Sunday, 29 November 2009

You are not alone [Part 2]

Assalamualaikum wbt and Hi everyone,

Now and again, I have been invited by some people to share my experience of living with cancer. Giving some insight on how I try to face my adversity, with the hope that I can help others cope with their own difficulties in life.

I try to be sincere to the people that I talk to, telling them that I occasionally whine and cry to myself for having to go through such predicament. Because I am merely a human being and I have emotions just like anyone else.

But I try not to let emotions take over my life because as Muslims, we have always been taught to believe in the plannings of our Creator, no matter how difficult it might be. And I tell myself and the people I share my experience with, that the scale of the test afflicted upon us reflects how high Allah regards us. Allah knows that we have the strength in us to face up to the test that He gives, or else He wouldn't have given us one. As He has promised in His Holy Scripture,

God charges no soul save to its capacity, that is, what it is capable of bearing...[2:286]

It is the Mercy of Allah that even when we are being tested, Allah never leaves us alone without His nusrah (assistance). Being in the hospital for my recent treatment was without a doubt the most difficult period in my life, what more without my family around. But that is when Allah brings forth His assistance, and that is via the support of my fellow peers.

The people that mean so much to me, ever since I set my foot in this country.

How can I forget brother Eymen, who is the most frequent visitor to my little room in Ward P4. Never will he miss bringing his mom's special soup whenever he dropped by, trying his best to make me feel at home.

Or my dearest housemates, in particular Khairuddin aka M, who has been supporting me all the way through ever since all these started back in December. He has always been my chef, my good friend, constantly topping up my supply of fruits and juices whenever I'm warded in the hospital.

Paktam, Maktam and Ainul, for taking the hassle to travel all the way up from London to Sheffield just to make my day.

Not forgetting Abg Safuan, a person I treat as my own brother, for never ceasing to take the initiative to get the Malaysian community to prepare foods for yours truly.

My fellow Muslim brothers, be it among the Malaysians or those I know so dearly from the masjid for regularly visiting me during my long stay in the hospital. And for the same matter, Dr Asrar and Dr Shahrul whom both travelled from Blackpool, all in the spirit of ukhuwwah (friendship).

And to my dearest sisters in Islam (bukannya SIS yer), you know who you are, for volunteering to take turns to prepare food even though I'm sure all of you are preoccupied with other commitments too. Allah will certainly reward every second spent for the cause, insya Allah!

And the list goes on and on. Just to show how beautiful is the Rahmah(Mercy) of Allah. SubhanAllah.

It is through their support and prayers that I knew I cannot disappoint. These people have certainly provided me with the extra strength I was yearning for to get me going whilst I was in the hospital. And I can only thank Allah for giving it to me.

And Alhamdulillah, by the will of Allah, I have finally passed my final treatment, and all I can do now is plenty of rest and hope for the best. Insya Allah. Thinking retrospectively, after almost a year of trial and tribulation, I am reminded of a beautiful verse in the Qur'an:

No affliction befalls in the earth or in your own selves, which We have not recorded in a Book before bringing it into being. This is an easy thing for Allah. (This is done so that) you are not disheartened over what you may lose nor feel exultant over what Allah may give you...[57:22-23]

I have been destined to go through all these. For all the hardship that we have to face in life, they are all according to the pre-ordained scheme of Allah, which is already recorded in the Writ of destiny. As Sheikh Abul A'la Al Maududi famously said,

"If you are made to attain to success without passing through these hardships, weaknesses will remain in your character due to which you will neither be able to digest power and authority nor withstand the tempests and furies of falsehood."

So do not despair, Mas Afzal.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Is the battle over?

Assalamualaikum wbt and Hi everyone.

Alhamdulillah (All praise be to Allah), after 23 long days in the hospital, I'd finally come through my ultimate battle, though I wouldn't say unscathed. The whole experience was definitely one that I'll remember for the rest of my life, but if I'm being honest, it was one that I pray to Allah will never happen again in my life, ever.

It was a battle so daunting that I'm lost for words to describe it, testing me right till the very end. It was a battle of mind; the ability to keep on telling myself that I'll get through this predicament even though my body has raised the white flag. This treatment, in short, had certainly liven up to its name and reputation.

How can I forget the right hip pain that kept flaring up during the first week of my stay in the hospital, that I felt so helpless and could only wait for the pain to ease away whilst constantly praying to Allah for strength and patience?

Or even the allergic reaction I suffered from one of the chemotherapy drug that was given on the 2nd day of my stay in the hospital? My face was swollen, and I had difficulty breathing that the doctors had to intervene with anti-allergic medications and steroids.

I certainly wouldn't forget that one Friday when I had an infection so bad that I'd gone into a septic shock. My blood pressure was very low, my pulses were racing and my temperature was high that the doctors at one point considered transferring me to the High Dependency Unit (HDU) for close monitoring.

Not forgetting days and days of sheer tiredness and inability to do literally anything but sleep.

Or the mucositis I so dreaded, putting me off my food, causing me to lose 5 kilograms within just 4 days. The soreness was really bad, I was kept to just soup for almost a week and a half. The period in the hospital where I lost my appetite and was not able to tolerate solids was without a doubt one that I will remember for the rest of my life, as I've never felt so low and depressed.

To cap it all, not having any of your family members around to seek strength and support from. That was really difficult. Shaytan kept coming, creating bad thoughts in my mind on why my family members are not around when I really need them. Nauzubillah min zalik! [May Allah protect us from that (in case of harm)]

One must wonder after all my rantings, how did I actually remained sane for those 23 days?

وَللَّهِ الأَسْمَآءُ الْحُسْنَى فَادْعُوهُ بِهَا

And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allah, so call on Him by them...[Al-A’raf:180]

Allah is Most Gracious, Most Merciful. He never inflicts upon His servant a test he or she can't bear. Although it seemed my 23 days in the hospital were the worst one could ever imagine, I was never alone in the battle.

It was during those 23 days that Allah endowed upon me His nusrah (assistance), one that I'll share in my next entry...

To be continued.