We often hear the famous phrase “El Marad El Wehesh” (the bad illness) as society has raised us to constantly dread the word “cancer” and view it as the equivalent of death. However there are many strong cancer survivors who continue to inspire us everyday, and Anissa Hassouna is definitely one of them. We had the privilege to sit with Mrs. Anissa and discuss the obstacles and struggles she went through with her battle with cancer inspiring her to write a wonderful memoir that touched our hearts.
Author and Member of Parliament Anissa Hassouna shattered all notions last year, when she went public with her cancer diagnoses in her new memoir “Bedoon Sabeq Enzar” (Without Prior Warning) which documents her ongoing journey. “Cancer is a very mysterious and frightening disease. People often fear it because they are not quite aware why they get it and why it kills them” she says.
“We have to start putting priorities and do the things that we love because nothing lasts forever”
The prominent Member of Parliament told us that she was hesitant about telling her story at first, but her husband and daughters encouraged her. “I couldn’t have done it without my husband and daughters’ support. My husband was with me through every chemo session, and he has a great certitude that I will recover and write my second book about how I defeated cancer” she tells.
Mrs. Anissa traveled to Germany to seek treatment and the doctor told her that she will go through a short 10 day recovery period, but unfortunately she suffered many side effects from the surgery and spent 42 days at the hospital. During her painful recovery period Mrs. Anissa was very reluctant to give up and surrender to the disease, but something always pulled her back. “I was very optimistic at first, but then with time the pain got worse and hope started to fade away. I started asking myself why am I resisting, but then it hit me, I am doing this for my husband, daughters and grandchildren. I want to hang on to every second I have left with them” she says.
“With time, I realized that I didn’t do something wrong, I am still the same person but with shorter hair”
There is no doubt that this was a transforming journey in Mrs. Anissa’s life, cancer has stormed her life without any warnings making her appreciate more the simple things in life. “I hate cancer but I can’t deny the fact that it helped me view life differently. It made me realize that life is too short and we can’t take it for granted. We have to start putting priorities and do the things that we love because nothing lasts forever” she explains.
Mrs. Anissa has gone through terrifying and frustrating moments especially after chemotherapy, which reminded her of the importance of empowering other women going through a cancer journey. “At first I was ashamed of the way I looked after losing my hair as a side effect to the chemo, I directly resorted to using a wig. With time, I realized that I didn’t do something wrong, I am still the same person but with shorter hair” she says.
“I wanted to leave something for the grandchildren to remember me with and I wanted it to be a message of hope to every women going through this painful journey”
The prestigious author urges female cancer fighters to embrace their beauty, “Don’t blame yourself for getting sick, cancer is never a choice. People have to accept you the way you are” she says.
Bedoon Sabeq Enzar (Without Prior Warning) is a painful yet optimistic portrayal of Mrs. Anissa’s journey, you can’t help but get emotional as you witness every detail of her battle. “There were many reasons why I decided to write this book, I wanted to leave something for the grandchildren to remember me with and I wanted it to be a message of hope to every women going through this painful journey” she tells.