Shaken by Cancer Diagnosis, CaringBridge Helps Family Connect to Their Community

A physician by profession, Sabeeha knew what needed to happen next when she felt a lump on her right breast.

“I was having regular mammograms and was not super concerned at that point, but I knew this needed to be checked out,” she said.

Within 48 hours, a mammogram and biopsy revealed that Sabeeha had breast cancer. The following week, an MRI scan showed that the cancer had spread outside of the breast. “That was actually very shocking,” Sabeeha said. “Now we are dealing with Stage IV cancer. It was really quite disheartening for me to learn that diagnosis.”

Sabeeha and her husband Huzefa were reeling from the diagnosis and what it would mean for their future, as well as the future of their two teenage sons. “The big C is a scary word,” Huzefa said. “Cancer, suddenly just stops your mind for a little bit.”  

Once they processed the diagnosis, they made a plan with Sabeeha’s medical team. Over the next few years, she would endure chemotherapy, radiation, and surgeries to achieve remission. Huzefa took on the role as her primary caregiver, in addition to working full-time and taking care of their sons.

Huzefa recalled the early days of trying to manage all that was happening to their family. “It’s exhausting, especially when you are focused on so many different things— making the appointments, making sure you have food for the kids, making sure the household is taken care of and the bills are paid.”

In addition, friends and family members wanted to know what was going on with her diagnosis and treatment. “They are asking because they care,” Huzefa said. “But it is very difficult to be so repetitive and still have a positive mindset. It was a lot of drain to repeat and repeat and repeat.”

Sabeeha needed to focus her energy on healing, and Huzefa needed to focus on caring for her. And they needed their community to rally around them.

“In that sense, CaringBridge was a godsend,” said Huzefa. “If people would call, I would refer them to the update [on CaringBridge], and then we could talk about more positive things.”

In addition to connecting them with their community during a difficult time, Huzefa reflected on how CaringBridge helped their community feel less alone and isolated. “They didn’t feel isolated, like, ‘why didn’t anybody tell me?’ or ‘how do I get more information?’”

CaringBridge was the connection for loved ones all around the world to keep updated on Sabeeha’s journey. At last, Sabeeha received the news everyone was waiting to hear. “My scan in June of 2020 showed that things looked great. They did not see any evidence of cancer.”

The journey from then to now hasn’t been easy. There have been numerous setbacks along the way. But there have also been many joyful moments, as she and Huzefa have watched their sons grow, making beautiful family memories together. As they prepare to send their oldest son off to college, Sabeeha is doing well, and the family’s future is bright.

“I’m very proud of my sons,” said Huzefa. “And of course, Sabeeha. She and I have been married for 24 years. It’ll be ups and downs, like every marriage. We’ve gone through a lot and I’m sure we’ll go through a lot in our future as well. But at the core of it all, what makes me happy is I’m a family man. I am defined by joy, by being with my family.”

In sickness and in health, Huzefa has remained steadfast by his family’s side, as a father, a husband, and a caregiver.

“The caregiver’s journey is an endless journey,” said Huzefa. “I would not have been able to remain as positive if it was not for CaringBridge to offload that part of it. It gave me the forum to be positive, to be open, to be vulnerable.”

And their loved ones followed along every step of the way, something for which Huzefa will always be grateful.

“Everybody wants to help. And we don’t know how. The least we can do is be there and give you a sense of community every day. Humans are social animals. You need people around you. And that’s what CaringBridge gives you.”