A DOCTOR who has dedicated his life to treating patients with blood cancer is returning to work after beating the disease himself.
Dr Salim Shafeek has worked at Worcestershire Royal Hospital for the last 17 years treating patients with different forms of blood cancer. But in a cruel twist of fate, he was diagnosed with Myeloma – a type of blood cancer – in January this year.
A scan at the hospital he works at revealed his diagnosis, after initially thinking he had a bad back.
“It started with some pain in my back, an innocuous symptom as is often the case with blood cancers, so when I received the diagnosis it was a shock,” said Dr Shafeek.
Four months of intense treatment followed for the blood cancer specialist, before undergoing a stem cell harvest and transplant over the summer.
Finally Dr Shafeek was given the news that he was in complete remission.
After taking time away from work to fight the cancer, Dr Shafeek is keen to return to the job he loves, now having experienced the symptoms and treatments he gives to his patients.
“It was a bit strange to have all of the symptoms and side effects of the treatments I have always prescribed,” he said.
“But I feel I will be better equipped than anyone to empathise with my patients having gone through it myself.”
The haematology consultant will re-join colleagues on Monday, with a changed outlook, not just on his job, but also his personal life.
“My perspective towards life has changed and I will spend more time with my family as well,” he said.
“I realised their role fully now, as having a supportive family made my journey and recovery process much much easier.”
After his diagnosis, his colleagues from Worcestershire Royal Hospital rallied around to raise more than £12,000 for blood cancer charity Cure Leukaemia.
His son, Faheez has also completed a 300 mile cycle from London to Paris to raise funds for Cure Leukaemia in support of his father.
The 23-year-old medical student hopes to follow in his father’s footsteps.