Recently, my state.
‘I’ve become a zombie, don’t feel like doing anything! – Don’t want to bother with getting out of bed, or doing my work. Just feel like sitting in one position scrolling on my phone, on Instagram or Facebook. Otherwise, I’m staring at the television screen watching drama after drama.’ I catch myself doing this for hours and hours.
‘I wasn’t like this! What’s happening to me?’ I ask myself. Now that I’m almost over the biggest battle of my life, I’m literally giving in.’ I’m thinking. ‘This isn’t the me that I was. I’m slipping.’
Words that inspire.
The words of an Instagram donor turned friend – I’ll call her FQ – come to my mind,
‘My father was doing well during treatment of cancer, but towards the end of it, he suddenly lost his will to live, he stopped trying to make himself get better, and he died soon afterwards.’ These words rang in my ear. The sad part was that he had lost his will to live when he had almost won the battle.
‘If I don’t watch out for myself now, I’ll also follow suit’ I thought.
Here, I’m talking about cancer, because I’m facing it now. But this situation can happen in many cases. Any battle that you have been fighting for a long time, which is beyond your threshold of tolerance, can bring you to this point; when you have had enough and now, you feel like quitting, because you say, ‘What’s the use? There will only be more hurdles to face!’
This is when you’ve got to re-motivate yourself. In a different way, this time, because now the battle is almost behind you. Now, our good years are going to be ahead of us soon. Why lose it now? No. We shall fight for our best and most purposeful life now onwards.
My father’s words.
My father having fought two Indo-Pak wars, (1965 and 1971) often mentioned battle situations. He clasped his hands together saying,
‘A point comes in every battle when the enemy and you are locked in one hard situation. At this time, that side wins which holds on for the longest time.’
Holding on for the longest time. That is what I’m talking about, and only that side can do it who stays motivated for the longest time. That is what you and I’ve got to do.
Take this as an emergency situation and get going!
How to do it?
Important thing is in finding variety and interest. You will know what would work for you.
Here are a few suggestions that can work.
Change tempo of life.
Don’t let monotony set in. Keep trying for new solutions. For instance in the beginning my daughter Waliya and SIL Faizan both would come with me to the hospital. Then I realized, that it is honestly too much. So, I told them that I’ll manage alone whenever I can. No need to bother them every time. So, mostly only Waliya went with me, as she was managing all the technicalities and payment systems. Towards the end of this, I’d go alone for the radiation, though sometimes Nataliya accompanied me.
It gave me a great kick to be able to do these things on my own, too. So, once I got used to it, I started going for my infusions alone also. But towards the later end, I found it was becoming bit too much. So, last time, Sadia Majeed my friend went with me. The point is that one needs to change the monotony. Bring changes in routines to make one feel refreshed.
Also, in the beginning I used the wheelchair (I’d use it till right out-side the doctor’s office, then I’d walk inside. ?) But now, I don’t use the wheelchair in the hospital at all. I can manage very well. In the same way, you too, can try new ways to go through the old routine, giving it a bit of freshness.
Whatever your problem is, don’t keep your ‘solutions’ the same. Bring changes in these to give you a new boost.
Always, always be well dressed. These clothes are all yours. So just wear whatever makes you feel great. To hell with what people may think!
Read and listen to heal yourself.
You will be listening to Surah Rehman regularly, and anything else from the Holy Quran that you find soothing. But do find newer versions on YouTube and then make your favorite collection of it. Do it first thing every morning. So, the day starts right, and you can end with these too, or keep Surah Mulk for the night, before sleeping.
Listen to music
My mother loves to listen to Yanni’s music. She can listen to it day and night, but previously she has listened to a lot of Andrea Bocelli. In the same way, dig out your favorite music and make a playlist to listen to while driving or doing other chores in the house. You can have a different playlist for different moods, and times of day.
Watch Movies, series or short films
Watching comedy shows which are uplifting and hilarious is a must. Choose your favorites, it may be Friends on Netflix or Bulbulay on YouTube. Anything that keeps your spirits uplifted. Give yourself a daily dose of comedies for at least half an hour to one hour daily. It can be with your evening tea, or any other time of day. In the same way you can watch movies on weekends. If you have a partner or friends to watch with, that is great. Mum and I watch at least one movie every weekend. Yesterday, it was a Thursday, and Mum did some binge watching of old movies of Audrey Hepburn and Julie Andrews. Breaking your routine, is liberating.
Take a holiday
Recently, I went to Skardu with close friends, and it was just out of this world. I shared it on my Instagram and many folks from Oman, UK, Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad also went because of it. Thanks to my blog posts, many went the same way and used the same driver and places too! It felt great. The business of several folks flourished due to this and I felt really wonderful about it. My friends (our relationship is left far behind!) Haroon, Uzma, Danyal and Sadia, and Ijaz Bhai did the math, like this they had planned and arranged everything, and may Allah bless them. In the same way, you can plan a trip anywhere you like, just make sure it will be stress-free and with pleasant company.
Hobbies, activities and painting
- Find new zest in life through finding new activities to enjoy.
- Shopping is a therapy for some.
- New hobbies.
- Reading books and magazines of your choice.
- Go, visit some friends in another city.
You need something that will keep your mind and body occupied. So, I attended a three-day course in Yoga. I loved it, and found it truly amazing. My daughter Nataliya has been doing yoga for years, and I never stopped making fun of her. (I’ve always found yoga very funny.) Now, while recuperating from cancer, when I did it, I found it extremely useful and a way of reclaiming my body which has been affected by chemo, surgery and radiation. Even without all that, I’ve found it extremely useful. I’d highly recommend the one I did, and they are available online as well, so you can join from anywhere in the world. You can find them on Instagram Uzma Ramzan, @j2j-family, which is ‘Journey to Joy’. It really is.
Connect with nature daily.
You can sit outside, or go for walks for 30 minutes to an hour. Painting or reading outside is also good. I know, it’s been a hot summer this year, but you can find a slot which is good and be outside and enjoy the fresh air. Keep nice cold water with you to sip.
Be very choosy about whom you talk to, or spend time with. It can be in real, or on video call. Make time for it, and you can work it out, so you both can have time for each other. Make an effort to be with friends. (Don’t think stupid things, at that time, just do it.)
A bit of writing out your thoughts and feelings is essential, so you can re-read some parts later on and figure out what happened and what works with you. Be positive while writing and be solution-oriented too. On the other hand, you can just write your present feelings. It is bound to make you feel better. You will also get a better perspective of your situation, and may find out how to help yourself get better.
Give good news to yourself.
Keep celebrating your little victories. If today is better than yesterday, talk about how good it feels. Remember, how you were at this time last year? Appreciate how much better you are now. Count all the ways in which things have already improved for yourself and myself. Last year, this time I was in middle of chemo therapies, and preparing for my talk on Ted Talks. I hadn’t shared my situation with you. I wondered how would I be able to stand and talk when my legs are sort of trembling! Today, I’m going in for my second-last infusion, alhamdolillah, it’s called dual targeted therapy with Perjeta and Herception. How blessed I am to be able have this treatment, which only began ten years ago. It has been a break through.
As the drips are given, I tell myself I’m being filled with sunshine from these bags, it is going to heal me fully. (My friend Mahira Rae asked me to think like that.) I pray to Allah to not let anything harm me, as nothing can harm me without His permission. I ask for forgiveness of my discrepancies, and a greater purpose in life. So, I’m worthy of the life He has given me. I pray for my followers, and specially those undergoing treatment now.
Make every today, better than yesterday and celebrate your victories.
Stay blessed, sweetie pies! ?