Against All Odds, I Will Survive.

by Maryam Mirza

She lost her hair, she lost her confidence. She lost her husband, she lost her support. Yet she didn't lose hope. ' I will survive' was the mantra she kept on chanting, when all others who knew her knew she just had a few more weeks. Her doctors had stopped trying. To them, she was a lost cause. They thought it was wastage of valuable time and resources to carry on with her treatment, which wasn't getting her any better. Her husband thought she was more trouble than she was worth and left her on her own. And yet she didn't lose hope.

She was in the throes of the end stages of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. And she had less than a month to live. But she was putting up every form of resistance she could muster because she knew there was more to life than she had experienced. At twenty- seven, she was too young to die. There were lots of things she hadn't experienced yet. Like the joys of motherhood, like living the life of an independent woman. But the doctors had already started counting her days. And with everyday she lived, she received a new blow on her consciousness, trying to arouse her from the false sense of well being she seemed to be in.

"I will survive", she answered plainly to any one who asked her how she felt about her impending death. She still believed that, even when she contracted graft versus host disease after her bone marrow transplant. It was as if her body was rebelling against the very notion she was striving for. Her health was waning, but her spirit was not.

And then her body couldn't take it anymore. It was battered and broken beyond repair, but her soul was as resilient as ever. Her friends told her she was being unjust to herself. She shouldn't keep her hopes so high, ready to be dashed by the slightest miscalculation. And after going into relapse after relapse, she should know better than to pin her hopes on the unlikely. The doctors gave her a week. Maximum. They said anything beyond that would be a miracle.

She lived. For three more years. Long enough to prove her doctors, and her fellow patients and friends, wrong. And when she died she did so with a smile on her face and a gloating voice, proclaiming, "I told you I had more time. In the true sense of the word, I have survived."

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