved his car! The last time I saw him, he teased me about trading cars with me because I was driving a brand new car... and I told him that it was my Dad's car. Then he's like, "Wow.. your Dad has a new car? Can I borrow it for a day?" LOL... he's so cute! My handsome Uncle... he is VERY handsome... you would have thought so too if you saw him a couple months ago! ;)

He had a biopsy done today... a CT scan. I grew really frustrated because we have been waiting for this since yesterday. I know that the biopsy wouldn't have done anything to make it better... it was only to see where the cancer started. Of course, he couldn't eat or drink anything before the procedure. So, they literally starved him of food AND water since yesterday! If he was thirsty, we had to use a sponge to wet the insides of his mouth. He told us that he was thirsty and hungry since yesterday... and this morning when we got there, still... NOTHING. WTF? I didn't mean to go off on the Doctor... I knew that its not their fault, but they kept stalling for over a day. They told us it was going to be done in 30 minutes. It did not get done until 5:30pm today. 33 hours... 66 different "30 more minutes" sessions. Even after the hour long procedure, they did not let him eat until an hour later. He didn't get to eat anything until around 8pm. Even so, he was limited to clear broths... so all the food that we brought was thrown out. None of us had much of an appetite left. He drank about two glasses of water in one sitting. It broke my heart to see him like that. His arms are the skinniest I've ever seen on ANYONE... and you can see his ribs and the bones in his chest are visible. Never did I imagine him ever being like that. Our family lived a good life... and my cousin and I were convinced that our family was invincible. This is a shock to us.

After he got some energy back from his broth, I tried to lift his spirits and make everyone laugh in the room. I asked him if he wanted to trade cars for a day... and he said that he's only going to ride the most expensive car! LOL... I told him that he's going to have to ask my cousin (Bong Voeun)... HE drives the nicest car in the family. Then I told him to get better so we can go back and pick some beans and he can use his really tall buckets! He laughed! :) We tried to feed him some more, but as I mentioned before, he's strong... so he insisted on eating himself. I told him he'd better hurry before I eat all his food. He laughed and said that he believed me... I would eat all his food! LOL! I eat anything! His lips were so chapped, and I managed to dig some carmex and applied it for him. I told him he looked pretty and was worried that I put LIPSTICK on for him! :D I wish I could have, but he'd probably get up and kick my ass like he used to (jokingly). My Sister came... and I was like, "Oum, look! There's that MOUNTAIN!" (He used to tease her about her size) Then, I said, "here's my palm tree!" (we used to call him that because he's so tall!) He laughed and patted my head! It was a nice feeling. The nurse later came in and said something about going to the casino and he's like, "casino?" and the nurse joked with him a bit... asking him for $5 for every extra visitor he had because he had so many! :P She held out her hand and goes, "Can I have some money?" He asked her how much she wanted... and she said "a million!" and he goes, "TWO million!" and gave her his hand. It was so cute... and he was smiling. Later, we're like, "Uncle, we didn't know you wanna go to the casino!" He's like, "I've never been to one... and I want to go!" We told him to get better and we promise to all bring him! We said that we'd bring him to Vegas! AND... we'll buy him a really expensive car! He laughed. He said that he wanted to eat RICE and some Khmer "somlaw" (stew). Tomorrow, we're going to bring him lots of that! :D

My Uncle had always been a happy Man and always had a smile on his face. He has a great sense of humor and again, VERY strong. Anyone who knows him is LUCKY. There is a HUGE waiting room on the floor, and our entire family took over. Its so bittersweet to see everyone come together and really really pray for him. We hate the fact that we have to discuss our plans if and when the worst comes, but it had to be done. Definitely an emotional discussion that I would not ever want to have to go through again.

I've heard some great stories when doctors are wrong. I am also a true believer in miracles. If anyone deserves a miracle, it would have to be him. Please, please... keep my Uncle in your thoughts and prayers.


  1. Thyda,

    I can't believe the cancer metastasized for a year and all of a sudden it's like, "By the way, he has only a few days left..." This is one of the reasons that I wish I could change about health care. I work one the Oncology floors sometimes as well, so I know what you mean when they say at CT scan is pending soon, but then they're on Brazil time or something and it takes forever. It's definitely heartbreaking, but It makes me happy to read that he's getting a fantastic meal, plus all the support you guys are giving him...especially joking around with him. Thank you for sharing, Thyda. Your Uncle sounds like a very, very special gentleman. I'm sending you prayers all around.

  2. Jason... its most upsetting knowing that he's actually tried to reach out for help and was pretty much turned away and neglected. My Uncle is a strong Man who doesn't want to feel like he's a burden on anyone and doesn't want to sound like he is "complaining". This is thus far the hardest point of my life... my entire family's, actually.

    I can't begin to tell you how much I appreciate your words and prayers. Thank you.