I blogged a little bit earlier about Aunty Namu and her battle with Uterine cancer. With her living in San Francisco and us in Utah, we didn't get the chance to be there with her or for her like we would have liked to. We got to go down once to cook her dinner for her and spend a little time with her, and we talked on the phone with her all the time, but we wanted to do so much more. She's such an amazing woman!
Li called Ova and let us know when her mom's last chemo treatment would be and we planned right away to make sure that we went.....it was actually going to be a big family event and we were hoping everyone would make it out. Namu had to go through 20 rounds of chemo. TWENTY!!! That's a lot! Besides the fact that she lost all her hair, you'd never know she was sick by looking at her. She didn't want to be the victim, so she didn't act like one. There were some times that were hard for her and days when she just didn't feel good, but overall, throughout all 20 chemo sessions, she kept positive and her faith never waivered. She's such an amazing woman!
She had her chemo treatments every Friday, so on the Thursday before her very last treatment (we hoped) we packed up our kids and headed to San Francisco to be with her and her kids. We wanted to show our support and to celebrate the last time that they would have to inject her with those painful and poisonous chemicals.
On the shuttle at SFO heading to get our rental car
Of course our first stop had to be at Jack in the Box :)
When we got to the house, we walked in to a kitchen full of people and Li and Leka baking tons and tons of chocolate chip cookies and other baked goods. They told us that every Friday when they took their mom to her chemo appointments, they would take trays of goodies for the nurses there as a thank you for taking such good care of their mom. This would be the last time. They were crying in the kitchen as they were telling me how sad they are to not get to see them anymore.....they were so happy that they wouldn't have to go there anymore, but so sad at the same time. I know exactly what they meant and how they were feeling. I felt the same when when it was time to leave the NICU. I was so happy to finally be taking my baby girl home, but I was so sad to be leaving all the nurses and friends I'd made there. It's a sad day and a happy day all rolled into one!
As we sat around that night visiting and talking, more and more people started to show up. Ana and Lopi came, and Kiki and TiTonga with their boys, then Maze came from Arizona, and Line from Utah....and Laine came too. Of course Tauafu came for his mom. A lot of their Frisco ward and friends were there and it was a packed house. Everyone was talking and enjoying each other's company until the wee hours of the morning. They had a full house, so Ova&I, TiTonga&Kiki and Lopi&Ana headed to our hotel. Aunty Namu's chemo was scheduled for 9am and it was in Berkley, CA which was a little bit of a drive, so we had to be up early in the morning.
Friday morning came and we all headed to the hospital. We kinda got lost on the way and we took the wrong exit, so we were a little late getting there, but we finally made it. We walked in and took the elevator up to the 3rd floor. As soon as the elevator doors opened, and we stepped outside, I was overwhelmed. There were so many people there to support. Tons of family spread out all along the halls filling up all the chairs and sitting on the floor. Many of them had done this before, so they were prepared with their ipads and tablets and things to keep them occupied while they waited. They only allowed 3 people back into her room at a time, so we had to wait our turn. I kept choking back my tears as I would see nurses and doctors walking by and they would stop and ask Li or Leka how their mom was doing. So many nurses. That's just what kind of person she is...everyone she meets loves her. The huge trays of goodies that they made for the nurses were killed so quickly and after they would ask how 'mama' was doing, they would thank the girls for the cookies and talk about how delicious they were. That's one thing about Aunty Namu and her kids....they are unconditional kind of people. They love unconditionally. It doesn't matter if you've known them your whole life, or if you just met them, they treat you the same. The give so much of themselves to others and everyone loves them for it.
When it was finally our turn to go back to visit her, I again was overwhelmed. I walked into this little area where they had several different stations of people getting their chemo treatments and their rooms were just divided by a curtain. Aunty Namu was sitting in the chair and they hadn't quite started giving her her dose yet. We talked with her for a little while and she was explaining to us about all the other people that were in the room getting chemo, what their situation was and how faka'ofa she felt for them. Always thinking of others and not of herself. Selfless Christ like love. She had her chemo therapy appointments every Friday and I'm assuming most of those people did too because she knew each person that was in there. As she was talking, and I was crying, I looked around the room at all the other people. Some looked like death. So skinny with droopy faces and dark circles under their eyes. Everyone there had already lost all their hair. Then I looked at Namu. She lost all her hair, but she didn't look sickly like the others. She was still smiling, still positive, still faithful....and I believe that made all the difference. She has a site inserted in her chest where they hook the tube to and they pump the chemo from the machine into her body. She said she doesn't like how it makes her feel, and it makes her so cold. We sat with her for a little while talking about anything and everything. She was asking questions about things and people back at home and she didn't want to talk about herself. All the sudden more people started to come in....I guess the nurses let us brake the rules and have more than 3 people in the room at one time because this was her last time. After we were all in there, all the nurses came in and stood around her. There had to have been like 30 nurses. None of us knew what was going on. And then all the sudden, they all started singing. They were singing to the tune of the song 'Hey now, hey now, my boyfriend's back' but the words they sang were 'Hey now, hey now, your chemo's done'.....they sang the whole song. We were all in tears. I mean all of us, and all the nurses. It was so special to be a part of that beautiful moment. Namu was crying too and thanking all the nurses for being so nice and taking such good care of her for the 20 weeks she'd been going. They all gave her a hug and said their goodbyes. I know the nurses are going to miss her beautiful face and her positive attitude, but I know at the same time that they are so happy that she doesn't have to come back. After that her chemo was done. She'd gotten her full dose and we were ready to leave. That was a huge step, hopefully over. When I say it was her last treatment, I mean of the 20 that they had scheduled for her. She still needed to get some more testing done to see if the chemo treatments worked or if she needed some more. We were all hopeful and praying that she would be done.
We stayed around while the nurses finished up their discharge paperwork and we took pictures...
Thank you Sina for watching baby so Ova and I could go inside :)
And a group shot of all of us that were there that day to support our amazing Aunty Namu...
When we went back home, Aunty Namu was pretty wiped out so she went in to sleep and we all decided to go and grab some dinner. We went to this little Italian restaurant called Bravo's and it was pretty good! Always good times when we're with our Frisco family!
It was still cold in Frisco, but the kids always want to go swimming anyway......
This was us leaving Frisco. What a great weekend. What great time spent with our family. Namu, we love you so much! We're continually praying for you!