It was my graduation ceremony. I wore my graduation gown. But it did not take place in a school or college. There were no professors. The ceremony took place in a quiet corridor of a hospital. The gown was pink. Two cheerful women, my nurses, stood beside me. My relieved happy husband clicked pictures. The journey started a few months ago when I found a lump in my right breast. I was not unduly scared and took my own time to go to a doctor. After many blood tests and examinations, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I went for a second opinion and my fears were confirmed. The sixteen sessions of chemotherapy began. My doctor told me that I would become infertile, I would definitely lose my hair. Very soon I found myself wishing away my lashes. My little son remarked: “Mamma you are a bald princess”. Each day would bring an undesired surprise. Nausea, horrible headaches, joint pains, all manner of aches assailed my body. My skin became soft and fragile, my veins got swollen, and my nails turned black.

But the love from my family made me strong. My beloved father did not miss a single appointment with the doctor, helping me through with every decision. My mother was there, constantly supporting me and encouraging me to fight the fatigue through exercise. My husband who had to endure my changing moods and pain, showed no fear at all. I feel grateful to everyone who stood by me. This is a month of breast cancer awareness. Spread the word. Women, do not ignore the warnings your body gives you. Timely tests and mammograms will help in early detection. And those who are fighting cancer feel and know that you are not alone, seek help and guidance. As I buckle up for the surgery that has to follow, I keep this love and faith in my heart.

- The reader is a resident of Dubai