“Ahsan has A-L-L.” said the doctor to my mother. I listened to them, trying to understand the code language they were speaking in. “What is ALL?” I thought to myself. When they left the room, I searched through a book about the disease and what I learned scared me a little. I was 11 years old when the lasting fever and paleness started, like the blood had drained away from my body. In December 1999, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL).
My treatment lasted four years and 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. I used to come for chemotherapy and often used to joke with the nurses saying, “You know I have A-L-L the diseases in the world.” It has been nearly eight years since I have been cancer-free. Now, I have returned to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, but this time for a job. Here, I will provide guidance and support to other patients under treatment who may be intimidated by the word “cancer.” My story shows us all that cancer is indeed curable.