SHABQADAR: It was a day in May of 2017 when Saeedullah an – a student from Mohmand district – went to take his intermediate examination. He was confident and well-prepared, but he was only halfway through his paper when he started experiencing excruciating pain in his head.
He somehow finished the paper but the headaches kept coming back from time to time. After a few checkups, Saeed was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
“Upon his diagnosis, we became really worried about his health, but my son was more concerned about his exams. He’s a dedicated student, who prioritises education over everything else,” his father, Jahanzeb Khan, the principal of a government school, told The Express Tribune.
Despite his ailment, Saeedullah has recently succeeded in qualifying the Educational Testing and Evaluation Agency (ETEA) exam for admission in a medical college in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P).
A total of 42,000 students appeared in the ETEA test to get into medical colleges, out of which Saeedullah was among the 18 per cent of students who successfully qualified the challenging entrance exam.
“When we initially took Saeed to the doctors, they suspected that it was migraine and prescribed him some tablets accordingly,” Jahanzeb Khan said.
“The medicine didn’t help and his health continued to deteriorate so much so that he was unable to go to the examination hall himself. I had to carry him myself so that he could take his Fsc exam.”
Jahanzeb explained that once his son was done with his intermediate exams, he took him to different physicians in Peshawar to diagnose the cause of his headaches.
“During one of his consultations, Saeed requested the doctor to conduct an MRI and a CT scan. Once the results were out, the doctor told us that Saeed had a tumour in his bran,” he said.
“It was very difficult for our family to stay in control of our emotional state but Allah gave us the courage to handle the situation and we decided to consult a private hospital in Islamabad, where Saeed underwent brain surgery.”
After the surgery and some chemotherapy sessions, Saeed started regaining his health. He also received the news that he passed his intermediate examination with distinction, however, he had to miss the ETEA exam in 2018 as he was still recovering from his surgery.
“During my recovery stage, I didn’t stress myself but still started preparing for the ETEA exam. This year, with the mercy of Allah and the prayers of my parents, I not only took the test but also qualified it with flying colours,” Saeedullah said.
“Now I have to consult with my physician every three months and I hope that I will recover soon.”
When asked about how he managed to prepare for such a tough exam while recovering from his surgery, Saeed said that it was his mission and while preparing for the test, he didn’t even think about the tumour.
“I strongly believe that if someone is determined to achieve something in life, they should only focus on the main goal and not think too much about the hurdles. That’s the secret to my success.”
Even though Saeed has successfully qualified the ETEA exam, he is still facing problems with seeking admission in a nearby medical college because he possesses a tribal domicile.
“I want to be admitted to the Khyber Medical University (KMU) which is situated in my vicinity but my domicile is making things difficult for me because of the reserved seats,” Saeed Ullah said. “I request PM Imran Khan, the chief minister and the governor of K-P to provide me with some relaxation and allow me to seek admission in KMU as I can’t travel long distances to study with my present health condition.”
Saeedullah added that he is immensely grateful to the doctor who treated his brain tumour and saved his life, which gives him all the more reason to work harder and become a doctor so that he could also save lives in future.
“I want to pursue medicine so that I can pay a tribute to the doctor who saved my life. I think there is no better way to say thank you to him,” Saeedullah concluded.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 2nd, 2019.