I wish Cancer can get Cancer & die off...
I will begin my story with these words: If you keep hope alive, it will keep you alive.
My name is Khulud and I am 30 years old. Mommy of two amazing kids – Retal, 5 years old and Adam, 3 years old.
I am a happy person, I love life and I love to enjoy every single moment in it with my family.
I can say I am a half-healthy person :) I never smoke, I exercise sometimes, I don't eat too much fast food and I am a sweet-addict especially Nutella ☺
I had never checked my breasts. I got married 5 years ago and got pregnant early on in my marriage with back-to-back pregnancies, I never felt any pain or anything abnormal in my breasts so I never thought of checking them (very wrong thinking).
I did my first and only mammogram 2 years after I got married and because it was a requirement to renew our residency in Dubai. And when I did it everything was normal.
Last year on the 16th of January 2019 we came back from our vacation in Turkey where we were enjoying the snow 😀 On the 25th my mom’s doctor scheduled her for an operation (she had fibroadenoma). We were very worried about her and scared that it would be cancerous.
Two days before mom’s operation I went to my gynecologistf – who I’ve been with since I got married - to do the IUD fitting. When she saw me she said “you don't look fine”. I told her about my mom and she told me “Khulud why we don't check your breasts since we never did before”. I told her “common doctor I am still 29 why should we check?”
She said we’ll do an ultrasound and while she was checking my breast, she found a lump but quickly said not to worry because it could be from repeated and long term breast feeding. She requested that I do a mammogram just to make sure that everything is normal.
I did the mammogram and they requested a biopsy. I was really scared because it’s something new for me. Waiting for the biopsy results felt like a year! Results came back that there is an infection so I have to take infection pills (Augmentin) for one week and the lump must go!
A week later I re-did the ultrasound but the lump was still there!
This time I knew it… ‘I have cancer’ I told my husband and my mom but they told me to stop being negative (but it was a really deep feeling inside me).
The doctor requested another biopsy. Meanwhile, my mom had done the operation and everything was clean, thankfully.
After the second biopsy the doctor called my husband and told him the result. My husband came back home, hugged me, started crying and told me you have cancer - triple negative, stage 1, grade 2. I clearly remember how I felt. The first thing that came to my mind were my kids, my mom, my dad and how I will tell them!
I started laughing and crying in the same time then I told my husband it's ok, it’s stage 1. I will do the operation and I will be fine.
Here was the surprise: My husband said it’s urgent that we see the oncology doctor “tomorrow” because he said I must begin chemotherapy. I went crazy when I heard this like any normal person would. I started thinking of how I will lose my hair! But at the same time I thought to myself, it's ok it’s only 2 or 3 chemotherapy sessions because it's only stage 1 breast cancer ( I think I was dreaming) ..
First person I called was my mom… oh my mom, my life, she started crying and just told me that the result is surely not true.
I went to see the oncologist and he explained to me what is triple negative breast cancer, how aggressive this kind is and that I have to start the treatment as soon as possible. He gave me my treatment plan: 8 chemotherapy sessions, 27 radiotherapy sessions and an operation.
I swear to god in a moment my whole life became like a movie in my mind. Life stopped. I started crying like crazy and even nurses came to the room and hugged me as I started shouting HOW?! HOW WILL I LOSE MY HAIR & MY LASHES?!
It took me 2 months to understand what was going on... 2 months to accept the treatment. I experienced a lot of strange feelings. Sometimes I felt that I am strong, I want to survive, I want to stay with my kids, I want to be around them as they grow. But sometimes I could not control my fear and my tears.
On April 30, 2019 the first chemotherapy drugs went inside my body to destroy my cancer. It was really difficult. I felt my heart stop when I saw the injection.
During that time one of my sisters told me about the amazing Maria Farah (Matcha and Mascara). I followed her page and I started talking to her and asking her so many questions. I felt relaxed whenever she talked to me. It was like magic. Everyone noticed how she affected my life positively during my treatment. She was like an angel next to me although she was in Lebanon and I was in Dubai.
From the first session I was hoping that my hair will not fall, but it did after the second session. Don’t laugh - but whenever any hair would fall I used to put it back on my head, I know it's crazy but it's my hair it's part of me.
I decided to shave it by myself because I was really tired of seeing myself losing it. On May 19, 2019 I shaved my hair and kept it in a box ☺ and I wore a wig. I was not able to see the sorry looks from people around me so I kept the wig on throughout my treatment.
I want to tell you about one thing that happened to me and changed me 100%.
One day I was praying and suddenly my daughter came and she saw me without my wig. She told me ‘mommy where is your hair you look scary’ (she is a kid ). I hugged here and I started crying, I told her mama I am sick and my hair fell out. You know what she did ???? Until today I am surprised at her reaction: she put her tiny hands on my head and she said ‘mommy don't cry I will buy for you pink hair from super market 😀’
Here I told myself ‘Khulud wake up, no more negative thinking, finish your treatment and stay around your family and kids’
I want to tell you about my hero: my mom. My mom left everything just to be with me in each chemotherapy session. mom helped me to keep my immunity levels high by preparing everything healthy for me. Many nights I woke up to her voice praying for me and crying. Whatever I say about my mom it’s not enough. She is the world to me, my hero. My dad was doing his best to bring any thing that helped me in the treatments. My husband was lost. My sisters and my brother was just focusing on my health situation. Life stopped for everyone around me.
From that point forward you will see the new Khulud.
To every chemotherapy session I used to go to the hospital wearing the most beautiful clothes I have and put my makeup on! Yes, because even if I am fighting cancer I can still look beautiful! I am a makeup artist and that helped me a lot in doing different styles in turbans, applying fake lashes on zero natural lashes :p , drawing my eyebrows, etc. I started enjoying every single moment.
On August 27, 2019 chemotherapy was done, thank God my lump became very small so the doctor said we will do an operation only to remove what is left of the tumor and 8 or 9 lymph nodes under my arm to make sure that everything is clean.
Here I took the biggest decision of my life: I decided to undergo a mastectomy so I wouldn’t have to do any Radiotherapy. Everyone asked me why I took this decision – ‘you are still young’ they said, but I felt it was the best choice for me. My operation was done on September, it took 11 hours and thankfully everything went well.
It was difficult to lose my hair, my lashes, my eyebrows and my breast, but there is something more important that was not lost and that’s Khulud’s soul 😀
Cancer was hard and painful in every stage of the treatment. You cannot enter the fight with Cancer by being scared, you should let the cancer be scared from us - strong women.
After cancer, the new Khulud knows the value of every little detail around me. I know that I have to enjoy every moment with my kids and my family. I know that even if I lose my hair it's fine I will have it back and honestly I am loving my new hair more than the one I had before.
Cancer taught me that time will fix everything back but we need to be patient and positive.
During my treatment a lot of people around me didn't notice that I have cancer. I was strong, I continued my life normally, I went to see my friends and my family, I went shopping, to the salons, I traveled and I focused more on my work as a makeup artist. I collaborated with a lot of breast cancer institutes - I taught them different styles of turbans, how to take care of their skin during chemotherapy and how they can draw their eyebrows. I felt happy doing all of that. Now I do makeup and turban styling for all cancer patients as gift. For me, seeing them happy gives me life and energy.
I lived a very normal life that year and when anyone knew I have cancer they would be shocked because I was fine with everything around me.
I will be lying if I say that chemotherapy didn't affect me from the inside. I remember a lot of nights I would go to bed early because I would be dying from pain and I don't want my mom or my husband to feel anything, or how many nights I would cry myself to sleep. Now whenever I see any advertisement or any TV show about chemotherapy and cancer I start crying. It is difficult but we must be strong to beat the word cancer.
Being around the people I love - my mom, my dad, my sisters, my brother, my husband and my amazing kids – lifted me. I love you all.
I changed a lot in my lifestyle now. No more sugar in my diet; now I am famous in doing sugarless, healthy sweets, daily fruits and green vegetables is a must, exercising and focusing on stress management and of course never missing a checkup routine.
I want to tell every girl: please do check-ups regularly. If you don't have pain it doesn't mean that everything is ok. Know your body well; if you notice anything abnormal or new in your body get it checked. Make it a regular routine in your life. Tell every woman you know - your mom, your sisters and your friends.
Although I had the most aggressive type of breast cancer thank god I detected it early. Because of early detection my treatment went smoothly. If my mom was not getting an operation, I never would have thought of getting my breasts checked.
A very important note: please don't say ‘we don't have cancer history in the family so we will not have cancer.’ In my case, no one in the entire family has any type of cancer. I was the first one.
Lastly, I want to tell any girl who is undergoing cancer treatment now, be positive and strong and win the fight. You deserve life.
I love you all.