I never thought from being completely healthy and active, my life will be changed in an instance by these 2 words …. “IT’S CANCER.” It felt like a death sentence!
I very well remember I was on one of my routine medical missions to Pakistan, as healthy as can be, while a breast self-exam I noticed a small lump. After that followed a mammogram, an ultrasound, CT scan, PET scan, video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery and several biopsies I received the diagnosis of triple negative grade 3 breast cancer. It was a fast-growing cancer and has a higher percentage of reoccurring in other parts of the body.
It is impossible to explain how I felt; the fear gripped me tightly and began to squeeze me in its hands. I had no family history of cancer; I was healthy with no other health issues. I tried to convince myself it wasn’t real, but it was real. My family, friends and health professionals assured me that I will be fine, there is a cure… BUT it didn’t help. I slowly started to realize that I have cancer and I don’t know what will happen to me – ONLY GOD knows.
A breast cancer diagnosis completely turned my world upside down. 18 chemo infusions, 37 radiation sessions, 5 emergency room visits and hospitalizations, lumpectomy, vocal cord medialization laryngoplasty surgery, fatigue, immobility, pain, depression and fear was my new reality. Cancer took so much from me mentally, physically and spiritually that I thought there was nothing left. It scared me when I looked at my own image in the mirror and I couldn’t recognize the bald-headed woman looking back at me. I perceived myself as a strong, positive care giver and a tireless humanitarian but cancer brought everything to a halt.
Throughout this darkness, the only light left in my life was my family. My grandchildren took my mind off this fight for my life. After exhausting chemo and intense radiation sessions, I looked forward to going home to be with them. During this time my grandson Adam started reading to me to cheer me up.
I very well remember the very day when I told my grandchildren that I always wanted to write a safety and prevention book for children. They wholeheartedly supported the idea and motivated me. From then on, for hours, my granddaughter Izza would share with me how she would like to write a book also one day.
Izza helped me develop the characters of this book with her toys. Just like that a promise was made that I will fight and beat this monstrous disease and will become an author of fire safety and burn prevention book series.
Though diagnosis and the fight for cancer was grim itself, it made my blessings shine brighter. I am grateful to be an author. I am honored to share the light of safety and prevention with children all over the world.