A couple of weeks ago, it was weighing heavy on my heart to thank my oncologist that helped me fight for my life. I don’t know what it was about that week in particular, but I was thinking about my oncologist on a regular basis. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that I was awaiting test results to see if I was cancer free again or the disconnection I felt with my current oncologist because he was not the one that helped me through my fight. Whatever it was, my former doctor was on my heart heavily. I decided to write a message for him on my social media feed to simply thank him for all that he did for me because it had been a while since I last seen him.
A couple of years ago, I went in for my standard visit and was informed that I had a new oncologist. The news completely caught me off guard. I remember feeling so upset because I felt like my doctor was the only person who understood my journey because he was there with me from day one. I felt unprepared sitting down with a new professional and having to explain my cancer history to him. It was frustrating because I felt as though he had the necessary notes that could answer all of the questions he was asking me. I felt confused as to why they would change my doctor so late within my journey. I was already in a place of recovery and going in for my routine check ups, so it seemed a bit late to start a relationship with someone when the relationship was coming to an end. I was also a bit angry that no one would tell me where Dr. Kamal went nor where I could find him. I even looked online at local hospitals trying to finish my journey with the person who helped me along the way. It would have been so appreciated had someone informed his patients so that I, and many others, could have the opportunity to say one final goodbye and thank him for everything once again.
Now don’t get me wrong, I knew this was not a realistic ask, so I took a deep breath and continued down the path with my new oncologist. Over the past couple of years, he has been good to me, but hasn’t quite compared to Dr. Kamal. Dr. Kamal truly knew me. He saw me at my worst. He talked me through my journey. He helped me fight for my life. My new doctor could not quite compare, but I dealt with it. Every time I visited my new doctor, I was reminded of just how much I missed Dr. Kamal. A few weeks ago I decided to post about him to thank him. Not because he follows my social media page and would actually see the message, but because he was just on my mind heavily.
A couple of days after I made the post, one of the nurses that helped care for me in the hospital that I became friends with, sent me a message and told me the devastating news. She shared that Dr. Kamal passed away a couple of years ago and his reason for death was cancer. In that moment, my heart shattered as though it had just happened. My soul felt for him. My heart yearned for his family and I immediately started talking to God because that was the only person that could help my mind process the news. I started by thanking God for another day, which is the opening to every single prayer I pray. I then went on to thank Him for allowing me an opportunity to cross paths with someone like Dr. Kamal in this lifetime. I went on to ask him how and why this could happen to someone who was so dedicated to helping others fight for their own lives. Not only did he help us through our own fight, but he also had battle wounds of his own that he was undergoing.
I was in complete awe that he cared for his patients throughout his entire battle with cancer. He demonstrated such tenacity to not only push through his own battle, but also uplift others on their most difficult days. All the while, he was also surviving his final days. My mind couldn’t help but wonder if he had cancer when he treated me. Was I so wrapped up in my own battle for my life that I overlooked the fact that he was human as well? Although he was wearing the white robe, we still fought the same fight.
It’s sometimes hard to see what others are going through in the midst of your own battle, but I wanted to drop by to remind you that you are not alone. While your journey may feel hard, it may feel lonely, and it probably feels very scary, I want you to know that we are in this together. Never assume that because you do not see someone’s’ wounds that they are not in the battle of a lifetime themselves. I strongly encourage you to be a little kinder. Listen a little harder. Love a little more. Forgive a bit more easily. Don’t take anyone or anything for granted, because time has a humbling way of making life feel so short no matter how much or little time we all get here on earth.
To the best oncologist to ever do it, I thank you Dr. Kamal for treating me. I thank you for being so patient with me. I thank you for giving me hope on the days that I was ready to throw in the towel. Thank you for talking life into me and my ability when I gave up on myself. Thank you for your continued faith, for always laughing with me, joking with me and for making a permanent memory in my life. Thank you for helping me see it through! May God rest your soul.