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Yumna Kafaar – Cancer Stories of Hope #CANSA90

Firstly I would like to thank the Almighty for being alive, healthy and for a wonderful family and friends.

When I was younger I always believed cancer skips a generation. My mom was diagnosed with bone marow cancer (may Allah grant my mom and all deceased Jannah inshallah Ameen) and I thought okay it skips a generation so I’m safe. Well I was fooled! Illness, dread disease and death does not discern according to one’s age / generation.

I found out I had cancer per chance, while in the shower, when the soapy cloth fell out of my hand and I just felt this lump under my breast. I went to the doctor and had to go for a mammogram. I was told to take the report to the specialist, but I thought I’d take a look and see what it said. I was a bit anxious and nervous, but I managed to calmly open the report, reading it and not understanding a word!

I’m reading this ‘doctor’ language, and then I came across this word ‘malignant’. I then Googled it. Ladies please do not Google! We should not rely on Dr Google and let our doctors guide us, but I think it’s just in our nature to Google, because we are curious. My whole world changed. I could not focus.

I was diagnosed on 30 Jan 2017. When I got the results I told myself I have to accept and not question what was happening to me, but all I could think of was I need to tell my kids and that was the hardest part, with my daughter matriculating that same year, and my youngest son that just had one thing on his mind (that I am going to die). That was the hardest part of the beginning of my journey.

I had my lump removed and a few lymph nodes and 2 weeks later had to go back for results. The doctor told me she had good news and bad news. The good news was that the all cancer was removed. However, the bad news was that I had to do chemotherapy. I burst into tears, I could not stop crying. I thought that chemo would kill me, and this was the last thing I wanted to hear.

I started my chemo (3 rounds of red devil). During the 2nd red devil I gave up. I could not eat or sleep and was like someone that was high on tik. For 3 months I slept for 2 hrs a per night. My husband sat up with me for the whole 3 months watching me throw up, watching me in pain and suffering, losing my hair which BTW never bothered me at all, but he stood by my side no matter how I treated him. He had all the patience in the world with me (shukr to the Almighty for blessing with a husband that takes so much care of me).

I got so sick that my husband said no more chemo, because I was too weak. I felt like I wanted to go to a mental institute, but I was so blessed with the good support I got from my family and thinking of our kids, who said we will fight this together. It was a really tough going through emotions. I was not sure if I was coming or going.

I went through 5 months of chemo (that is 16 sessions of chemo) and then did my 30 days radiation therapy. I was tested again and the results were all clear. I have been in remission for almost 2 yrs algamdullilah.

I could have not done this without my husband, my kids, both my families and all the prayers from each and every one that stood by me through the worst times. My mentor Monique she was awesome and I can’t thank her enough.

This is a journey that I will never forget. When a person is diagnosed with cancer they begin with what is often referred to as a journey. The whole family is affected in many different ways. The journey is long, difficult, challenging, frightening and worst off all, the outcome is never certain or guaranteed. Every journey is very different, every person responds differently.

Once this journey begins, life will never be the same again for the family. We take it 1 day at a time. Every person faces their battle with strength, dignity, determination and bravery. Our scars are both physical and mental, and remains with us for the rest of our lives. No matter how strong we are, we will always have that fear, because we don’t know when it might strike again. All that we can do is have faith, pray and speak to our Creator and live each day like it is our last.

Alghamdullilah 4 years clean.

On the 11 May 2021 I had a pain under my breast, just above my left rib, where they removed the the lump. I thought I would wait a few days and maybe the pain will disappear. The pain just got worse. After 3 days I went to the doctor and was told they don’t see anything wrong. They gave me Myprodol and said it’s best if I see my oncologist.

On the 15th May I saw my oncologist and he advised me to have a CT scan. I was so nervous for the CT scan. A week later he said he would like to see me. I was told that they had found a spot on one of my lungs and that they needed to do biopsy. I did the biopsy on the 25th May 2021 and it was sore. They then did an observation for 4 hrs before I could go home. While I was lying in chemo room, in pain from the biopsy, the nurses came to do an x-ray to check if everything okay.

While lying there the nurse told my husband and I that I need to go for an urgent operation, as my left lung had collapsed. I felt numb, thinking I had told my kids I will see them in a few hours. A few hours turned into 6 days in hospital, with a pipe in my chest. I had so much pain and what made it worse was that my husband could only visit for 15 minutes a day due to COVID-19. I cried every day of pain and I missed my family so much.

On the 9 June 2021 went to see oncologist for my results. My husband and sister went with me and again my life changed. I was told I have lung cancer stage 1. The doctor said we have 2 options: remove the spot or radiation. The size of it is 17 mm. This was so ironic as it was the same size of the lump that was found in my breast.

So with me being in a state of shock, my husband and sister opted for radiation. I felt sick to my stomach, due to stress, emotionally drained and could not focus. All I did for a week was just cry, but never questioned ‘why me?’. People tell me that my Creator loves me a lot and I keep on reminding myself that.

I went for an MRI scan to see if my liver was clear (alghamdullilah that was all clear). Two weeks later I was told that the medical aid wanted me to do a PET scan. I did the scan and the results were the same.

I was so out of it, that my sister arranged for me to see one of her friend that does religous healing, because I was so emotional and mentally exhausted. I am so grateful for my sister sending me for the healing. It made me look at my life differently.

I will be doing a 5 day course of stereotactic radiation. I am just waiting on the hospital to confirm the dates, as they are waiting on a certain laser.

I have more good days than bad days alghamdullilah, but there are days when I just feel like being alone and cry my heart out.

So this is my story. Keeping my fingers crossed, hoping that I get a call to start the treatment soon. I don’t know what the outcome will be. All I can do is pray that all goes well and that all the cancer will be removed Inshallah Ameen.

You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

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