Numan, Hala – Surviving Mesothelioma

Numan, Hala

Open Arms, Open Mind

Freedom at any age is to be more aware of your surroundings. It means knowing what I need to make my life better. Freedom means something specific to me – to learn from your lessons and grow through them. Growing means being more responsible for your actions and taking life a bit more maturely. We all have things within us that need mending and fixing and if we are not honest with ourselves then who will be; because even if the whole world or a tiny incapable child told us anything remotely close to the truth then we would either explode or we would deny it without a second thought. If we can’t be honest with ourselves then forget about fixing and mending, you’d be better off dreaming.

As a child I remember being either on the metro bus or at the salon getting my hair cut or perhaps it occurred on both accounts; that the lady or those ladies said something to little me that I was too tiny to comprehend or even apply, “When you lie, you’re only lying to yourself” and I looked at her with a dumbfound face and had to pretend that she wasn’t completely crazy – mom always told me to be considerate of people’s emotions. I thought about that from time to time and a few training bras later I started to really understand what that lady meant. However, I had never applied it. Finally, a big point in my life came when I became diagnosed with Mesothelioma, and I denied it in the beginning believing that if I didn’t acknowledge it, then it wouldn’t be my reality. I knew that I had to stop the lying and trickery and shortly after, I realized that by accepting my newfound illness I can create and accept my own remedy. The timeline was one year. To start the countdown, I ripped myself of the security which I was granted as a child. I was prepared to be exposed to the trauma and the excitement of what my illness and remedy were to bring me.

Many people believe in chemotherapy as if it were a religion. I, on the other hand, believed that chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery were all unnatural ways to fight an illness. So, I set out on a quest to discover what Mesothelioma really is. I made a sacred pilgrimage to the temple of books and knowledge that I was going to spend countless hours attempting to comprehend my illness. In order for one to beat her enemy she must understand it. But, not only did I want to learn about my illness, I wanted to embrace it and love the experience. I aimed to only feel positive about the whole entire situation so that I can let go in the utmost healthy way. I read relentlessly for months, strangely I came across a man named Rhio O’connor. I read about his remembered journey with Mesothelioma and his great optimism continued to ignite the hope within me. Almost spontaneously I emptied thousands of dollars from my savings account and bought a small shack near the beach in Barbados. I decided to focus my energy, new found knowledge, and hope to find a remedy within myself.

The ultimate goal was for me to allow my body to relax and with that put my mind at ease. Wanting to cease all worry I numbed myself with the ancient practice of yoga that I’d mastered years ago but unwillingly stopped due to a death in my family. I also began a relaxing music therapy which according to research can alleviate worry and stress and decrease a quickened heart rate. I ate as natural as possible as not to obstruct the natural intentions of mother earth – if I was to be healthy I had to eat healthy. Most days my routine consisted of listening to the soothing melodic thumping of the crashing waves and I constructed my body into mind bending shapes while focusing on my deep breathing as the toxins were becoming diluted in my temple. I began to respect my body because it was the source of my ailment and had to become the source of my therapy. I danced as an addition to my music therapy. By allowing myself to paint the emotions I was able to feel them. I danced with the grains of sand blessing my body and feeling the cleanliness arise within me. The pain I endured was heart wrenching but the beige pages of my notebook gave me hope, consolation, happiness, health, and mental wealth. No one was there for me to divide my suffering, but my notebook was there and I was there. I spoke to it dreamily of my goals, ambitions, and wishes. I believed that they will undoubtedly come true. That notebook became my sunshine even when it rained. It’s been three years since my diagnosis and everyday my rain turns to sunshine.

Honestly, the lessons I learned were worth the pain, and the late night cries holding my giant Pooh bear tight – telling myself that it was the end of the world and it was the end of the world … the world of immaturity and irresponsibility. In the end I grew up to realize that security is never going to be steady and eternal. Our lessons learned are immortal only if we choose pass them along to fellow friends and lovers.

Security is all an illusion – just make sure you’re always open to life’s immense possibilities. That will and should give you a sense of vulnerability, but how else can you accept the remedy through happiness if you have a blanket over your head crying yourself to sleep every night. Just simply let go of all sense of security, open your arms, and tell yourself and everyone you speak to that I say this, “Dance away upon the stars and don’t fall until the sun comes up. And when the sun comes up allow the rays to dance upon your bare skin.”

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