Time Becomes A Riddle When Living With Breast Cancer

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The wheel of emotional circles makes it difficult to centre a beginning and an end to our experiences. When we ruminate about the past, or worry about the future, we somehow manage to merge both and miss the present. Our present becomes ambiguous and elusive, but this ambiguity gives rise to fantasy, to aims, to ambitions, and also to fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of uncertainty, fear of helplessness and lack of control. After all, how much control do we have over our future?

As I write this piece, I am reminded about tomorrow and the past simultaneously. Tomorrow is when I was diagnosed with multifocal breast cancer back in 2013. Tomorrow, reminds me of the past, of the painful past, and the fearful future, if there was indeed one to be fearful of, as I couldn’t see. In 2013, the only thing I did see was my daughter, plain and clear, just under three years of age, fearing what a hairless mummy would look like through chemotherapy. “Annie Lennox?” is what I told her. Today, the fears are not so much about the hair, but if I will be here in five years’ time: “Mummy, will you die of cancer in the next five years? Don’t worry if you do, because in heaven it’s really nice. I would look forward to it if I was you. It’ll be good.” Her reality is clear. Mine is not.

I am an unidentified entity, on the go, by the ticking of the clock. No time to waste. I should keep going as time is not guaranteed, life is not a given. I am terribly busy, or so I say, in work mode. There is always something to see to. What I would like though, is a bit of time to grieve, to be sad, to cry, to raise my tears to those who could not make it the next five years, who unlike me still here, got unlucky and had to leave. The many who did have children as young as mine, but could not protect them any longer.

So, why am I still here? Survivor’s guilt. I am reminded intensely by my mother telling me: “You can do this Naz, I know you can,” when I was undergoing chemotherapy, and when…

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