This post is all about my fresh new life now. Starting with a big Thank You to my Allah, and my wonderful doctors, and nursing staff. Another big thanks to all my family members, my daughters and my mother for their untiring prayers, and giving me support in every way they could. Same for my close friends. A special thank you to myself too, for being brave and strong through this huge battle.
One needs to appreciate one’s own efforts too, which found things very tough several times, through it all. Many times refusing to ‘let things be,’ and pushing myself to follow the doctor’s instructions, exercises and taking medications. Many times one hated doing it, but went ahead anyway, knowing it is important to not letting go.
Yes, it was tough.
Today, I’m enjoying the fruits of everyone’s labor of love.
Side effects of chemo will remain for three years:
Knowing this, I’m appreciating how much lessor the symptoms have become. You know, there will be times when you have had it up to here?! Courage is the only weapon. Now it seems more difficult because you had endless sessions of this that and the other. Now, you don’t feel like moving a finger even. So, a lot of self-talk is necessary to regain one’s stamina, energy and courage again.
Since every treatment is different, and so is the body, so naturally everyone will have different symptoms. Just get to know them, study them on YouTube if you like, but do discuss with your oncologist. Follow the treatments suggested.
I need to have a knee replacement operation, I’ve managed to lead a normal life, in spite of not getting this operation done for almost eight years now. I’ve written about it in Knee Jerk, here. So, I felt I’m alright now, so I could go ahead with this operation now, but my oncologist has told me to not have any operation for three years after completion of the treatments of cancer.
My Side effects:
Frankly, I don’t even mention these to anyone any more. Just discuss with doctor. But with you I discuss everything because I know it can be of use. So, my side effects are muscular spasms, neuropathy, tinnitus and sporadic loss of memory.
These can happen anywhere anytime. But slowly these have subsided, now in the sixth month after completion of infusions, I’m almost free of these. One just tolerates it, knowing it will subside within a few months. I took a medication for it, basically vitamin B.
It is the numb feeling in toes, feet and soles of feet. It is also felt on finger tips. It is a strange sensation and that too has become negligible now.
Yes, that sound in the ears, has continued since my fourth chemo. It isn’t subsiding at all, my ENT specialist put quite a few exercises on my daily to do list. I’m being a bad patient and not doing most of these, and it isn’t improving, also I need to take medications for it. This happens to people who haven’t undergone cancer treatment also. Many suggest that one just learns to live with it. I got my check ups done and specially the audio gram to check if it isn’t going to result in hearing loss. So far so good. I can’t hear a high pitched sound only, otherwise, all activities pertaining to normal life is fine with me. No loss of hearing.
My friend Ambreen often mentions this. I’ve always been scatter brained and forget things, so I wasn’t that perturbed in the beginning. Lately, I’ve noticed it has become quite frequent.
Recently, I was to attend a Waleema function, and forgot it. There I sat with my mother at home, watching a movie on Sunday. I remembered, three hours later, called Nigar, and she said come over. So I went, when almost all guests had left, and was extremely embarrassed.
Yesterday, I was to go for the movie, ‘What’s love got to do with it?’ with my friend Nigar (it was her son’s wedding which I had almost missed last week!) So, I was to pick her up, and there she was waiting and I was in bed watching stupid films all the time. She kept calling me, but I had left my phone in the lounge on the charger. So embarrassing.
I had noted this in the phone calender, also in some other places. But I had a complete blank memory of it, at the actual time.
So, I called my stage four cancer survivor friend, Ambereen, she said, ‘Welcome to the club!’
That is all I can say now, ‘Welcome to the club!’
Put a white board in your bedroom with appointments etc. on it, or on mirror of the washroom, (that usually works well.)
Of course, throughout chemo and beyond, my sense of taste was badly affected. But now, after six months of ending infusions, I’m fine. Can’t tell you how great it feels! So, I’ve started enjoying my food so much. Now, I’m gaining weight too, naturally! So, I must control myself, as this weight is just perfect. I’m feeling like my self again as I’d been for most of my life. Whoever I meet mentions how good I’m looking. ???? Love it.
Yes, that infamous hair loss is a reality to live with. My hair is very slowly coming back. Yet it is not good at all yet. So, I’m continuing enjoying wearing my wig, (May Allah bless Sarah with a long happy life for giving me this.) I plan to wear it when my hair returns too, as my own hair has never been thick. Anyhow, my friend Natascha who has had a lot of chemo therapies, says that it takes five years for good hair to come. (In my case I’ll be older too.) So, good old wigs can continue for all I care!
Nails are better now:
Yes, I can’t believe it, my nails getting back to normal now. It is such a joy to see them now. They were black, marked, and kept breaking off. Now, they are stronger and much better. I always kept putting nail color on them to hide the ugliness. Now, as I type, there is no nail color on these. These are such major joys to see and feel.
Full body weakness:
Be aware of this. Whenever I feel it I make sure to have a smoothie with Prime Resource in it daily, (this is like ensure, but better.) Also, I take a teaspoon of panjiri which is made by my friend Shabana in Lahore. It is a local concoction which gives a lot of strength. (Anyone interested can look it up online.)
Otherwise, life is getting normal:
Don’t think about all the side-effects mentioned above and the extra ones you may have. Goli maro! (Shoot it down.) Do what you can and just move on. Stop thinking about these trivial things and enjoy this life gifted to you and me by Allah. Alhamdolillah.
Cant stop thanking God for all the improvements, and feel that others will be fine too, as they aren’t stopping me from leading the life of my dreams. ????
Life is beautiful and we must carry on being productive.
Continued charity work throughout:
Last month we did eight bridal projects and gave food to almost eighty or ninety people daily. Love this. It feels great that I’m able to do those things which even the usual normal people can’t do, in spite of my cancer and its ongoing treatments. (Mainly, of course due to faith of my followers in me, sending me generous donations for these purposes.)
It is the greatest blessing of Allah. I even painted, and Asma bought it from Calgary, Canada. May God bless her, as it boosted me up no end.
Work on my YouTube Channel:
Oh, and my YouTube channel Shireen Gheba Najib is going well, too. I’ve been recording up to two podcasts back-to-back. Quite a few have been uploaded by me, and I’ve even done subtitles on Waliya’s podcast. Love this. I’m still trying to gain expertise in this. (Lots to learn, my dear.) It is very exciting.
Next book: Message from the East:
Yep, I’m at it with full excitement now. Today, I go to Naila’s home, (she is editing the book with me,) for our final editing session on it. We have done 119 pages so far. It has around 260 pages in all. We use the original Payam-e-Mashriq as well as its previous translations of 1971 and 1977. I hope this gets done, and I want to send it for printing as soon as possible. It is very exciting work, needing a lot of concentration and focus.
I’m working on Allama Iqbal’s book called Payam-e-Mashriq which was originally in Persian language, I’m publishing it in English translation by M. Hadi Hussain who is one of the best translators. You know that like Tulip of Sinai here, it is also illustrated by me. This project is very dear to my heart, as I have a vision of having it in Pakistani homes all over the world. Original was published in 1923, now it will get published in 2023, Insha Allah! ????
You know I love traveling, so I’ve been going on travels like the Skardu trip here and here, and the Turkey trip, here. Now I’m planning another exciting journey to a beautiful location on earth, next month. ????
Counting one’s blessings is the best way to spend this time of one’s life. Not to waste any time on stupid activities, and to keep learning and being the best version of one’s self.
@cancer, #mycancerstory, #recoveringfromcancer, #aftercancerstory
Stay blessed, my Reader, I love you. ????