"Come to the Aga Khan University Hospital and have a check up done. The excellent facilities here are available to everyone." Sadaf Ahmed
Sadaf Ahmad was having a shower one day, when she felt a hard growth in her breast. Sadaf had heard about the importance of having an immediate check-up through awareness raising health programmes on television, and she discussed the situation with her mother. Her mother and other female family members encouraged her to obtain professional help and after some tests, she was eventually referred to the Breast Clinic at the Aga Khan University Hospital.
Sadaf had always believed AKUH was too costly for people like herself. However, she was pleasantly surprised at the caring attitude of the doctors at the Breast Clinic and the welfare programme officers at the Hospital. She was impressed with the excellent system in place for patients such as herself who needed both medical and financial assistance.
"The treatment for this disease is very expensive. However, all the breast cancer patients here are treated equally. The doctors are very cooperative and understanding: they work with the patient to provide her the best options and a way forward."
Sadaf's family was shocked to hear her diagnoses, as she was the first woman in her family to have breast cancer. However, they were very supportive and helped her as she was slowly unable to perform her regular role in the household.
For three years, Sadaf underwent treatment for breast cancer. She underwent surgery, followed by seven sessions of chemotherapy and nineteen sessions of radiotherapy.
"Dr Tayabba told me never to let my will-power fail, or I would become weak," Sadaf recalls.
During the time she was ill, Sadaf's greatest concern was for her daughters, now aged thirteen and eleven years. Her daughters missed many days of school while Sadaf was unwell. They would become frightened when she returned home after chemotherapy and suffered from the after effects such as loss of hair and darkened nails. Fortunately, her husband was understanding and supported her and the children's needs.
Her faith in God and the support of her family and doctors gave Sadaf the courage to survive the ordeal. Today, she is fully recovered from breast cancer and leading a normal life.
"I became closer to God during this entire experience. God gave me this disease, and He also helped to cure me," she says.
"During my difficult times, I also became closer to people as I realised who was really helping me and who were my true friends," she adds.