The Game Changer
By Odekunle Doyin Zouerat
Six weeks after the successful removal of the lumps in Sakeenah’s breast she was called from the hospital that the result of the test carried out on the lumps was out. She went with her husband, Ismael to get the result. Her heart was racing so fast. ’’Ya Allah, let me receive good news.’ Ehee, don’t let me hear otherwise.” She prayed silently while about to enter the Doctor’s office.
Sakeenah stood up from the bed around 2:30 am in the mid-night while Ismael was fast asleep. She couldn’t sleep all through the night. She kept reminiscing what the Doctor said while they were at the hospital. She walked towards her dressing table and took out the envelope which contained the result and read the report again. The voice of the Doctor kept echoing in her head, she also remembers how her husband was consoling her, tears flowed from her eyes uncontrollably. She could not believe how a single report could change someone’s life and someone’s perspective about life in just a twinkle of an eye. At the moment she taught she was full of life, then that came in. Being diagnosed with breast cancer made her feel like her life was coming to an end. It became glaring to her that everything in this world is vanity and not worth dying for. Indeed, you can’t know how much it hurts if you are not wearing the shoe.
She left her husband in the room and walked to the children’s room. Looking at their innocent faces made her weaker. She thought about how their life is going to be without a mother or even with a wicked stepmom. At Least, Ismael can’t be single for the rest of his life after her death, she thought.
Ishmael and Sakeenah had been married for more than 7years when the incident occurred and they had two children together. A boy and a girl; Abdullah is six years old while Summayah is four years old. She looked at how young her children were and cried again. “Who will help me to take care of these kids? Can anyone take care of them as I will? Ya Allah, why me? Why this period? Who will help me to take care of my husband?’’ She kept on asking herself so many questions but couldn’t give answers and it drives her crazy and made her bitter. She left the room and went to sit in the living room where she continued her tears.
Ismael woke up to pee and realised that his wife was not in the room nor the restroom. He walked out of the room to look for her and saw her crying in the living room. He needed not to ask what was wrong, he just walked up to her, draw her close, and gave her a tight hug. ’’Sweetheart, calm down. Everything is going to be alright.’’ He whispered while consoling her. They spent a few minutes in this position before Sakeenah broke the silence.
’’Do you think I can survive this?’’ she asked.
’’You will survive this, Bithnillah.’’ He replied.
The next day Ismael took a break from work to stay with his wife at home. After observing fajr prayer, he told her to go and rest on the bed. While he prepared breakfast and serve her in bed. He served the kids too and also got them ready for school. The hectic aspect for him was when he was trying to brush Summayah’s teeth. It wasn’t easy. He wondered how their mom does it every morning, he never imagined it could be that stressful. Nevertheless, he pushed through. He wanted to support his wife as much as he could especially during that period. When they were fully ready, they kissed mommy goodbye and daddy drove them to school. Before Ismael returned from the kid’s school, Sakeenah had stood from the bed, she tried to tidy up the house and the kitchen. Even though the kitchen was quite messy but she never imagined her husband could do that much.
When Ismael arrived and saw his wife cleaning he queried her ’’ I was planning to come and clean up when I come back. You don’t have to stress yourself. I hope you have taken your drugs?’’ he asked. ’’Yes, I have.’’ She replied. Ismael insisted that she should go and relax that he would join her soon.
While going to the living room, Sakeenah paused and looked at Ismael ’’Are you learning to live without me…are you learning to cope and adapt without me already?’’ She asked with teary eyes.
“Verily, We shall put you to test with some fear, and hunger, and with some loss of wealth, lives, and offspring. And (O Muhammad) convey good tidings to those who are patient, who say, when inflicted by hardship, “Verily we are of God and verily to Him shall we return;” upon them is the blessings of Allah and His mercy.” Surah Baqarah vs 155
Ismael couldn’t just imagine that she said that. He tried to understood what she meant by that. ’’ Oh my God! How can you say that?’’ He looked heartbroken. That question was like a sharp knife struck his heart. He didn’t even know what to say or where to start his explanation from. ’’Sweetheart, you are going nowhere. You are going to conquer this! You will survive this! Please, don’t ever say ‘me without you’ again, it hurts. You are going nowhere, my Darling.’’ He said as he hugged her.
They walked to the living room to continue their discussion while he ignored what he was going to do in the kitchen.
Ismael never realised he loves his wife that much. He prayed that Allah should grant her quick and complete shiffah(recovery). Indeed, nothing is impossible for Allah to do.
Sakeenah on the other side was not finding it easy, she was becoming moody and withdrawing from almost all activities. She was advised to see a medical counselor. They booked an appointment with the counselor at the hospital.
When they got to the counselor, Sakeenah was told not to despair. ‘‘Surely, this not easy but you have to accept this as a test from Allah. Do not use this period to cry and weep rather use it to move closer to Allah. Bond more with your family most especially your husband and children, create good memories with them. Always put a smile on your face and radiate the smile to everyone you meet. Involve in a lot of charity work. Be yourself. Eat plenty of fruits most especially, carrot. Do exercise, try as much as you can avoid the sun, avoid too tight bras. Drink plenty of water always…” the advice and recommendations went on. But, in a nutshell, she was advised and encouraged to make good use of her time and have hope In the Lord of the worlds.
After that session, they branched at the Doctor’s office to pick her medications before they left for the house. It was quite early when they left the hospital, they left around noon. Ismael suggested that they branch at the nearby eatery so that they branch have chat over a bowl of ice-cream while they wait for zhur prayer to set in so that they can pray before heading to the market to stock the house with fruits and other things they needed.
They had a long chat at the eatery and it lightens up Sakeenah’s mood. It made her remember when they just got married, how it used to be then. For that moment she forgot she had cancer. As they were coming from the market they branched to observe asr prayer after which they also stopped at the kid’s school to pick them home. It was a long and interesting drive. It has been a very long time they had spend so much time together. Ismael was always busy at work while Sakeenah was always at the store. Weekends were for resting and general house chores. The only time they go out is during the festive period and the kids would always be with them. So, they never really made time for each other for a while now.
The kids were so happy when they gave them the snack they bought for them. ’’Say thank you to daddy.’’ Sakeenah told her children. ’’Thank you, Daddy!’’ They chorused.
That night, when they were about to go to bed, Ismael called his wife ’’Sweetheart, I want us to be like this together forever. I love you so much, baby and I have never always told you that… I am sorry for not appreciating you enough for everything you have doing for me and the kids…and, my families too, including my friends. I am sorry for the things that I did not say…’’
’’But I know how much you care for us… for me, it shows in your actions.’’ Sakeenah cuts in.
’’And… I am sorry for the things that I did say… the stupid things I say to you, I don’t…’’
’’Come on, Baby. I know you don’t mean those things. You say those things when you are pissed… I mean, when I pissed you off. Those words are from your mouth not from your heart. Your actions speak differently. I am aware of how much you love and care for me.’’ Ismael cuts in.
’’Thank you for loving me. Thank you for looking after and taking care of me. I especially thank you for taking care of our kids and being the good role model that you are. Thank you for taking care of the house. I can’t thank you enough. Thank you for everything, sweetheart.’’ Ismael concluded.
’’I also want to thank you for being the responsible father and an amazing husband that you are. Thank you for loving me with all my flaws. Thank you for your support and thank you for providing all we need. Thank you so much for everything, Darling. I love you from the moon to the back.’’ She concluded. Ismael blushed. ’’I love you more.’’ He replied. It was a romantic cozy night for the love birds.
They went on with their life but in a better way, they reminisce together and discussed things that weren’t working between them and how they could make it better. That further strengthens their marriage bond. They planned on informing their parents especially, Sakeenah’s when the time is right. They continued to strive to be better Muslims. They lifted their hope in Allah.
One Friday afternoon Sakeenah got a call from the hospital almost three months after she was diagnosed with cancer of the breast…
***Prophet Mohammad (SAW.) said that if an ill person recites this👇👇👇 dua forty times and dies in that illness, he will be rewarded as a martyr and if he regains his health, all his sins will be forgiven:
لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ سُبْحَانَكَ إِنِّي كُنْتُ
Laa ilaaha illaa anta subhaanaka innee kuntu minazzalimeen
“There is no god but Thou, glory be to Thee; surely I am of those who make themselves to suffer loss.”
Sakeenah was told to come to the hospital the following day. She was surprised because it was not yet her appointment time. This made her worried, she thought probably the test she did the last time at the hospital result was out and her situation could be critical. Immediately thinking of all this she developed headaches and her vision became blurred. She managed to walk to the nearest couch and have her seat until she got relieved. She informed her husband when he came back from work that day. He ensured her to be calm that Allah is in control.
When they got to the hospital the next day, Saturday after dropping the kids off at madrassa, the Doctor welcomed them to his office and told them to sit. He put a call through to a fellow personnel who later introduce himself as the director of the laboratory department. On hearing this, Sakeenah’s heart started beating faster than before. Her husband held her hand and was patting her.
The Doctor spoke ’’Please, I want to use this opportunity to inform you that the result you were given is not yours, there was a mix up at the laboratory department and that is why I have called the director himself to come and explain to you. I am sorry for any inconvenience and trauma that this might have caused you. We are very sorry.’’ The doctor said. The couple was trying to process what the doctor said. ’’Are you saying that I do not have cancer?’’ Sakeenah asked. ’’No, you don’t, ma’am. You are perfectly fine.’’ The laboratory director replied, here is your original test result. We are very sorry.’’
’’This is nonsense! This is total rubbish!’’ Ismael who has been observing all this while broke his silence. He continued…’’ Do you know what we have been through? Do you know what my wife had been through? Do you realise how much trauma you have put us through by making this huge mistake? A mistake that should not be coming from a reputable hospital like yours. I am highly disappointed! Your license should be seized! This hospital should be closed down!…’’ He said in anger.
They started begging him, including his wife. They had a long conversation. He told the doctor he was going to collect every penny that they have spent on treatment and buying drugs else, he won’t hesitate to call his lawyer he went into his car to bring out receipts from the safe and took it to the Doctors’ office. After a long talk and process, the money was transferred into his account. He vowed never to use the hospital again.
On their way going back, he branched at another hospital and registered there. They explained Sakeenah’s medical history to the Doctor. She further explained that even though the former Doctor said she doesn’t have cancer but yet she does not feel fine. She said she feels weak, blurred vision sometimes, and headache. The doctor assured her that all necessary tests would be done to know what was really wrong with her. They were told to come back after two days for the test results.
When they returned, the new Doctor also confirms that Sakeenah was perfectly healthy but they discovered that she was three weeks pregnant. That was great news for the couple. Without hesitation, Ismael said she should register for antenatal.
Sakeenah was the happiest woman in the world. Those periods she couldn’t believe that all her sorrows and worries could just disappear within a twinkle of an eye.
The couple was just thanking Allah endlessly.
The bond they built during the trying time became stronger and they lived happily together forever.
Had it not been that Sakeenah was diagnosed with cancer, her husband might not have always created time for her or even looked at her. She on the other side might not come to complete realisation of how amazing her husband was. Both would not have come together to make their marriage work.
Now the question is ’’Is it until our husband or wife develops a dying sickness where their days seem to be numbered is when we should try to bond with them or it should be an everyday thing? I am asking that should loving and showing love to your spouse be something you do in times of adversity only or in time of prosperity only or during prosperity and adversity?
When was the last time you took a good look at your husband and compliment him?
When was the last time you took a good look at your wife and compliment her?
When was the last time you took your time to tell your husband how much you love him? Be vulnerable. He is your husband after all.
When was the last time you sat your wife down and took your time to tell her how much she means to you, how much you care for her, just like when a Prince meets his Sweet Sixteen?
Take your time out to appreciate those who matter in your life. Create time for them. Don’t wait until the game-changer arrived. A game-changer does not necessarily mean cancer. It could be anything.
Make that move now!
“And one of His signs is that He created mates for you from yourselves that you may find rest in them, and He put between you love and compassion; most surely there are signs in this for a people who reflect.”
~ Surah Ar-Room, Verse 21.
Know About Breast Cancer.
Cancer: Is an abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, in some cases, to metastasize (spread). Cancer can involve any tissue of the body and have many different forms in each body area. Most cancers are named for the type of cell or organ in which they start. An example is Breast Cancer.
What is Breast Cancer? Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. Breast cancer is the most common invasive cancer and the second main cause of cancer death in women. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it is far more common in women.
The first symptoms of breast cancer are usually an area of thickened tissue in the breast or a lump in the breast or an armpit.
Other symptoms are:
- A pain in the armpits or breast that does not change the monthly cycle
- Pitting or redness of the skin of the breast, like an orange.
- A rash around or on one of the nipples.
- A discharge from a nipple, possibly containing blood.
- A sunken or inverted nipple.
- A change in the size or shape of the breast.
- Peeling, flaking, or scaling of the skin on the breast of the nipple.
*Most lumps are not cancerous, but women should have them checked by a health care professional.
The exact cause remains unclear, but some risk factors make it more likely. Some of these are preventable.
-A history of breast cancer or breast lumps.
-Dense breast tissue.
Treatment will depend on:
- The type of breast cancer.
- The stage of cancer.
- Sensitivity to hormones.
- The patient’s age, overall health, and preferences.
The main options include:
- Radiation therapy.
- Biological therapy, or targeted drug therapy.
- Hormone therapy.
There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, but some lifestyle decisions can significantly reduce the risk of breast and other types of cancer. These include:
- Avoiding excess alcohol consumption.
- Following a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Getting enough exercise.
- Maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI )
NB: Women should think carefully about their options for breast feeding and the use of HRT following menopause, as these can affect the risk.
***Being exposed to estrogen for a longer period appears to increase the risk of breast cancer. This could be due to starting periods earlier or entering menopause later than average. Between these times, estrogen levels are higher.
***Breastfeeding, especially for over 1 year, appears to reduce the chance of developing breast cancer, possibly because pregnancy followed by breastfeeding reduces exposure to estrogen.
About my Novella; A wait in the rain.
A Wait In The Rain is a story of love, addiction, trail, faith, family, betrayal, deceit, and a lot more. When people come into our lives we often decide their purpose from the onset rather than staying calm and let events unravel so that we can truly see what the Most High had designated them to do in our lives. We meet people for a reason, they are either a blessing or a lesson. A wait in the rain is a story of a young lady caught in between.
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*Odekunle Doyin Zouerat is a writer, public speaker, entrepreneur and dental nurse. She can be reached at [email protected]