Friday, 31 October 2014

A Year of Many Changes

السلام عليكم

بِسْم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Time to start blogging again!

Someone recently told me, "I hope you're happy." And I asked, "Why do you say that?" And the reason being is because I've had a tough year.

Well... Paralysed at 23 can be considered a tough year. Kind of.

At first, yes, it was devastating. When I was first hit by Transverse Myelitis(TM), I could feel my mind shutting down and refusing to accept what was happening. I remember being in the emergency room, my mind blank and I was oblivious to the going-ons around me. I felt like a foreigner in my own body and the terrifying part was that I haven't the slightest idea what was happening to me. 

Often I hoped I would wake up and realise that it was just a bad dream, a really bad dream. At times I was hoping my body would suddenly function again, that I'd be able to get up, walk and find out that there was a glitch in my system and that everything is fine now, everything back to normal. Like when a computer crashes, a few rebooting here and there and its running again. But the human body is far more complicated. And I somehow couldn't comprehend that concept. It was a struggle. My mind knew what it wanted my body to do but my body simply couldn't do what my mind wanted it to do. It was not only confusing, it was frustrating. I was often in a daze, like waking up and finding your life has been turned upside down and you're trying to grasp this new reality. Except in my case, that is exactly what happened.

When I was moved to the Rehab ward from the Neuromedical ward on February the 14th , I felt much better. I was able to process what had happened to me. I was able to accept. Finally.

Maybe it was because I was amongst people like me. Maybe it was because I was always busy going to physiotherapy and occupational therapy that I didn't have time to ponder. Whatever it was, I was finally okay with my condition.

Things changed though when I came home. I started questioning why I was in this position. What had brought me here? Why this in particular? And a few others.

I became inquisitive and I didn't know where to search for answers. Or whether the answers would satisfy me.

I never said it out loud nor voiced out what went on in my mind to anyone then but of course He knew and alhamdulillah, He guided me to what I was looking for.

Suddenly, sabr (patience) topics popped up on my Facebook; patience in a calamity, patience when being tested, patience during hard times. Then topics of "Is this a test or a punishment?" popped up. I also stumbled upon "Allah tests the ones He love." And the more I searched, the more answers I would get. And they all satisfied me.

I watched a lot of videos relating to tests and punishments and patience and a lot of Ustaz Nouman Ali Khan videos. Listening to him on YouTube gave me so much clarity. And with all these answers, my perspective began to change. I began to understand my position and I understand why I was tested and why Transverse Myelitis in particular.

I suddenly saw my TM more as a... Blessing.

A quadriplegic at 23 a blessing? Come on, Czuleika, you ARE kidding yourself.


I look back at my life before TM and I look at my life now and the biggest difference about my life then and now is that now I am much happier, calmer, and most importantly, I feel much closer to God.

The irony of it, seeing as I am reading English Language and Literature in university, is that I can't exactly put how I feel now into words. What I can say is that I have found inner peace, Alhamdulillah. I used to see myself as a victim of my illness, like TM had robbed me of my body and my life. "The end of the world", some might say. Now, I see myself as Czuleika, an incomplete quadriplegic, nerd on wheels.

And as for TM, first of all, I gained a lot of medical knowledge from it, secondly, I was anything but a victim of it; it thought me patience, gratitude, strength, happiness, and it made me a left-hander, which I've always wanted to be. You see, always be careful of what you wish for. And more than anything, TM made me see the good in everything, even the illness itself.

So, I wouldn't exactly say 2014 has been a tough year, I would say it's a year of many changes. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Why Islam is Beautiful

السلام عليكم

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

I hope you're reading this in excellent health! I've been thinking about writing something like this for quite some time, and alhamdulillah, I have finally had the guts, to put it in a way, to write it. I wanted to share with you something dear to me which I've found only after being diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis which is the beauty of Islam and all that Allah has to offer. I hope it helps you because it certainly has helped me :)


I wasn't as believing in Allah. No, this does NOT mean I didn't believe in His Existence (astaghfirullah, nauzubillah). What it means is that I didn't put my trust in God, didn't rely on him. To put it in today's slang; I didn't believe Allah had my back.

That is, until now.

Funny how I had to be paralysed neck down before realising that, indeed, Allah does have my back. You would think that someone in this state would give up hope, feel angry and frustrated at his Creator, perhaps even, thinking that He might have a mistake. Paralysed at 23; surely there has to be a mistake. But that goes to show how forgetful man can be, how absorbed we can be in this Dunya, this temporary playground for the disbelievers. And how quick we are to blame Him for all the wrongs in our life.

No, alhamdulillah, instead of turning my back to Allah, I turned to Him. It took quite awhile for me to actually turn to Him. Frankly, I was frustrated. I was disappointed. I was confused, very much so.

WHY? Why me? Why now? Why this? What have I done to deserve this? For awhile, a few months I would say, I was searching for a reason. The answer to all my questions. I didn't know what I was expecting, maybe for God to say, "You are a sinner and therefore, you are being punished." Don't ask me how. But then, after my return home from the long hospital stay, I realised how peaceful I felt, how at ease I was, a feeling I didn't feel when I was "healthy". Then it struck me, maybe this isn't a punishment, maybe this is Allah saving me from myself, saving me from His Dunya. As days pass by I felt more and more contented and at peace; I didn't worry as much as I used to, I wasn't as angry, I didn't feel as negative as I used to.

And there are several reasons to this. Firstly, "إِنَّ مَعَ الْعُسْرِ يُسْرًا", verily, WITH hardship, there is ease. I had to read up about this and watch several videos before understanding what it truly means (thank you, Ustaz Nouman Ali Khan, for the really awesome videos that helped me a lot during my times of doubts). To me, it means, even when you're falling down, Allah is there to help you. Even when you're in your darkest moments, even when you've hit rock bottom, Allah is there to help you. And I've experienced this time and time again, help when I least expected it. The other day, for example, I was woken up from my sleep because I was freezing, and I was alone and I was reaching for my blanket but it was just out of reach and I started to feel frustrated and I prayed, "Make this easy for me, Allah, as You have done in the past" and BAM! My maid decided to check up on me. 

Another reason is because time and time again I've witnessed that everything happens for a reason. There have been occasions when things didn't go as plan but the results have always been better than what we expected. So now, alhamdulillah, I worry much less. I put in my effort, then I leave it up to Allah. And the results? Alhamdulillah, so far it has been mashaAllah!

And last but not least, the reason why I feel that Islam is beautiful is because when I feel like I have no one to talk to, when I feel like no one will understand, I start talking and begin my conversation with Allah and I feel so, so at peace, like He knows what I'm going through, like He understands. And truth of the matter is, He does; He knows and He understands.

To be honest, I never could find the time to talk to Allah when I was "healthy", I was too busy, too caught up in this hypnotising Dunya of His. I would never put Allah as my priority; it was always studies, friends, hanging out, and spending an unhealthy amount of time in front of my laptop. I was hollow spiritually and empty on the inside. 

And something that I find so amazing, after turning to Allah in my times of despair and my times of joy, is that you are never alone even with no one around, you are never alone. You are never alone in your troubles, never. And this is what is so beautiful about Islam; when you learn to let go of this world is when you truly feel happy and contented and at peace in this world. I'm still learning to grasp this concept fully but holding on to that thought, believing in that thought has given me so much happiness, so much faith and confidence that everything will be alright because Allah has my back. And Allah has yours too.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Blog update; TM update, One Utama, Robert Davilla

السلام عليكمًًًًًً

Alhamdulillah, I have finally updated 'My Life with Transverse Myelitis'. I have been feeling very lazy lately. The other day I was asking someone how do people stay consistent? How do some people keep that energy going? How do they remain steadfast in what they're doing? I'm still searching for the answer and I hope I'll find it soon.

On a lighter note I had lunch the other day with my family. For those who are wondering, yes, I do go out and have fun! One Utama is a really disabled-friendly shopping mall. I've been there three times since I've been wheelchair-bound and it has been really easy for me to get around. I've eaten in the Arena foodcourt, Delicious and Fish & Co and it has been easy for me to sit at the tables and manoeuvre around. For those wheelies (people in wheelchairs), I strongly recommend One Utama for your shopping destination.

Oh, and not forgetting a video that I wanted to share this beatiful story about this man who is paralysed from the neck down and found Islam in the middle of a Christian town, mashaAllah. Please watch it, it's really inspirational.

This is Cee signing off...

My Life with Transverse Myelitis Part 2

It was nighttime when they moved me to another section of the ER, the resuscitation area. I suppose this part of the room is for those who have stabilised and are waiting to be warded as it was much less chaotic, patients were put in rooms instead of being left out in the open like in the ER, and the medical staff were more relaxed compared to those attending to patients in the previous room.

I was placed in a room near the nurses' station. I felt much more at ease, maybe because it meant there was some kind of progress. However, the experts still didn't know what was happening to me or find what the problem was.

And I still didn't have a branula on me. (Short-term memory no more!)

Soon after being placed in the resuscitation area, I was wheeled off to get a CT scan and x-ray done. It was not an easy task, I was completely paralysed in my upper body and my lower limbs were weak. I found it extremely frustrating when the radiologists kept asking me to move and when I told them I wasn't able to do so, they asked me whether I could move anything at all. But alhamdulillah, despite the difficulties, they managed to get everything done.

I was wheeled back to another room. I was very thirsty and hungry, I haven't eaten or drank anything since I've arrived at the ER. Not that I had food on my mind what with my condition but nature kicked in and my body, despite what was happening to it, told me that it needed water and food.

I remember all my aunties coming to see me and someone getting me food (Hello again short-term memory), porridge from McDonalds. It was hard for me to eat despite my mother's best effort but I managed to eat enough to stop the hunger pangs.

Looking back, I wonder how my mother felt at that time. If it was worrying me to such extremes, how would have my felt seeing her only daughter in such peril.

Later at night three doctors came to see me; Dr. Tan and her comrades. She introduced herself as a neurologist. She asked me some questions about myself and about the state I was in; how did it happened, when did it happened; questions that have been asked and answered before.

What she asked me to do then surprised me; she asked me to stand. So, with the help of four women and a man, I tried standing up. I failed to do so. They hastened to put me back on my bed and unfortunately, with much difficulties. But, alhamdulillah, I was back in my bed.

It was after my attempt to stand that I became paralysed in my lower body. When I tried to move my legs, they stayed limp and unmoving. Oddly enough, I wasn't as panicked and anxious as I was before. So, calmly I told my mum that I couldn't move my legs. I saw the look on my mother's face and I knew she was very worried. Immediately she asked one of the nurses to inform Dr. Tan.

It was a very surreal feeling, being completely paralysed. It hasn't sunk in, it wasn't that I didn't want to believe that I was paralysed, I couldn't. It wasn't something you thought would happen to you; paralysed at 22.

When this happened, I was 5 days away from sitting for my 3rd final exam paper. The plan was for me to pass my finals and continuing on with my 3rd year. But this was my plan. God had other plans for me. As corny as it sounds, but God had the perfect plan for me and as crazy as it sounds being paralysed was part of it.

But I couldn't fathom this, couldn't process it at that time. In fact, there wasn't a lot that I could process at that time. I was in a daze, just looking at things going around me; I remember seeing all my aunties and my mum with worried looks, I remember this doctor trying to insert a branula in me and failed, I remember falling asleep until they woke me up to tell me there were moving me to another place...

(To be continued)

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Where have I been?

السلام عليكم

I hope you're reading this in good health!

I know I've been MIA since 1st January. Unfortunately, I was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis, a rare disease where the spinal cord is inflamed. I'm still in the recovering stages, alhamdulillah, but I'd rather tell my story in my 'My Life with Transverse Myelitis' series, inshaAllah.

So, stay tuned!

This is Cee signing off...

My Life with Transverse Myelitis part 1

How would you feel if one day something or someone you loved was taken from you?

Well, on January 3rd 2014, something I thought I would never lose was taken away from me; my ability to move.

At around 9am, as I was washing my hands, I started feeling my arms stiffening. Not wanting to panic, I continued washing my hands, but coming out of the bathroom, I couldn't move neither of my arms. No matter how hard I tried, they stayed limp by my side. Still not wanting to panic but started feeling slightly anxious as I was thinking to myself, "Am I experiencing a stroke?" (Stroke at 23, I must be super unhealthy), I called out to my mother and upon realising that what was happening to me needed immediate medical attention, I urged my mother to bring me to the emergency.

Getting ready was really challenging. I was still in my pyjamas since I just woke up and haven't showered and it was really difficult for my mum to wear me my clothes. She managed to get me into a dress and a jacket and my hijab and off we went to the hospital. I'm really thankful I could still walk to the car because it would have been real tough for my mum to get me into the car. 

The ride to the hospital seemed liked the longest ride in my life. There I was, paralysed in my upper limbs, with an unbearable pain across my chest and arms which made me feel, and to be utterly frank, like I was dying.

I had only two thoughts in mind; my sins and whether I had done enough to grant me a place in Jannah (Paradise). The fear was there of course, nothing is scarier than thinking that that day would be your last and that was when I realised I wasn't the best Muslimah I could be; I wasn't ready to meet my Creator, wasn't ready for my punishment and questioning. And in that moment, all I felt was regret; I regretted not living my life as the Muslimah I should, as I promised to be.

Unfortunately, instead of turning right into the emergency, my mum went straight, so we had to make one big round. Finally, alhamdulillah, we arrived in front of the A&E, Accident & Emergency. I remember waiting quite awhile for help to arrive. I was sitting in the car and there was this Singh man who kept looking at me and I really wanted to call out for help. I think he must have sensed that there was something wrong with me because he kept looking at me. Either that or he was thinking, "Um, could you please not block the door with your car? Thank you." After what seemed like hours my mum finally arrived with help and a stretcher. I had to be carried on to the stretcher because my legs were already weak and couldn't support my body. And guess what? It was the same Singh man that helped me.

Being in the emergency room(ER) felt very surreal; mostly because I thought I'd never end up there especially not because I couldn't move, and also because the atmosphere was so different to my life, to what I'm used to.

The medical attendant(MA) that attended to me started asking me so many questions. Lucky for me he was really nice and in between questioning, he comforted me. However, there was this doctor who was a bit aggressive and lacking in sympathy and empathy while questioning me which made me want to grab him by the collar and shout, "I AM IN MASSIVE PAIN, PLEASE STOP TALKING AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!" But all I could was moan and so I did and probably sensing that I must be in pain, he started softening his voice and reassured me that I'll be taken care of.

By the time I was in the ER, the pain in my chest and arms had shifted to my neck which made it hard for me to move it. So I just laid there, still trying to figure out what was happening to me until the MA came to me again, this time to insert a branula. I can't remember where my branula was inserted or whether it was inserted at all. That's the problem with having a short-term memory!

After they, the MA and the doctor, finished checking me, I was wheeled to the other side of the ER. I can't remember much after that but I did remember wanting to do number 1 but couldn't so I had to be put on catheter. And also my family members coming to visit me...  I remember an orthopaedic doctor came to examine me and even he was baffled by my situation, so imagine how I felt!

The hours passed by like minutes, I was still in a daze and still confused. I laid there, not abled to move my arms I moved my legs, shifting them from one position to the other. And so the hours pass until I was wheeled into the resuscitation area...

(To be continued)

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Not a New Year's Post

Since technically our new year was on 5th November 2013 equivalent to 1st Muharram 1435H.

But how are you on the 1st of January 2014? I hope everyone's doing good and having a good holiday.

I want to share something with you about what happened to me recently and the lesson I learnt from it.

Recently, I hurt someone that was very dear to me and who I love and I was very afraid of losing this person. Then I realised I was being selfish, here I was thinking about how I would lose this person when I didn't realise that I have really hurt this person and I have broken this person's heart.

And let me tell you, there isn't a worst feeling then hurting someone you love.

Right after my realisation, that sorrow turned to worry and I cared about was that this person was okay again. So, I searched for du'a for a troubled heart and stumbled upon this:

للّهُـمَّ إِنِّي عَبْـدُكَ ابْنُ عَبْـدِكَ ابْنُ أَمَتِـكَ نَاصِيَتِي بِيَـدِكَ، مَاضٍ فِيَّ حُكْمُكَ، عَدْلٌ فِيَّ قَضَاؤكَ أَسْأَلُـكَ بِكُلِّ اسْمٍ هُوَ لَكَ سَمَّـيْتَ بِهِ نَفْسَكَ أِوْ أَنْزَلْتَـهُ فِي كِتَابِكَ، أَوْ عَلَّمْـتَهُ أَحَداً مِنْ خَلْقِـكَ أَوِ اسْتَـأْثَرْتَ بِهِ فِي عِلْمِ الغَيْـبِ عِنْـدَكَ أَنْ تَجْـعَلَ القُرْآنَ رَبِيـعَ قَلْبِـي، وَنورَ صَـدْرِي وجَلَاءَ حُـزْنِي وذَهَابَ هَمِّـي

“O Allaah, I am Your slave, son of Your slave, son of Your female slave, my forelock is in Your hand, Your command over me is forever executed and Your decree over me is just. I ask You by every Name belonging to You which You named Yourself with, or revealed in Your Book, or You taught to any of Your creation, or You have preserved in the knowledge of the unseen with You, that You make the Qur’aan the life of my heart and the light of my breast, and a departure for my sorrow and a release for my anxiety”

(Thanks to )

And I prayed and prayed that God would ease this person's burden and sorrow.

The it got me thinking, this is a difficult time for the two of us. So I googled a du'a for troubled times and stumbled upon this:

اللَّهُمَّ رَحْمَتَكَ أَرْجُو فَلَا تَكِلْنِي إِلَى نَفْسِي طَرْفَةَ عَيْنٍ وَأَصْلِحْ شَأْنِي كُلَّهُ لَا إِلَهَ إِلَّا أَنْتَ
"O Allah, I hope for Your mercy, do not leave me for even the duration of an eye blink (duration) and correct my total condition. Besides You there is none worthy of worship".

(Hisnul Hasin)

Now, we started talking again and after reading these du'as, I didn't as sad as I was before.

So, moral of the story is if you're feeling down, depressed, sad, or just generally not good, don't listen to sad songs, or do something to take away the pain like drinking, turn to Allah. When you have no one to turn to, turn to Allah. When you feel like you can't go on like this, turn to Allah.

So, don't worry. If Allah doesn't give you what you want, He will surely give you something better. And when in despair, He will surely bring you out of it.

Hope this post has been beneficial to you :)

This is Cee signing off.