Babar Sheikh took to social media to pen down a heartfelt note about his wife Zahra Khan who was diagnosed with cancer. Khan, who is a marketeer by profession and an entrepreneur was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Sheikh also writes that despite receiving this heart-wrenching news, Zahra Khan did not give up. She continued with her job and managed to cater to her new and budding business, No Nonsense Cheesecake.
A Peek into Zahra Khan’s Journey
On 6th Jan 2022, we found a lump on my wife’s chest. After 2 weeks of countless hours of waiting in hospital lobbies, meeting numerous oncologists and breast surgeons and a million scans later, our world turned upside down. Zahra had stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma, a highly malignant breast cancer which was fast growing.
More than a sense of dread, there was anxiety and confusion before we internalised the fact that the battle was yet to come. But this was also when we made a decision-one where we would not let cancer run the narrative.
This post is more than just about cancer. Zahra had a full-time job, and a budding business and I was transitioning into a new job. In the midst of this, we were caught in the eye of the storm. The treatment regimen would lead to severe changes mental and physical for both of us. From vacating our home, and moving in with my in-laws (owing to the extra care she would need during her fight with the disease) to proactively getting our scans and appointments done. Diet, sleep and self-nourishment became important like never before.
A nerve-wracking 6 months of chemotherapy saw her lose her hair, not function for days after a chemo session, lose her taste of food or water for days on end and was general fatigue and lethargic.
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The lesson here, though, is this; she didn’t allow her reality to change her life. She kept her job (despite first taking a sabbatical), and she kept adding value to brands the way she’s always done day in and day out. She grew her cheesecake business manifold. Her social media presence increased 4X, sales went through the roof and she made a brand that has become a “household name” in many quarters – all from the confines of her bed. A lesson in fighting with grace, if there was ever one.
We’d like to mention that during this difficult time, Zahra’s company and bosses understood her pain and gave her the space and flexibility she needed. The office created an environment where she didn’t feel pressurized to work. What kept her going was kind words and appreciation of all she was doing by her colleagues.
Babar’s manager also gave him relief for his wife, hospital runs, and attending the sessions no matter how long they were. It took 16 chemo sessions, a double mastectomy, and 19 radiations for Zahra Khan to defeat cancer like a champ she took the fight and won.
“Compassion and kindness, at home and at work, go a long way. Everyone is fighting their battles, let’s create systems that can make it just a tad bit easier for them,” he concluded his note.
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Zahra Khan’s Experience
During a podcast, Zahra Khan shared that being in the marketing field and because October is promoting campaigns, she had self-examination on top of her mind.
So one day, while changing she conducted a self-examination and felt a lump. She adds that it was not sticking out and wasn’t noticeable, but was there.
She even shared that there were no symptoms, and she was very normal during the discovery, she was not lethargic nor experienced any other differences.
Listen to her inspiring journey below: