A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event, and for Babar Shaikh and Zahra Khan, it was no different.
Earlier this year, Zahra was diagnosed with Stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma, “a highly malignant breast cancer which was fast growing”.
In a viral LinkedIn post, Babar shared his wife’s breast cancer journey and the lessons they learned along the way. The post has since gone viral, with many lauding the couple’s positive approach.
“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,” he noted in the post.
‘This post is more than just about cancer.’
Babar wrote that before the diagnosis, Zahra had a full-time job and a budding business, while he 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, mentally and physically, 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,” he wrote.
Even as Zahra began losing her hair, lost her taste for food, and battled severe fatigue, she “didn’t allow her reality to change her life”, Babar noted.
After taking a sabbatical, she kept her job. “She kept adding value to brands the way she did 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,” he said.
Babar also celebrated his support system — family, friends, and colleagues alike — for giving Zahra flexibility and a conducive environment to work. Babar’s manager, too, was considerate and allowed him to take time to tend to his wife, and his colleagues stepped in for him.
The support they received, he noted, was a “humbling reminder that there is so much good in this world”.
“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 said.
You can read Babar’s full post here.