8th March 1984: It was just another simple delivery procedure for my dad, who is a doctor, except that it was his wife on the table. He was, of course, a little nervous but he was sure its going to be all fine. After all, it was a normal delivery. A couple of minutes and right when everyone in the room gasped for the awaited cry there was none. Instead, a smiling baby was welcomed.
Mom thought I was the perfect baby – always happy, with the chubbiest cheeks and, most importantly, I was a girl. Yes, my mom wanted a girl so that she could complete the family – parents, an elder son and a younger baby girl. Things were exactly going as planned for my parents and they couldn’t have been happier. My parents called me Nasreen, a small white flower that spreads its sweet scent around. And indeed, I was the beloved.
A couple of years passed and my mom started getting worried because I still couldn’t chase my brother, who was just 13 months elder to me, or for that matter of fact stand. I was diagnosed Cerebral Palsy (CP). CP in those days meant a bedridden patient who eventually dies in his/her 20s. It wasn’t easy for my parents to take the news but my dad isn’t one of those who gives up. He reached out every single doctor who could help, conducted meetings discussing possibilities and chances, and all he wanted was anything close to a normal life for his daughter. After numerous operations, I can now walk with an abnormal gait.
Yes, I still sometimes lose my balance, see friction isn’t the best of my friends and I happen to be close with gravity, but when I fall, I do not require a hand to stand back up or to walk. Kids wouldn’t play with me because I couldn’t run but my elder brother would leave everyone for me, just so that I’m not alone. He would carry my bag to school and made sure I was never lonely. I didn’t need a friend because I had my best friend with me all the time.
Luckily, I was good at studies and got into MBBS, but it was in a different city and I had to live in a hostel for the first time. It wasn’t easy but God was graceful and I was able to complete my course with no trouble and now I was Dr. Nasreen. I was 26 and according to the Indian Society, was at the right age to be married. One of my brother’s friends suggested his junior’s name and my mother took the phone number and gave this person a call and as I remember all this person asked my mom was my name and said yes for the proposal.
It was weird but then my mom arranged a meeting and I met this guy for the first time, or at least that’s what I thought and that’s when this person narrates me his version of when he first saw me. It was in the medical counseling 6 years ago which I attended with my dad to claim my admission to the college.
He saw me fall while I was walking towards the registrar and get up on my own, which for me had become a part of my life. He called it confidence and self-respect and fell in love with this limping girl who would not take anyone’s help to stand. But then he couldn’t reach me since we joined different med schools and now he called this destiny. I didn’t know what to say. His words touched my soul and he loved me for what anyone else who see it as a defect. It wasn’t easy for him to persuade his parents for our marriage but he did. We soon got engaged.
Things were great, I was able to live my dream as a doctor and was marrying another doctor who loved me unconditionally. Life was perfect, until a week after our engagement, my fiancé met with an accident. It was bad. More than half of his leg muscle was removed and he was also diagnosed with diabetes. In no time I was called a bad luck for the groom. He was hospitalized for a month and the doctor said he cannot run anymore but walk as usual. I never knew our love of about 5 months was so strong, until he decided to get married and shut people’s mouths.
Life was beautiful together and 2 years later I gave birth to my son Armaan. We got into PG together and this time in the same hospitals. I was studying for being a pediatrician and him for a surgeon. We had our futures sorted. Or that’s what we assumed I found a lump in my left breast. I was 31 and I was still breastfeeding so I didn’t take it seriously, but then they found out another lump in my axillary. That’s when I was afraid.
After my FNAC I was diagnosed to have a late stage 2 breast cancer. It’s been 6 months now. I had my breast removed and have been through 8 sessions of chemotherapy. I have lost my hair, had to go through enormous pain, vomiting, nausea, depression. My treatment is still going on and I’m hopeful that one day I will be cancer-free and have my life back, be able to spend more time with my son, see him grow up into a gentleman, just like his daddy, and be able to help others as a doctor. My entire life has been a constant struggle for survival. When everyone wanted extraordinary, I just aimed normal. I am willing to fight every single day in my life with a smile in my face, with no blame or any anger in heart, just to be able to ‘live’ for my son, husband and my family.”
Submitted By – Nasreen Ali
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