In this story: Mental health / Cancer / Self management /

“I never give up hope and take all the pains and barriers as challenges in my life.”

“I never felt any pain, but when I took my bath I felt a small lump. I told my children. My son told me to quickly go and see the Doctor. They said it was breast cancer, in  the second stage. In my head I was thinking what to do, what to do? She gave me two choices, she said I can either remove the lump or remove the breast. So I said, OK, remove the whole breast.

For me, survival is the most important thing because at that point in time I was doing political work. I also doing my business as well, I was driving a school bus. Within four days of my operation, I discharged myself from the hospital to run back to the children. Even the chief doctor came and scolded me! My main focus is the children, I didn’t want the children to be absent from school. The parents trusted me. You see, I cannot give up halfway, cannot put them in trouble. So, I said no, I can manage.

The worst part was the chemotherapy, and all my hair dropped out. That there is where I broke. Totally broke. Within one week, I think, lumps of hair were coming out. I really cried. I cried and cried and cried.

It’s another thing that has made me strong- the crying, the situations, everything. That’s why wherever I see people, cancer or anything at all, I quickly go and help them. I never give up hope and take all the pains and barriers as challenges in my life. As an ethnic minority woman, I face a lot of challenges and disadvantage in the community but that doesn’t stop me from working towards social change.

I try to be a role model for others who feel stuck and unable to do much about their situation, by uplifting and empowering especially the most vulnerable people in the community. I share my experience, and motivate them to bring out their full potential, to be brave to speak out about the barriers and injustices they face.”

This story has been shared as a part of ALLIANCE Self Management Month, a series of events running throughout September.

Mala has been nominated for a Self Management Award. To join any of the free online events, please register using the link above.

Read more Humans of Scotland stories. 

Photograph taken by Elaine Livingstone for Glasgow Lives (this link will take you away from our website). 

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