Noon , colon cancer survivor: live your day and have fun

“Noon” lives in Doha with his wife and two children. His home country is the Philippines, and he came to Qatar to pursue better work opportunities.

Several months before his diagnosis, he was experiencing pain in his chest below the right rib, coming from the area of the liver. But he did not tell his wife about the pain. At first, he thought it was just a gas pain, but it was recurring every day. And one night, he began to feel a severe stabbing pain on his right lower rib with a high fever, so we called emergency, and he was rushed to Al Wakrah Hospital.

After he was treated, the doctor informed him that he had colon cancer with the liver. He did not know a lot about the illness; he was saddened by the news and discouraged. That night he and his wife cried because of his condition.

“I was shocked when finding out that I had cancer, my wife and I were distraught. She was with me at the time when I received my diagnosis.

When anyone hears the word ‘cancer,’ they think that it is a death sentence. I am very thankful that my wife stayed by me from the beginning to support me at each stage of the journey.

I also have a sister who has breast cancer and is currently undergoing chemo treatments in the Philippines. She is a source of support to me. Every day we communicate through messaging, and sometimes, we do video calls. We encourage one another to fight this battle.

I believe that it is vital to have emotional support from the family. It is good to have friends and comfort you – I have many old friends, and I talk to them through Zoom. Also, the patient needs financial support that I got from the Qatar Cancer Society, and  I want to thank this charity for their financial help.

Last year in July, I was terminated from my job, and this added to my problems. I have worked for my company since 2005, and they kindly retained my sponsorship to continue my cancer treatment in Qatar.

I am so grateful to Qatar and the health system that takes care of all people who live in it; if I was diagnosed with this cancer in my home country, I don’t know what would happen to me… Some people in the Philippines can’t afford to go to the hospital, just waiting for their time.

During my cancer journey, my wife experience anxiety and depression because of the workloads she’s having, like doing the household chores, working from home, and at the same time taking care of me. My wife was very understanding and kept telling me that ‘you have done enough to your family’; I held a good job, created a strong family, provided for them, and gave them a better life.

I am looking forward to the future when I can help again. Personally,

sometimes I felt that I was worthless since I no longer work, and sometimes I want to give something to my wife or children, but I  hope one day I will be healthy again and have an everyday life with my family.

My children are also good at comforting me – they don’t know the exact medical details, but we told them that I have cancer. Since my children are teenagers, they understand my situation.

My advice to parents for talking to your children about cancer is that it depends on the situation and the age of the children – if they are teenagers, they can probably understand.

My advice to those who are first diagnosed with cancer: learn to accept the situation as soon as possible and motivate yourself to get better to overcome the illness.

I believe that God could heal you anytime, no matter how bad your situation is. And each day you wake up, thank God that he still has a plan for your life. Think that one day you are going to be healed: for nothing is impossible with God.

Now I am learning and coping with fighting this battle. Just live one day at a time.


Nadine AL -Bitar: From adversity comes gifts

“From adversity comes gifts” is a phrase that summarizes the journey of the Lebanese woman, Nadine AL -Bitar. She has had kidney cancer, which was discovered in May 2011. She was 27 years old at that time. Despite the fear and panic she felt when she received the news; she did not give up. Instead, she was sure that if God loved a servant, He would afflict him or her, so she was patient and armed with the strength of her faith in God. Therefore, she made her injury a new beginning and an opportunity to develop her personality.

At first, it was not easy to accept the news. Nadine discovered that she had kidney cancer by chance during a periodic visit to the doctor due to a slight pain in the right side of her back. After an Ultrasound exam (on a cyst in the right kidney), the doctor asked to do a computed tomography scan (CT scan) to the kidneys to confirm the type of cyst. She followed the doctor’s instructions and took the CT scan, and waited for the results that appeared after an hour. Her mother accompanied her. “I felt like it was the longest hour of my life. I was so scared and confused and didn’t expect to have kidney cancer.” She never expected to be diagnosed with kidney cancer because she always maintains a healthy life and follows a healthy diet; she used to exercise. There is no history of any cancer type in her family. Nadine was not ready to receive the news. She secretly overheard the doctor telling her mother, “Your daughter has kidney cancer, and she must undergo an operation to remove the right kidney so that the tumor does not spread and consequently does not affect her life.” First , Nadine was pointedly shocked and felt fear and panic. She started crying as soon as she heard the news, and it seemed that she was going to die for a while. Immediately, she made a call to work to take sick leave and start treatment.

Nadine began her treatment journey with her mother in Lebanon, where she underwent a nephrectomy. The surgery was complicated. she felt severe pain and had difficulty walking at first, so she had to rely on her mother in some matters, and she followed the doctors’ instructions not to travel for fear of any blood clots that might threaten her health. Therefore, she spent about two months after the operation at home to ensure her safety and ensure no complications after the operation. She stopped her work and wished she could get out of the house, as she considered that this might help her get rid of the constant thinking about illness and fear of the possibility of the tumor returning. She explained: “if I was in a work environment, with friends, or even if I was able to go out with my family, this reduced thinking about illness, making me feel an atmosphere of fun.” Nadine did not need chemotherapy. It was confirmed that the malignant tumor that was removed and the kidney did not spread to any other part of the body. Nevertheless, she undergoes periodic examinations every six months to ensure the remaining kidney’s health and make sure that no other tumor appears in any other organ of the body.

Nadine lived through a period of depression before and after the surgery, but it did not exceed a month. She was able to overcome this feeling through faith and patience. She knew that this was a test from the Lord, and she had to succeed in it.  Furthermore, her family played an essential role in her parents and brother and the rest of the family’s relatives. They supported her during that difficult period.

Additionally, Nadine’s friends played an active role in the continuous psychological support for her during the period of injury by urging her to become closer to God by reading the Qur’an and praying regularly. Nadine has reinforced her relationship with these cheerful and supportive people. On the other hand, she was keen to stay away from the negative people who made her feel helpless or of little use because she had cancer.  Their health condition is very private, as if their situation is hopeless.

Despite the pain and difficulties she faced through her experience with kidney cancer, she created opportunities to improve herself and develop her personality in every respect. It is worth noting that Nadine had a traffic accident three years before she was diagnosed with cancer, and it was an incentive for her to review her ideas and convert to Islam. She stated that cancer helped her decide to wear the hijab after almost three years and commit herself more to her religion. Nadine has also mentioned, “I changed a lot of myself, my character and personality. I considered that this is a message from the Lord directed to me to change a lot of myself, my character, my way of life, and my way of dealing with myself and others.”

Furthermore, Nadine noticed that her experience with cancer made her more patient and changed her approach to dealing with the ordeals she faced after cancer. Hence, naturally, she finds any calamity much easier than the one that she faced with cancer. As for health awareness, she has become more familiar with the health of her body in general and how to preserve her kidneys, especially through research. When people stress the importance of maintaining their health, it can persuade some to quit smoking because of its association with kidney cancer and other cancers or diseases. Finally, Nadine, an honorary ambassador at the Qatar Cancer Society, was keen to support cancer patients through various activities and projects to smile on their faces through her work with other societies.

Through her experience, Nadine sends a message to all cancer patients not to despair, as life is beautiful in all details, and she added, “You are distinguished from others, so the Lord has afflicted you, and this stage will pass, and the next is more beautiful.” She urged new cancer patients to strengthen their relationship with God and make their faith the first supporter in their journey. They must always trust God and be keen to mix with positive people and make themselves happy and stay away from sadness and tension to fight this disease. She concluded, “With God’s permission and your determination, you will pass this stage, and it will be a new beginning. Remember; that despite the pain, hope remains.”

Edited by : Arwa Ajaj


Robert Khoury: I discovered cancer by chance

Robert  Khoury is originally from Lebanon, and he came to Doha in 2005. He works in the field of advertising and exhibitions. He remembers the day distinctly that he was diagnosed with kidney cancer, on April 29, 2019. Since he is a triathlon athlete who competes regularly, he was surprised at this discovery.

“I was lucky that my cancer was discovered at an early stage, at stage 1. I went to Oman to compete in a triathlon, and I went to the hospital for a check-up. I told them that I had a problem with my stomach. Fortunately, the doctor was able to diagnose that there was something wrong with my kidney. So he started doing an ultrasound and CT scan, and he discovered a 4-centimeter tumor in my left kidney, which is how we found it by accident.

I was so surprised when I heard about cancer because I was healthy and an athlete. So when I went to the Head of Urology at the hospital, and when he told me that they had found a tumor, the first thing that came to my mind was, ‘How come?: I don’t drink alcohol, I eat healthy food, I wake up in the morning, I do sports, and I am always on a diet.’ So how come one day you are in good shape and the next day you are a cancer patient? It was surreal to be healthy and fit one day, and the next day you are a cancer patient. So it was awkward. But I have to live with it. Because I do a triathlon, which is one of the most challenging sports, and you need endorsements, I felt that my physical fitness helped me to overcome the experience of cancer. And I am fighting it.

I am now cancer-free, and I have two years of treatment to follow up. And hopefully, I will pass through this stage. And strangely, I did not experience any adverse symptoms – the next day after I was diagnosed, I went swimming. And I did not feel anything – even the urine test was 98% clear, and I continued my life normally until they removed the tumor. And I did not do any chemotherapy. I had some pain in my back because I had robotic surgery, and my body was bent over during the operation, but I am following up with the doctors about the back pain.

And I knew about the Qatar Cancer Society services – they invited me once to a conference on blood cancer. It was the first time that I ever attended such a conference, and it was beneficial, and I am looking forward to similar discussions at QCS. When you know about something, you are better off because you know what to expect and what you are doing.

By nature, I am a fighter – the big fear that I have, the big question mark, is that I have a little kid. What will happen to him? It is my only fear. But after my surgery, I am feeling normal, and it is not the main issue now, just a minor issue, and I am continuing my life as usual. Tomorrow I am doing a long ride, 100 kilometers. So really, I don’t feel that I am a patient. I live day by day, and I always tell my wife, ‘you don’t need to worry.’ My wife was very supportive. She didn’t say, ‘how? Why?’ instead, she said that we are going to fight it together. And I told her, even though I am a patient, I am a survivor, and I am fine. You never know when your time will come – maybe I am crossing the road, and a car will hit me, you never know. So it is not a big issue; it is something my wife and I need to focus on and fight.

My son did not know about cancer because he is two years old. My wife is a firm believer, and when I told her about cancer, she said, ‘we are believers, and we are going to pray, and this is the only thing that we can do, and we are going to fight it together. And she no longer asks me how I am doing, as long as she sees that I am doing my cycling, my swimming–so nothing happened, nothing changed, and that is why she is comfortable with the situation. Whenever I go to the doctor, my wife asks me whether it is positive or negative, and I tell her it is positive, and she smiles, and everything is fine.

I have a friend in Qatar, and she is a triathlete as well. And she was diagnosed with cancer last year. She went to Hamad Medical Corporation and did the treatment, and the first thing that I asked her was where she would recommend that I be treated? She said to go to Hamad hospital, So this is what happened. And to tell you the truth, this is the first time I went to any government hospital, and I went in and out without any problems. It was perfect—five-star service.

When some of my friends found out about my cancer, they said they were sorry, and I asked them: ‘Why are you sorry?  It’s cancer; it’s a disease. Either you kill it, or it kills you. It’s normal like anything in the world.’ People who were showing pity to me avoided them because they don’t understand what is going on with me, and I feel 100% good. But from the family side, they were very supportive, to be honest. My sister is a scientist in the U.S., and she said fight it, and we will see in the end who will win. My brother, an engineer, said: ‘don’t worry, we are with you, whatever you need, and that is my family.

I am in a managerial post, and my work doesn’t directly affect how the team works; and when I was diagnosed, the management supported me a lot; they said, ‘take the time you want, whatever you need.’ I was going on holiday on June 1 (my vacation was planned for April before I was diagnosed), so I was already on vacation during the operation.  My doctor told me I needed 1 month to recover, but after three weeks, I was bored at home, and I told the doctor that I needed to go back to work and said okay, go back to work. And there was no conflict at work. There was no fatigue; I just had lower back pain, which was expected because my body was bent during the operation.

When I went to the Urology Department for my operation, the doctor gave me two options about the procedure I wanted, and I chose the robotic one. I told them, ‘listen, I am not a medical person. I don’t have experience with cancer, so I am counting on you.’ And I told them that I don’t want to listen to their options. I came to them because I trusted them: give me the best opportunity, and I will go for it, I will sign for it, which is what happened. Because, to be honest, even if the doctor gives me options, I have no clue what he is talking about. I told him, yes, I am the patient, and I have the right to choose, but I don’t know how to choose, so tell me what is best for me, and I will go for it. There was a nurse, and she talked to me all the time, and she said, you have a powerful personality, that I was not allowing her to offer help because I was very positive, absorbing.

I am a believer, but I don’t use prayer as a cure. I tell my wife that once we are born, we are dying. So sooner or later, we are going to die; how, only God knows. Being an expatriate did not cause any concerns

After this experience, I appreciate life more. Every day I wake up, and I thank God that I am still in health. Now I am concerned that even though I am cured, you never know whether it comes back. So I always have this question, will it come again or no? And every day, I wake up and thank God that I am in good health and that I can raise my kid – to be honest, he is my focus. If I were single, I would have a different perception – you know, if it comes, I don’t care, you have nothing to worry about. My concern is him, such as how he will live if something happens to me. I always thank God that I am in good shape so that I can see him grow up. I appreciate time with my family and life. Before I used to go to train every day, now I think twice before going to train because I need to spend time with my son. So this is a positive thing that I learned. I will not be competing as before, but I will contend. Back, I used to have some competitors, now I only have one competitor, and that is myself, and I am happy with the situation as long as I am crossing the finish line. And spending time with the family, I am finding that it is crucial, even for my training.

If a newly diagnosed patient came to me, I would advise them not to worry about it. They should not worry about something that they cannot control. They should not look back because they need to go forward, back in the wrong way. And looking ahead is fighting cancer and continuing with life. Don’t put cancer as an obstacle to doing the things that you want to do. Just go through it, fight it, and assume that you don’t have it because worrying about it or not, you have it. Worrying about it or not worrying, if you are cured, then you are healed. So why make life miserable, while you can take advantage of it and make it good?  And I was reading about this American or British woman who swam the English Channel four times and had stage 4 cancer. I don’t know why people don’t read about these people – she is not cured, but she swam the sea four times. If she can do it, anyone can do it. Cancer is nothing to me. It is just a disease, and I am curing it.

The advice I have for anyone with cancer: look forward, not backward. Looking backward is useless. You need to live daily and continue your everyday life: enjoy life, appreciate life, and that’s it.”

The friends I talked about, who were pitying me, asked me, ‘how are you talking so freely about cancer?’ I told them that if someone did not take care of their cold or fever, they might die as well. Any illness, if you don’t look after it properly, you might die from it. And I think that because I was talking about cancer freely, it helped me a lot… Some people don’t mention cancer; they say, ‘ah, they have this illness.’ I think people are afraid of cancer because they don’t know why cancer starts. It is a strange thing that appears. And even me, I asked, ‘what’s the reason? How come?’  Even the doctor cannot give you the proper answer. It just happens. So I think that is why people are afraid of cancer because it is an unknown disease, and it just appears, and you discover it.

I have a friend who said to me, ‘how come you have cancer?. And I told her, maybe I was diagnosed early because I did this service for other people, so why are you focusing on the negative side and not the positive?

Early detection is essential. I am having a problem with my wife getting her to go for screening. She said she is afraid that if she goes for tests, then they might discover cancer. And I told her that if they find out cancer, then it is good – if you don’t get tested and have cancer, it is horrible. So I am struggling to get her to do the tests. And now I have friends who are going for cancer screening every six months because no one ever imagined that I would have cancer: everyone knows that I am an athlete, I don’t drink, I eat healthy foods, etc. and they thought ‘if this guy got cancer, then anyone can get it.’


Mohamed Abdullah: Psychological support is a necessity to fight cancer

Mohamed Abdullah was living his life normally until he one day began to experience some strange symptoms. After undergoing all the necessary tests, and getting a colonoscopy done, he was found to have rectal cancer. He was told then that the next step would be to undergo surgery to remove the tumor. Having no previous knowledge or predetermined notions about rectal cancer.

 Mohamed approached this news with the ideology that it was like any other condition that could happen to any person. His faith and trust in Allah dissipated any doubts of what the future may hold for him. Even though the procedure was painful, he drew strength from the incredible support of his family, especially his sister’s.

.  Mohamed went on to take a 1-year leave from his job, so he could complete his chemotherapy course. Unfortunately, the body aches, fatigue, and loss of appetite that he experienced as byproducts of the therapy forced him to leave his job.

Despite everything, Mohamed is relieved to have completed most of his treatment course. He is looking forward to his very last session, after which he will be able to look for a new job.

Mohamed received both radiotherapy and chemotherapy through Qatar Cancer Society, which he got in touch with through Hamad Medical Corporation. He was very satisfied with the psychological support he received from the medical team, which positively influenced his well-being as he went through this difficult journey. While recalling what he learned.

Mohamed pinpointed that the most important lesson he acquired from going through treatment was patience. He advises everyone going through the same journey to comply and continue with the treatment, and to face it without fear of the temporary side effects that eventually go away. Finally, Mr. Mohamed reiterated that the thing that helped him the most was praying, and reading a daily verse of the Qur’an which he described as “God’s cure to people”.

Edited by: Sarah Khaled


Aisha Al-Tamimi ; my family  supported  me to fight cancer

My name is Aisha Al-Tamimi I work as a Chef and an etiquette expert. I used to be a school teacher before I went into culinary arts and have been in it for the past twenty-eight years. I have written a total of six books and been on several tv-shows.

My story began, when I got used to routine mammography on my right breast for over ten years to have cysts, and I thank God that nothing happened. One time I was sent to the physician by the nurse all of a sudden. I had no idea what was going on, and when I met the doctor he informed me that the X-ray technologist found a tumor on the left side of my chest. I was taken aback by this newfound information due to having no family history of breast cancer. The doctor broke the bad news first and told me that I am a cancer patient, which sent me into a shock. I did not know what was going on around me.

When I started realizing what was happening around me, I heard the physician asking me what I wanted to do–how do I want to deal with my disease? Do I choose breast removal surgery or surgery to remove the tumor? Hearing that question infuriated me, so I told him that he is the doctor, and he should be telling me his opinion not to ask for mine. The doctor told me I was fortunate because my tumor was less than a centimeter, and I am in my first stage of cancer. I was referred to the lab by the doctor to obtain a biopsy of my tumor.

The doctor met with some of his colleagues after my lab results came back, and they agreed that radiotherapy was sufficient to treat me. The news regarding my therapy relieved some of my stress and anxiety. I was distressed and worried after the surgery, which was a weird feeling because I am usually a fun-loving person: I am the one who cheers my family members, helps them through rough times, and I am the one who lifts their morality.

I still remember how I felt when I left the doctors. I was shocked and traumatized, couldn’t comprehend what was happening, and broke into tears. I thank God for having my family support especially my sister’s help; she always was there for me, and supported me mentally through that hard part of my life, and made challenging this situation easy for me. She told me that I should fight and face my disease. My life turned around because of what my sister told me.

When I used to go to National Center for Cancer Care & Research (Al Amal Hospital) in Ramadan 2014 for my treatment all the staff would tell me that I am always happy and smiling unlike the rest of the patients and that seeing me brings joy to them, so I started to talk to patients to encourage them and help them.

I have completed the pharmaceutical part of my therapy as of June 2019, and the current plan for my radiation therapy is once a year; it used to be semi-annually for the past five years.



Rona : Don’t lose hope to win your battle against cancer

The first question Ronaasked was, “am I going to die?” it was July 2, 2019. I was alone in Qatar and had just been diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.

My family was in the Philippines, which is where I am from, and not only was I all alone in Qatar, I was the breadwinner, Illness was not acceptable. my oncologist prepared a treatment plan for me and because I wanted to live and I wanted to fight, I listened very carefully for what he wanted me to do and I followed everything. This is my story:

Before moving to Qatar, I lived in Bahrain from 2017 to 2019. I felt like there was something wrong earlier in 2019, but when I went to the doctor in Bahrain he told me it was just a hormonal imbalance and it was normal. So I just took it. I didn’t have the chance to come to the hospital so my disease progressed.

In 2019 I got a job in Doha. even before I got my diagnosis, I already expected that I might have cancer, maybe even stage 4. I had all the signs: a lump, oozing blood, foul smell, and discoloration. Once I got settled in, I went directly to the hospital. I had waited for so long and the first time I stepped into the emergency room and they put the patient bracelet on my wrist I was in tears.

At Hamad they gave me a mammogram and biopsy, then I had a CT scan. They were very thorough and finally I got a diagnosis, the doctors at the hospital explained that Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is invasive, which means that although the cancer started in my breast it had “metastasized” or spread beyond my breast and nearby lymph nodes to other parts of my body, like my bones and liver. the cancer team wanted me to go for six cycles of chemotherapy. After that my treatment plan included surgery and radiation.

On that day it was impossible for me to fully consider my diagnosis and what I was facing. I also wondered about the price of all this treatment. thankfully, Qatar Cancer Society exists. they gave a donation to fund my battle with cancer.

In spite of my doubts, I told myself the fight would start now,  I was very thankful to God that he gave me a chance to fight, to live. he directed people to help me and I am so thankful to them.

My treatment began right away, I had my first chemotherapy session that same month and I had a bad reaction. the medication I was given would make me shake. I had a bad reaction to the second cycle as well. and then every time I had chemo they would send me to the hospital for four or five days because I would be very sick. my white blood cell count would drop, sometimes to critical levels.

During chemo I often felt like I was suffocating, they couldn’t change my medication; however, they could minimize it. By the third, fourth, fifth, sixth cycles of chemo I had no more reactions. After six cycles of chemotherapy and I was done. The chemo was really hard; emotionally it’s just grueling. I don’t know why but I was always crying, imagine: there is no pain but it’s like you want to cry and cry and cry , you’re exhausted. You can’t eat. at the clinic where patients take chemotherapy, there is a big room with curtain dividers, sometimes I would draw, sometimes I would just listen to music, I met another Filipina patient there, who like me didn’t tell her family everything at first.

When I finally did tell my family, it was one of the hardest parts about my cancer journey, Coming out to them with my diagnosis radically altered our relationship. we became closer, before I told them, we would never speak every day. Instead, if there was time I would call them or they would call me, but now they were worried, and every day they were calling me, asking how I felt. I would say, “really fine. Don’t worry,” my grandmother was especially concerned because she is old now. It’s strange. I’m the only person in the family with breast cancer. I underwent the genetic test for the breast cancer gene and it was negative.

Although the chemotherapy was tough, I often felt stronger than before. the doctors would joke with me, they would say ,“you’re just pretending to have cancer!” because I kept myself upbeat and never really looked sick. I had the feeling that I was still blessed because Allah loved me.

I know very well that it’s hard for a stage 4 cancer patient to survive, but I stayed positive; I just acted normal. I would tell myself, “I don’t have any illness. I am the same person I was before this. I need to stay happy,” I did miss my eyebrows though. I really love makeup and fashion; creating art and doing makeovers are great joys for me.

Also I sometimes felt that I wanted to visit some places and do things that I had never tried in my life before,  I wanted to experience crazy things like surfing and mountain climbing and have some extraordinary adventure before my life came to an end.

But more than anything I would remember my four kids. they are still small and don’t understand everything, I started to think, how will they go to school? How will they eat? where will they live? my husband is not a stable provider, and I was raised by my grandmother, because my mother went abroad to work, my parents were just people that I saw on social media, never in person. That meant I knew what it was like not to have someone beside you when you are growing up, and what it’s like to live in different houses. It’s really hard to deal with, and that was the first thing that came to my mind—I didn’t want my kids to be separated from each other and grow up in different places, my children stay with my grandmother and I rent a small house for them and give them what they need. They were what I held onto throughout my treatment, they were what I lived for.

Once my chemo finished in December, I knew the following month I would have the next stage of my treatment—surgery, the day of my surgery was supposed to be January 29, 2020. On January 25th, I was at work when the breast clinic coordinator called me and said that the doctor wanted me to come in the evening for admission. She told me to come that night because the next day would be my surgery. It was a really shocking moment, but I was excited too because I had been waiting for the surgery a long time and I knew this was a significant part of my treatment. They completely removed one breast. I accepted this and more than anything I still felt lucky because I was alive.

After my surgery the medical team was amazed because about two hours post-surgery I strolled down to the coffee shop, I started to move around like I was normal and nothing happened. I joked to the nurses that “oh, so forever really does mean nothing! Even my breast left me!” we all had a good laugh about that. I stayed in the hospital for three days to give my body time to recover.

Throughout everything I tried to stay happy, I would sing. I would video blog, my vlog is about my cancer journey and about all aspects of my treatment: injections, life in the hospital (the food is pretty good!), treatments, and how people helped me, I have become mature enough and learned how to deal with the situation positively so I wanted to show people that even though I had MBC, I could still do so much and that it wasn’t the end of the world. We have to fight and not lose hope.

Cancer is not a one-person journey and I am thankful for the help I received. My auntie and grandmother were there for me, my friends in Qatar would take me out to the sea because I am a nature lover, Also my work supported me , they didn’t let me get tired, they gave me low-stress assignments and sick leave. I am also so thankful to the Qatar Cancer Society for their support.

My faith has helped me a lot too because if not for my faith, I might think that “I can’t survive this ,”but I know Allah loves me and that’s why he gave me this challenge,  So I trusted him. I trusted that this would pass and I had to be strong. If I had to advise anyone going through the same thing, I would say, “remember this is just temporary. One day it will end. Just be positive and stay strong and have faith in God.

On April 12, 2020, I completed my radiotherapy treatment, the histology reported no residual malignancy in my breast tissue or lymph nodes. I am now cancer free.

Now I would tell the doctors a message “just be patient with your patients. Try to give them hope, and My wish for myself for ten years from now would be to be able to help people who are in the situation I was in.


Rona Mahera Elsherif’s vlog can be found at


Steve prostate cancer survivor : a ray of hope emerges from darkness

Steve, an English professor at the Community College of Qatar, describes his cancer experience in a positive light. His journey began when he noticed he had some issues with voiding and went to see a doctor at a local clinic for a check-up. Thinking it would just be an enlarged prostate (non-threatening enlargement of the prostate gland), since it was a common condition in men his age, Steve had no worries. The doctor, however, requested a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. The test results indicated a high PSA. Steve then went to see a urologist who did further testing, including an MRI and a biopsy. The tests confirmed that he had a cancerous lesion on his prostate, but much to Steve’s relief, the doctor thought that the cancer likely was not an aggressive type.  Sadly, Steve’s relief did not last long. His biopsy specimen was sent on to a pathologist in Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) for confirmation. The second opinion indicated that the cancer was actually more aggressive and dangerous than initially thought. The news left Steve devastated.

Steve, living alone in Qatar, away from home and support, made coping with the diagnosis of prostate cancer that much more difficult. “It was just me, the world and death,” is how Steve described this brief but dark time in his life.  He did not have much of a support system or anybody he could really talk to in Doha.  However, this darkness was soon to end.  He came across a friend of a friend whom he had met a few years back.  He described this person as very kind and empathetic. Seeing as she was a yoga instructor, she encouraged Steve to start practicing yoga and to change his lifestyle.  Steve was more than happy to live a healthier lifestyle: “I wanted to be disciplined. I wanted to make every effort.” He stopped drinking and even stopped smoking; “I thought I would never be able to stop smoking, but it wasn’t hard once my mind was made up. I was so determined to adjust my thinking, to adjust my way of life, to live in a healthy way.” Steve also cut out meat from his diet and lost 10 kilos. On top of cleansing his body by changing his diet and letting go of harmful habits like smoking, he began cleansing his mind by dedicating a certain time every night for yoga, meditation, and contemplation.

As time passed and the date of the surgery got closer and closer, Steve continued to prepare himself. He started educating himself on his prostate disease: “I read like crazy. I read and I read and I read… every imaginable aspect of this cancer.” As part of his pre-surgical orientation, he was introduced to three other men who were going to have the same operation at the same time.  Steve connected with one man in particular in his surgical cohort. They would talk about the role of spirituality and shared their feelings and experiences together.  Being among a group of people going through the same experience as he made him feel a bit more at ease.

Albeit very painful for a couple of days afterwards, the surgery went smoothly and Steve recovered very quickly without any side effects and was released from the hospital three days later.  As Steve recovered in his apartment, he took on a new hobby: painting with acrylics. This was quite unusual and surprising for him since he never had an urge to paint in his life. Painting became his escape from his otherwise dull environment. He described painting as a wonderful outlet to express himself because there was a lot going on inside of him.  He loved blending bright colors and felt a tremendous rejuvenation explaining that “I needed to do something creative. I needed color around me.” He redecorated his entire apartment making it a lot more interesting and colorful. He changed the rugs, some  furniture, and even put some of his own paintings on the walls. Steve also developed a close affinity with plants and constantly wanted to be around them. He would take frequent walks to local gardens and let the plants bathe him with their energy. “It was something spiritual… something from God. I felt like I was tapped on the shoulder: ‘Pay attention. You have this gift of life. Use it.”

Steve’s story is a very inspiring one. It teaches you that strength comes from within, a ray of hope emerges from darkness , although the presence of family and friends in your life at times of hardship can add a lot of comfort, all you really need is yourself. You are capable of changing your life,  Steve’s advice to cancer patients is to be proactive, “Take control of your own health, You can change your life ,  be actively involved in your disease, its treatment, and especially the healing because nobody cares more than you do. It’s your life and it’s your health.”


Fatima Jomha – Breast cancer survivor :You would survive and tell your story

The ultrasound is not enough to rule out malignancy and a biopsy is needed”. This is how the story of Fatima Jomha, a 33-year-old breast cancer survivor, started.  In April 2017, the biopsy revealed cancerous cells.

“I was lost. I was told that I have cancer, but I didn’t know what that means. You know the meaning of cancer, you know it because you have heard about it before, but when it happens to you it is different. I was surprised and shocked to hear the surgeon’s words. He said it straight away in a tone that lacked compassion: ‘you have cancer.’ I didn’t have a family history of cancer and when you don’t have it you tend to not think about it. You think it can happen to other people but not you, but it happens, and this is where the initial shock comes from. It was emotionally hard to accept the diagnosis. I started crying. I was crying without thinking because of all the things that you hear about cancer. I was in denial. I went from one doctor to another to another hoping for something different. But this is how you come to accept. Then you just have to rely on God and what he has planned for you and be the strongest you can for your family and your kids.

Going through this journey, you start asking, who else is going through this? You start asking in your community and they answer you. They tell you the success stories of women  who went through the same circumstances as you and they survived and you also survive and tell your story to others, You find strength in other people’s stories. This is what I’m trying to do now for the newly diagnosed patients because I know it is hard, but just know that there is hope and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. I know that you don’t think this all will pass right away. This is because when you are going through it and you are feeling that tiredness and the transition from being a person who is not going through these procedures to a person who is going every single day to the hospital – that’s a big thing. I used to never go to the hospital and then I had to go; for example, during radiation, every single day and then chemo, and through chemo you have to be very careful and so initially going through this process you don’t have the strength.

My message to everyone going through this is to find a person who you can confide in and hopefully they will give you the strength to go on. This is one of the reasons why I’m happy with the Qatar Cancer Society because they have an advocacy program that provides support to patients dealing with breast cancer.

For me, my family were the source of my strength. Without my family’s support I don’t think I could have gone through it. My husband was very supportive, and my family came all the way from Canada to support me – my mom, dad, all my sisters and brothers were with me if I needed anything. They would prepare my food and take care of my nutritious diet because you will need somebody to help you be the strongest and actually fight any side effect and anything that would happen along the way through chemo and radiation because your body is weaker and you need help in every way: psychologically and physically and everything, including your diet. They were there for me when I went to procedures and I needed people to take care of my kids who were too young to know the meaning of what was happening. They would see the things around them. For example, if they saw my hair falling out, they would be scared and say, ‘please mom don’t show us that you don’t have hair, just cover it’. But you just have to teach them that there is something happening, and you have to deal with it and move on because life is full of ups and downs and this is one of the downs. You have to learn how to teach them that your mom is sick right now just for that period of time and that she will be better. During the treatment, I felt like I can’t be there for my children because I was weak and not feeling well, but in my mind it was only for a period of time and I’m going to move on from this – it’s just going to be in the past. You cannot keep thinking about it and asking why this happened to me, because when this happens, you have to go through the procedure and hopefully through prayers, diet and everything else you go through it and it becomes something in the past. I know that when someone tells you that you have cancer you think that you don’t have much time to live, but right now how they treat cancer is different than how they used to treat it a long time ago and they are managing all the side effects well.

Don’t think that cancer is a death warning; just do what your doctor is telling you to do as it all backed up by research, so try to find a doctor that you feel comfortable with and one who gives you the confidence that this treatment is the right one for you and always try to be strong for yourself, for your children and for your family.

When my doctor first proposed the treatment plan to me, I refused the chemotherapy, but they said you have to do it because you’re young and the cancer is aggressive, and you have to do surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. I agreed to everything, but not to the chemo therapy and the doctor started to laugh and said if I was his child, he would definitely persuade me to do chemo because it gives you a high rate of survival and it gives you the chance to live longer and he presented to me the statistics related to the type and stage of my cancer and after that I agreed and I did everything. It was not easy and every time that the nurse came to give me the chemo I would start to cry because I felt hopeless at that time, but she gave me hope. She would say that she sees cancer patients all the time and that I would get through this. When you’re in the treatment room, you are fighting all these feelings. As a patient, I started asking myself what is happening to me, am I going to live, is this really going to work? I had too many feelings. But I came to realize that if you’re happier and more relaxed while taking your treatment, it will work better for you. Something that somebody told me is that God chooses the people that he knows can withstand this problem and not just anybody, and that this is a test for that person and so if they pass the test, they get closer to God and gain more deeds. This thought kept me going. I tried to think of it as a gift from God and not a curse.

In the first year after finishing the surgery, chemo and radiation – with all of this being new to your body, your body is trying to get used to it. What I learned is that when you’re in the moment you feel like you’re going to feel like this for the rest of your life – going to feel awful and with all the medications and the chemicals that they put in you, but then there is a transition phase that happened to me and it happens to all cancer patients and it is when you’re done with all the treatments and you’re trying to find yourself and going back to your normal self this is really hard – because your body is fighting all the new things that happened to it and you’re trying to find yourself and you are thinking I have to get back to how I used to be before – you just have to find a place where you’re comfortable and it is not easy and it can last for 1 or 2 years, but when you get there that is it, that is the beginning of your life again. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You will feel better. And every time you think that things will not get better, just remember that it will – but your body needs time to get used to all the things that happened to you and when you’re past that stage, just work on yourself to become the person that you want to be and have a plan for yourself and work on your goals – because when you reach those goals you’ll feel even better and you’ll feel like a normal person again. This is what happened to me. I went through this transition stage and now I am back to normal. At this point I am a public speaker and raising awareness. In the past I wouldn’t think that I would be doing that, but now after the transition period and the fighting I am here, and I am spreading hope to people.

The thing that I’m most proud of is that I emerged from being a cancer patient to breast cancer advocate and this is my biggest achievement in my whole life. I’m a pharmacist, but this is my biggest achievement. I am now doing research in the field of breast cancer.”










Anthony .. Blood cancer survivor : Pay attention to the signs before it’s too late

Friday is the best day of the week, ply football game with family, eat together, laughing, smiles and joking all the time, what is a happy days .. But why my friend looking at me with amazement?

During this time Anthony found himself looking at his friends intently, and telling him, “Today your face looks more yellow than ever before, and he joked that he did not care, said“ Maybe it means that my face is tanned as a result of sun exposure which made it golden, but his friends  reminded him again that last month he was suffering from shortness of breath more than one time and his body was exhausted .. and they advised him that he should go to see the doctor.

At first Anthony laughed with his colleagues, but soon he understood the matter, wondering his condition, “But what if the matter was serious … and my face really tends to yellow? Then I have to go to the doctor, and indeed he went to the health center with his mother who stands next to him, saying “It must be a short visit that will not exceed thirty minutes,” and Anthony did not know at the time  would not lead him to his home again before three months spent between various laboratory tests and ultrasound examinations and other things, to know that it was not just anemia, to lead his intelligence spirit to search for Google even gets ready to hear the news that he did not expect, which is “having blood cancer”, and my message to everyone is to alert them to their body signs before it is too late.

It is now 2 am, my head is heavy, my body is tired, but I want to take a rest… I rest? … It is a dream, I woke up to the doctor’s sounds talking around me, explaining the diagnosis, discussing the signs and reviewing treatment options. And they said: You are still young, and full of energy, and strength, your body will be able to defeat cancer, you will overcome this condition and regain your health.

After hearing this news, what I read from google, I look around to see all my family standing beside me, my mother, my father … my sister, my uncle, my aunts and my cousins – everyone is there to encourage me.

Anthony began preparing for the first round of the chemotherapy phase, where his hair seemed to fall out, one hair after another. It is a difficult journey, but he has to adapt to it, as each session of chemotherapy takes some time to accept it and gradually adjusts to it, hoping that his hair follicles will grow again to spread hope In his future life and his victory over cancer.

He was feeling nauseous, and the stomach upset gradually increased until it reached the mouth. He became impatient and with weak physical strength, but he endured all these pains in order to return to his normal life again to build his physical muscles and his bright future that he derived from the warmth and tenderness of his family and the embrace of his father ,, this embrace returns his soul and soul .. Any person needs this love, warmth and tenderness to be full of strength and enthusiasm and raise his spirits.

At exactly five o’clock every morning a new story and innovative methods in which everyone around me master to help me get through these difficult times, “It is really difficult times.” At five o’clock every morning, taking a blood sample is the frequent thing that I get used to do every day, to let it slip with the help of Nurse Ibrahim He is my friend, companion, and guide throughout this journey, get ready to eat the “kibbeh” my mom prepared for me, because it is better than the usual hospital food. Then a contest is held with my sister to see who can drink a bottle of water faster than the other, if your goal is to drink 3 liters of water a day that needs a lot of creativity. This is followed by an exciting match with best friends in the FIFA game. It was never defeated. I enjoyed these beautiful things that bring me happiness and help me pass the time with more faith and courage.

During the six successive chemo sessions, it seemed to me that I was stronger, bigger and wiser, this was another chapter in life, and I started to feel better and return to my normal self, I had enough time to think about how to restore my normal life again after everything stopped, life goes on and did not end But it needs more, looking forward to your future, and building lasting long-term relationships with your friends and family; They are the ones who will help you regain your energy and brilliance. It is better to think about your school program and in which direction you will go, you have to think about the sky in which you will fly when you become a pilot, and do not let cancer eat you. Take this time to improve and think.

Oh yeah, it’s time to go to the gym