My name is Enas Abdel Hameed Rady. A resident of Dubai, I was born in Egypt on August 5, 1974. I am the eldest sister of a tribe of 4 ladies and one amazing young man. He is the youngest of us five. I am married with three kids, Ahmad, my special hero and two kittens: Shahd and Jannah.
I graduated in 1997 from the Cairo University in Pharmacy. In 1996, I enrolled for a UNESCO funded educational campaign that was concluded by a Diploma in Family therapy in 1997.
After the birth of my first son Ahmad (a special needs child) in 2001, I started learning a special needs education diploma followed by a higher diploma in Islamic Education. I was one of the toppers in this institute. Sadly, my certificate was stolen with my computer bag while I was traveling abroad.
When I tried to get another one from Egypt, the head of the ministry at that time refused for his own reasons. I was shocked and depressed at his refusal, but I decided to complete the journey I had commenced. I always believed in hope and since my intention was to spread knowledge, I was determined to remain on the path of knowledge, hoping for my reward in the Hereafter. While discussing the loss of my certificate with one of my friends, we hit upon the idea to commence our studies with IOU. Since my time in Egypt, I had known Dr. Bilal Philips and had seen many of his talks. I knew of his journey to knowledge. This gave me strength and hope in my decision to join IOU because I knew his vision and success in the field.
Alhamdulillah, with new hope, I started with the Bachelor of Arts in Islamic Studies [BAIS] (click here to know more) in its early months, progressed onto BMAIS [Bridge to Masters in Islamic Studies] and alhamdulillah, now I am pursuing my Masters in Islamic Studies [MAIS]. All of this was only possible because of the flexibility and affordability of IOU.
Since then, I have combined my knowledge from all fields to help and teach ladies about Islamic manners and family issues. Presently, I am doing a higher degree in Marriage therapy from Walden University.
Along with my studies, I am also working as a part time teacher for Islamic Studies and Arabic Language for non-Arabs in a reputable deaf institute in Dubai “Kalimati”. I am also a family therapist for families who visit the center.
Life takes a turn
In 2011, during my second semester in IOU, I could not attend the exams on time because of a strange pain in my neck and ears. I applied for exemption from giving the exam in the normal period. I thought it was a regular sickness that needed rest and physical therapy.
However, one of my doctors was suspicious because of the way my neck looked and referred me to a scan that confirmed the existence of unhealthy tumors that extended along the right side of my neck. I was diagnosed with Papillary Carcinoma that shifted to Lymphoma. By this time, I had continuous triggers of extreme pain with no explanation at all. I am a very pleasant natured person, energetic and enthusiastic, with a smile on my face always, alhamdulillah. But now, my whole life was changing…I could not talk properly or even perform normal daily activities..
Biopsy showed abundance of carcinogenic tumors in a critical stage that needed to be removed because it was surrounding my vocal cords. I had to undergo multiple surgeries and the risk was high- the doctors said that I could lose my voice in the process. As is the protocol, the doctors did not take any responsibility for it and I was made to sign many consents.
Alhamdulillah , no such thing happened and the surgery went well. I was put on extensive treatment plans. But, as is the will of Allah, the cancerous tumors came back not once, but twice, this time spreading all over the lymph nodes.
Initially, this type of cancer had minor hazards across all non-benign types. However, when the cancer re-surfaced after the first surgery, it spread over my lymph nodes and doctors described it as severe and rare!
I was very cautious in taking treatment. I used to email my lab tests to best consultants for minimal risks, of course with Allah’s will. This type of cancer is usually treated with surgeries and radiation. But I felt that the surgeries are more painful and risky because there seemed no end to it. The doctors in the USA said that the only way the cancer could be completely expelled was by removing the entire lymph system in my neck which was very risky. However, if the cancer attacked my body, then they would go ahead with it anyways, which made me fear a lot! SubhanAllah!
I consulted many therapists in and outside the Middle East, including France. Some doctors in France even suggested chemotherapy for my case with minimal sessions that could get the cancer under control.
This was the path my doctors chose; different treatment techniques with minimal exposure to the hazards of chemotherapy. I also tried natural medication with experienced doctors along with radiation sessions. However, these sessions took a toll on me and I could hardly speak, let alone the severe pain in my neck which I experienced for many months even after taking small doses of this medication. Alhamdulillah, I used to drink plenty of water as suggested by my doctors, and along with rest and aid of painkillers, the pain used to come under control.
While battling cancer, I also developed The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome- CFS which needed another treatment plan altogether. Qadr Allah, wa ma sha fa’al!
My friendship with IOU
When I joined the IOU, I was highly impressed with the system and support that I got as a special needs student. Since my second semester commenced, I was always in surgeries or treatment or was unable to deliver the academic work needed. However, brother Hunain was one of the main reasons that I am able to talk to you now! He always supported my case and gave me hope. Along with him, the sisters of IOU’s Helpdesk and the Registrar take special care of me, considering my situation and needs.
IOU was the only friend who never left me in my hard times, except twice when I was unable to attend the final exams as I could not walk. The situation was quite difficult for both me and IOU who always tried their best to help me. In fact, I have given my exams in almost all the countries that I have been for my treatment!
If I could not attend exams because of emergencies, the Grade Transfer option would come to my rescue. I could take the incomplete subjects again in the next semester and would be determined to complete it.
My only challenge was typing or writing to take notes or for assignments because my shoulder and arms were terribly affected during surgeries. I could not write or read for long durations so I had to pause at regular intervals and record what I liked to remember in special folders for future reviews. I felt satisfied when I took steps forward because this put me with the ‘normal’ regular students and helped me achieve trust in what I preached in my classes.
During the course of my treatment, which involved many radiation sessions, I was isolated from people frequently. It was only the passion for Allah’s knowledge and learning His deen that always made me strong and filled my time and soul with a purpose. I felt very safe and pure in those times. I am ever grateful to Allah that He accepted me as one of the students of Islamic knowledge.
Click to read Part II