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Saturday, January 10, 2009

"The one week during Chemo Dose Two, and the march for freedom..."

Sheffield's engulfed in a shroud of mists today...somehow adding up more cold to the already freezing air. The winds are non-a-helper as well, I've said it once and I'll say it again - if the cold does not kill you, by all means the breezes shall take care of it. I went for some grocery shopping for Afzal@'chemo-boy' today, and imagine the agony of carrying heaps of bags around town under these blistering conditions. At one point, the wind was against me so forcefully that I ended up walking into a shoplot just for an escapade and partial warmth. Nonetheless, boy it sure is fun living the experience of winter in this blessed European country. No pun intended, I mean it very much.

It's the 5th day post-2nd dose chemo today, and things are picking up for Afzal. Alhamdulillah, he's getting better as he'd picked himself up through the very trying few days prior. As predicted, he had his few days slump beginning on day two post chemo. Day one post chemo was about as normal a day as he'd usually have, but the drugs quickly kicked in the day after. Days two and three was spent almost entirely by him in bed; and he'd had low aspiration for any meals. It's an effort even getting him off lying in bed and on his feet; at times I had to really insist on asking him to eat. Again, my only worry was that we wasn't getting enough nutrients from his daily rations to recuperate. Luckily, his apetite grew as the days pass by.

On the 3rd day post chemo, abg Azhar (a UM lecturer doing his sabbatical) decided to cook kurma kambing for dinner, as Afzal mentioned wanting to taste some a few days before his 2nd dose. Almost serendipitiously, YaFai, the infamous halal butcher everyone swears by, had a fresh stock of the meat that day. By 8pm, the three of us (me, abg Azhar and Em) practically forced Afzal to join us for dinner. Although reluctant at first, but knowing that we only had his best intentions in mind he finally succumbed to our orders.

Alhamdulillah, his spirit strongly intact and will strenghtened - he managed to finish a full serving with fruits as deserts. This was a huge standing point from my point of view, as this would mean he'd get even better the day after. Which he did, much to my delight; after the infusions from all nutrients that was all kambing-like last dinner.

If anything, I'm really proud of Afzal at this point. It certainly isn't easy being him, with his final exams approaching next week. Struggling with the agony of not only his chemo but also the depressing weather, he truly has a big heart to maintain such eminent will and motivation. I've been through him most of these experiences, and there are times at which I feel even myself can't pull up from. Alhamdulillah, I praise his strength and fighting spirit to God Almighty, and through the many doa's friends and family all over has been giving him.

Yesterday, still recovering with slight tiredness - he endured the long ascend uphill to the mosque for Friday prayers with me. Mind you, the journey can try even the healthiest of individuals, yet alone Afzal who was still catching his steps down the stairs. If it were my choice, he'd be in bed recuperating but I left everything to his own measure. I realized, he knows his limits and boundaries, so I put my trust on his own judgement.

The climb was a bit slower that usual, with us taking our time up there non-stop. That day, not only that he managed to go through it all - we even had a walk over to the Student's Union building and a nearby NatWest branch. All in the blistering cold.

Oh, did I mention I participated in the recent Freedom for Gaza march in Sheffield City Hall last week? Boy was that truly an experience. Of  course, Afzal was the one who'd actually invited me to take part. I was under the preconceived notion that these sort of things usually come with a bad-rep, but I was in for a suprise when I graced the streets of the city centre that saturday. Considering Mok was in town for a visit, I quickly asked him to tag along, much to his resistance in the beginning as well.

One things for sure - this was a pre-planned mass march, so everything has received the green light from the city officials. All roads involved during the march was either closed, or received ample attention from traffic police. It was peaceful, and well organised, far from the scenario we'd usually see in Malaysia or other parts of the world. There're no flags being burned here, no extermists involved. It was simple democracy at action. The people expressing their voices in public, on an issue I feel although global but it is definitely close to a muslim such as myself.
At the end of the march, everyone left with the hope that this small gathering would initiate a ripple effect that would start a change of some sort in the eyes of the world. Some would tarnish the idea of a gathering such as this as troublesome and pathetic, but after that day I felt that this would be the least we could do for our religion and humanity. I'm happy I participated, and I'm glad Mok joined in as well.

More stories about my weekend with my good buddy Mok and other friends, in my next post.

Thank you for all your doa's and prayers, and keep them coming for Afzal, hopefully he'll get even better in the next few days and do well in his coming final exams next thursday and friday.



Anonymous said...

yeay for you for getting afzal to eat!
hopefully he'll feel better and gain strength in the days to come.

looking forward to your next post dearest.


PakTam said...

Assalamu`alaikum wm.

Thank you Jep, for all the updates. Its good to learn that Afzal is coping well, with your attention. Fun to know that you got yourself involved in the gathering. Sure is an eye-opener.

Most of your comments reminds me of the very you at your tender age. Remember the time when the dump site enroute to Sri Petaling has not got its make-over, and we were in the car (with Aki & Arwah Wan rasanya) with the windows down. You said, "Hmm... nice smell. I like it. Next time we should wind down the windows more often." (or something to that effect).

Take care. Looking forward to your next post.


Anonymous said...

gosh...reading yer Pak Tam's comment shows that you've been sarcastic since u were young...