In life, it is inevitable that you need to make decisions. Even children have to make decisions. I remembered when I was at a tender age of 8 years old, I made a decision I will always remember and cherish in my life. I was at school, in my class, and it was 2 o'clock in the afternoon. My tummy suddenly felt really uncomfortable and I had this sudden urge to open my bowels.
That was when I had to make a decision; should I try using the school toilet, famous among each and everyone of us for all the wrong reasons, or make the trip back home? It didn't take me long to decide though, for I knew I will not be able to bear the sight and smell of my school toilet. It was then that I decided that I'm going to skip school today, and make the walk back home.
Yes, WALK. I actually walked back home, which was at least 10 kilometers away. The journey took me a few hours, and funnily, when I reached home, I was so tired that I wasn't bothered to visit the toilet but rather went straight to bed for a nap!
But obviously, as you grow older and carry more responsibility in life, you are bound to make more decisions. And they are not just decision on tiny matters, but sometimes things that are really important and can have significant effects on your life. As one used to say, "We have no simple problems or easy decisions after kindergarten".
Making decision about your career path. Or whether she is the right person to be your partner in life. Or deciding on what treatment is best for your condition.
“The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.”
I personally have my fair share of decision-making in life. Some of which I felt were the right decisions, but there were also some of which I knew were wrong. But more importantly, none of which I regretted making, as it was these decisions I made in the past that have shaped me into who I am now.
When I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma Stage 3 in my final year as a medical student, I decided against taking time off from my studies. Alhamdulillah, today, after more than a year from when I made that decision, I am proudly the first doctor in my family.
When my cancer relapsed for the first time back in July 2009, my family and I decided that it was best to continue treatment in the UK rather than returning home to Malaysia. We felt that the treatment in the UK was better, and there was nothing to be worried of cost-wise, as all expenses were covered by the NHS. However, we plan, but Allah also has His plannings. The treatment failed and my cancer relapsed for the second time back in January 2010.
Now, as I am safely back home in Malaysia, I again had to make an important decision in my life. Shall I continue with the suggested chemotherapy / radiotherapy treatments offered by the hospitals, or seek for alternative remedies?
Having discussed with my doctors in Pusat Perubatan UKM (PPUKM) about the pros and cons of further chemotherapy / radiotherapy in my case, weighing other options that are available for me, as well as doing plenty of istikharah, I then made my decision. I decided to put any further chemotherapy / radiotherapy on hold, and started on alternative medications.
It's obviously not easy to make a decision, what more when you know it relates to you own life. Have I made the right choice, will I regret my decision? Whatever the outcome is, I believe I have made the decision I feel is right and probably best for me. And that, is sufficient enough. Remember what they say about making a decision?
"You don't make decisions because they are easy; you don't make them because they are cheap; you don't make them because they're popular; you make them because they're right.”
And as Muslims, never ever forget, that with every effort and decision making, put our trust to Allah. Tawakkal. In the end, it is Him that grants cure to every disease, and it is Him that gives life, and it is Him that takes it away.
فَإِذَا عَزَمْتَ فَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ
Then when you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah,
إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him). [Ali-'Imran:159]
I don't intend to list down the alternative medications I'm taking as I feel it is improper to reveal them when they are not yet proven to cure my disease. However, let's just say that alhamdulillah, by the will of Allah, there have been some positive improvements in myself. Although the itchiness seems to still be my main problem, the numbness and weakness on my left hand has certainly improved tremendously. The pain on the back of my neck has certainly ease off, and my energy levels are definitely improving.
But obviously, the journey is still far. Insya Allah, with the prayers of friends and families, I will keep on threading this rough path, with the hope that I will reap its benefits by the end of it.
Insha Allah, we'll find the way.