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I didn’t love myself before cancer: Nadia Jamil


Veteran actor Nadia Jamil, who announced her recovery from cancer in July, recently detailed the importance of keeping a track of your physical health on account of Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Muneeba Mazari.

While Jamil was being treated, the world around her had to shell into isolation because of the Covid-19 pandemic as well, leading to a crunch in physical, in-person support from loved ones. Thus, Jamil also spilled the beans on how she kept herself motivated to stay alive.

The Mujhay Jeenay Do actor was even keeping her fans in the loop while fighting the deadly disease, without concerning herself with taboos surrounding breast cancer. Now, she has also explained why it is important for women to love their bodies and openly discuss the problems they are facing without worrying about anyone sexualising or objectifying mere body parts.

“When Nadia was on her way to the hospital, she was on the phone with me. And when she was about to go inside she asked me to pray for her. But the kind of bravery and strength she had in her voice, proved to me that she can survive anything,” Muneeba said during a phone conversation with Jamil on PTV.

Recalling that moment, and those that followed, Jamil shared, “I just constantly felt that I’m not alone, that there is a force holding me together. It was God, reassuring me with the life around me – even if it included trees – that I will live through this. So that gave me strength.”

Upon reinstating how women refrain from sharing breast cancer symptoms which leads to a delay in diagnoses, Mazari asked Jamil when she became aware of her condition and how she reacted to it.

“My father had cancer, he fought it twice or thrice. My grandmother also had cancer and my grandfather died of it. So I always had that sense of responsibility towards myself that I have to take care of myself, and get regular checkups. So while taking a bath one day I felt a lump around my chest and I went to the doctor immediately,” she recalled. “My cancer was detected on stage one. But the tumour was on stage three, it was spreading quite rapidly. So had I even waited a month more, it could’ve spread into my bloodstream and my lymph nodes,” she relayed.

About constantly sharing her journey on social media and how it helped her, as well as those following her, Jamil reminisced, “When I was sharing my journey, a lot of people messaged me and I pray for them so much today because when I was all alone and only God and my 13-year-old son were with me, these people would share their own stories or their loved ones’ who had survived breast cancer. That gave me hope. Because when a person develops cancer, everyone around that person is affected too. So it’s very important for people to constantly support each other.”

Touching upon how cancer, and the chemotherapy that follows, spark some unpleasant bodily changes, which make it difficult for one to love themself, Jamil stated, “When I looked at myself in the mirror for the very first time after turning bald, I focused on how beautiful my eyes were. And that’s funny because I didn’t love myself before cancer.”

She asserted how something that could have killed her, turned into a “blessing” because of how it taught her how to really love herself. It also stripped her off of the obsession she, and most of us have developed with confusing self-love and the need to fit into beauty standards. “It’s like my cancer told me, ‘Nadia, you don’t need to hide behind your hair anymore. This is your face, and it’s is all you have. So look at it and love it.’ And I was very proud of my long thick hair back then by the way. But when cancer stripped away that pride from me, I learnt to love everything else about myself, which I had been hiding all along.”

She went on to conclude, “My breast cancer reminded me that I was born alone and am bound to die alone, taking no one and nothing with me. So might as well take care of who I am; the person I am and befriend her instead of constantly transforming and hiding her away with hair and makeup, instead of keeping up a façade.”

Watch the interview here: 

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