Our Cancer Journey
My family’s journey with cancer started in August, when my father discovered blood in his stool. At first, we thought it was a normal occurrence, but we still ensured that he underwent extra tests at the hospital. The same week, I was traveling to Umrah with my extended family and mum. Whilst on the trip, I received a call saying my father had cancer in his kidney and would need an operation to remove it. Despite the shock and trauma of the situation, I felt grateful to be in Allah’s beloved lands and I felt that He was with me in that moment. The initial diagnosis was that the cancer was small and contained, so we were told not to talk about it with the extended family. However, just a few days later, we received another call saying that the cancer had spread rapidly to my father’s liver and lungs, and surgery was no longer an option. This was an incredibly difficult time for me, but it also strengthened my faith, was very emotional, and could not speak to my cousins, I was able to Alhamdulillah speak to my mum, however I had to also be strong for her, as I could only imagine the extent of the hurt, she was feeling compared to me. I was only able to speak to Allah, and this was the most bittersweet yet heart-warming moment.
Upon our return, my father started undergoing chemotherapy, and we told our extended family. He has been through a couple of rounds and I have not ever been more in awe at his faith, and humility. Being a young family, it has been extremely difficult. We lost my grandmother a few years before to cancer, which was again an extremely emotional time. We were by her side every second of the day and being with her as she took her last breath was surreal. It taught me how temporary life is and how we should make the most of every moment. Now that my own father has been diagnosed, I am reminded truly of focusing on what matters. Each week, the news gradually gets worse of my father’s health, and I was struggling to be here for my family and mentally at university. It was a difficult decision, but I decided to defer my modules. I was scared about my father not being able to see me graduate. However, I had to put faith in Him, and know that even though I can only see a pixel, Allah knows the whole picture. To those who may be going through the same dilemma, I find peace in knowing that family time is so much more valuable, and I can come to education at any time, but my family will not. Allah is protecting me from something, which I may not know about. Perhaps, I was not ready for my final year of university and perhaps this experience will make me a stronger Muslim, and more successful within my life and future profession.
I find comfort in the belief that Allah does not place more hardships on a person than they can handle, and I trust that with His help, I will be able to endure and overcome any challenges that come my way. I hold the belief that everything happens for a reason and with a purpose, and that each hardship is a means to bring me closer to my true origin and closer to my goal of connecting with Allah.
I find solace in the words of Yasmin Mogahed
“but, what if every single stumble, every challenge, every experience in our life was only intended for one purpose: to bring us back to our origin? What if every win, every loss, every beauty, every fall, every cruelty, and every smile was only intended to unveil another barrier between us and God? Between us and where we began, and where we are desperately seeking to return?
What if everything was only about seeing Him?””
I have also seen the transformative power of these trials in the lives of those around me, including family members who have never prayed before but are now turning to Allah. I would advise those who are going through similar experiences to remember that each trial is a reminder of our origin and is sent to us by Him, to go back to Him. This is something unique, that only the believers possess.