The Bravo's Top Chef Season 15 Fan Favorite winner was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a type of bone and soft tissue cancer, in late 2017. After going through several rounds of chemotherapy, Fatima underwent surgery to remove the tumor and surrounding cells in her left shoulder in January 2018. Fatima was then declared cancer-free by her doctors last winter. She later shared that she had suffered some complications after completing her last round of chemotherapy in August.
Fatima shared in the essay that she had received bad news from her doctors in September. "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," Fatima wrote. "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."
Fatima shared in the essay that she is now determined to make the most of the time she has left, eating at every restaurant she can in New York and around the world, making amends with those listed on "a crumpled cocktail napkin" she keeps in her wallet, and, of course, spending time with her loved ones. "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. When that choice is yanked away from us, that’s when we scramble to feel," Fatima said. "I am desperate to overload my senses in the coming months, making reservations at the world’s best restaurants, reaching out to past lovers and friends, and smothering my family, giving them the time that I so selfishly guarded before."
She ended the essay by expressing, "I was always deathly afraid of being average in any way, and now I desperately wish to have a simple, uneventful life."
Fatima thanked everyone for all of their love and support they have given her during this journey in a post on Instagram Tuesday. "I just want to take a moment to thank each and every single person who has ever sent love my way," she wrote. "This is my truth."
The Top Chef family has been right by Fatima's side throughout her cancer battle, including fellow Cheftestants Joe Flamm, Joe Sasto, Tyler Anderson, Chris Scott, Bruce Kalman, Brother Luck, and Adrienne Cheatham, as well as host and executive producer Padma Lakshmi, who opened up more about Fatima's cancer battle on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen in February.