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Parenting After Brain Injury Part 2

20 Dec

Today marks my 2 month walkiversary and it feels good to have my independence back. I’m so grateful to be home with my family and most importantly my daughter. My family are the most amazing support network anyone could ask for. They understand when I can and can’t do something, when I feel tired, my feelings and emotions, although they don’t fully understand it’s great that they know to just let me be me and whatever is going down is a part of who I am. A lot  more has happened in my life than I’m letting on and I have shared various details with very close friends or trustworthy people who I know won’t let me down. I’m a member of various stroke survivor websites and groups online. I often find some people giving up, swearing, having enough and sometimes wishing the stroke finished them off. I understand it, I really do although not once, alhamdulillaah (praise be to God), have I ever had that thought. In fact I shared a little more on a group today and this was a part of what I said in response to someone feeling sorry for me:

I couldn’t be happier with my life right now. Yes it’s hard but it’s been such an incredible experience and I wouldn’t swap it for anything else. I’m in early days compared to most people here. Stroke was August 1st. Was in rehab for 3 months. Been home almost 2 weeks and trying to be a mum to my now 19/20 month old baby girl. I haven’t been happier in life i don’t think. God bless me and my family 

I honestly don’t regret any of what I’ve been through in the last four to five months. Obviously we can’t regret a stroke because it’s not like we have control over it and it wasn’t a choice, especially in my case where I was born with something that has changed mine and my family’s life, probably for forever. As incredible as the journey has been, I don’t wish this hardship on anyone else. I’m in contact with some patients from rehab, some have been discharged and others are still on the unit, one in particular was messaging at 4am because of insomnia due to pain and I was awake because I was reluctantly co-sleeping with my toddler which basically meant her head was actually on my head for part of the night and I had to keep changing sides because she was all over the place. Anyway, I thought it’d be nice to share how I felt about my position in life right now. I could have been a lot worse than I am so I am grateful for that and so much more. If you think your life is bad, take a look at someone whose life is currently a little worse or harder than yours and be grateful. Your challenges in life could have been worse.

Speaking of challenges; my daughter. This post is after all, about parenting. I mentioned the first time my daughter saw me. The very moment and how I felt. My family could see that seeing my daughter made me happy although noone knew the pain I was feeling. It was a bittersweet. The most bittersweet feeling a person could ever have. I loved her and loved seeing her, in fact, I loved everything about her. All her “perfect imperfections”. If you’ve ever stayed in hospital for three or more days you’ll quickly discover magic fm is the favoured radio channel amongst most, if not, all hospital and ambulance staff. That song played whilst my daughter was visiting and thinking back to that moment, those words kinda fit. Seeing her was so sweet but the pain was what was bitter. After every physio session and after every false alarm to the toilet, I’d get back into bed and I’d be at an angle. I’d have to shuffle so I  was straight and more often than not I’d have to try to slide myself up the bed using my limbs which didn’t work properly at the time. Sometimes I’d just quit and be like ‘you guys are on your own right now, you shift me’.

My daughter came to visit me one time and I mimed round and round the garden like a teddy bear on her whilst my other sister said the words, hoping it would remind her of the relationship we once had. She wasn’t having any of it so I stopped and told my sister that was enough. They hung around for a few hours and as usual that was great. My daughter was very well behaved on most days and  the nurses absolutely adored her.

Pretty soon, I was told I was getting a wheelchair. I imagined a regular wheelchair but this one was a little funkier, comfy and had a neck and head support like Professor Stephan Hawkins’ one minus all his other gadgets. They started me off slowly. I had to sit in the chair (I make it sound so sinister) for an hour a day. ‘Easy’, I thought. The first day I did almost two hours and then the nurses made sure it was just an hour after that but pretty soon it was getting exhausting.  It wasn’t a matter of just sitting in a chair and that was it. I had to concentrate and put effort into sitting up. I’d have to actively think and try to engage the muscles in my core and force myself to sit straight. I couldn’t slump or relax, I had to pay attention to my posture and position. The moment I stopped concentrating, I would flop to the left but this never happened, I’m pleased to say. Unless I was demonstrating it to my family.

So how was I able to get from bed to chair I hear you ask. It was an amazing piece of equipment called a rotastand. Okay, it’s not that amazing and I only ever used it when I was in the Royal London hospital, but me and that thing were close! I truly believe having to lift myself on it engaged my core which helped strengthen my muscles and made sitting easier. Particularly on the day when I  had nine trips to the toilet and six of those were false alarms. Woohoo for the three that weren’t! I also had an Occupational Therapist who gave me my first test and established I only had to work on my higher level thinking so I made that hour in my chair fly by whilst doing sudokus, wordsearches and crosswords. I quite like crosswords now and the metro puzzle page was my best friend on weekday mornings at breakfast in rehab.

When my daughter first saw me sat in a chair she was less anxious around me, she was taking her healthy baby snacks from me and talking a little. She seemed less frightened of me. I was in awe of her when she was walking. I was, and am, so grateful. Occasionally, I’d cry tears of joy, thanking God that my child was okay. She was and still is, my most prized possession. I was so happy when I saw her each day. The pain was always there but my heart was filled with an abundance of joy and gratitude. I had to be patient, very patient. This was a long road (even longer than I initially thought). It was as if seeing me sat in a chair was one step closer to ‘normal’. My family were amazing at making me feel normal and really made me feel so proud of myself for being able to sit. They too, were very proud of me and happy because I could have died several times, I could have been paralysed but Thank God for His endless mercy, He made me able to progress, kept me safe and in good health. My memory was intact as was my intelligence, ability to understand and more.

There was one day where I felt nasty… you have bed baths and sadly that doesn’t include washing the hair. I asked when I could wash my hair. Turns out the nurses had to check with my doctors because the stitches, or rather, staples from my craniotomy were still in my head and that’s my biggest scar. First we had to establish if they could be removed and then when I could have my hair washed. Taking the staples out was painful and the sound was disgusting. I remember thinking surely being stapled couldn’t have hurt that much because I don’t remember that pain but cutting them out with clippers was loud painful and it was grazing my head. A while in I told the nurse to stop, she just finished throwing everything  away and told me she was nearly finished when I bucked up the courage to endure the pain. As soon as she was done clearing up I told her she could carry on. What can I say, I’ve always had terrible timing, ha.

One day, towards the end of my stay there, one nurse insisted on giving me an actual shower, up until now I had been told I was allowed to because of my trachiostomy, the tube and being hooked up to oxygen. This lovely nurse said she’d put a towel around my neck and my first shower in five weeks felt like the ultimate spa treatment. I felt amazing, I felt so clean and refreshed. That first shower was just days after Eid and I was slightly gutted I wasn’t squeaky clean in time for Eid and also gutted i missed Eid prayer in the park. Anyway, everytime I transferred from the bed to my chair it took one or two nurses, a whole bunch of unhooking and hooking me back up once I was settled into the chair. I even had to make sure my external bladder was with me at all times. I’ll never forget the day my physiotherapist hooked it onto his pocket and was so casual about it. He hooked a pee bag to his trousers. Gross. Even if it was mine. Still gross. But they’re used to it I suppose.

I remember being so proud of myself for getting out of bed. That rotastand was my best friend. It’s so sad. I saw a rotastand in rehab about a month or two after getting there, is it sad that I got excited?!

Everyday after seeing my daughter in the Royal London was progress for me. Seeing her motivated me and it gave me something to work towards. My recovery was getting faster, I was constantly laughing, joking and sometimes, up to no good.

I had always wanted to homeschool my daughter, being a teacher made me quite snobbish about schools and I frowned upon them. I didn’t know how long I’d be in that state, I didn’t know if If’d ever be remotely like my old self, i didn’t know if I could teach again. So I made plan, I told myself if I have no choice then I’ll put my daughter into school, reluctantly. She wasn’t attending playschool or toddler sessions yet, I was just looking into them before my stroke. I had to wait until she was a little more sociable and comfortable playing in the park because for me, that was a good indicator for how she’d be interacting when it comes to other children.

I wrote a note to my family telling them to enquire about a preschool near us that I mostly approved of. My family initially though I didn’t know my daughter’s age but I explained there was a waiting list and I need to apply just in case I wasn’t able to do what I planned. My daughter’s happiness was everything to me. Seeing my parents happy and grateful I was alive was everything to me. My dad is one of those soft and quiet guys, he is rather panicky if anything happened to his loved ones, especially his children and I’m the youngest in my family. I remember being very concerned about my dad and how he was feeling. I made sure he was always happy, smiling and okay. At the time he was in charge of looking after my daughter whilst I was in hospital since I was with my family when it all happened. I wrote a note for him on one occasion, “Always be happy and always smile for (daughter)”, it read. I folded it and stuck it in his pocket. No matter what happened to me I wanted to make sure my daughter was surrounded by love, laughter and happiness. This particular event happened before I found out my dad did CPR on me and was the first person to actually save my life, by God’s Will, of course.

As mentioned in my previous post, despite being through the worst of it all and surviving, my coughing would cause such bad headaches and being suctioned numerous times a day would cause so much pain I would turn beetroot red and felt like I might die on two particular occasions.

My family had continuously told m how brave and strong I was to endure what I had. Sever times my family wouldn’t complain of their pains or ailments because it was no comparison to what I had endured. Now though I can say this. My family were grieving, for the first three weeks of me being in hospital they were the strong ones, they had to be brave, my dad got so choked up about it he didn’t really talk to others for a good week or so. One of my sisters was ready to prepare for my funeral, another one was ready to raise my child the way I would have wanted. My family consistently showed patience and perseverance during that time. They had each other and their belief and faith in God. They prayed so hard and a close and strong family became even closer and even stronger. During that time I was just me. I did nothing. In fact, I pretty much slept through the whole thing so I didn’t have to be strong or brave, everything was being done to me without my knowledge so I just lay down and chilled. The time when I had to be strong, in my opinion is when I went to rehab from September 13th onward. That’s when I was grieving, not that I had lost anything but I had to come to terms with what had happened to me and how to go about getting through the next stage and not giving up. Truly, God is great, if I didn’t have my baby girl, I don’t know if I’d have been as motivated or determined as I was.

I now know and say, my daughter is my kryptonite. She is my one true weakness. She can break me. Yet she also has the ability to build me up again… Kids are great. They are a blessing and a gift from The Almighty ❤

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Remedies from the Sunnah Part 2

15 Dec

It’s finally here!! I do apologise from the bottom of my gluten free heart. I have been busy lately and also struggling with food.

So… Health and the Sunnah!

Ibn Qayyim said: After guidance the next blessing is our health.

We need to fulfil our duty with our health and being healthy is from the Sunnah.

We learn that for every disease there is a cure:

“…There is no disease that Allah has created, except that He also has created its remedy.” Bukhaari 7,582.

Thus, there is no such thing as an incurable disease (except old age).

We learn that eating healthily is from the Sunnah:

Four Aayaat relating to this in the Qur’aan:

  1. “O mankind, eat which is halaal and tayyib …” (Al-Baqarah, 2:168)Ibn kathir explains this as meaning that which doesn’t harm the body or harm your mind.
  2. “Eat from what Allah has provided you as halaal and tayyib, and fear Allah in whom you believe.” (Al-Maa’idah, 5:88)
  3. “So, eat of the spoils you have got, halaal and tayyib, and fear Allah. Surely, Allah is Most-Forgiving, Very-Merciful.” (Al-Anfaal, 8:69)
  4. “Eat from the good things (tayyibaat) We have provided to you, and do not exceed the limits in it, lest My wrath should descend on you…” (Taa-Haa, 20:81)

So now we have the commands how can we do this? Let’s take a look…

Importance of Breastfeeding:

There ate three Ayaat in the Qur’aan relating to this:

  1. “Mothers (should) suckle their children for two full years, for one who wants to complete the (period of) suckling…” (Al-Baqarah, 2:233)
  2. “We commanded man (to be good) in respect of his parents. His mother carried him (in her womb) despite weakness upon weakness, and his weaning is in two years…” (Luqmaan, 31:14)
  3. “…His mother carried him with difficulty and delivered him with difficulty. And his carrying and his weaning is (in) thirty months*, …” (Fussilat, 41:15)

*here 30 months includes the minimum period of pregnancy, that is 6 months and the maximum period for suckling a child, that is 2 years. So 6 months plus 24 months is the full two years.

As we all know that breastfeeding an infant increases intelligence, immunity, decreases risks of diabetes, obesity, risks of infections, asthma, allergies etc.

However, what the World Health Organisations (WHO) and other similar organisations don’t tell you is that if you don’t breast feed your baby you are putting them at risk of exposing them to the above diseases. For instance not breastfeeding your baby and switching to bottle feeding increases the risk of diabetes and obesity. This message, when put this way is more alarming. (As a side note, have you seen how many formula milks contain soya amongst other rubbish? I had a look out of curiosity!)

Wean your child correctly:

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah said: “A child should be given only milk until their teeth appear, because their stomachs are weak and unable to digest food. When the baby’s teeth appear, his stomach has grown strong and is able to be nourish by food. Food should be introduced gradually.” Book: Tuhfat al-Mawdood bi Ahkaam al-Mawlood. 16th chapter.

Do not force feed them into eating when they are not ready. Instead wait another week and try again until they are interested in food.

With that I shall conclude and inshaaAllaah the next part which you won’t have to wait long for I hope, we will look at fasting and praying and the benefits of each briefly.

Six Occasions when du’aa is accepted

18 Jul
Taken from the audio “Six occasions when du’aa is accepted” by Abu Khadeejah Abdul Waahid. These are notes created from the audio which can be downloaded here.

Du’aa is an act of worship and you must fulfil 3 conditions:
1. That you have Tawheed and eemaan (Believing in Allaah and worshipping nothing but Him)
2. You are sincere in your act of worship
3. Your act of worship is in accordance to the sunnah

6 individuals whose du’aa is not accepted:

1) One whose earning are haraam.

This can be through dealing with interest, stealing, oppressing others and deception and the purchasing and selling of haraam food/drink such as pork, alcohol etc.
It even includes breaking a contract. For example, taking on a new job and saying you will stick to the contract but then later you go against the contract and still take the money from the job.

Abu Huraira (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported Allaah’s Messenger sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam as saying: O people, Allaah is Good and He therefore, accepts only that which is good. And Allaah commanded the believers as He commanded the Messengers by saying:

“O (you) Messengers! Eat of the Taiyibaat [all kinds of Halaal (legal) foods which Allâh has made legal (meat of slaughtered eatable animals, milk products, fats, vegetables, fruits, etc.], and do righteous deeds. Verily! I am Well-Acquainted with what you do. (Al-Mu’minun 23:51)

And He said:
“O you who believe (in the Oneness of Allaah – Islaamic Monotheism)! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with, and be grateful to Allâh, if it is indeed He Whom you worship. (Al-Baqarah 2:172)

He then made a mention of a person who travels widely, his hair dishevelled and covered with dust. He lifts his hand towards the sky (and thus makes the supplication): “O Lord, O Lord,” whereas his diet is unlawful, his drink is unlawful, and his clothes are unlawful and his nourishment is unlawful. How can then his supplication be accepted?

Saheeh Muslim, The Book of Obligatory Alms, No. 2214

It’s important at this stage to look at what you earn your money from and find out if it is halaal or not. Does it involve fitnah, dealing with the aforementioned things, does it promote evil things or encourage them, are you accepting and allowing something which breaks the laws of Islaam etc? (This is advice to myself first)

2) The one who asks Allaah for something haraam.

For example, asking Allaah to make sinning easy for you such as making it easy for you to steal something, or asking Allaah to make it easy for you to start slandering someone, perhaps by looking for a fault in someone and then using this fault to create a lie against them.

3) The one who abandons enjoining the good and forbidding the evil.

This is an obligation upon all Muslims, to encourage good and forbid evil.
The Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam said: “Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hand; if he is unable to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is unable to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest form of Faith”.
(Muslim)

Hudhaifah (May Allah bepleased with him) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said, “By Him in Whose Hand my life is, you either enjoin good and forbid evil, or Allah will certainly soon send His punishment to you. Then you will make supplication and it will not be accepted”.
(At-Tirmidhi)

4) The one who implements exaggeration.

For example, one who creates acts of bid’ah in their du’aa such as screaming, wailing and shouting so they can be heard by other. Or do not be from those people who take part in congregational du’aas as this goes against the Sunnah. Note that this is in reference to those groups of people who sit and make dhikr in unison.

Allaah says in the Qur’aan:
Invoke your Lord with humility and in secret. He likes not the aggressors.
(Al-A’raf 7:55)

Also, don’t call upon anything or anyone other than Allaah for it is Shirk! And Shirk will invalidate your du’aa.

5) The one who is heedless in his du’aa or inattentive.

Under this category we have the people who turn away from the Deen (Islaam) and neglect the obligatory actions that Allaah has commanded us to do such as praying. Thus a person is disobedient to Allaah. Yet this person who does not thank Allaah in times of ease yet when he is going through hardship he will happily cry out to his Lord seeking His help.

Abu Hurairah reported that the Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam said:
“Whoever is pleased that Allaah answers him in times of hardship and grief then he should supplicate to Allaah plentifully in times of ease.” (At-Tirmidhi)

“Remember Allaah during times of ease and He will remember you during times of difficulty” (At-Tirmidhi)

When we supplicate to Allaah there is no waiting list or queue, Allaah hears our du’aas and it is a direct link between us and our Lord. We shouldn’t ask “How will I know if Allaah will listen?” because this is from the people who show inattentiveness.

6) The one who contradicts the sharee’ah rulings.

Under this category are three types of people:
i) the one who remains silent about his evil wife and refuses to divorce her
ii) the one who lends money to somoene without witnesses
iii) the one who gives money to a foolish person

(Recorded by Al-Haakim and Imaam Dhahaabi authenticates it)

Furthermore, Allaah says:
And give not unto the foolish your property which Allaah has made a means of support for you, but feed and clothe them therewith, and speak to them words of kindness and justice. (An-Nisa 4:5)

So, before we seek to call upon and ask Allaah for favours and if we wonder why our du’aas are not being answered we must look towards ourselves and we need to make sure that we do not fall into any of these six categories. And Allaah knows best.

Finally, from some of the etiquettes for making du’aa, one should seize the opportunity of time, situation and circumstance in which prayers are answered or more likely to be answered:

1. Between adhaan and iqaamah
2. At the time of rainfall (or the person who is in the rain)
3. During the last third of the night
4. An hour on Jumu’ah – the last hour after ‘Asr
5. Whilst travelling
– father aginast his son
– traveller
– the one who is oppressed
6. Night of Decree – Laylatul Qadr

Therefore, if a person avoids falling into the first six categories and they make du’aa during the times where the du’aa is more likely to be accepted then there is more of a chance of their du’aa to be accepted.
May Allaah keep us firm upon the Qur’aan and Sunnah, grant us sincerity in all our (good) actions and protect us from any bid’ah (innovations in the religion) aameen

Remedies from the Sunnah Part 1

15 Jul

Bismillaahi walhamdullillaah Wassalaatu Wassalaamu ‘Alaa Rasoolillaahi, Ammaa Ba’d:

Yesterday I attended a workshop run by our beloved sister Umm Sara who runs the website Health means Wealth. The workshop consisted of cures for diseases as mentioned in the Qur’aan and Sunnah as well as scientific research and evidence from many health experts around the world and authors of numerous books. We touched upon ways to detox the body, in fact this took up quite a large part of the workshop from what I can recall, and the essentials needed for life. We also learnt about personal hygiene (for women) and children. In this post I aim to write up all my notes and share with you all the benefits the attendees took from this workshop. There is a lot to mention and some things like detoxes may require their own posts. Over the next week or so everything should be blogged and there will of course be several parts detailing this workshop. May Allaah bless it, all those who were responsible in making it possible, the attendees and those who will benefit from the notes.

We began the workshop by renewing our intentions. It is important to have the correct intention with anything we do. Likewise, we should have the correct intention when we seek to improve our health. For example, we should have the intention to have good health in order to improve our acts of worship.

When we carry out actions we should ensure that they are according to the Qur’aan and Sunnah. The prophet ﷺ said his actions approved of the importance of tawheed (worshipping Allaah alone and attributing no partners with Him) and staying away from bid’ah (innovations) and shirk (polytheism or attributing partners in worship alongside Allaah).

Furthermore, we should look to follow the companions in all that we do as we know from an authentic hadeeth that the Prophet ﷺ said that the best of his people are his companions, those who came after them and those who came after them. Thus the first three generations of Muslims are the ones who we should strive to follow as they are good examples for us.

Evidence for this is when Allaah says:

So if they believe in the like of that which you believe, then they are rightly guided, but if they turn away, then they are only in opposition. So Allâh will suffice you against them. And He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower. (Al-Baqarah 2:137)

and

And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger (Muhammad SAW) after the right path has been shown clearly to him, and follows other than the believers’ way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination. (An-Nisa 4:115)

It is essential to have good manners and having the correct belief in Allaah. When it comes to seeking remedies and cures, people fall into two errors:

1) They say they will make du’aa and not take any remedies, as Allaah is the curer.
We know that this is wrong as it opposes the sunnah which states we should do both. That is, to take a medicinal cure and to make du’aa

2) The people say the cure came from a remedy only and this is shirk. We take a medicine and with Allaah’s Will we are cured as Allaah has control and power of all things and nothing will happen except that He wills it to happen. If He willed, a medicine could also not cure somebody.

We know that Allaah is the Curer and the proof:

“And when I am ill, it is He who cures me; (Ash-Shu’ara 26:80)

We learn that du’aa is an act of worship. As Muslims we should have firm faith that the entire Qur’aan is a cure. We know that every remedy is made more powerful by adding to it the recitation of Qur’aan.

There are four main ways of how we should use the Qur’aan as a cure and they are as follows:
1. To place your hand over the area of pain or on the head and to recite the verses
2. Spittling into water (for drinking regularly) or olive oil (used for magic as stated by sheikh ‘Ubayd Al-Jaabiree – this was something discussed later in the workshop but I have added it here for your benefit inshaaAllaah)
3. Reciting and spittling over something
4. Recite, spittle into hands and wipe hands over as much of the head and hands as possible.

There are authentic narrations where specific ayahs and surahs are mentioned and favoured when it comes to performing ruqya, even though the whole Qur’aan is a cure. The specific aayahs are:
1. Recite Surah al-Faatiha seven times
2. Surah Baqarah is used against magic
3. Ayatul Kursi
4. The last two aayahs of Surah Baqarah
5. The last three surahs of the Qur’aan (Al-Ikhlaas, Al-Falaq and An-Naas)

An important hadeeth about performing ruqya concerning 70,000 people who will enter Heaven without reckoning as mentioned in Saheeh al Bukhaaree, Volume 7, Book 71, Number 606: Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:

Allah’s Apostle said, ‘Nations were displayed before me; one or two prophets would pass by along with a few followers. A prophet would pass by accompanied by nobody. Then a big crowd of people passed in front of me and I asked, Who are they Are they my followers?” It was said, ‘No. It is Moses and his followers It was said to me, ‘Look at the horizon.” Behold! There was a multitude of people filling the horizon. Then it was said to me, ‘Look there and there about the stretching sky! Behold! There was a multitude filling the horizon,’ It was said to me, ‘This is your nation out of whom seventy thousand shall enter Paradise without reckoning.’ “Then the Prophet entered his house without telling his companions who they (the 70,000) were. So the people started talking about the issue and said, “It is we who have believed in Allah and followed His Apostle; therefore those people are either ourselves or our children who are born m the Islamic era, for we were born in the Pre-lslamic Period of Ignorance.” When the Prophet heard of that, he came out and said. “Those people are those who do not treat themselves with Ruqya, nor do they believe in bad or good omen (from birds etc.) nor do they get themselves branded (Cauterized). but they put their trust (only) in their Lord ” On that ‘Ukasha bin Muhsin said. “Am I one of them, O Allah’s Apostle?’ The Prophet said, “Yes.” Then another person got up and said, “Am I one of them?” The Prophet said, ‘Ukasha has anticipated you.”

It refers to the one who asked for ruqya to be done on them, but if you have tried to do it yourself but if, for example, magic overcomes you then going to a rakki (one who performs ruqya) then it is ok, as long as you tried and you don’t go for every small illness rushing to a rakki or if someone performed it on you due to you being ill this is a form of du’aa then this does not remove you from the 70,000 as explained by Sheikh ‘Ubay Al-Jaabiree and Allaah knows best.