My Mom’s Cancer

in Health & Environment / Edit

Salma-145x150December 4, 2012

By: Salma Takky


I was shocked when I found out two years ago that my mom had Breast Cancer. Death was the first thing that ran to my mind when I heard ‘’cancer.’’ I couldn’t think about what my life would be like without my mother.  As a young woman, I couldn’t imagine my mom not being around for all the milestones in my life—graduating from college, starting a career and a family.

In April 14th 2010, my mother underwent surgery to remove her right breast. In high school, my mom didn’t’ tell me anything because she knew I was busy with exams, and she wanted me to graduate. My mom was in Rabat undergoing surgery, but nobody told me why.

I received the news a few months before my Baccalaureate Exam. One day, my uncle called and told me to come to Rabat. I thought it was weird. I asked my family what was going on. “Is it mom?” Everyone told me she was fine. She was sleeping because she was tired.

I asked permission to leave school so I could head to Rabat. My brother was the first person I met when I arrived at the hospital. He told me my mom was undergoing some tests. But I knew something was wrong. A few minutes later, my sister came with her eyes full of tears. Her tears confirmed my suspicion.

They told me, “Salma, be strong. Our mom had cancer since last year (2009), and everyone knew about it except you. She preferred not to tell you because she wants you to keep focusing on your studies.’’

They told me that my mom had undergone surgery to remove her breast, and that she was fine. I did not believe them. I was in shock. I passed out for hours. When I woke up, I held my mom’s hands, kissed it and prayed Allah would bless her and send her back to good health. Dealing with my mom’s illness was very hard, knowing that she was missing a part of her body.

Finding about my mom’s cancer affected my studies. I skipped seven lectures before sitting for exams. Everyone was upset with me for missing so many lessons. But I told them that if I missed the year, I will always get the opportunity to catch up with my studies, but if I lose my mom, I will never get a chance to have her again.

I chose my mom, and I also passed the Baccalaureate Exam with good grades. After high school, I thought about studying in Rabat, so I could check on my mom more regularly. But then I thought about my dad and my brother. Who will take care of them, if I leave home? So I decided to stay in Meknes and pursue my degree in English studies.

But my heart is always with my mother who is undergoing chemotherapy treatments in Rabat. It was hard being in Meknes because I had to study hard to make my family proud of me as well as keep up with the housework.

Life has been tough, but this experience has taught me to value every day with my mom because I don’t know what the future holds. I am hopeful. My faith keeps me going. I also believe that my mom will survive because Breast Cancer is no longer a death sentence. Women are living longer, thanks to advancement in medicine. But it is still a scary situation.

Whenever I visit mom at Moulay AbdeAllah Cancer Institute, I meet other women and their families facing similar situation. My mom made friends with some of the women, and they share their experiences.

One of our neighbors was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago, and she turned to my mom for support. My mom urged her to be strong.

In September, I participated in GlobalGirl Media, a program created by American filmmakers Amie Williams and Meena Nanji to expose young women from disadvantaged communities to journalism, blogging and multimedia.

I was one of 12 young Moroccan women selected to participate in a two-week training program where we learned to blog, shoot and edit videos. I wanted to do a story about my mother’s struggle with breast cancer, but we couldn’t get permission from the hospital.

It was hard for me to focus on the training because my mother was in the hospital in Rabat. I wanted to visit her many times, but I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do it because of the training. I told my closest friends Faty and Rajae, and they helped me through it.

The program trainers allowed me to visit my mom when I had problems.
Now, my mom is back at home in Meknes. She returns to Rabat every two weeks for treatments and checkup. I am in my last year at university, and so I’m trying to focus on my studies.

But my mom’s health weighs heavily on my mind.


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