Rizza is a cervical cancer patient. She is 38 years old. She was diagnosed with stage-III cervical cancer in July 2020.
It was quite a tough challenge for me. Even before the pandemic, I had suffered from a few health conditions like irregular periods and abdominal pain. My boss, who was a cancer survivor, has supported me a lot and advised me to get diagnosed as soon as possible. The doctor has asked me to get a series of tests after I got the reports of the first test as they were suspicious. It was in July that I got the tests done and the report came out positive with stage-III cervical cancer.
I accepted the reports, of course, I cried but I accepted it. I believe that 80% of the strength to fight cancer comes from your mind and 20% from medication. Even though I am not a survivor yet, I firmly believe I will be one day. I keep telling myself that it is not the sickness, it is just a challenge that I have to overcome no matter what.
I was a caregiver to my grandparents, father, and my aunt when I was young. Even though I was by their side helping them, I realized that we don’t know until we face that challenge. I cried out loud to relive my emotions and not because I surrender.
I feel pain from the tumor but I will be fine one day and I believe in myself. I feel I am different from the rest of the cancer patients because I don’t have nausea or other side effects like other cancer patients.
At one point I broke down as I was feeling a lot of physical pain. But I remembered my mom, she needs me. I cannot feel weak.
When I was diagnosed with cervical cancer I never thought or questioned why this is happening to me, I believed in God that it has something to do for me. I believe that it is just a challenge for me to become stronger for more coming future challenges.
Advice to fellow cancer fighters
Recently I heard that one of my childhood friends was diagnosed with breast cancer. I tell her that ‘you don’t have time to sulk, cry, or think anything negative because you have to fight for yourself, and for your loved ones’. A couple of weeks ago she sent me pictures of herself getting treated and being happy. I felt very happy and I was motivated to fight.
Telling the family
I didn’t tell my family right away after the cervical cancer diagnosis. My mother was weak and old and I couldn’t bear myself telling her and making her worry for me. As my father also suffered from cancer. The first person who knew about my diagnosis was my boss and a couple of friends here in Dubai where I currently live. I told my parents after the completion of the first session of treatment, and surprisingly they took it well. My aunts helped to manage without telling my mother. Later when she got to know about my challenge, she advised me that I need to be strong.
I learned to make time for myself and my loved ones. I am the breadwinner for my family. Due to working for a lot of hours I couldn’t make enough time myself and being in a different time zone, I couldn’t make enough time for my family also.
I learned to control my emotions mainly by getting angry. I became more wise and benevolent towards the people around me.
I learned to give back more than I received. Because many people are helping me through this journey and making it easy.
I stopped smoking. I changed my diet according to the doctor’s advice. I eat without restrictions in moderation excluding junk food. I can’t exercise right now due to my condition as I get tired very easily.
You don’t have time to sulk, cry or do anything negative during hard times because you have to fight for yourself, for your loved ones.
Let your emotions out, crying does not mean you gave up.
Be positive, never give up.
I am and will always be grateful for all the people supporting me in my hardest times. Love everyone around you.