In 2018 Jamila, a busy mom of three was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. This mother’s day, she shares her story.
“I was in the shower one evening after the kids went to bed and felt a bump that was very pronounced in my left breast. Cancer runs strong on both sides of my family, so I instantly knew that it was cause for concern. I went straight to the walk-in clinic and asked for a requisition to have a mammogram done. I was able to get an appointment in less than a week. The radiologist came in and told me the devastating news – stage 3 breast cancer. He was an angel. He had said that if it was his wife, he wouldn’t want her to wait to hear the news. I listened intently fighting the urge to cry. He told me how the next few weeks would look like. The rundown he gave me was an indication of how aggressive this cancer was. I got in the car, shed a few tears then went home to tell my husband, Ashif. He too shed a few tears. We knew we had to roll up our sleeves and get the work done. The appointments came quickly at the Cross Cancer Institute and we pushed to have treatment start as soon as possible. We wanted to get the work done and get back to our lives. Our oncologist was nothing short of amazing. She saw our will and determination. We both had kids the same age and we connected. We tackled each treatment one at a time, each one was harder to bounce back from, but we did.
When it came to sharing my diagnosis with my kids – three boys aged 2, 5 and 6 at the time – I wasn’t sure what to expect. My youngest was too little to even comprehend those words. One day, during our bedtime routine, I told my older two that mummy is sick with a disease called breast cancer. That a “bad bug” is in mummy’s breast and that once a month, I have to go to the doctors to get a needle that will get rid of the bug. This medicine they give me will do good things, like kill the bad bug and will do bad things too because it is so strong. They asked, like what? I told them that it will make me very weak and that I will lose my hair. Instantly, my oldest started to cry. My middle listened and went about his merry own way. As I started to lose my hair, my oldest felt that if I was in the school helping, that people will make fun of me if I’m bald and he was very protective over me. He always asked me to wear a wig or a hat. I did. For him. On the day of his 7th birthday, he released me.
While getting ready for his party he told me, “if people don’t like you for who you are, then they are not your friend or mine. You don’t have to wear a wig for me mummy.” I cried and hugged him tight. I was able to be myself and never wore that wig again. I loved being bald and I didn’t feel ashamed. I felt strong and empowered and I hoped that I could inspire other ladies to be the same.
I couldn’t have gotten through this without the love and support of my friends and family. My husband made sure to not skip a beat with the boys. He took them to school. their activities, to play every single day after dinner. He and his family made sure that our kids’ lives stayed as normal as possible. My husband was my rock, my angel. My mum came every two weeks from Calgary to help us out. Between her, my mother, father and brother in law, our kids never felt alone. Or unloved. I am the school council chair at my children’s school, so I had to tell my team, the school administration as well as my children’s teachers. All of a sudden, I had an army of school mum’s rallying around me. Praying for me and my family. They dropped off comfort items and fed our family after each chemo session. I couldn’t get out of bed some days or I’d be lying on the sofa too weak to care for my family but these mum’s held us up, month after month. I am still in awe of all these people. Every single person that said a prayer for my family and me, every single person that offered support in any capacity is my angel. They are my tribe. They held us up. The power of their prayers carried us through.
At my lowest point, I found hope in watching my family remain strong for me. We were all battling this together. This affected us all. I fought hard each month for them. I fought for others that lost the battle. I fought for those that can’t fight anymore. I continue to fight to help others. I know I have a purpose. My work on this earth isn’t done yet.
Today, I am grateful to be healthy to share this time with my family as I was unable to last year. I am happy to enjoy the outdoors with my kids this mother’s day. I’m happy to be alive and around for my husband and kids. I’m really looking forward to new beginnings with my family. New adventures-big and small. I want to just be with them for as long as God is willing. For anyone that is going through this-this is hard, it’s not easy but be open. Share your story. Tell someone. Opening up will let so much more love and light in. The amount of support available for cancer patients is outstanding. The Cross Cancer Institute is amazing. All the nurses, doctors, specialists, receptionists, techs, they are exceptional! Trust the process. It will be okay.”
– Jamila Moloo
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