Amazing Grace: The story how one mother dealt with her daughter’s cancer

Amazing Grace: The story how one mother dealt with her daughter’s cancer

Mildreth Kho, a Filipina, presently lives with her husband in the United States. She had three children, one boy, Joshua and two girls, Anna and Monina. She has one grandson. Mildreth told me the story of her family’s battle with cancer almost three years ago, and how faith in God gave her comfort and hope.

My daughter Anna was really very young when she was diagnosed with AML, a type of leukemia. Her baby was a little more than a year old, just starting to walk.

While Anna was sick, I went everywhere with her; I never left her. When I didn’t see her I called for her, even if she was just in another part of the house. I wanted to see her physically. I valued every minute I was with her. I just wanted to be with her every minute of the day. I never let her out of my sight.

In the mornings when I looked at her in her bed, sleeping, I prayed, “God I wish that you will give her more time to be with her son. If You can totally heal her of this sickness, please do, because she has a son whom she loves so much more than her own life. Give her strength to accept everything.”

After her diagnosis of AML leukemia, Anna had six months of chemo and then, she was cancer free for six months. She was very strong. She never showed any weakness in her body. After chemotherapy or after a bone marrow aspiration, she would say, “Mommy, let’s go malling.” We would go out right after the chemo! We were famous among the doctors and the nurses in the hospital. They would ask her, “Anna, where have you been?” “Doc, I just came from the chemotherapy.” “You look so strong.” She was very pretty. She was very positive. Everyone was certain that she was getting better.

I never left her. I gave up everything. I closed my business. We went into fund  raising, I think three times. It’s good that she had a pool of friends. She started a blog. She started writing online, and she informed everybody about her condition, so friends could give and help with the medical expenses. People from everywhere, friends from elementary, high school, and college wanted to help her.

Then, the cancer came back.

Anna had shingles, and then she had foot and hand disease, and then the hematologist informed me that her immune system was going down again. Anna had a bone marrow aspiration and it was positive. She was devastated. One week after finding out the cancer was back, we were scheduled for another chemo. We had to start all over again. This time they used stronger medication because it was the second time. I know deep inside she was hurt and maybe there were so many questions in her mind. She must have asked herself why this thing had come back, but she never asked me.

The cancer never went into remission again. Two weeks after the first chemo in her second round, she died.

My husband was in the United States when Anna got sick. He got his green card in May 2012. Anna was really very strong then. When she learned that my husband had his green card already,  she said “Mommy, let’s ask Dad to  come home early. I want him here now.” “No, he’s scheduled to come home in September.” She said “No, that’s too far.” She was telling me that’s too far. “I want him here now.”  Okay in August. I will tell him to come home in August.” He was supposed to come back in August. But then, when it was June Anna told me again, “Mommy, I want dad to come in July.” “No, it’s too early.  Why are you always changing your mind? Employers in the States are not like that. You cannot keep on changing.”

My husband came home when he found out that Anna was in critical condition. She passed away in July. Now she is in heaven.

Everywhere I go, if somebody asks me, I always say we were very blessed because we were introduced to Christianity at this point in time. Maybe if we had another religion or another belief, it would be very hard for us to accept what happened. It was my husband who was really into Christianity. I wasn’t even an avid Bible reader. I wasn’t paying attention really, because I was a career woman. But  since I was his wife, I had to be involved in what my husband was doing. I was surprised that Joshua, Monina and Anna were all 100% active in church. I never imagined that they would be very active.

It’s very, very hard for a parent to lose a child. But because of my Christianity, I believe that this world is just temporary. I am looking forward to seeing Anna again. No doubt about it. From the time that she had this disease, I left it all to God. Of course, I prayed to Him what I wanted, but I always knew that God knows what He is doing. He knows what is best.

We joined this foundation for leukemia and we were able to be with other families in the same situation as we were in. We were able to hear each other’s stories. One case was similar to Anna, this girl  was also 23 years old and she passed away. I realized I was more blessed than her mom because I have a grandson who is alive. I can see my daughter in him. I have a remembrance. I was asked if I had advice for someone who learns their child has cancer. Maybe the only thing that I can say is, accept it. I will just say, ‘lift that child to God and He will do everything, even the finances.’ Sometimes you
will just be getting money from your pocket. You will not even know where it came from.

Just keep that faith in God. Don’t lose that faith no matter what circumstances come your way. Bear in mind and instill in your heart that God wants us to always be happy and wants us to have a good life. He has no plans of giving suffering, trouble, or diseases to mankind. He uses whatever happens to us to teach us. God has a purpose in everything. In every person that you meet on the road, there’s a purpose for that. In every single thing that you’ve accomplished, there is always a purpose. God is preparing you for something better.

So what is after death? I don’t think that God loves us so much that it’s just one phase and then that’s it. I don’t think it’s just like that. I think everything that we experience here on earth is really temporary. And He has His purpose. His thoughts are not our thoughts and we really just have to keep on hoping and praying that all these things will pass. Then we can try to rebuild and go on.