Dr. Rabea's Unexpected Experience with Lymphoma

 
Dr. Rabea, a dentist working at one of the biggest dental clinics in Jordan, was a young man full of dreams and aspirations. “I had recently graduated as a dentist. My ambitions were sky high and I envisioned a bright future ahead.
 
“One day, my brother who lives overseas called me and asked me to renew our parents’ membership in the King Hussein Cancer Foundation’s Cancer Care Program.” Rabea’s parents had been members of Cancer Care for years but Rabea didn’t know much about it, he just thought it was for older people. Despite his medical background, Rabea still associated cancer with old age.
 
Rabea headed to the Cancer Care offices at the King Hussein Cancer Foundation to renew his parent’s membership in the program. While there, he asked about the benefits of the program and decided that he wanted to join as a member too. A year later, he renewed his annual membership and only three days after that his whole life changed.
 
Rabea started to feel intense exhaustion. He slept too much and no longer had the energy to do even the simplest of tasks. He attributed his exhaustion to a number of factors, such as long working hours, not taking enough vitamins and not being in good shape. So he started taking vitamins and even joined a gym but he only felt worse.
 
His colleagues advised him to take medical tests to find out the cause but the tests didn’t show any abnormal results. Frustrated, Rabea went to several doctors and even took scans and imaging tests but nothing seemed to explain his symptoms.
 
“One night in Ramadan, I was breaking fast with my parents when my mother asked me why my neck was swollen. I had not realized it was even swollen! The very next morning, I went to the doctor. He took one look at my neck and told me, “Your mother just diagnosed you.”” The doctor told Rabea that 95% of the time, swelling in the neck like that indicated cancer and that he had to take a biopsy right away.
 
Three days later, Rabea received a phone call from the doctor who told him “I’m afraid I have bad news…you have a type of cancer called Hodgkin lymphoma.”
 
Upon hearing his diagnosis, Rabea smiled. “I know that’s a strange reaction. But I was only 24 years old, I had so many dreams and no time for cancer! A lot of questions went through my mind. How was I going to tell my mother? Would I die? I’m a doctor, I should have known! I went back to my clinic and shut the door, trying to absorb the shock of it all.”
 
Once he got over his initial shock, Rabea acted quickly and decisively. He went to the King Hussein Cancer Center, where he found out that as a member of Cancer Care, he didn’t have to be put on a waiting list before starting treatment. The Cancer Care team also took care of all the paperwork and Rabea was able to start his treatment only three days after he was diagnosed.
 
“I started treatment right away and it was a lovely surprise to come back home and find my brother there, who had traveled from overseas. He convinced my father and all my friends to shave their heads in support of my first chemotherapy session. Funnily enough, I didn’t actually lose my hair from the chemotherapy!”
 
Cancer Care covered the costs of Rabea’s entire treatment, which lasted for six months. “During my treatment, I convinced everyone around me to enroll in Cancer Care, because I witnessed the pain of other patients who didn’t have coverage and had a massive financial burden as a result of high treatment costs. They also had to deal with complicated administrative procedures and paperwork. In contrast, I was able to focus on just getting better without having to worry about paying for my treatment, because Cancer Care already took care of that for me.”
 
“Thanks to God, and to Cancer Care, I am now cancer free and living a normal life. I’m a husband and father of two, and I’m extremely vigilant about making sure my entire family is enrolled in the Cancer Care Program because if it’s one thing I learned about my experience with cancer, it’s to never leave anything to chance.” 
 
This story was last updated in 2013