The day my journey of recovery bagan, I woke up with a heavy feeling that my heart couldn’t contain and my mind couldn’t comprehend.
I insisted on going to the mall to buy new clothes for the hospital stay and a new cofee set for my hospital guests. Now, it just seems strange to me that I thought to do that. Why did I care so much for mere material things when I was geting ready to enter such a fierce battle for my life.
May be I was in denial.. Or was it hope I felt?
May be I just wanted to feel normal for a few more hours? May be it was my way of telling those around me that I welcome their help and support? I still don’t know!
I packed my new things with my confused thoughts to take to the hospital. I had three kids at the time the oldest of whom was 11 and the youngest was 3 years old. I felt it would make the kids feel safer staying at their own house with their father. My mother had decided to stay with me in the hospital.
The next day was the day I started the fight against breast cancer.. It was the day my journey of recovery started..
I arrived at the hospital the night before the surgery to get the pre-surgery tests done.
July 10th, 2001 was the longest and most exauhsting day of my life.
On my body, I was wearing a pink PJ to mask my grey mood. On my face, I was wearing a cold smile that couldn’t warm my heart. I was hoping it would give me some hope and a glimpse of happiness..
I was still afraid of my unknown future..
I was still worried for my young ones and those I love..
I was still hopefull for a beatiful life or after-life if that was Allah’s plan for me..
I was also angry to have to sacrafice a piece of me symbolising my femininity..
I was sad for all the pain and sorrow I will cause everyone around me..
But mostly I was determined to fight the fight and survive it preserving me.. preserving my dignity.. and my positive outlook in life..
And in the midst of this mix of emotions, the doors of the Operating room has opened to expose my weakness and allowed more cold feelings to seep from my skin down to my viens..
I felt so vurlnable and shy lying in a room full of strangers with nothing covering my trembling body but a sheer gown and a head cover.. I tried to quickly hide my peeking hair to keep it safe.. or may be to say good bye as I knew I had to let go of it very soon.
With a scared whispering voice I kept repeating the suplication my mom has reminded me of before I was wheeled to surgery.. until the Anesthesiologist asked me to start counting my self to sleep.
My experience has taught me to depend on Allah as Allah is my savior.. It has taught me to face fear with hope and fight illness with a smile even if it was a cold fake smile. I learned that hope and smiles (even the fake ones) penetrate deep down to the heart and soul and give it the warmth it needs to wake up and live again..
Amina H. Gamlo
A Breast Cancer survivor