Hello, my name is Dr. Maha Almahmudi - I am a radiation oncologist at the BC Cancer Agency Abbotsford Centre and I am pleased to be your guest blogger for February!

I grew up in North Africa, in Libya. Growing up in Libya in the 1980s during the dictatorship of the Colonel Gaddafi was hard. There was no freedom and because of Gaddafi’s actions such as supporting international terrorism and the animosity to the west, the country was isolated from the rest of the world for many years.

All that said, I can’t complain. My family lived a privileged lifestyle compared to most Libyans. Both of my parents were educated. My father was a school principal and my mother chose to stay home to care for her children. I have two brothers and two sisters. Despite the isolation, Libyan people were not different from many. By this I mean education was perceived as extremely important. My parents valued academic achievements more than anything for us! One of my sisters is also a physician and the younger one is a dentist. My older brother is an engineer with a PhD degree and my younger brother has a degree in business.

Growing up, I was fascinated with space science. After finishing high school I envisioned myself becoming an engineer. I never wanted to go to medical school! That was what my mother chose for me, yes! In my culture, parents have great influence and they should be respected. I am now very grateful that I listened to my mother and chose the career she wanted for me. During my years in medical school, I was very ambitious and my dream was to travel abroad for my subspecialty training.

I will tell you about what happened next tomorrow!

Maha

Radiation Oncologist, BC Cancer Agency Abbotsford Centre