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Fighting the C word

Fighting the C word

Story of a Cancer survivor

It had been 1 and a half years since we had moved to Australia. I had 2 kids aged 7 and 5 at the time and I was 14 weeks pregnant when I was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer.

My breast surgeon and GP (family doctor) advised me to terminate my pregnancy because it wasn’t possible to continue with it while the cancer treatment.

My parents and husband were in favor of the termination due to concern regarding my health as cancer was aggressively spreading. My husband got fatwa from mufti that if the life is at risk then it is allowed to terminate the pregnancy. But I wasn’t ready for that; I knew I could fight back, I wanted to live because of my other children but I could not ignore the fact that there was a heart beating inside me. I was only worried the baby might have a disability because of chemo drugs.

Then I consulted with another surgeon and he gave me hope, saying that he has done operations like this in the past. He said that the treatment for the cancer is possible while you’re pregnant. He also reassured me that the baby will not have any disability or side effects from the chemotherapy because the baby is inside the placenta and the chemotherapy drugs cannot reach it.

This gave me hope, I knew this decision had to be mine. So I chose what felt right to me, for myself.

The next day my doctor did the surgery to remove the tumors. Luckily my cancer hadn’t spread towards the lungs, instead was growing towards left arm. This caused 10 lymph nodes to be removed from my arm. The chemotherapy was divided into 2 rounds: In the first round they gave me light drugs because of the baby and after a month, they did the c-section. The second round of chemo was started after a month and then 2 weeks later, radiation procedure followed.

I lost my hair, I tried very hard to keep them. I even tried cold cap (extremely frozen) but my drugs were very strong. It’s a strange time in your life, while sometimes you can act like a warrior, other times you can get worried about things that doesn’t really matter in long run, and its fine, being on an emotional roller coaster and dealing with them, everything is fine. I refused to wear wigs instead bought beautiful chemo caps which are easily available in Australia.

Fighting with Cancer is obviously the most difficult thing one can do. Yet when I look back I choose to remember the good parts too. How I met so many wonderful people because of this illness. Because of cancer I realized how much my husband loves me and how he prioritized my health over everything when it was required.  Because of cancer I realized how precious life is and how I as a person need to look at the bigger picture instead of worrying about small things that don’t even matter.

And most importantly I now know how strong I am. I can’t lose hope, I can’t surrender, because I am a mother, I am a daughter, I am a wife and I am a woman who loves life.

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My youngest daughter is 5 years old now. She is a happy, healthy and bubbly child.

There is no cure for cancer, but there is treatment. Which is effective.

I survived Cancer because I checked myself monthly and caught it at an early stage. Keep a check, read about it and talk to the doctor regularly. I can’t emphasize enough on this… Check yourself regularly! Please tell your daughters, sisters, mothers and friends to check themselves regularly especially after 30 years of age.


Written by: Soobia Faisal

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