You hear fall sounds

On a Friday afternoon, February 3rd, I received a shocking phone call from my doctor. He informed me that my biopsy results had come back positive for cancer and suggested that I call the nurse on a particular number to arrange a visit with a surgeon.

Miserable Leila took over all my feeling. I was in a state of shock and confusion, desperately seeking more information and trying to set up an appointment with the surgeon as soon as possible. Always when Miserable Leila in charged, she turns on my other personality that is Leila Solver.

Leila Solver started to do something, despite repeated attempts, no one answered the phone number provided by the doctor. We went hospital to find someone have more information.

However, a nurse at the hospital who saw the stress in my eyes offered his assistance (being stressed and crying and at the same time seeking for help and solution is a cooperating of Miserable Leila and Leila Solver). With the help of the lovely nurse, we were able to schedule appointments with the surgeon for the following Wednesday, along with all the necessary MRI and CT scan.

In this journey all nurses come as Guardians.

It was Friday afternoon, I don’t know I did it right or wrong I immediately informed my close friends of the news, and they were all shocked and saddened. They shocked and cried, which I felt guilty now. I don’t want to make them sad. But that the final opinion of Leila Solver and Loda, they think, my friends get sad anyways, it is good idea to involved them as much as they know, it easier for them, I can ask them for help, this helps them to be part of my journey and we definitely have some moment of fun and laugh.

Anyways, Lventurous still have idea lets don’t miss any joy you can have, Of course Loda think Lventurous is right as help me to be prepared mentally and for next 6 months I don’t think I miss anything. I decided to proceed with my planned camping trip for the long weekend. I packed my bags and headed out, determined to enjoy every moment, and not let worries about the future ruin my present happiness, of course Thanks to Loda and Leila Solver and Lventurous to not allowed Miserable Leila took over all feelings, despite she needed sometimes. We set up the tent, it was a big one. The campground was beside the beach!! And all two nights I can hear waves!! I never did the surfing before; I was so much fun!! Lventurous was so happy!! I forgot most of time I have cancer!! I live the life like no issue exists.

Life is swimming in the pool of the present.

One must take off the dress.

Water is a step away.

 Of course, Miserable Leila reminded me that it is ok to be sad and cry. Crying helps me to sympathy with Miserable Leila and helps her to calm. I know no one appreciate their miserable side, or we don’t like it, we learned our adventures, solver, happiness side are much important that other personality, but our Miserable side are they and it matter to pay attention to them, it is no bad to go deep down and cry. There is a moment that Miserable Leila and Loda works to gather to create a meaning for my life, alongside all sadness and crying and going down to the darkness, I can find the meaning of life something that I could not find in the brightness and happiness. I like my Miserable Leila. I found, it is possible to have cancer and still enjoy the moment, who knows what happen, it is a mind game, we learn we need to be sorrow and sad if ourselves or someone around us get a un curable or terrifying sickness. I realized that I was much stronger than I had thought.

Try to keep calm!

As I close to surgeon appointment, Leila Solver realize that I need to take serious action now, even though I am unsure of how much of my tongue will be affected. Loda was the lead of my feeling, searching blog posts, looking for other surgeons in other countries, what will happen for speech and other side effects. She was busy with searching all internet.

However, after returning from my camping trip, I had a meeting with the surgeon, which was a difficult day I can say. He measured the ulcer on my tongue and explained the situation, but he needed to see the results of my MRI and CT scan before moving forward. It was a bit shocking when I found out that I might have to undergo a procedure where one-third of my tongue would be removed and a free flap from my wrist would be used. But it seemed like it was going to happen. All of Loda research epic on my mind, when the surgeon talked. I was so optimistic there is no need for partial glossectomy tongue reconstruction. But he mentioned it may need.

On the same day, I had my first-ever MRI and CT scan. I had heard that 40 is the age of change, but I never imagined it would be like this (I turned 40 in September). The CT scan went fine, although I’m always afraid of injections. There was a combat between Lventurous and Miserable Leila.  It was hard time for me, I just visit doctor in morning, he explained I need free flap surgery and now I am going to the first step of treatment, I cannot deny Miserable Leila, she was scared, after injection of CT scan and getting ready I started to cry, !! The process was not harmful but I mentally scared. The Guardian, CT scan technician, was kind enough to hold my hand, and calm me down. Yes, typical question come to mind, why me!! I have the answer for it from Loda, It is part of life!! Life is not supposed be always what we expected, darkness is part of life. That moment I tried to be strong and distract myself, I need help of Lventurous . Lventurous reminded me you never been in CT scan!! Lots of interesting and complicated machine that in a normal situation you could not experience it!! You already experience be in a business class, be in Heli, lots of rides in Universal studio and Orlando, but this is different!! There is a poem from a famous poet in Farsi as

I don’t know why they call

Horse, a noble being?

Pigeon, a pretty bird?

And why no vulture is

In anyone’s birdcage?

Why a clover

Is inferior to a red tulip flower?

Eyes must be rinsed.

Something else must be seen.

It was amazing machine; I can say MRI is so much boring compared to CT scan!! As it took long time, I wish they use a better music. I was feeling accomplished to do to surgeon visit, CT and MRI in one day.

Miserable Leila was worried about the choosing the right practise as small country and also tongue cancer is not one of top cancer in world, I was worried not that mush practise done in New Zealand, so Leila Solver, start to think of other options and talk to other doctors from family and friends. I search all database to get some information about the number of tongue cancer happen in NZ, which I could not find a reliable information.

 I still continued to work and doing fun thing as much as I can, from paddling, stay time with friends travel from overseas, visiting Hobbiton and to eat out, despite painful tongue.

Nearby fall

CT scan and MRI result come out and I got my appointment with Surgeon again!!! Now everything is much clear!! For sure, they need to remove the one third of tongue, including a margin to be safe side, also one my neck lymph node needs to be removed, No signs of cancer on my chest or neck!! Which was a good sign!! I have lots of stress about surgery, who does not, it a big surgery!!

Miserable Leila knows speech can be so tricky, mostly for me as social person. Losing weight fast, jaw problems and all problems I read from social media and people who go under this surgery. Other side Loda, already started to contact people with similar problem to check how they talk and eat. All were so good; I can hear them via phone very clearly. At this stage, I have two weeks to surgery and a good conversation with surgeons, I decided to stay here in New Zealand as I trust my surgeons and I have lots of supports here compare to Australia or USA.

The surgery date was set for 27th Feb. Damn on 6th march to 11th I and Reza run a global conference, Power BI summit, an online conference with over 5000 attendees and 130 speakers, it is a big project!! We need help!!! I started to work on it as much as I can!! Poor Reza, how he can manage it with my surgery!!

We have lovely friends in our Power BI community, and we have lovely colleagues!!! All lined up to help us!! That makes me feel better now!!

I started to talk to my friends, that I will face a new journey!! They are all sad by determined to help me, how lucky I was!!!I created a new group chat in Telegram and update them, I could not go alone in this Journey, I need their help!! I believe there is no harm to ask help when you needed, I will be beside them whenever they have any problem in life.

As much as they close to me to help them to be less sad and anxious, we laugh and talk, it helps to pass all moments.

From all reading I found I will lose weight a lot, so I took advantage to go to restaurant each night!! All different cousin, I could not eat hot or so hard food as my ulcer was painful, but I tried pizza , lasagne, and many things!!!

Also, I went to all my favourite farmers markets and day trips!!! Who knows I can eat bread and cheese again in next 6 months!! I drink a bit more with friends, it was hard with ulcer on tongue to drink but I try to feel more relax and satisfy, so in next six month (maybe more) I don’t miss anything. I start to share what my surgeon teams told to me about surgery to friends.

I know the first step is surgery, they going to cut the one third of my tongue, hopefully not the top of the tongue as it most responsible for speaking. The process is to replace it with a free flap from my wrist, left hand, they going to cut muscles and blood veins. It will take a while to heal, also they going to get a graft from my leg skin to cover the wrist.

I need to stay in hospital for 12 days and I probably not able to speak for a while, and also eating can be hard. I also need a feeding tube for a while. I read that some people get depressed as they could not eat normal or talk normal. Also, I know there would be lymphedema that cause some swelling in neck.

I was not worry about the scare on neck or hand, this is the natural tattoo I will have talking about my fight  with cancer like a chevalier.

I talked about all with friends and Reza.

Cancer Challange

“We accept challenges like learning new skills to make ourselves more robust and flourish, but there are some challenges that we do not apply for.”

Calm River

Life can become a monotonous cycle of waking up, working, and constantly thinking about the future. In doing so, we often forget to cherish the value of each passing moment. Instead of focusing on the present, we worry about what we don’t have and overlook the beauty of the little things in life – such as enjoying a good meal, laughing with friends, going shopping, dancing, taking a leisurely walk with your dog, or brainstorming ideas for a new idea.

Despite having accomplished many goals in life and done all things – immigrating to a new country, doing research and Ph.D., publishing papers, lecturing at universities, launching a successful company, traveling around the world for work and public speaking, organizing conferences and events, writing many blogs and books, and creating YouTube videos.

Besides that, I enjoy traveling to most countries, doing most of the activities I like to do in my life, parties, friends, being in a good financial situation, and doing lots of community activities- I still feel inadequate.

We often learn to devalue ourselves despite our accomplishments, and I am no exception. I was lost; I was seeking meaning in life. Something will teach me to look differently or choose another path in life. It is essential to take a step back and appreciate life.

Bite the tongue

 Have you ever accidentally bitten your tongue while eating or speaking? It’s common and often happens when we’re stressed or eating too quickly. We had an expression in Farsi when someone said something bad or inappropriate “Bite your tongue.” I did not say something bad.

I have accidentally bitten my tongue a few times but never thought much of it.

However, I accidentally bit my tongue once, and the ulcer stayed unusually long – even after three weeks. I decided to see a doctor, who suggested doing a biopsy. This shocked me, as I never expected something as serious as a tongue biopsy. It was close to the Christmas holidays, and I had to take a break to process this unexpected news. I was also fearful about who would perform the biopsy.

Finally, on January 26th, I mustered up the courage to undergo the biopsy performed by a Head and neck specialist. Although it looked gross and felt uncomfortable, I was proud of myself for doing it. However, I became increasingly worried as I started researching tongue cancer online. While it is typically more common in older individuals who smoke or drink heavily, I couldn’t shake the feeling that something more serious was happening. No cancer in the family!! I am quite young, drink one glass per week, and do not like smoking.

Despite trying to maintain a positive outlook and enjoy each moment of life, my mind still grappled with the possibility of a more serious condition.

Back and forth to black and white

I made a conscious effort to strengthen my mental fortitude and maintain focus. I had a different voice in my head when I heard this news.

Inside me, there was a naughty child; look at this as a new adventure!!! I call it now Leila Adventurous (Lventurous).

Another voice in my head is so spiritual, and I tried to adopt a more positive outlook and get some lessons and feeling from what is happening. I call it Loda (Leila Yoda).

Of course, I had a sad voice or personality in my head that sometimes crept up on me. There were moments when I sat at my desk and cried, wondering what was happening to me. That sad person was responsible for all crying. I call it Miserable Leila.

I love all three of them; all are lovely, Leila Venturous, Loda, and Miserable Leila.

In the first step, Lventurous suggested I be involved in many trips and engage in learning and sharing activities. She thinks, let’s enjoy what you miss, or you will miss; Holy Leila liked the idea as she believed that appreciating the beauty of life and the people around me can help me a lot. Life now challenged me to confront the unwanted and embrace the changes that came with it. As a result, I found that life events and people seemed much more lovely than before

How life is as Being a second language speaker and blogger

I am Leila from beautiful Auckland, living here for seven years almost before that I was living and working in Iran. I was a BI developer and University lecturer for almost seven years before coming to New Zealand. I came to New Zealand to do a PhD in Information system at the University of Auckland. My PhD finish on 16 but my speaking and writing did not finish by that time, and till now it continues.

My first speaking experience in New Zealand back to 2014 in Auckland Code camp run that time by Microsoft Communities like Steve Knutson, Dave Dustin and others. As I used to teach for many years in universities, I do not scare of public speaking, but at the same time, I was not confident as I was not a native English speaker. So, What should I do, that time I start my presentation always with just introduced myself and then topic and then it was easy as I have practised my talk several times at home, I know what sentence and words I need to say. Also, as my session was technical, lots of demos involved and that help me to a better present.

 But always two things scare me, being non-native English speaker, many people had difficulties in understanding my ascent sometimes, and I am not able to create a fun session because I am not that good in English to have a fun session.

For the first problem, I start to listen to the more audiobooks, attend many social events that force me to talk to other people so I can improve my listening and speaking skills. Also, I learn to slow down my speed of talking in sessions, that help me to minimise the risk of being stressful, and everyone able to understand me better. I practice demos couple of times before session, event 1 hour to session still I check my demos to be sure it is working.  

For the second one, I start to create fun slides, some nice GIF, pictures, that were relevant to my session or my life and that makes the presentation more fun. Also, I learn to communicate with people before my session, ask them about which technologies they are using, talking about other relevant topics, if I can find some familiar faces in the audience or some people who interested to talk, I take the chance to talk to them. Later, I started to create some Fun demo, like involving some demo related to my Fitbit activities, or for image processing, I show my dog and so forth. Nowadays, I have more confidence to talk and make fun, I got great feedback despite being a not-native elnglish speaker, every day I received a message from my attendees that my talk was an inspiration for them in their work, in some sessions I have more than 600 attendees.

These days I am speaking in other non-english language countries as an English speaker, in Italy, south kore and ao forth.

My goal is to present full technical and at the same time fun session like a comedian. So, when people leave my session, they learn, and they laugh.

As a second language speaker, writing is much more difficult for me. I always struggle with Grammar and typo in my blogs and books. Likely, our field is involved with lots of technical words and concepts, so this makes life easier for me. My approach till now was using some grammar checker tools like Grammarly, try to read my sentence couple of times, and to create documents, blogs and books with less writing and putting more pictures.

These days I have Three books on Microsoft AI and more than 20000 people already download them around the world.

Despite my writing has some typo and grammatical error, many people inspired by the content of them and start their journey in this field, which makes me happy to see I become an inspiration for many people around the world. some of my blog posts have more than 10000 views

So being a non-native English speaker and having moderate language skills did not stop me to share the content and knowledge and many people with different languages able to read and learn from my materials