Marriam Rehman: Breast Cancer and 6 months pregnant
Marriam Rehman was six months pregnant with her second child when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite all the odds being stacked against her, she wanted to fight for her baby’s life just as she was fighting for her own. Your support made that fight possible.
“When we were told it was breast cancer, we were absolutely devastated” recalls Marriam’s husband, Mr. Rehman. “My wife’s first question to the doctor was, ‘Am I going to lose the baby?’” Following a routine check-up at the doctors, Marriam Rehman was asked to undergo a breast biopsy, which later revealed a tumour. A cancer diagnosis during pregnancy is a rare occurrence, affecting 1 in every 1,000 pregnant women. And like every woman affected, Marriam found herself thrust into an agonizing paradox of fighting for life while giving life to a child.
“We went from one hospital to another in Lahore only to hear time and time again that Marriam would have to have an abortion before starting treatment.” Mr. Rehman explains. “This was a decision our hearts refused to accept. With one last hope, we made our way to Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital.”
Following a thorough check-up at Shaukat Khanum Hospital, Marriam, was told she would be able to receive treatment while pregnant. After delivering the baby she could undergo surgery. “We were thrilled at the news. What’s more, they said the hospital would cover the cost of her full treatment. I’m a simple factory worker, so I was especially worried about not being able to afford the cancer treatment to save my wife and child.”
It is rare today for a woman with cancer to be counselled to terminate a pregnancy. Even though the decision to do so can often expand her options for treatment. “My wife fought her battle with cancer not just for herself but for the little life she carried. Her chemotherapy treatments were especially difficult and emotionally draining for the both of us. We had imagined that we’d be buying clothes and preparing for the birth of our baby around that time. Instead we were fighting for life.”
The strength Marriam showed throughout those harrowing 7 months surprised all the hospital staff who cared for her. In the end, Mr. and Mrs. Rehman were blessed with their second child, a healthy baby girl they named Haram. “After Haram was born, my wife underwent surgery as part of her treatment plan. In April 2019 she won the battle against cancer. At Shaukat Khanum Hospital we found the hope we’d lost with that initial diagnosis. Now my wife’s only wish is that our children grow up to become doctors. She hopes they will help save the lives of others, just as the doctors here saved the life of their mother.”
Every year, at Shaukat Khanum Hospital, we witness so many ‘hopeless cases’ where poor cancer patients, like Marriam, beat cancer against all the odds. Their recovery is possible through the will of Allah (swt) and your Zakat and Sadaqah. She and all our patients who were able to receive free treatment thanks to your support, have a message:
Thank you for not giving up on us. May Allah (swt) bless you and your families.
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