It is impossible to meet Sami without immediately noticing his radiant smile, a smile that gives no indication of the hardship that he has endured. Numerous surgeries and medical treatments over a span of ten years may have left their mark on his body, but his spirit is stronger than ever.
In 2000, Sami began to feel pain in his lower abdomen. Eventually, his recommended that Sami undergo an MRI, a colonoscopy and a biopsy where it was discovered that there were some lumps in his bladder.
When Sami went to pick up his test results, the employee, not knowing he was talking to the actual patient, told Sami “Oh that patient has cancer, his relatives picked up his results earlier.” This casual remark was how Sami found out he had cancer.
“When I heard the result, my only reaction was to say ‘Al hamdulillah’ (praise to God), and I went on with my life.”
News of Sami’s diagnosis spread among his family. One of Sami’s brothers who lived abroad tried to convince him to seek treatment in another country, but Sami chose to stay in Jordan to receive treatment at the King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC). He had heard of the comprehensive treatment offered at KHCC to cancer patients, on par with the top cancer centers in the world, and he was confident that there he would receive the top quality care he needed.
Upon starting treatment, Sami underwent several complicated surgeries. One of the surgeries included a partial removal of his bladder, and the doctors had to create a permanent opening in Sami’s body so that urine can be effectively excreted from his body through a plastic bag attached to his body.
A year and a half after the first surgery, Sami had to have his kidney removed and a year after that he had to have his gallbladder removed. After the surgeries, Sami had to have chemotherapy, an option he had initially refused. His weight decreased dramatically - from 85 kg to 45 kg and everyone thought it was the end. However, Sami’s faith and strength proved that it was only the beginning to a new life full of giving.
“I used to see many patients who were scared and angry and did not have hope in treatment. I sat with them to motivate them and give them strength. Whenever a patient looked at me like they were unconvinced by my words, I used to show them the scars from my surgeries and the external catheter bag which had become part of my daily life. It was effective in sending them the message “I have suffered, but I have not given up.”
Eventually the patients and even the doctors and KHCC medical team started to call Sami whenever they needed someone to raise the patients’ morale or help with teaching a patient how to use catheter bags. Sami jokingly said to the doctors at one point “At the rate I’m going, I should be getting a commission for every patient!”
His appetite for life and his refusal to let his illness incapacitate him are all proof of Sami’s strength and spirit. With his inspiring attitude, Sami has shown that cancer can be beaten. “Of course, there were times when I felt sadness and fear. But I decided to leave my worries in the hands of God and to just live my life fully by giving back as much as I can.”
Sami’s inner strength, shines through his radiant smile, a smile full of love and giving. He has never refused a request for help, as he knows that a simple act of giving is an act of kindness that knows no boundaries.
This story was last updated in 2012