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M. Selami Çekmegil 

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   Anasayfa arrow Güncel Yazılar arrow AND THE JOURNEYING IS TO ALLAH...
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Yazar Ferhana   
Surah Nur (24;42)
My name is Ferhana. I am 61 years old and I live in Cape Town. I am a wife, a mother and a grandmother.
I am also a breast cancer survivor; Alhamdulillah.
This is my story:
In November 2008, I received a frantic call from my sister- in- law Amy who lives in Durban. She had just been for a routine mammogram and was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was in shock! I couldn’t believe it! This cannot be happening I thought. Amy, like me had been going to the gym at least four times a week for the last ten years. We were both very particular about our diet – we had our daily intake of fruits and veggies; we counted our calories; we drank lots of water, never smoked or drank alcohol; in fact, we actually counted our berries just to make sure that we got our share of antioxidants. We were so sure that we were doing all the ‘right things’. I reassured Amy and flew out to Durban so that I could take care of her. When I got to Durban, we both had a good cry and I tried to comfort her. I couldn’t make eye contact with her as I actually felt guilty that she was going through all this and Iwas so well.

Well, to cut a long story short, I stayed with Amy for a few days and had to return to Cape Town because I too had an appointment for my annual mammogram. I promised Amy that I will be back in a few days and that I will stay with her for as long as she needed me. I was not at all concerned about my mammogram – I went for them annually ever since I turned forty. I had my yearly physicals, pap smears and bone density tests. Everything was in control and things will be as fine as always.

Anyway, I had my mammogram and the Radiographer told me that the Radiologist wanted to do an ultrasound. I thought, that’s ok, I’ve had it before and there’s nothing to be worried about. After the ultrasound was over, the Radiologist suggested that I have a biopsy. I was so confident that I was going to be ok that that I wasn’t afraid even at that moment. Two days later I went for my biopsy and there it was – it was confirmed that I too had breast cancer. I couldn’t believe it! This was too much, too soon. I thought, this can’t be true! How can this be happening to me so soon after Amy! As I was driving home to share the news with my family I kept on reciting the dua of the Pophet (saw)
Allah hummah aghrigni fi musibeti wakh lufli khairun minha"
(Allah! Remove from me my difficulty and convert it into goodness for me).

My husband and my children were just as shocked as I was when I shared the news with them, but, Alhumdulillah with Allah’s help and their support; I knew that I will be able to get through this. I had my lumpectomy two days later. I knew then, that this was just the beginning of a long and difficult journey.

Three weeks later, I had my 1st Chemo. I spent the night before, tossing and turning in anticipation of what was to come. One never hears any good stories about Chemo and I was anxious and worried. I was also afraid – I went through the same emotions over and over again; how will it all end? Will it end? Or will it be the end of me? I spent many nights like this – anxious, worried, afraid. The next morning I felt like a schoolgirl going to write her exam; I had knots in my tummy and I had to take a deep breath when I entered the Chemo room. The staff were very caring. They helped to calm me and made me feel as comfortable as they could. I had no idea what to expect but after 6 hours it was finally over. (I had 6 x 3 weekly and 9 x weekly cycles of Chemo and 6 weeks of daily radiation from January to August 2009. When I got home, I felt really sick. I was nauseous, I threw up and I felt that I could not go on. When I told this to my son he said, “Mum you are climbing Mt Everest. You are at base camp; don’t worry about the weather at the summit. Just take one day at a  time".

One night, as I was going through all the usual emotions, I remembered an ayah from Surah Bakarah (2:155-157)

“And surely We will try you with something of fear and hunger, and loss of wealth and lives and crops; but give glad tidings to the steadfast, who say when a misfortune strikes them: to Allah we belong and to Him will we return. Such are they on whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. Such are the rightly guided”

This gave me so much of strength as I thought:  If this is what I have to go through to earn Allah’s blessings and mercy, then it will be worth it.” I immediately prayed “O Allah give me the strength to bear whatever you have put out for me and don’t ever let me complain about anything”.

The week after my 2nd Chemo, my doctor informed me that my hair will now start to fall out. She said that it was good to be prepared and that maybe; I should cut it as short as I could so that it will be easy for me to manage. We talked about the fact that I wear a hijab so it might not be too traumatic for me as I always look the same when my head is covered. I thought, she’s right – I will look the same whether I have black hair or blue hair or whether I have no hair. How wrong was I! I was really affected by my bald head. When I looked at the mirror for the first time, it was as if there was someone else looking back at me. The tears came rolling down and then the reality of having cancer hit me. It became difficult for me to look at myself in the mirror and it was not until my daughter and grandchildren came to visit me that I got my answer. I came out of my room one morning, not realising that two of my grandsons were in the kitchen. When Ihsaan (4 years old) looked at me he said “Nani, go right back in and fetch your hair! I don’t like you like this! His older brother, Muhammad (7 years old) said, “Don’t worry Ihsaan, Nani is still the same in the inside”. I was so touched and I said to myself that I may have changed physically but I am still the same in the inside.

The power of dua is amazing! As family and friends came to know about my illness, they either visited or called just to let me know that I was in their duas.  Amazingly, I reconnected with friends with whom I had lost touch for over 30 years. Believe me, I felt as if I could feel their duas pouring over me. It is said the dua of a mother is most powerful. One day, just after Chemo, I lay on the bed almost passed out. My mother was reciting and I could feel her making dua for me.

Life can be summed up in two words – Challenge and struggle. Every living creature has its own share of challenge and struggle and we are no exception. It’s how you deal with it that’s important. And Allah has shown us how – with sabr ( persistent perseverance, acceptance and never giving up). My biggest challenge was to come to terms with my illness, and my biggest struggle was the chemo, the radiation and the days between them. Through all of this, I never let my cancer get me down. I always remained positive and saw the chemo and the radiation as being part of the cure and not part of the illness, because I truly believe that these are a nai’mah from Allah, and not having them will be a sign of ingratitude.

It’s been three years now since my diagnosis and I can’t say that it was easy. There were some bad moments and some very bad moments. There were days when I felt like I could not go on, but throughout my journey I never felt alone. My faith in Allah and the support that I received from my friends and family helped me overcome whatever obstacles that came my way.

Any crisis that a person goes through is life changing and an illness like cancer is no exception. It makes us reassess our life and reprioritize it. When you are sitting in the chemo room strapped to a chair for 4 – 6 hours you have lots of time for reflection, and believe me, I did a lot of it:
I learnt not to sweat the small stuff – life is too short for that;
I learnt to live each day as it comes and to accept it with gratitude;
I learnt to relax and to go with the flow;
I learnt that no matter how depressed I feel, there is always someone out there who is worse off than me;
I learnt that life is a precious gift and it has to be appreciated;
I learnt to be grateful to Allah that at least I am alive;
I learnt to live life despite the challenges;
I learnt not to take things for granted anymore.
I learnt to accept whatever Allah has ordained for me, without question;
I learnt to accept the things that I cannot control.

My advice to the women out there is:
Please go for your annual mammograms. Being afraid won’t make it go away.

Know your body. This comes with regular self-exams, so that if there is a change You will be the first to know.
Take responsibility for your own health. Don’t wait for your doctor’s rooms to remind you that it is time for your check up. Make a note in your calendar and schedule the appointment yourself.

A good way of doing this is to appoint a month each year when you go for your mammos, pap smears, physicals etc...

Get a Mammo Buddy. Having your mammogram when your friend is having hers makes it easier.

I believe that Allah has given me a second chance and I am sharing my story with you to encourage you to take care of your bodies. They are an amaanah from Allah and we will all be answerable for them.  To those who are ill, I hope to give you a message of hope. Never give up hope for Allah is always near:
“Who listens to the soul distressed when it calls on Him, and Who relieves its suffering.”  Surah An Nahl (27-62)

I also truly believe that Allah accepted everyone’s duas and made my journey easy by changing my difficulties into ease.
“So verily, with every difficulty comes ease, verily, with every difficulty comes ease.” Surah, Inshirah (94: 5-6)

Yazar girisim açık 2012-09-29 15:42:46
A very instructive story, also showing how to handle Quran and how to convert the sures to our lves. 
Raci D.

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