بِسْم الله الرحمن الرحيم
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.