Ahsan: In December 1999, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. I was 11 years old.

“Now I am back at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, but this time as an employee.”

I remember the doctor from Shaukat Khanum saying to my mother, “Ahsan has A-L-L.” I listened to them, trying to understand the code language they were speaking in. What is ALL? -I thought to myself.

I was 11 at the time. My symptoms had began as lasting fevers and a severe palour. When the doctor and my mother left the room, I searched through a booklet about Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia; the disease I was diagnosed with. What I learned scared me a little.

My treatment lasted four years. During this time, some of my relatives had abandoned me with the false belief that I would pass the cancer on to them. Only my parents and brother remained by my side. Despite the difficult treatment and social issues we faced, my family and I remained cheerful. When I’d go in for chemotherapy, I used to joke with the nurses saying, “You know, I have A-L-L the diseases in the world!’” I think my positive attitude and strength of will helped me pull through.

Now, it has been nearly eight years since I have been cancer-free. Now, I am back at Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital, but this time as an employee. Here, I will provide guidance and support to other patients under treatment who may be intimidated by the word ‘cancer.’ I believe my story shows us all that cancer is indeed curable.

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