Iranian sports journalist battling cancer defines family as true love

August 20, 2019

TEHRAN - Cancer seems to be the end of the road for many but not for the Iranian sports journalist Mehdi Shadmani, who says the disease has helped him discover the true love for his family, especially his wife.

Shadmani -meaning happiness in Persian- has been suffering from sarcoma, a rare bone cancer for five years; however, his wife Pantea and his children have stood by his side through the trying times.

On his disease, Mrs. Shadmani explained, “It started in 2014. His feet started to swell. It was diagnosed as deep vein thrombosis by doctors. After three years, Mehdi started chemotherapy and doctors said he would die after six months. But he is still alive and will be around much longer.”

“I have been growing up with Mehdi in the last five years. Mehdi believes his sickness helped him grow mentally as it did with us. I think stress caused his cancer. Mehdi was under pressure at his work and was suffering from sleep deprivation. I think journalism is one of the most difficult jobs in the world,” his beloved wife added.    

Mehdi was forced to have his leg cut off, but he didn’t consent to it. He has numbness in his hands and hasn’t been able to go to work since last year. And today, Mehdi is on wheelchair because of his spinal cord injuries. With all that said, he has not given up hopes, because the new condition has opened new doors for him: to find ‘the true meaning [of life].’

Commenting on his own health condition, Shadmani said, “My job was the bread and butter of the household, but at the moment I knew that money couldn’t save my life. I wanted to have a nice house and a nice car ever since I was a kid. I wanted my children to lead a good life, to reach my goals, but when I was diagnosed with the disease, I questioned myself about the source of happiness in my life, and I also asked myself whether I have made others happy?”

Back then, he knew nothing about sarcoma- a fast-growing cancer. He was doggedly determined to fight like a warrior and conquer the disease, but the disease has progressed in the recent years.

“I was working overtime to earn extra dough, and I honestly enjoyed my work, because I love journalism, but my body could not take it anymore. I worked in three newspapers, because I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket.”

“My daughter Ava was growing up fast, but I could not see her, because we needed the money and I had to work. Then, I asked myself at what price? I decided to reduce my working hours to spend more time with my family. When I was diagnosed with the disease, my son Arad was born. I cuddled him and watched cartoons with him. I talked to my little son and taught him the color wheel. It was so enjoyable for me and I told myself I was being deprived of  greatest wealth in life [family]. Afterward, I enjoyed the smell of rain and the heat of the Sun. I discovered everything around me were unbelievably beautiful,” Shadmani said.

“I am most thankful and full of praises to Almighty God for granting me this rare opportunity. I wanted to help people [through my job, journalism]. How can I say it? I enjoy my life, because God has taken notice of me. God takes care for me and fixes broken things in life. God has granted me this nice woman,” pointing to his wife with a soft smile.

Reporting by Masoud Hossein

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