"Are you not afraid of death?"
I can certainly remember vividly that question Peter (not his real name) gave me when we were both having treatment in the O2 Day Ward Unit in Hallamshire Hospital. A nice gentleman he is, already in his 60s I presume, having being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma a few years back. We met for the first time in the day ward during the 3rd course (I think) of my ABVD treatment and it was then that he found out about my condition.
"Well Peter, death will come to all of us anyway, and there is no escaping from it." I replied.
He smiled, as if the intention of his question was merely to see how I am coping with having a cancer. I always enjoyed my tete`-a-tete´ with Peter whenever we met in the Day ward. I've not seen him since my last ABVD treatment but wherever he may be now, I wish him all the best and may God give him the hidayah of the Deen, insya Allah.
أَيْنَمَا تَكُونُواْ يُدْرِككُّمُ الْمَوْتُ وَلَوْ كُنتُمْ فِى بُرُوجٍ مُّشَيَّدَةٍ
Wheresoever you may be, death will overtake you even if you are in fortresses built up strong and high! [An-Nisa:78]
Ever so often during my treatment, I am surrounded by patients all of whom are at least half-centurion, and it is obviously strange for them to suddenly see a bloke supposedly fit and healthy to join the "bandwagon".
My first ever admission to the hospital for my Hickmann line and bone marrow biopsy last week wasn't any different. Yet again, I was in a bay with three other elderly patients. Although we might think of them as being poorly and frail, just think again. Most of these people are strong at heart, fill with optimism not even people of our age could compete.
I remembered two of them, Jack and John (not real names), who both suffer from Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. Had it not been for Jack's reassurance, I would certainly dread the thought of having a Hickmann line.
"Don't worry Mas, it's just going to be a sharp scratch with the local(ie the local anaesthetic), and from there on you'll just feel some pushing."
If looked after properly, a Hickmann line can stay in for a few months.
Jack wasn't completely spot on if I'm being honest, as inserting the Hickmann line was quite an unpleasant 30-minutes experience. Nevertheless, things might have been worse had he not reassured me with his thoughts about the procedure.
Last Thursday was certainly not a day I'd like to remember much in my life. Not only that I had my Hickmann line inserted on that day, I was also scheduled to have a bone marrow biopsy just a few hours later. I've had one before back in December, and it wasn't pleasant at all as far as I could recall.
But never had I imagined it to be as traumatic as this time around. That was probably the most painful thing I've ever had for such a long, long time.
Bone marrow biopsy
My horrendously painful experience of having the bone marrow biospy reminded me of our beloved Prophet SAW. My mouth didn't stop from uttering words of dzikr as I was trying to bear with the sheer agony of the biopsy. That was all I could think of during then. But Prophet Muhammad SAW, he was different.
How in the midst of pain from Sakaratulmaut, Prophet Muhammad can still remember about his people and not about himself.
'Ummatii, ummatii, ummatii?' - 'My people, my people, my people.'
Allahumma solli 'ala Muhammad. How deep is your love to us, ya Rasulullah!
I am still feeling a bit sore from both the Hickmann line and bone marrow biopsy, but I knew that will be the case for at least a few more days. My consultant has not got a definite date yet to start my chemotherapy, as he was still waiting for the results of my neck biopsy. However, he did say that they could probably fit in a date for my first chemotherapy sometime later this week, insya Allah.
In the meantime, I am still resuming work in Royal Preston Hospital. Enjoying my very short stint as a doctor, before I embark on a possibly long break from work. It's a great shame that I have to yet again put aside what I aspire to do for so long, but la tahzan (don't be sad). Allah knows best. He always do.
To my dearest families and friends, please keep the prayers coming. Thank you so much for all your support and du'as.