The Oxford Dictionary defines the word parent as a person’s father or mother. But for us, the definition of “parent” in this dictionary is incomplete because we changed our entire life for Hadeed, our one and only child.
Hadeed was nearly four, living with us in Renala Khurd, a small town in the district of Okara in Punjab, when the vomiting and stomach pain first started. Doctors told us that he had probably hurt himself while playing outside but I could sense that was far from what was actually taking place. His father and I brought him to Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (SKMCH&RC). Here, we were told that he had a type of kidney cancer, a Wilms’ tumour. But the news got worse; the cancer had spread to his stomach.
Committed to cure him, we made the move to Lahore. My husband left behind his own mobile phone shop and took a job working at one instead. He was away from us often till midnight, only to counter the expenses, while I watched Hadeed endure his treatment, witnessing both his best and worst moments. SKMCH&RC was able to provide us with full financial support.
One kidney was removed and then, a round of chemotherapy followed. My child bared it all patiently. The anger towards his enemy, the cancer he had to beat, became a driving force. At the chemo bay, it was all business, no sweet talk; Hadeed just wanted the nurses to finish his chemo. We bought him a PSP gaming console, to distract him, and enrolled him in computer classes to help Hadeed conserve his energy. After 16 sessions of chemotherapy, we were told that Hadeed was clear of cancer.
However, our joy was shortlived and three months later, Hadeed relapsed and this time the cancer returned to another part of his body. Disheartened, we refused to have our child go through chemotherapy again. Dr. Ata Ur Rehman Maaz, Hadeed’s oncologist, asked us to meet with a therapist, which gave my husband and I the strength to continue the fight. Finally, after another round of chemotherapy, Hadeed beat cancer in March 2011.
Today, Hadeed studies in Class One and he is boss of our house – he decides what I will cook for dinner, how we will spend the day with him, and even, what clothes my husband and I can wear! When he grows up, my Hadeed wants to become a doctor just like Dr. Maaz.