"Encik, sebelum ni encik gunting rambut sendiri sampai botak ka?" [Sir, did u previously cut your hair to bald?]
"Eh, macammana awak boleh tahu?" [How did you know?]
"Rambut encik tak rata. Kenapa encik nak bagi botak rambut? Tak sesuai untuk encik." [Your hair is not growing back evenly. Why have you decided to go bald? I don't think it suits you.]
I could only mustered a smile to the question. Shall I go down the long, winding explanation of having gone through chemotherapy for a year and a half, or make this conversation simple and not less comfortable? I replied,
"Saja nak tukar imej la bos," [Well, I thought I could do with a bit of a change.]
For the next half an hour, I was reminded again of that one-year-and-a-half experience of going through chemotherapies. Memories most of which were obviously bitter, of dealing with the after effects of the cytotoxic drugs.
Chemotherapies do not necessarily work in all cases, but they are undeniably the hospital's current mainstay of treatment along with radiotherapy and surgery in the fight against cancer.
How can I ever forget the times when I started to vomit straight away the moment one of the chemotherapy drug was injected into my veins.
Or when I would spend hours in the bathroom, cleaning up my falling hairs from clogging up the plug hole.
Or the time when I lost 7 kilograms within just 5 days when I was in the hospital, due to severe mouth ulcers as a result of the side effects of one of the chemotherapies.
Or when I was battling for my own life when I had a septic shock whilst having the high dose chemotherapy, that they even considered to transfer me to the High dependency unit (equivalent of Intensive Care Unit or ICU that most are quite familiar of).
Those moments were tough. Thinking of it again, I genuinely believed that the only reason I managed to persevere through all those experience was due to the constant supplications of my family members, friends, as well as those who prayed for me although hardly knowing me.
1. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, "Three supplications will not be rejected (by Allah (SWT)), the supplication of the parent for his child, the supplication of the one who is fasting, and the supplication of the traveler." [al-Bayhaqi, at-Tirmidhi - Sahih]
2. The prophet (SAW) said: 'There is no believing servant who supplicates for his brother in his absence where the angels do not say, 'the same be for you'' [Muslim]
I am currently still undergoing non-conventional treatments in my battle against Hodgkin's lymphoma. I have decided that my body needs a break from further intensive chemotherapies.
Coming from a medical background myself, it is certainly not easy to convince myself to not commence on further conventional medicines (ie chemo, radiotherapy, etc). I was even questioned by some people, most of which were understandably doctors themselves, about the decision I've made, which they felt could possibly be detrimental.
But I asked myself time and time again; It's not that I've not tried the conventional medicines. Chemotherapies were what I had for the last year and a half, nothing else. But my body just didn't seem to response at all to the drugs, rather the cancer seems to be worsening by time.
So does that mean that I am giving up on chemotherapies? No, certainly not. But I just feel that this is the best time that I try on something else, an alternative to the conventional medicines.
The thing about alternative medicines are that they probably don't show benefits as immediately as chemotherapies, which can be frustrating especially for people eager to find quick cure to their sufferings. They take time to work, and people undergoing alternative medicines really need to be patient. But understandably some people with terminal cancer really do not have the luxury of time, and therefore waiting for the medicines to work is just a torture.
Alternative medicine : Do they really have a place in the cure of cancer?
I hope people can comprehend that it is not an easy decision for me to commence on alternative medicines rather than well-known conventional treatments. What more they are rarely supported by adequate scientific proofs (ie medical journals, etc) but rather just hearsays. Will it work? How long should I wait? It is not a position you would want to be in, wouldn't you?
But the best I can do at the moment is to BELIEVE that for every disease, Allah has provided its cure. So we MUST seek for it with as much effort as possible. Not to sit down and despair about my predicaments. That will not do any good, neither will it cure my disease. Jangan mengaku kalah dengan kata-kata syaitan.
At least, its comforting to listen to what my grandma told me when I visited her last weekend,
"Penyakit ni biasalah, dia datang macam angin ribut, tapi dia pergi macam semut!" [It's typical of a disease, that they afflict you as quick as a thunder, but will disappear as slow as an ant]
How true can you be dear Grandma.