I got an unexpected mail from a fan and follower of my blog a few days back saying she loved my blog and the stories of women never ever giving up in life on it. Well, when I got to know who she is and the long painful story behind her huge success I got so impressed that I instantly asked her to share her own story on my blog. It’s my sheer pleasure that Raihana Remtulla the face behind Raihana’s Cuisines has shared her story on WonderfulWoman. Read her extremely motivating and uplifting story written by her and get inspired to accept life as it and feel blessed for all that you have!
It was a beautiful hot summer day. I remember the long line out the front door; we owned a Dairy Queen in the city. It was around this time I needed to rush to the restroom every 10 minutes. My stomach was cramping and I would leave the toilet bowl stained red with blood. I tried every over the counter drug, but my symptoms persisted. I finally went in for a colonoscopy and got diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. A disease that changed my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic autoimmune condition that causes ulcers to form along the lining of the large colon. I began taking the medication prescribed to me by my doctor and started to feel better, but a few months later the symptoms of the disease returned. I have then put on another medication, but the cycle continued. My body began to resist any medication I was given within a certain period of time. This vicious cycle continued for three long and daunting years. As the drugs got stronger, my immune system deteriorated. I had two kids, my son who was 8 and my daughter who was 5 years old. As a mom, I was so invested in the lives of my children and family that it didn’t occur to me how sick I truly was. It was a struggle to leave the house, as I had to be in close proximity to a restroom. Road trips and family outings were becoming near to impossible. I was physically and mentally exhausted at all times. My otherwise outgoing and energetic personality began to waver. I constantly questioned myself and doubted my abilities. I felt as though I was losing myself. However, just when I needed it, my life took a turn for the better and I was pregnant with my second daughter. She was born premature but has grown into a beautiful young lady. When she was 2 and a half years old, my health deteriorated. I began losing alarming amounts of blood in the restroom, which led to emergency hospitalization. Many tests were performed, and as I predicted my disease had progressed rapidly. I was then admitted to the Mayo Hospital. My doctor had found a deadly bacteria in my large colon. Rigorous treatment began weekly and surgery was scheduled a few months later for a total colectomy or removal of my large colon.
It was November of 2007, a week before Thanksgiving and we were preparing for surgery. I was following the Doctor’s orders, but wasn’t aware or informed about what exactly the surgery was going to entail. I now regret the questions I didn’t ask, but wonder why they were unanswered in the first place. Was I going to be able to eat again? What were the risks? Was my body going to return to normal? My surgery lasted 7 hours. I woke up to the sight of my 2-year-old daughter hiding behind her dad after seeing me again for the first time. The few days that followed consisted of a blood transfusion, being given multiple medications that I didn’t know the names to, and constant visits from the nurses. I was feeling good enough one morning to even order a bagel and cream cheese from the hospital cafeteria. Unfortunately, a few hours later, I was in excruciating pain. I had a colon obstruction, not that I knew what that was at the time. Because of this, the ability of my body to heal was delayed exponentially. I had no strength or will to move forward. I had never been in so much pain, it hurt all over. I had lost 50 pounds through this experience and my hospital stay lasted two weeks long. My mom and husband were my lifesavers. They not only looked after me but my children as well.
During my time back at home, I wasn’t myself and entered a deep depression. My mom had moved in with my family and me while my husband was left to handle the job of a single parent. I knew my family was suffering due to my illness but felt helpless. My mom would tend to my wound, as I didn’t have the mental and physical capacity to do so on my own. Three months had passed until I was due for my second surgery before I could go back to living a somewhat normal life. In the time during my recovery, I spent a lot of my time watching YouTube videos. Cooking was what brought me joy, and I missed it. Life still had its challenges, but in the midst of all I had been through, my husband wanted me to explore my passion. I began cooking again and in October of 2011, I uploaded my first YouTube video. That was the beginning of my second chance at this life. YouTube had saved my sanity. I have put so much effort into what I do, not only because it’s what I enjoy, but also because of the connections I have made along the way.
Throughout the years, I have been diagnosed with type two diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, brittle bone disease, as well as monthly visits to the emergency room for bowel obstructions. In the summer of 2016, Dr. Kevin Behm agreed to perform exploratory surgery on my small colon to remove the build-up of scar tissue that had developed from my previous surgeries. Thanks to Dr. Behm I have experienced no bowel obstructions in the last 4 years. Once again though, I was struck with another condition that made me very ill. I developed a lung condition called Bronchiectasis. The condition had impaired my ability to be functionally independent as I required constant supervision. The rigorous coughing caused by the disease had left me with broken ribs and a hiatal hernia. After much research, my husband and I had found something that worked for me, but I still have to stay indoors during the winter season. During the long winters, I stay home testing recipes, recording, editing, learning new techniques, and uploading videos to YouTube.
I have shared my many recipes online and thought it was finally time to share my recipe to life. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, am I right? That’s what I live by. We all have a story, and this is mine! My journey thus far has not been an easy one, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The support that I have received from my husband, parents, children, siblings and of course my subscribers is what has gotten me this far. My faith in God has allowed me to grow into the person I am today and I am thankful for the gift of life He has blessed me with. I live for today, for there might never be a tomorrow. To all those that see the grey cloud, remember it will pass, the sun will come out and if you wait long enough you might be able to see that beautiful rainbow. If I can make it, so can you.