Ramadan Day 1: I was at work. Worked late as per usual. Iftar at my mother’s house. She didn’t look so good. Fever and in pain. She said she was like that all day.

Ramadan Day 2: She was still sore but maybe a bit better.

Ramadan Day 3: I spoke to her on the phone in the morning. She had to have an Xray done because she’s been coughing and this pain in her back while better, was still present. She didn’t really want to go. In the evening she phoned to tell me that she had the Xray and the radiologist had found something suspicious in her lung and that she needed to make an appointment with a specialist. I prayed it was nothing.

Ramadan Day 5 (although it could have been Day 4, I really can’t remember): Specialist said that it was very likely to be a tumour, unlikely to be an abscess and he scheduled a biopsy for my mum and a bone scan as well. We prayed he was wrong.

Ramadan Day 6: CT or ultrasound guided biopsy. Mum was in so much pain. She had pethidine but it wasn’t helping. I went to see her that evening. She looked terrible! She could hardly sit up and it hurt her to even breathe.

Ramadan Day 7: Her pain was unbearable. She was coughing when she tried to talk. She could not sit up, was lying down most of the time and sleeping. We called hospitals to organise the bone scan and finally made an appointment for Monday. We gave her panadol and waited.

Ramadan Day 8: I went to work but could not concentrate much on what was happening there – thank goodness it wasn’t too busy. Went to see Mum at home. She had not eaten anything, was forcing herself to drink and her breathing was becoming more difficult. We waited for her to get better.

Ramadan Day 9: The same. She said her pain was getting a bit better but her appetite was non-existent. That evening her breathing was more laboured and my father told her she needed to go to hospital but my mother is stubborn and she said that she would do no such thing. She finally went to sleep.

Ramadan Day 10: Her breathing was so much more laboured and my father told her that she at least needed an Xray before the bone scan. I took her for the Xray and the bone scan. She coughed and spluttered and had so much difficulty getting air into her lungs. We had to wait for the drug to work (don’t even ask me what because at this point I really don’t know and I really don’t care) for the bone scan so we came home. My mum slept and then she woke to pray Zuhr. She could only manage praying in a chair. We left again for the bone scan. I waited until she was done. She came to sit with me in the waiting room while we waited for the radiologist to finish his report. She cried in the waiting room. She cried because it was so hard to breathe. The waiting is hard enough as it is. I called my sister to ask her to pick up the boys from school. The radiologist came to talk to us about the Xray (you know..the one we had done in the MORNING). Practically her whole L side of her chest was full of fluid. No wonder she couldn’t breathe! So she had to have another CT scan of her chest to ascertain what sort of fluid it was. I went with her, helped her get dressed and waited for the CT scan to finish. Then we were taken to the main waiting room to wait some more. I called my dad to tell him what was happening. He said he would phone the specialist because my Mum really needed to be admitted into hospital. And again we waited. Finally the radiologist said that we needed to drain the fluid. A radiographer came to help mum. She found the best spot for the drain and then we waited. We waited because the hospital was not equipped with the proper pleural drain and then the connections weren’t right. Finally, someone figured it out and mum had the drain inserted. I broke my fast while holding her hand and rubbing her back. She felt a bit of pain but once the local anaesthetic worked, she was ok. They drained a serous fluid, only 150mls. The stuff left in her thoracic cavity was a blood clot.

She felt much better. Her lung was able to expand a bit more and breathing was easier. She felt lighter but they needed to reXray to see if they had made any difference. While she was in Xray, my father arrived. He spoke with the radiologist. We had some preliminary test results. The bone scan was clear alhamdulillah. The biopsy results are inconclusive though suspicious. We will have to wait for immunofloursence (?) I don’t even know right now.

Mum was admitted into hospital in ICU for monitoring. My father stayed and  I went home feeling abnormally numb. There were no tears, no fear. Nothing. I prayed my tarawih and all my missed prayers.

Ramadan Day 11:  My sister can’t drive so I took her to see Mum. We stayed for a while but had to leave when other visitors arrived. We waited for more news. She needed to be transported to another hospital but there were no beds at the moment. I went home, tidied up my house as best as I could, tried hard to play chasy games with my youngest. Gave him lunch and I prayed. I went to pick up my older boys from school and headed back to the hospital for a quick visit. My father was there ready to take her to the other hospital.

I took the boys home and we waited for a phone call to let us know what was happening. So. Surgery is scheduled for tomorrow inshaAllah and all we can do now is what we have been doing this whole month.

Wait and pray.

This has been the hardest Ramadan ever.