In March 2008, I was returning to my hometown Muzaffarabad along with my family after attending a wedding ceremony in Rawalpindi. It was midnight, and the roads were deserted. A group of dacoits fired at our car while trying to stop us. A bullet entered my neck and stopped half way resulting in a spinal cord injury leaving me paralyzed neck downwards affecting all four limbs (Quadriplegia).
I was a 3rd year MBBS student at that time. All the medical and surgical treatments were provided that added little benefit to my condition. After realizing the implications of this serious condition, I decided not to let my physical limitations defeat me in achieving the goals that I had set for my life. I vividly remember the time when I tried to study my Pharmacology book while lying down in the hospital bed just a few days after my injury.
Life was not the same anymore & each day placed a new challenge before me, but I was determined to fight. I was discharged from hospital after about five weeks and was brought home when I couldn’t even hold my neck. I had no grip in my hands, so my mother became my full-time caretaker helping me with eating, bathing dressing, etc. I had lost my bladder & bowel control, so I started using catheter & diapers. It was a very hard time for me as well as for my family. Almighty gave us the courage, and with the help of my family & friends, I resumed my studies in the very unfeasible physical conditions. I couldn’t even sit straight when I joined my college in a reclined wheelchair. I couldn’t use my hands to hold or to open a book or to turn its pages, and my family and friends started assisting me with that.
Against all the odds, God started creating paths for me, and I completed my MBBS degree without wasting a single academic year, and I became Dr. Anam Najam. I then continued my post-graduate studies & completed my specialization in Psychiatry. Thus, I became the first Quadriplegic Psychiatrist from Pakistan. I move around in a motorized wheelchair, work in a hospital, write with the help of assisted devices though I need two persons to transfer me from bed to wheelchair, wheelchair to car and vice versa. I am writing it briefly here as no words can justifiably depict the whole journey.
I’m sharing my story with all of you to extend my message of hope… Stop waiting for a miracle and start striving! A hard battle is not an excuse to quit.”
– Dr. Anum Najam
Credits: Mera Muzaffarabad Facebook Page.