Let’s not give up -There is no such thing as false hope. In this word there is only hope. In the realm of possibility, anything can happen, but it is the perception that makes a difference. I refuse to let this disease dictate the way we live our lives.
By Nazarul Islam
When a loved one in the family is afflicted with cancer, it’s like everyone has the disease, because it is so crippling. It changes family dynamics. One is forced to learn new ways of living to accommodate the change. Most of the time, I feel like I’m stuck in this endless loop of the same nightmare, and every day I keep hoping I wake up from this bad dream. But this is reality: my loving wife for 39 years will soon be parting with her right breast. Soon she will begin losing some hair, too, because of the treatment.
It is very hard for a woman to go reconcile with the pain of what she is going through—losing the physical manifestations of what “identifies” her as a woman in this society.
It is because of this very reason that I began to realize how these things actually serve purely aesthetic purposes when it comes down to it. Oftentimes, we define beauty by external features. I believe, however, this really, should not be accepted as a yardstick for assessing, what makes us beautiful.
Beauty goes beyond the physical. Beauty is strength. Beauty is compassion. Beauty is attitude. Beauty is looking your worst fear right in the face and being able to see the silver lining. Beauty is the ability to love wholeheartedly, even if you feel like your own heart is broken. Looking at Nuzhat, I can honestly say that she’s never looked more beautiful than she does now—even though, I can imagine Nuzhat, with her right breast gone and with her scars that would remain, as proof that she had battled a deadly disease.
In real life, after the most powerful storm, you begin to search for the rainbow. You realize that having support is a big step towards recovery and that every story of survival serves as hope. You realize that having cancer is not a death sentence.
I do not wish to think of my loving, caring wife as though she is just a statistic. She is so much more than that. I will resist everything that lets Cancer to define her, and neither should it define other women battling the same disease.
Not only Nuzhat is loving, caring and understanding, she is wonderfully strong. With or without cancer, she has continued to be the same person and refuses to let this disease control how she lives her life. I guess my only regret is that it took a disease for me to really look, listen, and know my wife Nuzhat, as a woman and not just a spouse or her children’s parent.
I strongly implore my readers…if a relative has suffered Ovarian or Breast Cancer, get the genetic screening. It saves lives. As a recent editorial in the Journal of Clinical Oncology put it bluntly: What we must first remember is that the immune system is designed to detect foreign invaders, and avoid out own cells. With few exceptions, the immune system does not appear to recognize cancers within an individual as foreign, because they are actually part of the self.
In the realm of possibility, anything can happen, but it is the perception that makes a difference. I refuse to let this disease dictate the way we live our lives. Again Cancer is a learning experience, and it has taught me to appreciate life. It led me to an understanding that this word we fear, cancer, or “the big C,” can be overcome by an even bigger “C”: courage.
Let’s not give up -There is no such thing as false hope. In this word there is only hope.
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