Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Run/Walk in Honor of Mama Tam

This Sunday at 4pm, I will be participating in a 5k(3.1 miles) run/walk to benefit Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer foundation, an organization dedicated to raising much-needed funds and awareness for lung cancer. I will be running in loving memory of my mommy, and I would like to invite you all to join me. If you are unable to make it but would like to donate to the cause, you can make a donation to Team Tam at:

Date: Sunday, September 18th
Location: Golden Gate Park
Time: Registration at 2pm, race starts at 4pm
Cost: $25
Registration Website:
Team to join: Team Tam
Deadline: as soon as possible!

Please let me know if you have any questions or are planning to join the team. My e-mail is and my number is 415-713-5372.

Thanks for your support! I hope to see you out there!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The saddest and happiest day

Mommy passed away early this morning.

I woke up at 1am last night to give mommy her pain meds. Then, at 3:30am, I was awoken by the sound of mommy's labored breathing and phlegmy noises. We gave her everything on the list of medicines, but nothing seemed very effective, so at 5:30am, I gave her one last dose of morphine, hoping that her breathing would steady by the time I was scheduled to give her next dose of meds at 7:30am. I gave her a kiss, said "even if you can't hear me, I am going to say I love you", and fell asleep on my own bed right next to hers. My alarm sounded at 7:25am, and I looked over at mommy's neck to see if her muscles were still straining to take in oxygen, but she was completely, peacefully still.

Every moment following that last moment has merged into a blur of calls, signatures, condolences, disbelief, and numb heartbreak. There's joy and hope, because we know that mommy will soon be dancing on the golden streets of heaven, free from pain, suffering, and sadness, but more than anything, we are so, so incredibly, indescribably sad. For 22 years, my mommy lit up my world with hugs, kisses, laughter, and the warmest love, and now that my bright light has gone, everything feels so dark and hopeless.

I will get to see her again in heaven, but for now,
I miss her so much.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Mommy is ready to go to heaven

The nurse says mommy will probably only suffer for 24-48 more hours. Even with the sedating pain meds, now a combination of three different types, mommy wakes up every few hours in pain, begging us to let her go. But soon she will be free from suffering, and she will get to see Jesus. It's probably taking this long because they're up there putting extra time into preparing a special place for her in Heaven. It'll be wonderful, awesome, glorious, and I'm so, so excited for my baby.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Two weeks and one day ago, mommy was discharged from UCSF for the last time. Though we were initially instructed by our oncologist to go to the ER for CTs and MRIs to locate new cancer spots, the team of doctors at UCSF decided that there would be no use. They did not want to subject her to more tests knowing that no amount of radiation or chemo would halt the progression of the disease. Mommy was sent home with a prognosis of "weeks to months." We began in-home hospice immediately, which means that our house is full of hospital equiptment, hospice nurses come in almost everyday to check on her, and mommy is taking a large amount of sleep-inducing pain meds.

In the past two weeks and one day, our family has experienced so many emotions. My dad is already mourning, we feel hopeless, lost, and fearful of the impending loss of our mommy. But we've also experienced much joy, because my mommy is such a joy to be around. She seems to be at peace with the situation, and with all of her church friends visiting, the house and its inhabitants have been very busy and cheerful. Mommy is very carefree and child-like, and everyone is taking care of her now.

This past Thursday night was very special because our mommy tam was baptized. In front of friends and family, she declared her love for Jesus and her desire to be apart of God's family.

It was the most wonderful, most joyous celebration.

Unfortunately, her health has worsened in the past couple of days. The cancer moves fast and is taking more from her everyday. Two nights ago, she coughed up blood clots as big as her fist, and yesterday, we noticed that she has lost a lot of her neurological function and mental acuity. Now, she is constantly in a confused state, has trouble holding her head up, cannot make decisions, and is often agitated at us for not being able to help her out of her confusion and tiredness. This is the most difficult change, because we've lost such a significant part of her. She's always been the sharpest, most decisive person in the family with the best memory, but now she can barely remember the date or what she did an hour ago. Her eyes tell me that she's trapped in a body she has no control over, and she really wants to break free and be her old self again. We want to help her, but there's nothing we can do.

I'm afraid of the next minute, hour, day, because I don't want to see the lung cancer take more of her from us. Our family is now facing the most difficult part of this whole disease process. Please pray for our mommy and for the rest of our family.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Appointment with Dr. Jahan Tomorrow

Mommy's condition has worsened still in just one week. She has very little control over her legs, and is unable to walk any distance at a normal pace. This is possibly due to the cancer invading nerves in her spine. Along with her immobility, she is also experiencing pain in her left arm and can barely move it. I think she has developed tolerance to the pain medicine, since the current dosage offers very little relief and becomes ineffective in just a couple of hours.

We have a follow-up appointment with Dr. Jahan tomorrow at 3:30pm, so we ask you to please pray extra hard for us tonight. During our last meeting, Dr. Jahan told us that he would decide whether or not we could try another treatment, but based on her worsened condition, I doubt that he will allow us to continue with chemo. We will be getting another CT scan to see if the cancer has progressed, but I don't know if it's even necessary to take a scan since she has gotten so noticeably sicker. Our hope is that with this new scan, they will be able to find and radiate the cancer spots that are causing her the most pain and discomfort, so please pray that the radiation oncologists will effectively treat her mets(cancer that has spread to other parts of her body). Please also pray that Dr. Jahan will be able to find new, effective therapies to fight mommy's cancer, or at the very least reduce her pain and give her back her energy and ability to move.

We will also discuss pain management methods with him tomorrow. For now, it would be helpful to get a walker or wheelchair so that I can take mommy outdoor. She hasn't been outside in five days, and I think she would benefit from breathing some fresh air and being in a different environment. We are also considering setting up at-home-care, so that mommy will have access to trained nurses and hospital equipment at anytime during the day. Please pray that we will be able to find a way to reduce her pain and keep her comfortable. What I really want is a cure for the cancer, but for now it seems that we can only give her palliative care.

I started a part-time job last week, so mommy does not have her secretary, cook, masseuse, house cleaner, jester, punching bag, hug and kiss dispenser, nurse, and annoying pest of a daughter one or two days a week. I worry when I am not with her, but the day or two away gives me purpose and escape, and thankfully, her church friends have graciously offered to check-in on her and even make dinner for us on those days. We are so, so thankful for the loving community He has blessed us with. Please pray that I will be able to trust God to take care of my precious darling, and please pray that I will be able to discern my mother's needs and find a way to balance and take care of the different parts of my life.

Lastly, please pray for transparency(IV term), comfort, and peace in our family. Ask God to give us ten thousand memorable moments of laughter, love, and joy, and please ask Him to hold us Tams in the biggest, warmest, tightest neverending hug. Thank you!

P.S. I am not going to spell or grammar check this, so please don't judge me.
P.P.S. Here is my favorite picture of her

Monday, July 18, 2011

It's getting increasingly difficult to update this blog

It's hard for me to explain everything, because that requires me to face our current situation and then share it, but we desperately need love, support, prayer, so here we go... Mommy's cancer is growing in different areas and causing her a lot of pain and fatigue. She spends the majority of her day sleeping and the rest of it grumpy from pain, yelling at me for doing things wrong, but we still have good moments. I am the mommy now, and I do everything for her including cooking, cleaning, towelling and dressing her. My favorite moment of the day is when I tuck her into bed, give her a kiss on the forehead, and tell her that I love her so, so much.

In terms of treatment, the doctor decided last month to stop treatment and re-evaluate on the 28th of this month whether we should stop altogether. It all depends on how much energy and strength she has, but by the looks of it, she won't be continuing. For now, I am harassing her radiation doctor via e-mail and phone messages to start treatment on other trouble spots like her supraclavicular lymph nodes, clavicle, and hips, but I am having trouble reaching him. We would really like to reduce her pain so that she will be able to travel and have a bit of fun. Hawaii and Hong Kong are at the top of Mommy's travel list.

My dad is difficult. He's constantly trying to explain every symptom and pain, always rationalizing everything. Family members are frequently calling with advice on nutrition, treatment options, etc.. I don't know how to tell them that there isn't much more we can do. It has been difficult to hold on to hope, i'd like to continue hoping, but the practical, realistic side of me feels like we need to accept what's coming soon. Dr. Jahan says she may be here for only a few more months. It(I can't even type it out) is inevitable and it is coming soon.

Thank you for remembering us and showering us with love, support, prayer, baked goods, flowers, and your company. Please keep praying for us, keep asking for a miracle, especially now when we are all losing hope.