What will you do if you have Rs. 2, 00,000/- at your disposal? The choice is between repairing your old & leaking house and going to USA to meet your friends. I know many of you who are reading would choose to repair the house. But then, what if your friends in USA are your Cancer Survivor Sisters, wouldn't you want to go and see them personally?, the people from whom you draw your inspiration, who also look upto you for support, your friends with whom you share the story of your success. I guess the answer would be yes, and that is what exactly Farida Rizwan did. Farida Rizwan a wonderful wife, mother of two and most of all a survivor – A Breast Cancer Survivor.
On 18th April, 1996, 14 years ago, Farida was diagnosed with Cancer. “You have been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer (III grade) and you need to undergo surgery followed by other treatments. You have to be prepared with strong will power to fight and survive. You are young at the age of 29 and have small kids. You have life ahead of you. Initially you may find many things about you have changed but finally someday you will find that nothing much has changed”, said the doctor. As the doctor was speaking all that Farida could think about was her kids, her two kids, son aged 4years & daughter 11months.
|Farida with her kids - Rayaan & Farheena|
Farida’s daughter was going through a rare condition. She was suffering from some kind of atrophy to her brain which took away her vision. This was only the preliminary effect; the other effects would be known as she grew up. Farida had realized that her little princess may have difficulty in facing the world, so in her heart she had decided to be strong and feed both her children with this strength. Just as she was coming to terms with this issue, fate had other plans and the cancer news was broken to her when her daughter was 11 months old. At this time Farida’s sister was already terminally ill with Cancer and her condition was very serious. Farida was surely not happy on receiving her Cancer news. What she felt I will never be able to convey through words. She went back inside the doctor’s room and told him that she wanted to have a surgery. In her words, “Doctor, I am sure of what I am saying and I need you to listen to me carefully. I want to live. Yes. I am willing to compromise on quality of life I will have. I am not much bothered about it. Concentrate on quantity. Just get me as many years as possible to be with my kids. I need to get my son educated and want to see him grow a beard, struggle with shaving, learn swimming, learn cycling and become a good human being etc. I want to make sure my daughter is safe and will be cared for even after me. She needs me to know love. I can’t make my parents suffer losing two daughters within a short period. I have not yet seen life. I want to be myself someday after finishing my duties. So give me years. You can cut me, fill me up with medicines, prick me with needles and can be sure I am praying for you all through it”.
|Farida with her Cancer Survivor Sisters in US|
Farida Rizwan opted for a Mastectomy, inspite of not being supported by her family or husband on this decision. They thought she could go through some easier treatments. But seeing her own sister walk down the aisle to death, and having dreams for herself and her kids, Farida had no time for trial and error. Possessing a breast was not the most important thing for her at that point of time. Thus began a lonely journey to survive Cancer. She lost her dear mom to breast cancer in the year 2006. Loss of sister and her mom has not deterred or scared Farida, it has only fueled more strength in her to fight Cancer. Today 15 years later if you ask her about the whole experience then, this what she says, “ Today after all these years I am sitting here and thinking of personally what did I lose and what did I gain from breast cancer or precisely gain in my life after BC. Loss of one breast, I had lost my hair too but it has come back. Self confidence has grown much more than what it used to be. I value my life more now because I had to fight for it and that too with a demon named Cancer. I feel my life is something I have earned now. I have enjoyed watching my kids grow into their teens and loved every moment of it. I would never have known how wonderful my kids are and how blessed I am to have them if I had not fought cancer furiously years ago”.
I know Farida Rizwan as a fellow blogger. She has claimed considerable number of blogging awards and is well known in the circle of bloggers. I am sure with her picture and name many of you might have recognized her. Today Farida helps other people by sharing her story and journey on various Cancer forums and is also closely connected to them. She was so impressed with counseling at an Institute in Bangalore that she completed a course of diploma in counseling skills from their institute. She is also continuing her higher studies. She is living her life to the fullest. Courage, Love, Inspiration – Farida Rizwan, that is what you are!!!
All the pictures are from the personal collection of Farida Rizwan & should not be reproduced without her permission.