It seems as if my life is running ahead of me. I barely come to grips with one reality when something else happens. As a result of it, my home office and desk is full of my income tax papers, and so many cartons of the Bridal Project things. So, I did something smart today, I drove to Second Cup in F-11 Islamabad, early in the morning. So, I’m now doing what most writers do; Writing in a restaurant. Need to catch up here, and touch base with you all. Need to share about the Turkish trip and Pinktober last month.
Turkey trip in September:
Listen, I’m going to share this trip properly with you, here its just a teaser, while mentioning it.
The most wonderful thing that happened in September was my trip to Turkey with my daughters and two grand daughters. I shared every part of it in my candid stories, on Instagram which my followers loved. The trip was for ten days; 12th till 22nd September. It was just amazing. It was planned and executed by Nataliya and Waliya, the main force behind it. Nadiya came from Halifax with 3-year-old Nyra, and Waliya and I went from Islamabad. All met at Istanbul. Nataliya had made the bookings from Seattle for five days at the Airbnb.
Story behind the trip:
All through my illness during last fifteen months, our biggest ‘escape’ was to go on this dream trip. I just felt that it was a good diversion; but it was too farfetched to become a reality. Lots of problems happened, but Nataliya (in Seattle) and Waliya (in Islamabad,) stayed determined. Whenever I said, ‘let it be…’ the girls would say, ‘wait till we are there together.’ That’s how it was, it was just amazing. Truly ‘out of this world.’ Very much worth it.
Four Influencers On A Trip Abroad:
Going with three influencers, meant that our followers were following each one of us. While I shared it candidly as it happened. Each one would share at her own discretion. Those of you who follow us all, know what I’m talking about. Those of you who aren’t, you can follow us on Instagram now: @waliyanajib, @nataliyakhan, @nadiyanajib, @shireengheba. So, the highlight of September was our trip.
Then October began, it is the pink ribbon month for Breast Cancer Awareness. I was sharing all that I learnt in my short Urdu language videos which I posted on Instagram. It was because I realized that not many people are fluent in English, and if I spoke in Urdu, I’d reach more people through my Instagram. So, I did that, you too can slip there to see what I was sharing. It is really important information which I’ve been coming across, as I’ve been on this journey for over fifteen months now.
Then the onslaught of requests for me to join podcasts and interviews began.
I’ll share a few links here:
- Humna Raza’s podcast on her Happy Chirp. It was an in-depth interview of my whole journey. Believe me the podcast was almost one and half hours, on Happy Chirp, YouTube channel.
- Humna Raza began by sharing facts and figures about breast cancer; out of 90,000 breast cancer patients in Pakistan, 40,000 die. It is due to going too late for treatment. This is why such events and efforts are important. The goal is to reduce the number of 40k. Breast cancer is curable now. This video is also available on Spotify.
- The podcast was funded by a lingerie company Belleza, and they shall be making bra for those who get a mastectomy.
- Students from NUST arranged this podcast with me:
The Visionaries/Breast Cancer Awareness. Shireen Gheba Najib.
- An event was arranged by Raabta of Serena Hotel. It had two doctors who were specialists in Screening, and dealing with Cancer; Also there were two survivors including a male, Mr. Aizaz Khan. I realized both of us had a lot in common regarding our attitude towards our illness. Both were involved in our activities throughout our illness, and chose to get treated in Pakistan. He got it done at a much more economical way. The chief guest at this event was Mrs. Samina Alvi, first lady, and wife of President Alvi. It really was a pleasure to meet her and the other panelists, as well as the host, a well-known television personality. This article shared here has all the details of that event.
- The other event was by LMKR, an Oil and Gas company. It was in Chaye Khana, a lunch arranged for their female employees. We were two speakers: the other was Dr. Humera who shared two very important facts about breast cancer:
- Every 8th female gets breast cancer. One in a thousand males gets it too. (So, the numbers of men are huge too, in Pakistan, due to its population.)
- A DNA test is necessary for children of cancer patients. It is a fact that when a person’s mother or maternal relatives get breast cancer, then they have a higher probability of getting it. Also, if relatives from father’s side, but then, the probability is lessor.
- When the parents’ age of getting cancer is higher than fifty years of age, then the children do not have any probability caused from their genes or DNA. They are safe from having heredity as a cause of getting cancer. (I was very relieved to hear this, as my husband got it at 58 years, and I got it in my mid-sixties. Great. Both of us have lived very healthy lifestyle. (I remembered, how happy my doctors were to know my age!) Haha, good to know that aging can be an advantage! 😉
- Besides this I also appeared on live programs on Instagram. Again, one was a lingerie company and the other was….? In which I was asked to appear with my head covered. Well, I had no objection to that, in fact my followers liked me like that too. Ummm I’ve forgotten which company it was! I think I can be forgiven for that.
- Meanwhile I made at least seven videos on Instagram in Urdu language relating to different aspects of my cancer journey. Out of these, four are based on food that need to be taken, or avoided to keep you safe from cancer – whether you have it or not! Another one which was viewed for over 84 k times, is about certain lifestyle habits related to driving and mobile phone use.
- Oh yes, and my own newspaper Dawn’s Images section asked me to write for them too. I happily wrote it for them. There was so much nostalgia attached to writing that one. I’d love to do it again. Its just that I’ve been bitten by the blogger’s bug. 😉 Here it is:
Managing my usual philanthropic activities:
In spite of my commitments, my Bridal Projects continued, as did my medical projects and food drive. That is saying a lot as it is no joke doing it all with personal involvement, and attention.
I’m Sharing this with You Because…
So, I can forgive myself for not blogging during these two months. It wasn’t because I was inactive, it was because something more important was taking my time. When I’m working on the cancer story, we are talking about saving lives. It is worth it.
Yet, it is important to save myself too:
Through these journeys (of Turkey and Pinktober) I realized I faced these issues:
In Turkey Trip:
In my ten days in Turkey I enjoyed it all very much, but my right knee had a rough time, I was walking up to eight thousand steps a day. This is way more than my ‘normal’ four thousand steps per day. I have to be kind to my right knee because it has two bones touching, at every step. So, I get pain, and get fatigued quicker.
My oncologist has told me that the knee replacement surgery has to wait for a year at least. (To recover from my intensive cancer treatments.) The orthopedic surgeon says, that he will do the operation whenever I ask for it. Though it is not an emergency now, but I’ve got to be careful. During the traveling, there was too much walking involved. I didn’t feel much during my Skardu trip, but in Turkey it got tough at times. So, my girls arranged a wheelchair for me during last two days through the hotel. (We got it on rent of $20 per day.) Also, I arranged for a full day large taxi, one day, and a coach for half day ($150 each). That was a big relief for us all. Throughout we used taxis, as we had Nyra and her pram too.
Sharing a harrowing journey is never easy. No one likes to talk of traumatic times in their lives, it is too triggering. What with everyone coming to me with their stories, they don’t realize how much my empathy with them, is triggering for me. Each word triggers memories of my past which I’d rather not re-live.
Though I shared it, for the sake of bringing relief to others, knowing it is important; I’ve realized, I’ve got to protect myself. This is why I’ve shared it on my website in my blog posts, and now in my Instagram through videos in Urdu. (Which I plan to transfer to my YouTube channel). So, all my information is available for my viewers, followers and readers. It is best to not discuss with me anymore.
Need To Move On With My Life:
After every major event in one’s life, one needs to move on. Whether it was a happy event or a difficult one. Life goes on, it is never meant to be spent being stuck at one point for too long. There is so much for us to be doing.
Probably, this is the most important lesson that I’ve learnt through my journeys.
Stay blessed! 😊