• Nathira Salim

No way!

There was no way in the world I could have cancer. Absolutely no way. Because cancer happens to those people far far away. It happens to those 1 in 8 women statistics. Not to anyone I know. No one in my family - direct family that is- has/had cancer. No one.

And frankly, I just didn't think I would have it. Not to say I am a perfectly healthy fit young fertile woman or something. I am just the opposite.. I have had irregular periods ever since I had them when I was 12. I put on weight easily and have PCOS that was not diagnosed. And so having kids is tough. Without knowing if I am ovulating or not, trying to conceive can be extremely challenging. I am extremely overweight, or morbidly obese would be the clinical term. So all in all - I am imperfect, but not with disease. I didn't have diabetes, issues with blood pressure, or cholesterol. I was okay. And that's the bloody reason why - even after I turned 40 a year back, I did not go for a mammogram. The last mammogram was almost 9 years ago. I was offing confident that I will not get cancer.

So for the doctor to tell me I have cancer and that it bloody skipped Stage 0 and went all the way to Stage 2 - I realised two things. I have become one of the statistics for breast cancer in women. And I know how my ending will be.

I wouldn't lie and tell you lofty stories about how brave I was, I didn't shed tears or anything like that. I shed a few, and then a few more during night time when everyone was asleep. It was hard to sob out and cry when I have to ensure everyone around me are well taken care of. I didn't want my family to be burdened financially and emotionally because of me. I saw my husband weep and sob as if I already died. It was sad to see him like that. And I had to console him,.

"It's ok": I lied. I was not ok. A death sentence has been handed over to me. I wasn't crying and sobbing and asking the why me question. I just knew - a shift has happened. I am now in the centre of attention. Getting all my family's attention.

Initially, during the month of July, after my diagnosis, it was as if I was about to die any moment. My hubby was nice to me. My colleagues were sorry for me. And actually I thought I would drop dead too maybe in the next couple of days. I was consoled by everyone I knew. Some were too casual in their comments, But mostly were encouraging, Don't worry. You are going to be alright. But cancer is not like being told you are going to die like tomorrow. Depending on the stage and location of the lump that was found and biopsied, the end game is different for everyone.

There are ladies who have stage 2 - have the tutors removed, go through the entire treatment ( chemo, radiation) live for 10 plus years and above.

There are some whose cancer comes back aggressively even after following the doctor's protocols. There are some whose cancer metastasise and come back as a different cancer in a different location and die within months. Diagnosis may be the same. But the end game is certainly not the same for everyone.

So how did I feel?

I felt targeted. I felt that I was done for. I was being punished for some sins in my past. Its like having a noose around your neck wherever you are.

Why I have cancer is something I don't exactly know. It could be my lifestyle, it could be my sleeping habits, stress, emotional issues, it could be environmental factors, etc. It could be anything. I just cannot pinpoint to any one factor. And if I were to think back to my days before I was diagnosed, if I had any chance of being a cancer statistics, I will still say no way. Because though I knew I will one day die either in an accident or by cancer, I was not expecting cancer in my 40s. I was like expecting it when I am in my 60s. This is what I think - death comes to everyone. I am not immune to this. Just sad that I have to go off this early. That is all.

So what I am up to now? I am checking out my mental issues. My emotional state, My mind body status. I need to get it sorted. Once I have this sorted, maybe one day I will write about this.

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