In Memory of Mohammad Telfah
Thank you to Batool, a caregiver to her late husband, for raising awareness and continuing to share Mohammad’s story. Mohammad was diagnosed at age 33 years old.
Words from his loving wife, Batool: “Mohammad is an amazing oncologist and researcher. He always took care of his patients and advocated for them. Being diagnosed with the cancer that he used to treat in his patients was very hard. Mohammad was able to be with us for one year after his diagnosis. He never lost hope. During his year of treatment, Mohammad was nominated as the best researcher fellow from his team. He was also able to submit and publish his research.”
Written by Mohammad in February 2020
“Hi all, I want to share my story. It is sad but very interesting so hang on with me.
First; I am an oncologist (to be more accurate, I am an oncologist to be in 6 months) as I am an oncology trainee. Luckily, God has another plan for me, I got to taste the same disease I fight every day with my patients. I was just diagnosed with gastric cancer with peritoneal metastasis last month! I can only say, thank you, God, and ready for the fight.
I am 33-year-old, married, and have two beautiful kids, my wife is pregnant and due in a month! Such a gift of God will come in the middle of the turmoil to give us hope!
My life has changed 180 degrees. I have been in medical training since 2004, and I was supposed to complete my training this June to go and practice what my passion is: oncology. I had already thought of my practice, patients, my family dreams come true, before the same disease I fight every day came to punch me in the face.
In a mid December night I suddenly developed severe abdominal pain, rushing to the hospital I was diagnosed with small bowel obstruction. No etiology was found after 2 weeks of running every possible test. Eventually, I was taken to surgery and they found bad adhesions and they had to take out two-thirds of my bowels out. Until now, I was devastated that they had to cut most of my bowels out and bearing the complications of having some short gut syndrome, but I thought that was it. It was not until new year’s eve when the pathology came back with adenocarcinoma with signet ring features invading my bowels. I have had thickened stomach for a while and had few stomach pains here and there, but never bad enough to think of cancer!!. I also had two stomach scopes prior without any significant abnormalities!
However, at this time, sure enough, we go for another scope and we do an endoscopic ultrasound and I got diagnosed with stomach cancer” Linitis plastica” type . A cancer that mainly happens in the elderly besides it is a super rare type of gastric cancer. Why it happened to me at this young age? God only knows! I have zero risk factors and no family history.
I am on FOLFOX now and will switch to FLOT soon with a plan for TG and HIPEC. How my body will tolerate gastrectomy and HIPEC when two-thirds of my bowels are already out is a challenge and also God only knows what will happen. But I will fight for my future, for my wife, young kids, and most importantly, for my patients.
I am determined to practice oncology which has been my dream for more than a decade. I am not sure if If this will ever happen given my advanced disease, but I will do my best to achieve my dream. I go with the advice that I always tell my patients every day : deal with the days as they come, don’t think too far in the future, fight for life every day, enjoy every moment you get, do your best with treatment, and everything else will be in God’s hands“