March 2009, was a month we only wish we could only forget. Ruth had been in and out of the hospital battling so many medical symptoms. Considering that our Mother is a breast cancer survivor, we never thought for once that Ruth’s sickness would relate to cancer. It was mid-April when Ruth’s condition worsen. She was unable to go to work because of severe back pains. In one month, Ruth had lost so much weight. We realized that something was really wrong. It was that day on April 26th, early in the morning, Ruth was getting ready for work when all of a sudden she fell in the bathroom. She screamed for her daughter D’onna, whose bedroom was nearby. The ambulance first rushed her to a nearby hospital but it was full, so they proceeded to another hospital also to find that they had no room available. We found out then, Ruth was in transit to Forest Hills Hospital in Queens, NY. Finally, our sisters, Evelyn and Noemi, to their surprise, found Ruth hooked up to several machines.
The next few days would color a picture of disbelief. It would be the beginning of a life changing experience. The physicians began to test Ruth from head to toe. They began to ask questions about our family medical history. Finally, some test results came back and the physicians said that they found what they thought to be lesions in her upper neck, rib cage, lower back and having internal bleeding. Ruth also had a fracture in her vertebrae.
Two of Ruth’s sisters, Evelyn and Noemi began to make the most difficult phone calls to the family. They called New York, Florida, and California. Ruth has 4 sisters and 4 brothers, Evelyn, Noemi, Tony, Ralph and Louie who live in New York while Sam lives in California and Mary and Yolanda live in Florida. Yes, we agree with you that we have a big family. I’m sure you probably are guessing how many nephews and nieces we have. You will soon find out.
Ruth has two beautiful daughters, Jozilyn and D’onna. We know that D’onna wanted to spend most of her days and nights with her mother, but we felt it was best for her to continue her schooling until the summer. Jozilyn, on the other hand, has been by her Mother’s bedside day and night, at times sleeping over. Even though this has been a difficult time for both of them, they have their uncles and aunts that love them very much and will always be there for them.
Once all the phone calls were made, some of the family members began to make arrangements to fly to New York. Evelyn who has a full-time job and just became a grandma for the third time, was able to request time off to take care of Ruth and Noemi who has four children living at home, was able to appoint her two older children to take care of the younger ones. As we mentioned earlier, we do have a large family. We have 22 nephews and nieces along with 22 great nephews and nieces……who we absolutely adore and even though some do not live in New York, when we gather together, it’s like we’ve never been apart.
This begins our life changing experience.