Friday, 31 July 2009

Here we go again...

Assalamualaikum wbt

It's been quite a while since I last posted an entry into the blog. So many things have been happening over the last 2 weeks, many of which are significant ones.

Firstly, the good news. Alhamdulillah, after a challenging (challenging is probably an understatement) last 6 months, by the will of Allah, I have officially obtained my medical degree from the University of Sheffield.

Now, the not so good news.

The CT scan I had on the 16th July 2009 further reinforced the results of my recent PET Scan. The disease is back. Hodgkin's lymphoma, which was found to be completely eradicated halfway down the treatment back in April, has relapsed.

Whilst waiting for my treating consultant at the 02 Day Ward waiting room this morning, I had already half-expected what was to come. I know managing a relapsing Hodgkin's Lymphoma will not be as straight-forward as the initial ABVD-chemotherapy. I was just not sure how intensive will the treatment be.

At the end of the consultation, it just dawned on me what an immense test I am likely to go through in the next 6 months.

Autologous Stem Cell Transplant. It basically means high dose anti-cancer treatment followed by a transfusion of my own stem-cells.

What I will have is very high-doses of chemotherapy, one that will completely kill all the remaining cancer cells in my body, but unfortunately the one that will also lead to IRREVERSIBLE bone marrow damage. This is because the marrow is highly sensitive to chemo/radiotherapy.

The transfusion of stem cells after high dose chemotherapy should supposedly allow my marrow to recover. They will move from my blood back to my bone marrow, where they start making more bone marrow and stem cells. Gradually, hopefully my bone marrow will recover and my blood count will return to a safe level.

For that purpose, I will also have my stem cells harvested sometime in the future. Here's a good explanation about how stem cells are harvested from the body.

In general, what will happen over the next few months are:

i. 2 courses of Chemotherapy over the next 2 months (to further reduce the number of cancer cells before stem cells are suitable to be harvested).

ii.. Stem cell harvesting

iii. High dose chemotherapy (I can't imagine how will I feel once my bone marrow is literally 'gone' when they give the high-dose chemotherapy)

* Bone marrow is where you make all your blood cells (red blood cell to carry oxygen, white blood cells to fight against infection, platelets that clots the blood to prevent further blood loss in case you have a wound). So imagine if your bone marrow is damaged!

iv. Stem cells transplanted

v. Hopefully clear remission from disease

Below is a nice diagram of the stages involved in an autologous stem cell transplant.

I have just had another neck biopsy taken this morning, and they have also arranged for a bone marrow biopsy to be done (not again!) as soon as possible. It does feel like going through the whole cycle again.

It's natural for a human being to be left feeling so frustrated having been so strong in facing such a big adversity, and coming out of it standing tall and proud, only to be knocked down again by an even bigger test almost immediately.

But as a Muslim, it is imperative that I believe in Allah's plannings. It might be that Allah is not giving me the ray of sunshine just yet, rather pouring me with heavy rains, only so that He can give me the beauty of the rainbow by the end of it. Insya Allah! =)

"Bila Allah uji kita dengan sakit, tandanya Dia sayangkan kita..Dia mahu kita jumpa Dia suci dari segala dosa dan hina kita di dunia..."

This is indeed, not a primrose path.



rhapsody LiN said...

hye.. im new here.

i am SLE patient. actually lepas spm dulu lin dapat buat medic under mara scholarship and dat's my ambition dari kecik until one day doctor confirm yg i got SLE.
he asks me to quit from medic cz lin x boleh stress.
huhu~ seyes macam dah putus harapan. time tu lin tgh buat pre medical kat UM. hari2 nanges. macam tak dapat terima kenyataan sebab dulu lin sangat aktif kat sekolah.selalu tnye kenapa lin yang dapat sakit ni.

then allah tu maha adil and like what u had said before "Bila Allah uji kita dengan sakit, tandanya Dia sayangkan kita..Dia mahu kita jumpa Dia suci dari segala dosa dan hina kita di dunia..."
doktor pon kata lin dpt sakit nie because im the choosen one. Allah sayang kat lin.
lin pon berpegang kat kata tu to motivte myself. i have to help myself fight this disease.

now, alhamdulillah i am no longer SLE patient. baru2 ni buat medical check up doctor kata antibody lin dh maintain and dah x payah g kat klinik SLE. ubat pon dah kurang. just makan hydroxichloroquine.

so, kuatkan semangat and sentiasa berdoa kat Dia. believe that miracle is there. ape jadi ade hikmah. hikmah yg lin dapat, lepas je lin kluar dri UM dtg offer buat TESL. teaching profession. insyaAllah thun 2011 akn fly ke Australia. doakan lin berjaya ye


Mas Afzal said...

Dear Lin,

Thank you very much for sharing what you went through. I know treatment of SLE can be difficult and you must have had your ups and downs. Alhamdulillah now that you're declared SLE-free I wish you all the best in your studies.

Insya Allah sama-sama kita berdoa moga Allah terus berikan kekuatan, dan mempermudahkan jalan keluar dari segala kesulitan.


JeP said...

Before anything, congratulations once again for your graduation!

Being a scholar from a university is never an easy task, yet alone graduating with a medical degree. So suffice to say that you should really be proud of such an achievement - provided the path you had to endure.

Anyways, life hasn't been a bed of roses for you indeed. But I know that you have a very strong heart; and an even stronger will. It is also because of this, I'd like to believe that you can pull through this. Your challenges in the past, be it since your school years has never been easy; but you've overcome whatever odds life (and God) gives you, and look where you are now.

We wish you the very best of strength, luck and endurance to go on fighting this new battle. You will always have all our support, and we will be there whenever you need us.

I know that God loves you so much, that he tries you in so many ways so you're always reminded of him. InsyaAllah, you'll get through this like you have before. Until you do, my prayers are always for you.

P/S : Thanks Lin for sharing that very inspiring personal experience of yours. I'm happy you're now well, and hopefully would continue giving chemoboy here (and us, in the process) all the advice and support you can! :)

Mohd Shahnom Ismail said...

Tidak diberi ujian melainkan sesuai dengan tahap kekuatan hambaNya

Teruskan berjuang!!

Anonymous said...

Ataukau kamu mengira kamu akan masuk syurga, padahal belum datang kepadamu cubaan seperti yang dialami orang-orang terdahulu sebelum kamu. Mereka ditimpa kemelaratan, penderitaan dan digoncang dengan berbagai cubaan, sehingga Rasul dan orang-orang yang beriman bersamanya berkata, "bilakah datang pertolongan Allah?" Ingatlah, sesungguhnya pertolongan Allah itu dekat...

Moga lebih sabar dan sentiasa thabat dijalanNya... =)

Anonymous said...