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Shedding negativity: breast cancer patient cleanses inner-self

October 4, 2018

Alyia Wasi loved her long hair, so seeing it begin to fall out was a heartbreaking part of her journey with breast cancer that began last year.

Wasi inadvertently noticed a lump in her breast as she walked down the stairs one morning.

“I thought, ‘What is that hard thing?’ I pressed the other side and there was nothing,” Wasi said. “I think, ‘Oh, this is a tumor,’ and I got upset. My husband came home and I said I needed to go to the doctor.”

Tests revealed Wasi had breast cancer. She received treatment at Memorial Hermann Northeast from oncologist and McGovern Medical School professor, Julie Rowe.

Wasi’s first round of chemotherapy began in July 2017.

She ended up deciding to cut off her beloved hair instead of watching it grow thinner from chemotherapy. Before she could toss it out, her husband intervened.

“My husband said, ‘Don’t throw it out,’” Wasi said. “He knows I love my hair and it was very painful for me.”

For her, the locks of hair remind her to focus on her inner-self and direct her love toward others — not things. This mindset has even motivated her to take up volunteerism.

Wasi’s first cycle of chemotherapy contained eight treatments.

“At the time, the size of my tumor was about four centimeters, but with the chemo, it shrank to about 1.25 centimeters,” Wasi said. “I am lucky that it shrank like 70 percent. It saved my breast.”

A CT scan done prior to the chemotherapy had also shown a suspicious spot on Wasi’s lung. After the first round of chemo, Wasi said the dot had disappeared.

“The first chemo was very effective,” Wasi said.

Wasi had a lumpectomy to remove what was left of the shrunken tumor and after a brief break, began radiation in February. She is now undergoing a final cycle of chemotherapy scheduled to last until November. The round is precautionary to ensure the cancer cells are completely gone.

“They want to make sure my body’s clean now,” Wasi said.

The experience highlighted the importance, and the challenges, of cleansing negativity from both the body and mind.

“Forgiveness is very hard because we are not angels; we are human beings,” Wasi said. “Sometimes deep inside we have some kind of corruption; we have some kind of jealousy; we have some kind of bad-thinking — that is the main thing we should remove.”

mfeuk@hcnonline.com

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