Real Blogger Beauty.

Jun 16, 2014

when maya emailed me a few weeks ago about launching the Real Blogger Beauty campaign I couldn’t have been more on board. I know everyone (especially me) struggles with perfection in some way or another and that our beautiful instagram lives are really just pretty pieces of our messy puzzle. i often struggle with how much to share on the blog and hope this doesn’t make anyone fall asleep but i think it’s important we all realize there’s more to us than a social media account and as long as you know that it’s okay to have fun with that stuff.

there are an array of things i could share here but when the emailed landed in my inbox it only took me seconds to know what i would talk about and how i learned from it. it’s hard for me to share only because i struggle with how to convey what i went through and not garner any pity in return. oh well, here we go…

i’ve always had issues with my health since i was a little girl. from ulcerative colitis to allergies you name it and i probably have it. i never paid attention to those things and would often ignore symptoms to try to mentally convince myself it wasn’t happening. i always thought that made a strong mind and it might be what could have cost me everything.

while i was in my last year of dental school and studying for my final national boards exam i started to feel a cold coming on. i didn’t have a ton of time to study, was working on my residency applications, & had just started dating a cute guy named trevor who was occupying so much of my mind. i refused to let up and was hoping to train for a mini so i continued to try to run hoping that would help me heal and would lay on the couch with my study cards on the ground to keep going.

at the time i lived in louisville, kentucky where my parents are and thanksgiving break had just arrived. i felt so sick i didn’t want to make the drive home (15 minutes from my condo to parent’s house) so my mom picked me up with chicken noodle soup in hand (she’s the best). i slept in the basement because i didn’t want to walk up to my room and just watched movies for the next day or so. my brother had recently moved from san fran to chicago and was excited to drive home to surprise my parents for the holiday. he arrived the day after thanksgiving and it’s so true that everything happens for a reason.

after omar had been home for a few hours i realized i couldn’t make it up the basement stairs without sitting down to rest. i told my family i thought i needed to finally see a doctor and they told me any office would be closed because of the holiday and if i really felt that bad they would take me to the ER.


my mom and brother took me down in mismatched pajamas and my dad said he would see me later (assuming i would be right back) well, that’s not what happened. i was brought in to check vitals and the tech kept readjusting the machine (i think he thought it was broken) because my oxygen saturation was so low. after some quick oxygen & chest xrays i sat and waited for good news like “oh, let’s give you some fluids and you’ll head home” well, that wasn’t the case and i will never forget this next moment: i sat on my bed and watched the group of doctors standing around the screen, my brother omar included. at one time they all widened their eyes and looked closer at my x-ray. all but omar, he knew i was watching. the next moments are blurry and the next days are lost from my memory.

i was placed on a ventilator in the ICU and diagnosed with the swine flu & pneumonia. my family struggled while watching my prognosis go up and down as i laid unconscious. omar stayed up 24 hours a day everyday by my side charting my vitals, calling colleagues, and pushing the team to handle my care in the most successful way possible. he wanted to control the situation and make everything better. my parents were probably comforted by my brother’s understanding but i can’t imagine how they felt watching their child like that.

after 7 days my brother convinced the team i could breathe on my own. they weened me off the vent, brought me back, and i did it. i struggled still with complications like blood clots and infections and slowly but surely walked again. my brother was there by my side every single step. he stayed by me when i didn’t want to walk on the treadmill, he gave me blood thinners when no one else wanted to stick me with another needle, & he never gave up on me. NO ONE IN MY FAMILY DID. lesley slept on the floor of my room, fed me, washed my hair, and did unmentionable things (really!) for me. trevor and i had barely been together at this point and he would come to the hospital and lay in bed with me while i had a huge hospital diaper on, a fluid sac on my back from being immobile for so long, and had not waxed or threaded myself in months (which if you know indian girls is a whole new sight haha) after weeks of poking and probing i was finally discharged with a portable oxygen tank and 1,000 follow up doctor’s appointments. i fought in the next weeks to get my life back, something i had taken so much for granted.

the experience would forever change me. FOR THE BETTER. although i already knew i had the most amazing family it was only strengthened. we all realized that life is too short and came together to love and support each other.

i realized that life was flying by and i needed to be who i wanted to be. no more trying to make other people happy, i was going to live for me. when i started doing that everything changed. i was proud of who i was and where i came from and realized trivial things like appearance, handbags, and clothes didn’t mean anything if i didn’t have a full life. so, even though i love a good chanel bag things are not what matters to me. my family is.

we all see snippets of our lives on a blog or social media account and that’s definitely not all that’s there. i struggled with the decision to start a blog and this experience helped me realize that i wasn’t going to be afraid of failure, life is too short to have regrets. i do this for me and i love it. i’m lucky enough that some of you like it too (thanks for reading!) and i’ve met so many amazing friends along the way. i know that this is a fun place to express myself and cherish my family that support me in it. so, never be afraid to do something you love because if that’s what it’s all about you’ll never be disappointed.

i can’t wait to read everyone’s stories and make sure to head to maya’s blog to find them all!

happy monday & enjoy this life!




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  1. Jess Zimlich says:

    I imagine that was extremely scary to go through! I’m so happy that you’re alright. Thanks for being brave and sharing something so personal.

    • admin says:

      thanks for reading jess! it was such a great project & i can’t stop reading everyone’s posts. happy it’s behind me & life is good 🙂

  2. amy says:

    i’ve really enjoyed reading all of the posts from maya’s linkup today! 🙂 thanks for sharing your story – that definitely sounds like it was tough to get through. i was recently diagnosed with microscopic colitis so i can definitely relate to you on that front. it’s so great that you have an amazing support system to keep you positive! xo

    • admin says:

      aww thanks for reading amy! i know, me too i can’t stop clicking through them. oh man, we should connect i hope its getting better! yea, i really am fortunate and it’s nice to remember that. xox

  3. Justine says:

    Shaheen, what a beautiful story. I’m so happy you overcame this obstacle in life, especially with your loved ones by your side. Thanks for sharing <3

  4. Caitlin F says:

    Shaheen, thank you for sharing your story with all of us! I can’t even imagine what you and your family went through. That is just beyond terrifying. It definitely reminds me to stop worrying about the little things and concentrate on what matters most – family & friends!

    • admin says:

      thanks caitlin! it’s sometimes hard to keep reminding yourself of what’s important in life but we all need it sometimes 🙂 thanks for reading lady!!!

  5. I cannot even begin to imagine how scary that must have been. I am so thankful you came through and grateful to have someone so inspiring and supportive as a friend:) Smooches

  6. Jen says:

    What an inspiring story! I agree that as we get older we realize that family is the most important thing in our lives. Sometime’s its the one we’re born with or the one we create around us.

    I had swine flu my senior year of college, but I caught it right away thank goodness. I can’t imagine how terrible you felt. It was the most sick I have ever been.

    Love your blog by the way 🙂

    xo, Jen

    • admin says:

      thanks so much for reading jen! it’s so true & such a great reminder 🙂 oh thank goodness you caught it early and so flattered you like the blog! xox

  7. Sarah Lagen says:

    Wow, what an amazing story! You are so blessed to have such a great family to keep you going! Thank you for sharing!

    • admin says:

      thanks for reading sarah! it’s a great reminder to be grateful for everyday, loved your post too btw 🙂 xox

  8. I’m so inspired by all of these stories. My favorite part of this story is how much it has changed you for the better- I’m glad that you were able to look at the experience from that perspective!

  9. What a crazy story! That is so scary, but I’m so glad that 1) you are okay and 2) you have this incredible outlook on life. It’s a good reminder for all of us 🙂

  10. Stephanie says:

    You are so strong and brave – watching and waiting for you to get better was scary for us so I can’t imagine how you felt. Love you tons friend – and remember you are the reason I finally got text messaging 😉

    • admin says:

      thanks bbj!!! couldn’t have asked for a better friend to help me through everything. you were always by my side & i couldn’t have appreciated that more 🙂 love you & you’re welcome for your texting bill!

  11. Thank you for sharing your story. You sound like you have an amazing family! Truly inspirational.

  12. Sarah says:

    dear shaheen, even though I knew the story from an outside perspective, I still cried reading it through your perspective. bless you! and, thank you – I am getting all sorts of style tips and inspiration from your blog – keep the posts coming!!

    • admin says:

      aww sarah thank you for your sweet words they really do mean a lot. i’m so flattered you read the blog 🙂

  13. Johanna says:

    Loved reading your story – that’s tough stuff but how amazing to have such a great family to support you along the way. Thanks so much for sharing and for your comment yesterday!

  14. Shabnam says:

    What an uplifting story to read! You’re lucky to be blessed with such amazing family and friends.Thanks for sharing your inspiration and inspiring me as well 🙂

    xx Shabnam

    • admin says:

      thanks for reading shabnam! it’s always a great reminder to myself to enjoy life 🙂 hope you’re doing well!!! xox