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...]