I did not know it then, but the nurses were just falling short of saying “tell your mum bye”
My mum Violet Waithera Mukuria developed cancer early in 2008. Like every other busy mum she felt the lump and ignored it not even telling her husband. She would take another almost two years before she would even admit to having it or telling anyone about the lump.
She went to the Hospital and a biopsy was done at St. Mary’s Otiende. She would come home with a bleeding breast badly opened up, and on return a week later the Hospital would confirm that she indeed had cancer.
The transfer of hospitals would then commence and she would begin chemotherapy at Kenyatta National Hospital under Dr. Njuguna for more than a year. Watching her go through it with her nails turning black, loss of hair and no appetite, Ii cannot say that i understood her pain.
On 7th February 2012 she would have a stroke, four years after the chemotherapy. It was not a massive stroke, but this stroke would put her on blood pressure medication for the rest of her life. The recovery from the stroke was very fast, but after making full recovery she would always complain of general body weakness and shortness of breath.
Three years later she would begin radiation at Kenyatta National Hospital. She completed all her treatment. And the very same three years later after being healthy all through, but not as strong as before, after taking sole care of my triplets in order for me to go back to work and find my footing, single handedly being able to prepare the boys in the morning and take care of them after school, she would begin to be unable to breathe.
At first she was scared that she had the dreaded T.B , which turned out not to be the case, as after going to hospital, the doctor would avoid telling her that the ominous cancer was back! He would instead give her a letter of admission at Kenyatta Hospital.
Upon going to hospital with my dad she tore the admission letter and hid the pieces of paper in her bag. We would find them later. She would be examined and given instructions to return after every two weeks.
It is easy to say that the doctors knew that we were at the final hurdle as at one of these two week visits, my mum would instruct my dad that she would not get admitted at this point. She was growing weak, could not breathe properly and by this time could not cook. I would make her fish and her favorite porridge and sometimes steamed pumpkin.
Voting day fell on one of her clinic days. She woke up early and was remembered to be the first person to vote she was with my dad. She went to hospital and refused to use a taxi and told my dad that she is not too sick to use a taxi. When she got to the hospital, her breathing was so labored.
By the time I got to hospital in the afternoon she was just making fun, was very happy and at her best. She made me promise some things, made me admit that she had done a fabulous job with the boys and gave me instructions on some issues about home.
All this while she should have been put on oxygen. We would go and request for oxygen and the nurses would politely ask us to go back to my mum and spend more time with her. I did not know it then, but the nurses were just falling short of saying “tell your mum bye” Her feet were ice cold when I put her on socks to prevent her from feeling cold at night and was the first indication I got. She would also tell me of fluids leaking out through her nose and ears when she lay down and she felt like she was drowning.
My elder sister brought her food that night. She did not eat much but had a cup of porridge to drink. She had waited all day to see my sister Eva. And when she came she said it again “I have waited all day to see you, you are the one who has kept me here”
We left after she was given oxygen she would remove it and place it on her forehead and continue to laugh so much with us that we were shocked at how happy she was. That was the last time any of us would see her alive……
She woke up the next day and turned on her phone as the doctors cleaned her in the morning. We called she did not pick the phone. I had been expecting it, but when it happened it still caught me off guard……
My younger sister Abby called a friend who was an intern at the Hospital and asked her to go check why mummy wasn’t answering the phone. The intern found her just as the doctors were closing her eyes. She had finally rested…….
I don’t remember much after that ……just that one just doesn’t believe it. I urge you all and your Mums to please please please please go for early checkups. Please do not go down this very very painful route? I miss her so much and I am so so sad that I will never see her again in the land of the living. She……she is missed and loved by my Dad, my siblings Njeri, Evah, Judy, Timo, Abby, her grandchildren Mukuria, Mwangi, Lucy, Mitchelle, Hope, Nathaniel, Becky, Sharon, Kings , Prince, Angel and Praise, her mum, sisters and brothers and friends.
We thank GOD for the time we knew you thank you for being a blessing to us mummy.