Ep 7. Living with Cancer

This is the heart-breaking story of Naadia’s journey of living with terminal cancer; her fears, her heartbreak, not only battling with her health but also her faith. She shares how Keto gave her a new lease of life, how she remains positive in the face of darkness, and how she is cementing her legacy today.


Warning: This topic is triggering. 


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Naadia Vazeer is a 49-year-old single mum of four kids aged between 15 to 21.  In March, 2016,

Naadia was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer on her left breast. A year later, the cancer had spread to the rest of the body. Unfortunately, the cancer is now terminal and there’s no cure. In Naadia’s own words. she’s just ‘buying time’.


Nadia has been an advocate for breast cancer awareness since diagnosis. In 2017, a few days after a hospital stay and stage 4 diagnoses, Naadia was awarded a unique award called ‘The Women of Wonder Awards’ for her outreach into the community and raising awareness for breast cancer. She’s been interviewed by all genres of media, local to her where she’s based in South Africa, as well as internationally. You can read about her achievements here & here:


Naadia created her own hashtag,  which went viral in South Africa:  #fightlikeagirl

She also has a Facebook breast cancer awareness page and she founded a private breast cancer support group, where she helps women and their loved ones through their emotional, mental, and physical aspects of the journey.

Inspired by the Keto lifestyle, Naadia and her daughter Nabila founded a Keto food business, please do check it out and support them! https://www.facebook.com/nntheketochicks/ 

It is important to mention that Naadia not only faced cancer alone, but she had gone through a very abusive marriage.


In her own words:


“In 2012, my kids were all still very young.  In my country it is not that prevalent for a Muslim woman to ask for a divorce.  I did. I had been married for 18 years. The marriage was very abusive. I was in hospital timeously with broken ribs, nose, all parts of my body were bruised. Eventually, I had to take a decision to leave the marriage  for my safety. More importantly, the kids were watching this violence every day. Statistics show that kids who grow up in homes where mothers are being abused, watch this, and become abusers themselves as adults.  I needed to shield my kids from this. 


So, I left. That is why, when I got the cancer, I became angry.  First, I couldn’t have kids, then Allah blessed me with 4 miracles.  Then I left my marriage to safeguard myself and the kids and to give them a less toxic, happier future, and being now a single mum, I am diagnosed with stage 4, terminal cancer. I had loads of anger.’


Naadia’s final thoughts: ‘Why do I have cancer? To take the knowledge and experience gained through my journey of cancer, and help to heal the hearts and anxiety of others fighting breast cancer, Ameen. I leave you with a quote:


“If suffering like hers, had any use, she reasoned, it was not to the sufferer. The only way that an individual’s pain gained meaning was through its communication to others” ‘ –

Anne Sexton: A Biography  by Dianne Wood Middlebrook.

Themes covered in the pod: 


– diagnoses, ex-husband, miracle baby story, arrangement with Dad, support, bi-lateral mastectomy, reconstructive surgery, worry about kids, reflection on the loss of a mother, a conversation between the mother who is leaving and the children she is leaving behind, faith, tahajjud – night prayer, soul-care, screenings, symptoms to look out for.

  • One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Its indiscriminate to age, gender, nationality, and you don’t need a genetic predisposition to get breast cancer. 
  • Feelings when you were first diagnosed
  • How did your children react?
  • Where was your husband?
  • Mastectomy – how was it? Impact and aftermath
  • Facing death every day – how do you try and continue with normality?
  • How do you feel right now, today, with the docs telling you that your days are numbered? How do you live with the heartbreak that comes with leaving children behind?
  • What impact has this had on your relationship with God? For many we assume that any health trials will bring you closer to your faith…is that true for you?
  • You were telling me your children were in tears hearing how i felt about my mum leaving us, what was it about my story that they connected with?
  • Keto business – tell us more. Why are you on Keto?
  • What advice do you have for our listeners who might be going through something similar?
  • What symptoms should women look out for?
  • Screenings, mammogram
  • Note of thanks and final words

For more information about breast cancer please visit:







South Africa:





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