Alberta Cancer Foundation

Hina Haq’s Journey as a Mother Facing Cancer

Hina Haq, a Calgarian originally from Pakistan, is a devoted mother of three children and has been married for two decades. Her inspiring story is a testament to the power of resilience, optimism, and a mother’s unwavering love. Despite facing cancer once in her teens and again in her forties, Hina has maintained a positive mindset and, more recently, striving to be a strong role model for her children.

Hina HaqHina’s most recent encounter with cancer began during the COVID-19 pandemic when she discovered a lump in her breast. Hina wasn’t overly concerned, though. After a few weeks, she could no longer feel the lump. Yet, months passed, and the thought lingered to get it checked out.

Eventually, she did. After a series of mammograms and a biopsy, a stage 1 breast cancer diagnosis was revealed.

Hina suspects that the lump must have moved from when she’d initially felt it, or that it had been a sort of intuition. Either way, Hina stresses the importance of seeking mammograms, especially for women over 40 years old, as some lumps may not be felt. “It’s important to get screened regularly and not to take this lightly,” she says.

Hina wanted nothing more than to provide hope to her children through this time, so she took this diagnosis in stride.

However, during her subsequent 9-hour surgery, which encompassed a mastectomy, breast reconstruction, and lymph node biopsy, her medical team discovered that her cancer was stage 3. The news shocked Hina, but she knew there was no other option than to move forward with faith.

“I can’t say I always felt up to the challenges, but I had to show up, giving it my all and not quitting ’cause I knew I was being watched, and I had to be strong [for my children]. To teach them how to persevere and how to make lemonade when life gives you lemons.”
Looking back on her treatments at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Hina expressed undying gratitude. Facing cancer while mothering three children comes with massive stress. Yet, her care team’s compassion and expertise helped alleviate some of the worries she faced. Having experienced treatment on opposite sides of the world, Hina explains, “The treatment I received in Calgary, I don’t believe I would have gotten anywhere else.”

Years earlier, when Hina was only 16 years old, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma while living in Pakistan. At that time, she bravely faced nearly a year of treatment hoping she would never have to take on such a challenge again. However, when cancer reentered her life, Hina happened upon her medical records from her treatments in Pakistan. This unexpected discovery turned out to be a crucial piece of information.

Hina’s medical team in Calgary informed her that a medication she had previously used in Pakistan would have posed a significant risk if administered again. The documentation she found played a vital role in potentially saving her life by preventing the reuse of that medication. This was a massive relief to Hina, her medical team and her loved ones.

Hina’s positive outlook was not without its challenges. However, she believes valuable lessons were learned through this experience, especially for her children.

“I’m quite sure they have learned that life has good and bad days with a whole bunch of normal in between. That family is about being together. And that the best gift of all is, in fact, love.”
Despite the difficulties they faced, Hina Haq and her family managed to create beautiful moments together.

“It was a hard year, but in so many ways, it was a year of growth and a wonderful one as well.”

Hina Haq

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, let us draw inspiration from Hina’s incredible journey. May we honour the mothers who have cared for us, even during their most difficult battles.


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