Fatima Ali, who is known for appearing on the hit show Top Chef, revealed today that her cancer has returned and this time, it is terminal.
According to Us Weekly, the chef was first diagnosed with a bone and soft tissue cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma in 2017. By February, Ali proudly announced that she was cancer-free after undergoing chemo and surgery to have a tumor in her left shoulder removed. Sadly, she announced today that the cancer has returned and this time it is in her left hip and femur bone, meaning it is terminal.
In an essay to Bon Appetit, Fatima bravely wrote about her cancer battle.
“The cancer cells my doctors believed had vanished are back with a vengeance in my left hip and femur bone. My oncologist has told me that I have a year to live, with or without the new chemotherapy regimen. I was looking forward to being 30, flirty, and thriving. Guess I have to step it up on the flirting. I have no time to lose.”
“It’s funny, isn’t it? When we think we have all the time in the world to live, we forget to indulge in the experiences of living,” she continues. “When that choice is yanked away from us, that’s when we scramble to feel.”
Ali then goes on to say that she wants to use her remaining time on earth overloading her senses and eating at the best restaurants in the world. She also says that she has plans to reach out to past lovers and friends and spend a ton of time with family since she “so selfishly guarded” her time prior to her illness.
In her pocket, Ali says that she has a list of names scribbled on it and they are the names of people who she wishes to make amends with before she passes away. She writes that she needs to “learn how to ask for forgiveness without expecting to receive it,” which is one of the most frightening things that she has ever had to do. The young chef also recounts her time in the hospital and how so much of her life the past few years was spent with doctors and nurses.
“I’ve spent more time in sterile hospital rooms in the past year than I have in my own apartment. This has become my new home, and the staff a part of my family. I wonder if I’ll accidentally call my nurse “Mom” when she sneaks in to check my vital signs in the middle of the night.”
Now that she has hit rock bottom, Ali bravely professes that there is nowhere to go but up. To end the piece, she explains that there is a weird sense of relief that she feels knowing that she will get to spend her last few months of life living for herself and experiencing new things each and every day.
“I was always deathly afraid of being average in any way, and now I desperately wish to have a simple, uneventful life,” Ali ended the piece.