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Fighting Against Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia

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03 May 2016

My story fighting against ALL disease

My name is Faisal, I’m 25 years old and from Saudi Arabia. I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in Dec. 2010. I completed my treatment on Apr. 2014 and now I’m healthy and cancer-free.
I’m new to your society and would like to share my story. It started on my sophomore year during mid-term exams with a regular fever on Thu. Dec. 9th 2010, I went to college clinic and prescribed a paracetamol and kept on back-and-forth between college clinic and local clinic with no developments. My body temperature was fluctuating 3-times a day, going up to 39 and then normalizes after taking medicine and a good sleep. Then go up again and normalized. I had enough by end of week Thu. 16th, Dec. 2010 and went to the local clinic explaining to the general physician that it’s over a week and no development! He was worried and requested a blood test directly where I was transformed to a general hospital. 
There, I remain another in the hospital with the same previous scenario. End-of the week, they requested a “Chest bone-marrow” where I still remember me suffering, screaming and crying from the amount of pain I endured. I kept the next few days have difficulty while breathing. I used to live for 2-weeks in the darkness, like a bat, and any small amount of light hurts me and make me screaming of eye pain. At the end, it turns to be eye-stress since I was passing through college exam days and no “Physician” could identify my disease. 
A doctor whispered on my father’s ear saying “your son MUST be transferred to a specialized hospital immediately”. I got a transfer to King Fahd Specialized Hospital in Dammam (KFSH) on 26th, Dec. 2010
Once arrived to KFSH, I got examined and on 27th, Dec. 2010 my room was full of doctors and consultants. I was told that I’ve Precursor B acute Lymphoblastic leukemia. Feeling relieve at least for being diagnosed although I had no idea on the first week of therapy that I’ve “Blood cancer”. I believe this reduced my reaction and made me calm of God’s destiny. The first 3-weeks of treatment were the hardest and most emotional where I lost hair, weight -15 Kg, no appetite for food, and were vomiting after every meal. What made it worse the amount of tablets I had to daily take 55-tables, back spine treatment and restlessness. I was told at the beginning I would be spending 30-days as an in-patient. However on day 22, I was discharged as my condition got better. I couldn’t stop my tears of joy. 
During next months of treatment, I was admitted to ICU 2-times due bacterial infection and ups-and-downs which required some extra back spine treatment. I started gaining weight, reduced amount of daily tablets, seeing my friends again and hanging-out. I decided to resume college Sep. 2011. I set 5 main goals to achieve –to make me unique- before graduation. 
1.    Graduate as an honor student. I graduated as a 3rd honor
2.    Being active in volunteer work and society development in-campus and out-campus
3.    Take several personal development courses offered in-campus
4.    Being first Saudi engineer to complete more than one training. I accomplished this goal with having 3 different trainings with big companies(2-months with Saudi Aramco, 2-months with Saudi Electrical Company, 7-monthes with General Electric Power& Water)
5.    Join a Toastmasters club
I proudly achieved all my goals prior graduation 
I completed my Chemotherapy treatment on April 2014 and officially became a health and cancer-free person. I would loudly say I’m a survivor warrior.
Those achievements and other factors led me to have a job opportunity with GE Oil& Gas as field service engineer. Now, I’m a happy field engineer who is trying to make a better life for my parents, myself and my society. 


Eleanor Baggley

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Faisal. It's sounds like you've achieved so much against all the odds which is so inspiring. It's great to hear that you're happy in your job - long may that continue. Best wishes, Eleanor