The clock ticked, morning went to night, my dad went to work, my mum watered the plants and went to the market.
The day passed just like that. Everyone went about doing their business and yet I stayed still. I didn’t seem to be making any progress. I was getting worse.
I could no longer swallow the herbal pills. Every time I went to the herbalist, he gave me a different explanation.
“It’s just an inflammation,” he said once.
“It’s a tumour but a mild one,” he explained another time.
“It’s an inflammation mixed with your gastric,” he elaborated.
I grew frustrated and stopped eating the pills altogether. The pain on my chest didn’t go away, so I started taking painkillers.
It used to be that I took them once every few days, to once a day as the pain grew more intense. All the while, I still tried to have some sort of “life”.
I was listed as a speaker for a conference, AWE (Asian Women Empowerment) conference in Kota Kinabalu. I had everything prepared: the talk itself, plane tickets and hotel bookings. I was also excited to meet my friends. I tried really hard to be healthy, I really did, but I had no strength left in me.
I coughed night and day. I think I only slept 2-3 hours during the day, I think my parents also didn’t sleep, listening to my horrible cough and tried everything to help me. A cushion here, lemon water, warm water, a rub there – but all efforts were useless.
One day it seemed the world went pitch dark. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t even take a sip of water without feeling my stomach rejecting it. My stomach burned, and I couldn’t control the cough anymore. I was breathing, but no matter how much oxygen I took in, it didn’t feel enough. I was desperate and for the first time in my life, I nodded as my mum offered to take me to the hospital.