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The Story Of Lynn

"صرلي ١٩ سنة عم بسمعّكن. هلّق صار وقت إنتو تسمعو وأنا إحكي. صار وقت أنا إحكي وكل الناس تسمع!
صار وقت قول لكل الناس: ما تحكمو عالشخص من برّا، لازم تفوتو لجوّا لتشوفو الجوهر يلي عم يلّمع ويضوّي بكل واحد فينا. لازم تراعو مشاعر الغير لأنو ما بتعرفو عند الشخص التاني شو في. كلنا بشر وكلنا عنا جروح. بس جروح عن جروح بتفرق.
ما تحكمو!
ووقفوا تنمّر!

أنا لين. كل شي كنت بعرفو هو انو كان في علاج عم بخضعلو، وكنت زور المركز من وقت لوقت وإنو في عين إصطناعية عم غيّرها كل فترة ونضّفها كل يوم. بليلة راس السنة بستغلّ انو الكل ملتهي وبفتح الملف عن وضعي لأول مرة. كان عمري ٧ سنين. وكانت أول مرة بقرا

كلمة سرطان. برمت فيي الدني.
دخلت على المركز بالـ ٢٠٠٢ بعيد ميلادي السنتين.
كنت أول حالة سرطان عين بالمركز (Retinoblastoma)
خضعت لـ ٢٩ جلسة شعاعية على فترة سنة."

أم لين: "كنت شوف الورم بالعين المجردة. ما كان حدا يفهم عليي شو عم شوف. كانو يقولولي بسيطة، كل الولاد هيك. وصلت لمرحلة عينها تضوّي بالليل. كان عيد ميلادها السنتين. صورناها، بس ظهرنا الصور بيّن شي كتير واضح."

لين: "كانت العملية عملية استئصال دغري. كان الخطر كبير وكان ممكن ما إطلع من تحت العملية. السرعة يلي كِبِر فيا المرض كان شي ما بطمن."

أبو لين: "هون الشكر الخاص للفريق الطبي وفريق المركز. ناس مش طبيعيين. مأساة على وجع على شغل على أمل... كل ممرضة هي أم! كان في ممرضة اسمها كاتيا، كانت لين تسميها تاكيا".

لين: "مش مذكرة الوجع. كنت مبسوطة بال "نيو لوك" بلا شعر. كنت ضلّ بغرفة الألعاب (playroom) وما روح على غرفتي إلا لآخد العلاج. كان كل شي منيح.

بس كل الوجع يلي ما حسيت فيه أنا وصغيرة عوّضته على كَبَر. من سِن المراهقة لهلّق. وجع المشاعر. وجع من المجتمع. المجتمع يلي ما بيعرف شو صاير بالماضي. بس بيعرف أنا وين هلّق وبيحكم. المجتمع يلي ما بيقدّر.

الفاجعة كانت لما أول حكيم تجميل طلب صور لوجهي. اكتشفت إنو وجهي في ميلة منو نازلة نزول وإنو نفس الميلة ما بتتحرّك. بالمراية ما كانو يبيّنو متل بالصور. كانت أول مرة بشوف وجهي هيك. صرت صوّر حالي فيديو وأعمل تعابير بوجهي وإكتشف حالي شوي شوي: العين ما بتغمّض وبدا كتير للتحرّك. بسبب العلاج الشعاعي ميلة الشمال كلها ما بتنمى وتكبر متل باقي الوجه. بهالفترة شكوني ٢١٩٠ إبرة هورمون النمو على مدة ٦ سنين. كل إبرة مع وجعها الخاص. تعذبت كتير. ومع هيك العالم بتطلّع فيي بنظرة: هيدي شو بها؟!

هون بلّش التحدّي. تحدّي الكلّ. صرت إتحدّى حالي. وإتحدّى الوجع. وإتحدّى العالم والوجع يلّي عم يقدمولي ياه العالم لأقدر كفّي. لإنو إذا بيّنت إنو أنا ضعيفة بياكلوني. بياكلوني بحكياتن. صار في تنمّر. كل أنواع التنمّر. بالأول من الأصحاب بالمدرسة، بوقتها كان في حدا إشتكيلو. بس بالضّيعة المجتمع مجذوب للجهل. وهون أعلنت الحرب!

سمعت كتير كلمات متل:
- يا ماما ما تقرّب عليها بتصير متلها.
- انتبه بتعديك.
- ما بدي جوز إبني غير لوحدة حلوة.
- بتقشعي بعينك؟
- شدي حالك.
او مثلا بالسوبرماركت كان في مرا حامل، قالولها: ما تتطلعي فيا أحلى ما تتوحمي عليها.
كل يوم بسمع متل هيك حكي.

آخر قصة صارت معي بالباص. كان في محل حدي فاضي وفي بنات واقفين. قالتلن المعلمة قعدو حدها وتنايناتهن رفضو. بعدين قالتلها المعلمة لوحدة منهن: لكن قعدي بعيد وما تتطلعي فيا. حطّيت السماعات وسمعت موسيقى وكفيت حياتي عادي. هني بيعرفو إنو انا قويّة. بس ما بيعرفو شو بيصير فيي بس صير بغرفتي وحدي باللّيل.

السؤال مش غلط. طريقة السؤال فيها تكون غلط.
النظرة مش غلط. بس في طريقة بالنظرة غلط.

أنا لين.
اليوم عمري ٢٠ سنة وأنا راضية بحالي.
بس اليوم انا عندي صرخة:

السرطان بطّل إسمو هيداك المرض. إسمو سرطان.
هو مرض خبيث، أكيد. بس بلا دراما.
واجهوا السرطان بالوعي.
ووقفوا تنمّر!
مريض السرطان ما ضروري ينعزل ويتخبّى لأنو السرطان ما بيعدي.


صحيح السرطان عالم كتير كبير بس علّمني كتير. علّمني الإنسانية والمحبة ومراعاة المشاعر.
صار وقت قول لكل الناس انو أنا ما كنت عند حسن ظنن. ما كنت متل ما هني بدن. بس مش يعني ما رح إنجح. وما رح أوصل لكل شي بدي ياه. تعبت لأوصل. اليوم عم حقّق هدفي بعد سنين كتير. هدفي بتوعية الناس.
من جرحي أنتجت ٤٥ لوحة رسمتن بأيدي. وكتير كتابات.
كتير ناس بتنتقد شو بعمل، كتير ناس بتوافق. بدي كفى بكل الاحوال!

بالمستقبل بدي صير معلّمة.
رسالتي لتلاميذي هي انو الإنسانية والمحبة ما بتتعلم بالكتب.
بدي علمن يحترمو بعضن ويقدّرو بعضن ويفتّشو عن الأسباب قبل ما يحكمو ويكون عندن إنسانية عالية."

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شو عم نعمل ببعضنا!؟ شو عم نعمل بأطفالنا!؟
مش طبيعي إنو يكون الوجع من المجتمع أكبر من الوجع من السرطان. مش طبيعي إنو لين تكتب هول الكلمات: "رغم أن العلاج الكيميائي هجرني منذ مدة طويلة ومات معه الإحساس بالحريق، عاد الحريق الى روحي بسبب كلامهم المؤلم."
مش طبيعي إنو الطفل يتعرض لكل أنواع الحكي والتنمّر وهو بطل وأقوى منّا كلّنا.

مش عينها للين هي المش طبيعية. نظرة الناس مش طبيعية. لين، نحن منعتذر منك كمركز عن كل كلمة سمعتيها. منعتذر منك كلبنانيين عن كل نظرة تعرضتي الها. ومنعتذر منك كبشر لأنك لهلق لازم تعملي جهد أكبر منّا كلّنا لتكوني مقبولة بالمجتمع أو بوظيفة بينما الأبطال يلي متلك لازم يكونو بالصفوف الأمامية. لين، نحن منوعدك انو رح نكثّف حملات التوعية لأنو كل يلي عم تتعرضيلو هو نتيجة جهل. ومنحيي جهودك لتكوني راس حربه بالتوعية عن سرطان العين حتى لو بمجتمعك الصغير.
خلينا كلنا ندعم لين بتوعية أنفسنا بالأول وتوعية الناس بمحيطنا لنصير نتعامل بإنسانية أكتر. لين قويّة كفاية لتواجه وتحارب الكل مع انو في دمعة بعينها. بس يمكن في أطفال عندن نفس الحالة بس ما عندهن هالقوة.


لمعرفة المزيد عن مرض السرطان: www.cccl.org.lb
لدعم المركز: www.cccl.org.lb/RescueFund


“I have been listening to you for the past 19 years.
Now is the time you listen as I speak.
Now is the time I speak while everyone listens!
Now is the time I tell everyone to stop judging people for their appearance. You need to go deep to see the shining core we all have inside us.
You need to have empathy and appreciate the feelings of the other person because you know nothing about their lives. We all have scars, but not all scars are the same.
Do not judge!
Stop bullying!

I’m Lynn.
All I knew was that there was a treatment I was enduring, and that I was visiting CCCL from time to time and that I have an artificial eye (prosthesis) which I need to change every few years and clean every day. On New Year’s Eve, while my whole family was busy, I took advantage and sneaked to the cabinet, opened the drawer and read the medical files that explain my case. I was 7 years old, and it was the first time I read the word cancer. The room started spinning around and I lost all sensations.
I was admitted to CCCL in 2002, on my second birthday.
I was the first retinoblastoma case at the center and undertook 29 radiotherapy sessions in a year.”

Lynn’s mother: "I used to see the tumor with my naked eye. No one believed me when I told them what I saw. They said all children’s eyes are the same.
But, her eye shone at night. On her second birthday, we photographed the celebration, and when we printed the pictures, the tumor in her eye was very clear.”

Lynn: “The operation was an enucleation. There was a high risk and a possibility I don’t make it out of the surgery room. The rapid growth of the tumor was not a good sign.”
Lynn’s father: “Special thanks to the medical team and the center’s staff. Those people are supernatural. They live the tragedy mixed with pain and hope ... Every nurse was a mother to Lynn! There was a nurse named Katia, Lynn used to call her Takia."

Lynn: “I didn't feel any pain. I was delighted with my “new look” with no hair. I used to spend all my time in the playroom, and only go to my room to get the treatment. Everything was okay.

But all the pain I missed out on when I was a little girl, I made up for as a grownup. From the teenage years till now. Emotional pain. Social pains. Pains from a society that knows nothing of what happened to me in the past, but knows where I am now. A non-appreciative society.

Tragedy hit me was when the first plastic surgeon asked for pictures of my face. I discovered that one side of my face was deformed and does not move. It didn’t look as bad in the mirror. It was the first time I see my face from this point of view. I started filming my face while doing facial expressions and slowly discovered my face on video. My eye and eyelid were motionless. Because of the radiotherapy, the left side of my face did not grow like the rest of my face and body. During this period, I was injected with 2190 growth hormone injections over a period of 6 years. Each injection came with a special kind of pain. It was very painful. All this, and the world still looks at me with the look of: What’s wrong with her?!

And that’s when the challenge started. I challenged everyone.
I challenged myself. I challenged my pain. And I challenged the world and the pain it offered me. I hid my weakness, if they notice my weakness they will demolish me with their words.
I was bullied badly. All kinds of bullying. At first, by my school mates, but there was someone to go back to. But then the whole society bullied me. Our society is attracted to ignorance. So, I declared war!

Some of the phrases I heard were:
- Mama, do not come close to her, or you’ll become like her.
- Be aware, she is contagious.
- I want my son to marry a beautiful girl.
- Do you see with your eye?
- Man up.
Or, for example, once in a supermarket there was a pregnant woman shopping, people were telling her not to look in my direction or else her baby will be physically affected by the way I look.

Every day, I hear the same thing over and over again.

Recently, I was in a bus and there was a vacant seat next to me and two girls standing. The teacher instructed the girls to come sit next to me and both of them refused. So, the teacher told one of them: Fine. Sit far away and do not look at her face. I wore my headphones, listened to music, and went on with my life as usual.
They know I am strong. But I don't know what happens to me when I’m alone in my room at night.

Asking questions is not wrong. The way you ask might be wrong.
Staring is not wrong. Some looks are wrong.

I'm Lynn.
Today, I am 20 years old and I have accepted myself.
But, I have a statement:

Cancer is no longer an unnamed disease. It is called Cancer.
It is a malignant disease for sure. But let’s cut the drama.
Face cancer with awareness.
Stop the bullying!
Cancer patients do not need to be isolated because cancer is not contagious.

Cancer is a world on its own, but it taught me a lot. It taught me humanity, love and empathy.

Now is the time to tell the world that I may not have been the way they wanted me to be, but this does not mean I will not succeed and achieve everything I want. I have struggled to be here, and today I am achieving my goal to educate people and make the aware.
My wound motivated me to paint. I have 45 paintings, and many writings.
A lot of people criticize me for doing what I do, a lot of people agree. I will not stop anyway!

In the future, I want to become a teacher.
My message to my students will be that humanity and love are not taught in books.
I want them to respect each other, value each other, and search for the reasons before they judge. They should have a high level of humanity.”


********************

What are we doing to each other!? What are we doing to our children!?
It is not normal that the pain caused by society is greater than the pain from cancer.
It is not normal that Lynn writes the words: "Although chemotherapy abandoned me a long time ago and that burning feeling died with it, the burning returned. My soul is burning because of their painful words."
It is not normal that our children are subject to all kinds of harmful words and bullying, while they are heroes and are stronger than all of us.

It’s not Lynn’s eye that’s unnatural. People’s looks are.
Lynn, we apologize as a center for every word you heard. As Lebanese, we apologize for every look you have been exposed to. And we apologize to you as human beings because you do not need to make a greater effort than all of us to be accepted in society or a job. Heroes, like you, should be taking the front seats.
Lynn, we promise you that we will intensify our awareness campaigns, because what you have suffered from is the result of ignorance. We praise your efforts to be the spearhead of this war by raising awareness about retinoblastoma even if it is in your small community.

Let us all support Lynn by educating ourselves first, and educating the people around us in order to become more humane. Lynn is strong enough to face and fight everyone, although sometimes, she does that with teary eyes. But, some children who have the same medical condition, might not have the same strength.

To learn more about cancer: www.cccl.org.lb
To support the center: www.cccl.org.lb/RescueFund