When I opened my front door this morning, I was greeted with the sight of thick fog. The frosty morning with wet and slippery ground, however, did not dampen my spirits. My face was lit up in the brightest of all smiles as I cheerfully skipped across the road, holding 4 bags in one hand (Little D's lunch, reading bag, PE kit and lastly, a carrier bag filled with empty boxes to make instruments), and Little D's hand in the other. We were slightly later than usual but I didn't mind. For it seemed as if the world had frozen for us, allowing us to catch up with the hustle and bustle of the world's goings-on.
Minutes earlier, I had received a texted message from my second sister who resides in Kuching, informing me the results of our elder sister's PET scan and bone marrow tests. Alhamdulillah, praise the Lord Almighty, the results indicate that the affected parts are now cleared. She is free from cancer for now.
I was overjoyed. I was almost done with the children's breakfast and had already packed off their lunches neatly in their bags. Hence, I rushed to pick up the telephone and dialled my brother-in-law's number.
Kak Long sounded composed and humbled when I spoke to her. I knew that words would probably not be able to do justice in describing my sister's feelings. She was filled with gratitudes to the Almighty, feeling relieved as well as thankful to everyone who has supported her and prayed for her. It is all a test, I remind her. She has been blessed and given a second chance. Truly, only the line from my favourite surah of the Quran, Ar-Rahman, verse 13 came to mind: Which is it, of the favours of your Lord, that you deny?
In early June last year, my sister was diagnosed with 4th stage malt lymphoma. The beginning was actually this post and then followed by many more afterwards. When I accompanied her to the hospital, I did corner the doctor and tried to get her to give me the prognosis of my sister's situation. I guess, being the professional that she was, she said she couldn't give me one as malt lymphoma was not something very common. She simply said that the chance of survival was an honest 50-50%, and that even after my sister's 6 - 7 cycles of chemo, the chances of it recurring would still be high.
Looking back, I realise now that returning home last summer was perhaps one of the most wonderful thing that happened to us in 2008. It has taught me the meaning of relationships: with the Almighty, with family, with relatives, with friends, and with everyone we love or hate. In a relatively short period of time, I have learnt about the greatest hikmah, or advantage, of a disease called cancer. Although the deadly and eerie word can send shivers down one's spine, in actual truth it is a gift by the Almighty: a reminder that death may be so near, yet still a mystery (the actual date).
My late husband had the warning a month prior to his death. Some people get a decade. It all depends on each individual's rezqi. It is an opportunity that should be grabbed to reflect on life, to repent and to prepare facing the days ahead. Books such as Facing Death (mentioned here) and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch are written by cancer patients that make us think of preparations in the last days of our lives. Reading Raden Galoh's blog and the other cancer patients listed on her blogroll, as well as meeting this very charismatic woman (even brought her to meet my Kak Long) definitely helped me understand a little bit more about the journey of a cancer patient.
It is only Wednesday, and I have already been blessed with several good news this week (still awaiting for more good news!). This is the rhythm of life - sometimes melodious, and sometimes in need of some tuning. For now, what more can I say other than Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah, Alhamdulillah...
Thank you friends, for praying for my sister's health and for our well-being. May Allah bless you all and place you in Jannah, InsyaAllah...