Sunday, March 5, 2017

Unfortunate Illness

My niece Janah Ledesma Ching, 39, the eldest daughter of my brother William Ledesma and Jean (nee) Te died from an unfortunate illness. She was diagnosed of breast cancer malignancy on its 4th stage on January 9, 2017 and very soon succumbed to her death on February 13, 2017. ( In a matter of just one month time.) It was so fast and so soon, that everybody was shocked and stunned. How could this have happened........

Janah was an interior designer, also a contractor for finishing new,  and refurbishing and /or renovating old residential homes. I had for several times employed her services and/or asked for her help regarding my second home in Manila.When she got married seven years ago, aside from acquiring big contractual jobs, she became more preoccupied with rearing her own children and attending to her own family. As she became more busy, our common interactions as aunt and niece, client and contract provider became less frequent. We still  met occasionally during family events. I attended all her children's first birthday parties, but I would mostly hear or know of her latest whereabouts from her father and mother who lived just a stone throw away from my second home in Manila.

Last year though 2016 we began to reconnect again. I was then looking for a good modiste with reasonable rate to sew my gown for a wedding event, Janah helpfully recommended a friend of her who lived nearby. I was quite pleased with her recommendation. Now when I went to Manila early this January of 2017, I once again tapped her assistance in the repair of my bathrooms and kitchen. You know, my niece personally knew me as a hard to please client and tight fisted spender but she was always more than willing to aid me in getting worthy and dependable results. This very recently concerned her helping me in my home plumbing problems. She provided me the best handy man ever and even this worker's contract wage was not too costly either.

So on the first week of January 2017, when I was in Manila, Janah came over to my house. She looked into the plumbing problems and assured me, it needed only minor works. Thanks to her, it eased out most of my worries. Then she began to talk about this lump in her breast. She confided that she felt this lump during her last pregnancy but she thought it would go away after her delivery and also after breast feeding. But now that her baby was two years old yet the lump had not gone away.

She told me about seeing a doctor earlier this January 2017, who took a sample breast tissue by way of puncturing her breast with some kind of an instrument for biopsy. The result of the biopsy had not yet been released as of our meeting, and she seemed quite impatient to know the result. I kind of gave her some positive assurances: 1. She was less likely to be at risked since she breast fed all her children. 2. There had not been any cancer history on both her father (my brother) nor mother side.(except for my sister Helen who is now on remission for more than 15 years. But I later realized I was wrong because her cousin and an uncle on the mother side died from liver cancer.) 3. I narrated to her my own experience of discovering a breast cyst a month after weaning my first born from breast feeding. That I went for cyst removal operation which spurted milk out upon incision. It was a milk cyst after all. But Siko (4th auntie), She said, hers was not of liquid material but rather a mass tissue. Her lump was also of uneven shaped which was not a good sign. I guessed Janah was expecting the worst prognosis from her biopsy.

On January 9, she told me over the phone, " Bad news. The biopsy turns out to be malignant."

Next succeeding days, she was getting in and out of medical centers. She consulted doctors for second opinions and further tests. It went from bad to worst. It was not only malignant but it had metastasized to the liver. The malignancy had spread. It was on the fourth stage and mastectomy was not a recommendation anymore. She juggled decisions as to which doctors and what treatments to do, even opting to go to USA for some treatment middle of February. I was not an expert on sickness and cures. My advise was "Pray for a good doctor. Get treated and remember money should be the least of your worries." Which in response, she readily agreed with me.

My plumbing repairs were all done, and I got to come back home to Cotabato City. I included Janah in my prayers every night. Then heart breaking news came that she was hospitalized due to malfunction of liver. I added more prayers, asking all my children to pray the rosary for her. I offered a month long healing masses for my niece at the cathedral. I was hopeful for divine intervention, so many people were praying for her everyday. But her condition worsen. My brother was texting me her deteriorating condition. My children and I were tearfully praying for miracle. We were praying for God to be merciful. It took her only 4 to 5 days in the hospital, and she was gone. It was too fast and too soon. I could not believed it.

For the life of me, I do not understand what went wrong. Should there be a lesson to learn from this? I was hurting that God did not listen to all our prayers. Has He abandoned the Ledesma, my maiden family, specially my brother Jun and his wife Jean? Has He forsaken Janah's husband and her 3 young children, to allow Janah to die at such young age? Her youngest is just but two years old. Why is God so hard upon us to let this thing happen. But who am I to question my Lord. I have but only to keep on praying for his mercy. Please don't let unfortunate illness and events happen anymore O God. Have mercy on us O Lord, have mercy.