Tuesday, 11 May 2010

All you need is a bit of patience...

I was twice being told that my cancer has relapsed after what were initially positive responses to treatment. I wondered what put my heart at peace having heard such news.

Never in my life had I experienced such excruciating pain with two of my bone marrow biopsies, the second one being the worse of the two, and a bloodied experience too. I wondered what put my heart at peace having to go through such painful experiences.

My doctor told me that they have exhausted all the curative options for my condition, and the end of the road seems inevitable. That moment when even my doctor had lost hope on me, I wondered what put my heart at peace.


Those were the three important points in my life that I had to endure within the last year and a half. Three incidences that could easily shatter any hopes or optimism, and jolted even those with strong hearts. If there is ever one thing I have learnt from this journey of mine, it is the importance of believing in the power of SABR (patience).



The shirt you would need in times of anger!


Because patience, was the medicine that has kept my heart at peace in all those three situations.

And till this very moment, I pray to Allah that He endow me the power of Sabr to this fragile heart of His servant.


...............................................................................


Living with a chronic condition like cancer can take its toll on you, if you don't practice PATIENCE. Do you know what do most people with chronic conditions eventually developed into when they fail to practice patience? They end up being DEPRESSED. Being a patient with a chronic disease myself, I'm not really surprised as to how one can easily become depressed over their condition. If I can just prove my point by sharing my own experience:

  • Ever since I started taking the alternative medications, a lot of positive improvements have been noted over the last 3 months. I started to believe again. But in the last 2 weeks, things seemed to have gone down yet again. On some nights, I was awaken yet again by pains on the right side of my leg. The lumps on my neck seem to have grown slightly bigger, and my energy levels have definitely been lesser than usual. I have done nothing different to my diet, or changed anything in the medications I've taken, making it more frustrating as to why such symptoms are redeveloping!

  • I was hoping to at least start work as a doctor even in my current circumstance, but obviously I would need some leniency in my working hours and workload. However, I doubt if I can persevere for even a week. Not that I don't believe in myself, but my symptoms are really unpredictable. Sometimes, I can stay awake after my Fajr (morning) prayers but when things don't go well, I would have to take those extra hours of sleep having done my morning prayers. Then I started questioning, can I really make it for work at 8am everyday then? [in actual fact, junior doctors in Malaysia have to turn up much earlier than that!] When people ask me, "Wouldn't stress exacerbate cancer? What more the stress of working as a doctor?", I really can't say no to such question, and it is indeed one very good point highlighted.





  • With alternative medications, there are certainly a lot of things that needs to be done throughout the day. Brewing the herbs would take a few hours altogether. With so many medications to take within a day, DISCIPLINE is needed to make sure I NEVER miss taking any of them. Even with my mom and young sister helping me a lot in preparing these medications, I still find it very hard to consistently take all my medications, without fail.

  • A lot of times, I know my family have been very understanding in adapting to my circumstances. In the past, if my dad says that we're going out tomorrow at 8 in the morning, then we will go out at 8 in the morning [well, not precisely 8, we'll end up going out at 9, or 10am, hehe]. However, things are slightly different nowadays. Plans seem to very much depend on how I feel that day. If I feel slightly tired in the morning and needed that extra hours of sleep, my parents would oblige and push plans to a later time. They have been very compromising. Even though I know they have no qualms whatsoever having to make such adjustments, I occasionally developed a sense of guilt. Feeling bad, that other people have to put up with my unpredictability.


I believe patients with chronic diseases share some similarities to the situations I have to face, if not all of them. And it is these sort of examples that usually lead to patients getting depressed, when they feel that the load on their back are just too much to bear. A solid rock can be dented when being hit persistently by water, and so do human beings. When the tension continuously builds up over time, it's easy for us to break.



How seemingly harmless waves can with time, erode the strongest of rocks...


But even when things don't go as planned, or if you feel that everything seems to be going against you, be PATIENT. One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life. Being patient over the bad things that affect you may prevent you from a nervous breakdown, and consequent deterioration from thereon. Being impatient, however, may just lead you to lose control over yourself and eventually commit actions that you don't actually intend to do. You may also hurt others' feelings, or unintentionally say nasty things to the people you love, just because you decided to become IMPATIENT over your personal problems!

“Verily, patience is to faith what the head is to the body. When the head is cut off, the body falls. Verily there is no faith for he who has no patience .”


Experience has taught me that we tend to undo ourselves by being impatient. The Qur'an has taught me that we can pull through the difficulties that we face in life by adopting patience in our life.



O you who believe! Seek Help in Patience and Salaah. Truly, Allah is with those that are patient. [Qur'an 2:153]


And the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), has taught me that patience is indeed a quality embodied in the hearts of the Believers;

“Strange is the affair of the Mu’min (the believer), verily all his affairs are good for him. If something pleasing befalls him he thanks (Allah) and it becomes better for him. And if something harmful befalls him he is patient (Sabr) and it becomes better for him. And this is only for the Mu’min.”

So when you feel like things are getting out of control, be PATIENT. Adopt approaches you feel can bring tranquility to your heart;

  • Know that whatever trials come your way, it is only because your Lord loves you and wants to test how undivided your faith is onto none other but Him.

  • Know that whatever sickness afflicts you, it is only to purify you off the sins you've committed. Verily fever sheds sins like a tree sheds leaves.

  • Perform wudhu'(ablution) when the heart is raging with anger. The Prophet once said,

"Anger comes from the devil, the devil was created of fire, and fire is extinguished only with water; so when one of you becomes angry, he should perform ablution." [Dawud]


Know that each and everyone of us are on a long but temporary journey, and that the destination is the hereafter - either Paradise, or Hell. Keep that in mind. Whenever we feel that patience is running out as a result of the things that go against us, just recount the endless blessings that God has endowed us with.

Rabbana afrigh 'alayna sobron... [O Lord, pour forth on us patience...]

13 comments:

Johanna said...

Mas...! (Speechless)

Saya doakan yang terbaik utk anda!!

noreez said...

Salam Mas Afzal,

Aduhai..Betapa berlikunya jln yg Mas kena lalui ni. Betapa tabah seorang Mas Afzal ini.
I've been reading sedari tadi..say about 3-4 hours ago.Bermula dr December 2008's entries. Wouldn't want to miss reading from the beginning. Everytime u get ur result small voice inside my head saying.."o please, o please..no relapse" Tp kita hanya mampu merancang Allah jua yg menentukan Qada' dan Qadar perjalanan hidup hambanya.
Menginsafi diri di setiap entry Mas,terasa juga betapa Mas dan keluarga, teramat close. Going thru thick n thin together.
Be strong n all the best. Semoga Allah sentiasa memberi ketenangan di jiwa Mas dan family. Ameenn!

Wahidah said...

Sabar Mas..hanya itu kunci kejayaan umat manusia..N jgn berhenti berharap..moga MAs sentiasa dlm lindunganNya

ieja_abu said...

i adore your patience and spirit.semoga Allah merahmati bro Mas Afzal ini.amin

rgds:mas aliza

JeP said...

In our weakest predicament our emotions often take the best of our consciousness. Humans do that. But what matters most is what we make of our fates upon realization.

You're making ample progress, and although at times like these you find yourself taking a step backwards - sometimes that is what's needed to take two forward.

Take care. See you soon in June (wow that rhymes!). :D

Mas Afzal Masarudin said...

Johanna - Thanks. Do keep the prayers coming!

Kak Noreez - Terima kasih sudi singgah ke blog saya. Having a close-knit family is SO pivotal, it is part of the wellness of an individual. A loving family creates a positive environment. =)

Wahidah - Insya Allah, pengharapan itu tidak akan putus selagi Allah masih mengurniakan kudrat.

Mas Afzal Masarudin said...

Mas Aliza - Thanks for the prayers my friend!

Jep - I look forward to see you again bro come this June. =)

Anonymous said...

Salam dear brother,

nice entry! May Allah bless you always! May Allah give us the strength to endure everything ... my trials are much lesser than yours but still i am struggling to have patience. Sometimes I fall of the track and said nasty things that hurt others. I even lost a friendship once due to my impatience enduring a small trial. It was a tough lesson of life for me. But my life must go on even with the burden of feeling guilty on the broken friendship. Yesterday, i slipped off again.I am being impatience and start being grumpy. I complaint a lot too! ... I almost hurt another friend .. Luckily I read your post today which reminds me of the importance being patience ...

"One moment of patience may ward off great disaster. One moment of impatience may ruin a whole life." ... this is indeed true ... i have lost a friend that change my perception towards everything in my life ... Pray that Allah will lead me to the right path and be among the good companions. Please also pray for my success in my studies!

Jazakallahu Khair Brother!
Take care!
Enjoy being with your family! I missed my family loads, hopefully I could go home soon!

Barakallahu Fika!

Raden Galoh said...

Afzal...you have said it so well and I salute your perseverance brother...

Sabr to me comes in three arabic letters of sot, baa and raa... which means sot for solat, baa for berzikir and berusaha and raa for redha... insyaAllah doing all three will strengthen our patience...

May Allah strengthen our patience and replace the tumult in our hearts with peace and serenity... ameen

qistina said...

MashaAllah. im touched by your level of patience. i just realised how being patient can change our view on things in life, like u, facing cancer with ur heart at peace. subhanaallah. i had pneumonia and it almost changed my life. for every second breathed with gruesome pain, i realised i only remember Him at times like this. i learnt it the hard way but alhamdulillah..

the three words by raden galoh makes perfect sense!

Wahidah said...

harap mas masih diberi khudrat..bertahan selagi mampu saudara..moga mas sentiasa dlm lindunganNya..

< hUmaIra eDRiNa > said...

Assalamualaikum......
akhi mas...sya tdk tahu apa yg hndak dckpkn (im speechless)....
khdupn yg akhi lalui penuh rintangan...namun akhi tempuhi dgn redha n sabar......
sya kagumi cra akhi menghadapinya..
penuh pengharapan dan sikap yg positif...i hope i can be like you...
sekuat akhi...
setabah akhi....
mghadapi cbrn hdup ddunia....
insyaAllah..myb its not now..but in future....=)
juz i really hope...
(wlpun tw akhi x mmlukan kta2x nie)
be sTrong, my herO......
juz remember....
kmi sentiasa mendoakan kbhgiaan akhi.....n ur not alone...
i knoe ALLAH sgt sayangkn akhi...

Mas Afzal Masarudin said...

@Anonymous - Thanks for sharing your personal experience. Being impatient even for just a split second can sometimes leave a permanent effect on someone else. May Allah endow us the ability to not succumb easily to our anger.


@Kak Dalilah - SubhanAllah, I like how you summed up the beautiful Arabic word of As-Sabr! Is that something you came up by yourself or is actually mentioned specifically in a book/by a person?


@Qistina - Typical it is of a human being to suddenly feel closer/in need of his/her God in times of difficulty. I hope your personal experience of suffering from pneumonia has taught you valuable lessons about life.