Cancer Changed My Life
I am not a single individual on my own. I am my family. I’m nothing without them. So yes, the effect that cancer had on me changed the life of my family as well. I used to have a life full of people and activities due to my work and family, until…..cancer stepped into my life.
My special needs son Ahmad was the first target of the changes happening in my life. I had to stop the way in which I used to take care of him and change it to ways that would also suit my condition. I was not in a position to do any of the feast arrangements or involve in any type of sports activity because of less bone density which would tire me out quite soon, though alhamdulillah, I am overcoming this with supplements and simple walks.
Even before my diagnosis, I knew very well how precious and dear my family was to me, but my battle with cancer unveiled the best in all of them, especially my husband. This strong, kind, sincere, loving and righteous man sacrificed all his time, energy and even work at times, to be with me for months in hospitals! I am able to be whom I am now because of his unwavering love and support. I discovered a new “us” in the backdrop of cancer! We share a very strong and blissful bond with the blessing and mercy of Allah.
My daughters too are learning many things in life by being able to support me and are always beside me. This is truly a blessing! My siblings also spared no efforts to take over my responsibilities whenever they could afford it even though they live quite far away.
And how can I forget my mother. She gave me strength and encouraged me to carry on. She ignored her age problems and health conditions and fought with all difficulties to support the life of her daughter. She was always there for me. Never did she leave my side, ever….May Allah grant her Jannah!
Meet the New Enas
I believe that experiences brings the best out of us. My battle with cancer is nothing but a ‘test’ from Allah. Yes, it is not pleasant, but they strengthen our soul and encourage us to be steadfast on the path of Allah.
Let me share a small memory of my life with you. I was one of the honored students in High School for my grades. It is a critical year in the life of all Egyptians wherein your grades determine your future! I got a scholarship in the American University in Cairo [AUC] at that time. My mother refused to let me take this unique opportunity because she found the culture and ‘outfits’ of the attendees in the AUC was, ironically, non-Islamic in an Islamic country! So, when I went on to study Pharmacy, it was only to obey my mother’s request and follow her path in education as she is a pharmacist as well. What I did was only to please her and make her happy. But, my dream was to work in the media and teach people through technology.
Quite surprisingly, this dream was fulfilled after 20 years with IOU! They have helped me to learn and teach Islam in English as this is my second language and now, alhamdulillah, I teach in both Arabic and English. Now, I am able to transfer this wealth of knowledge along with my family education. It gives me a sense of satisfaction that I obeyed my mother 20 years ago and followed her guidance, for now, after all these years, Allah gave me what I wanted, Alhamdulillah!
I am so grateful to Him and feel like a bird flying happily through the skies. It is my sincere dua’ that Allah accepts all our deeds and corrects our intentions to please His will!
Prior to cancer, I was very active in teaching and giving workshops and seminars to ladies, kids and teens on different subjects that I am mastering with IOU. And, alhamdulillah, I still continue to do so, even though the medium has changed. I give my students recordings on special topics which I can easily fit in my daily schedule. I love giving back what I have learnt in the form of da’wah that is beneficial to Muslims.
It has been 5 years now. My battle with cancer rages on, though, from the past 5 months, the results are much better, alhamdulillah. I was almost unable to talk after the treatment sessions but now, Allah has given my speech back to me. I do have to take precautions and cannot indulge in long conversations, but this is sufficient for me and my lifestyle. I have also re-joined work, but cannot overburden myself due to low immunity which makes me vulnerable to many other symptoms that still require healing.
Allah’s mercy is infinite and He has bestowed abundant blessings on me. I could not and cannot thank Him enough when He enabled me to move and do ‘Umrah this Ramadan. This was the reward my soul had always been yearning for.
I experienced the power of Allah’s love to His creatures by helping us across calamities. I saw how Allah put me in this test and blessed me at the same time with patience and power; how perfect His will is! I tasted the sweetness of real sisterhood and brotherhood for the sake of Allah. Everyone stood and continue to stand by my side; each one of my students and friends spent time to ask me about my family and supported me in whichever way possible.
Yes, it broke my heart into a million pieces to live away from my children for long durations of time for my treatment. Yes, I cried and yearned to be with them because they were so little when cancer entered my life. Yes, it hurt me so much when I unintentionally had to share these moments with them! But by the mercy of Allah, I helped myself to heal by patience, faith and perseverance. Nothing happens in our life, except that Allah has decreed it for us. He is the Protector, in whom we all put our trust.
I believe cancer has changed my life from better to the better Alhamdulillah. The fact that I am still here talking to you makes me eager and happy to give back more and more to everyone who was there for me! Each day gives me a new life; it feels like I am a newborn with only one day to live! How joyous, active and useful this day is!
My attitude towards life has totally changed. I have taken dunya out of my heart and placed it in my hands! It is now much easier to leave it.
Move on……This life is just a test…..
For all those who suffer from any trials and tribulations, I pray for you every time I pray for myself. Whatever occurred to you could not have missed you and what missed you could never have reached you. Rewards are only for those who are patient with the Decree of Allah. I want to let you know how rewarding the life of righteousness is in such painful conditions. We should be aware of the real mission that Allah made us for. Indeed, difficult times come with proportional rewards and the true believers are those who stand up again in trials despite the pain, only for the sake of Allah.
I want to share with you these touching words of the truthful, Prophet Muhammed ﷺ
“One amongst the inhabitants of Hell, who had lived a life of ease and pleasure in the world, would be made to dip in the Hell Fire only once on the Day of Resurrection. Then he would be asked: ‘O son of Adam, Did you find any comfort. Did you get any blessing?’ He would say: ‘By Allah, no, my Lord!’ Then a person, from the inhabitants of Paradise, who had led the most miserable life (in the world), would be made to dip once in Paradise and it would be said to him: ‘O son of Adam, did you face any hardship or experience any distress?’ he would say: ‘By Allah! No never have I experienced any hardship or distresses.” 1
Being thankful is a high level of patience across turbulences. The person who thanks Allah for the tests which has struck him knows that these calamities are expiation for his sins and perhaps, a cause for an increase in his good deeds. The Prophet ﷺ said:
“There is no affliction which strikes the Muslim except that Allah expiates with it (sins), even with a thorn that may poke him.” 2
I pray to Allah to make us from those who have patience upon hardships and those who are thankful for His blessings.