We often get lost in the contours of life and forget how blessed we are. Most of us spend our lives searching for the best in everything.

Whereas what I think is we should spend our time doing is trying to mend our way of thinking and way of life. Have we ever expressed our gratitude towards Allah Almighty for a glass of water we drink in a day? Or for enjoying good health? For our functioning limbs and organs? That is something I had not done in my 20 years of life until last year when I got diagnosed with a deadly disease entirely out of the blue.

I remember being so ungrateful and full of anxiety during my life like many young girls my age. All of that seems so trivial now. Life seldom gives you a reason and never follows a fixed timeline. The last few months have been the hardest months of my life. Cancer is nothing like they show you on TV. It is ugly and unglamorous. It is full of never-ending procedures, a thousand needle pricks, and a number of medicines with more side effects than you can keep track of.

It is you reading and re-reading the same google articles on your disease and memorising the facts and figures that now predict your survival. Then begins hair fall, skin gets damaged, and the person in your old pictures seems like a vaguely familiar stranger. You can feel your body drying up. You look at the mirror and see your ailment on your face. There were times during my treatment when I was not even able to drink a glass of water despite having it in my hands and longing for it because of my condition, nausea and vomiting.

Times when I had my favourite foods before my eyes, but I was not able to eat. Times when I saw my age fellows losing their battle in the same ward as mine. Times when by listening to crying babies made me wonder that what is their fault? The one thing that no one prepares you for, however, is the loneliness that comes with the disease. Your hospital room feels no different than a prison cell on most days, and you feel completely cut off from the world. I missed some of the most important events of my life.

The positive side of my treatment was mainly my family and my medical team, which boosted up my morale at every step, and my faith in humanity increased to a thousand times more because of them. I believe no matter how professional doctors are, no matter how high up they are in their professions, if they lack compassion and empathy, what is the point of them being a doctor? I did discover during my treatment from another hospital that some professionals did not have quite the same attitude sadly, but Armed Forces Bone Marrow Transplant Center (AFBMTC/NIBMT) is a hospital where patients are considered as family.

With some brilliant specialists and medical caretakers that I would like to mention Major General Tariq Satti, Brig Qamar-un-Nisa, Brig Kamran, Lt Colonel Raheel, Lt Colonel Jahanzaib, Lt Colonel Mehreen Ali Khan, Dr. Farhan, Matron Shaheen Butt, Lab technician Hamid and many more. My heart automatically starts to pray for them whenever I remember them. My struggle with this disease is ending by the grace of Almighty Allah. Currently I am trying to be realistic in approach and embrace my challenges. My battle is dual. I have to strengthen my body and then find strength in my mind and faith in Allah Almighty. In the meanwhile, to all those reading this, do not spend too much time fixating on the future and instead cherish the here and now.

And most importantly, never let anyone make you feel bad for the things you do not have in your life. Instead, enjoy the things you have and be happy and grateful for those to Allah Almighty. If you have a roof over your head, then do not care about what kind of luxuries are in it. The most important thing in life is how happy and satisfied you are at the end of the day. Are we all waiting for a situation like I had in my life to realise the blessings we have in our life?

The writer is a freelance columnist.