After several months of being sick, my adoptive brother Socheat’s 29 year old sister, Leni’s aunt, succumbed to ovarian cancer (មហារីកអូវែ) on April 6th.

While working in Thailand as a construction worker in order to support her daughter, she had a bilateral hysterectomy (ស្បូន) in a Thai hospital and was sent home to die without ever being told what was wrong with her. I had to translate the lab results and prognosis from French to English and tell my brother to make his sister as comfortable as possible.

For whatever reason, the laboratory equipment in both Cambodia and Thailand prints lab results in French. The clinician even wrote their prognosis in French and sent this woman home to Cambodia with printed documents in a language that she did not even understand. At no point was she informed nor did she understand why she was given a hysterectomy.
I had to translate from French to English and tell my brother Socheat, “Your sister has cancer, and she is dying.”

pronostic négatif means only one thing

The reason she was discharged from the Thai hospital without any information about her diagnosis or her prognosis is just fucking criminal, and it is now almost beside the point.

Socheat informed me of his sister’s passing five minutes after she died. I immediately thought of her daughter, Lyseang, who has become a best friend and sister to Leni. I sobbed as I thought about an orphaned girl who in Cambodia could easily become neglected and overlooked, and I immediately made a promise to Leni; although it will not be easy, I will do everything I can to make sure her new sister, Lyseang, has as a good and normal a life as possible.


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