Dr. Shabaan, Stage 3 Colon Cancer

Cancer: The Uninvited Guest

Mohammed Shabaan is a 55 years old man, who has always been on a healthy diet and followed a fitness regimen, describing it as a way of living. He has his own small farm at home where he grows various kinds of fruits and vegetables. He has always been interested in the wide range of benefits provided by these organic corps. For example, Moringa tree is one of the corps he is harvesting in his farm; it reduces blood sugar and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. 

March 2017 was the time Mohammed described as the time he “dropped down.” This initially started as a mild constipation, which he attributed to ingestion of pomegranate; however, the constipation was persistent and remained for 10 days, and he decided to seek medical attention. He was given laxatives, but his condition did not improve. Then, he started having a sudden onset of vomiting, which was severe as he felt fatigue and energy drained. The accumulation of all these symptoms led to him not being able to walk, which is why he called the ambulance.

Mohammed had multiple tests done; He had both CT and PT scans done, which concluded the potential of having Stage 3 Colon Cancer. He had never imagined this diagnosis as he thought these symptoms would be due to a fleeting cause, which can be resolved easily and would last few days. The news was brought to him in a friendly manner in the absence of his parents as he requested. Once Mohammed was informed about his diagnosis, the only thing that was constantly on his mind is the surgery and the complications which follow the procedure. He was ready to confront the struggles which are brought to him by his fate which in this case, had brought him cancer. “Cancer? I don’t care about it,” he said as I asked him about what he felt when the physician told him about his condition, prognosis and management. Mohammed proved the fact that each person has the ability to beat a disease by learning how to cope with it. He was constantly thinking about the complications, which he can avoid; one of these dreaded complications was having a colostomy bag, which is temporarily placed until a reconnection between the colon and the rectum heals. He was anxious and worried about the perspective of his friends and family regarding the idea of having an external bag for feces. He thought that this might ruin his image and reputation in front of them. 

This discussion went on for a long time until the physician decided that an urgent surgical intervention should do as the patient had bowel obstruction, which might lead to fatal sequelae. The physician tried to insert tube to be able to take away all the poisons from Mohammed’s abdomen, but he/she was not able to do so. However, another surgeon happened to arrive to Qatar that day and was called to the Operation Room (OR). This surgeon was determined to not leave the OR until he inserts the tube. Mohammed described him as one who has confidence and trust in god’s will. He was able to insert the tube without any complications and danger to Mohammed. “These were all complications that only god knows of,” said Mohammed, believing that he was in a sophisticated situation, which was leading to a path of his wellbeing and survival. 

The removal of the poisons from his body took 1 and a half hours. He felt better and more relieved afterwards. He had surgical excision of 80% of his colon and adjacent lymph nodes. This journey was described as crossing an ocean with strong tides against him, but he passed safely; however, as this one ended, another battle was coming up against him, which is Chemotherapy. The side effects of the chemotherapy were very severe; he experiences diarrhea, and weight loss – He had lost 20 kgs. Nevertheless, he was relieved that he reached a state of almost winning the battle against cancer; the side effects did not matter as he had passed two storms set by cancer, which are the surgery and the chemotherapy. He knew that he has reached the winning line with himself leading.

During that period of his life, he found his family and friends to be very supportive and understanding. Although there was a negative stigma of having cancer, he noticed that he and his family changed and became more accepting; they grew to accept that cancer, like any other disease, can be treated and should not be considered as a closure of one’s life. 

Eight months after the surgery, Mohammed developed an abdominal hernia; he seeked treatment and gained more strength to face this new complication. He seeked both physical and mental treatment. He “Never lost hope,” and was able to live through this dreadful journey of fighting cancer and its following complications.

Cancer was an “uninvited guest,” but like any other guest, you are forced to offer hospitality and welcoming. Thus, one should find his/her supportive group and habits, which bring feelings of joy and happiness, to be able to embrace this disease rather than allow it to drain him/her. You should not allow this monstrous disease to take over your lives and consider it as something, which is only passing by but is offering you a grain of strength and enlightenment, making you a stronger warrior, and the cancer is the beginning of a new life, not the end.

The “Step of Hope” initiative was launched in collaboration with the Qatar Cancer Society and the National Center for Cancer care and Research. This initiative aims to support individuals living with cancer and to emphasize that cancer can be cured and patients can practice their daily life normally, in addition to emphasize that the importance of psychological and community support for this group to make the disease period and beyond more easier, As well as the importance of a healthy lifestyle of exercise and healthy food to prevent diseases, especially cancer.

During this initiative, I walked about 555 km on foot as the first phase and then completed the tour to cover 2022 km as a later goal and we have chosen 2022 on the occasion of the 2022 world cup in Qatar, where I seek to walk about 25 km per day at a rate of five hours.

I would like to emphasize that this initiative is an opportunity to strengthen the role of physical activity in the prevention of diseases, especially cancer in line with the State Vision 2030 to improve human health, in addition to emphasize the close relationship between cancer and mental status that may facilitate or prevent treatment.

In conclusion, I would like to express my thanks and gratitude to Qatar Cancer Society as it has adopted ” step of hope” its kind in the world, and all their efforts and support, This initiative is considered the first of its kind in the world, and I want to thank the Qatar cancer society for their hard effort and continuous support for me and success of this event.