Friday, 17 June 2016

Perkenalan dengan kanker

Sewaktu kecil dulu, rumah Oma saya di Jalan Teuku Umar, Menteng. Tidak jauh dari rumah Oma saya, ada Yayasan Kanker Indonesia dan di depannya ada tukang bakso. Seingat saya, saya, para sepupu dan pembantu Oma saya suka main di lapangan parkirnya sambil menunggu pesanan bakso untuk dibawa makan di rumah. Nah, sekali waktu saat menunggu, saya melihat seorang paruh baya, entah perempuan atau lelaki. Rambutnya botak, badannya kurus, masuk ke gedung itu. Ketika saya sudah cukup besar utuk mencerna kata dan arti dari penyakit kanker, begitulah bayangan saya akan penderita kanker. Kepala botak, badan kurus, mata cekung, muka menyeramkan. Dan penderitanya biasanya sudah berumur. Ini yang terus menjadi bayangan saya tentang kanker hingga mungkin usia belasan tahun.  Hingga suatu hari, Ibu dari sahabat SD saya meninggal dunia karena kanker payudara di usia 30-an tahun. Saat itu saya belajar, oh, kanker tidak hanya bisa menyerang orang berumur.

Flash forward 20 tahun kemudian. Di usia 36 tahun, saya divonis terkena kanker payudara. Nek, umur 36 tahun, siapa sih yang nyangka akan kena kanker payudara? Tapi begitulah kenyataannya. Di blog post saya kali ini, saya akan cerita bagaimana kisah diagnosa hingga perasaan saya waktu pertama kali didiagnosa.

Jadi, sedari umur 20-an tahun, saya SELALU punya benjolan di payudara saya. Namun, saya selalu RUTIN periksa ultrasound dan ke dokter onkologi payudara. Tahun 2002, saya pertama kali di lumpetomi, yakin benjolannya diambil. Tahun 2010, setelah melahirkan dan menyusui kembali saya lumpektomi. Hasil laporan histologinya selalu negatif kanker, alias tumor jinak. Ketika tinggal di Jerman, saya juga konsul ke dokter di departemen senologi (setelah saya check, ternyata ini department yang khusus penyakit di payudara mulai dari kanker hingga kista). Kata Mbak dokter (kebetulan dokternya cantik, ramah dan mudaaaa banget), saya ada benjolan yang disuspect sebagai tumor jinak lagi. Tapi, saya diminta untuk kembali lagi dalam tiga bulan. Pas kembali, masih dengan gayanya yang ramah dan murah senyum, beliau minta saya untuk di biopsi. Apa pula itu biopsi pikir saya? Sila google sendiri, tapi kira-kira begini, biopsi itu memasukkan jarum ke dalam payudara untuk ambil sampel untuk kemudian diperiksa secara histologis.

Tiga bulan berselang, saya kembali datang untuk di biopsi. Pada prosesnya, ada satu dokter yang melakukan prosedur dan dua suster untuk megang tangan saya. Duh gusti, pasti sakit nih, pikir saya. Ternyata enggak tuh. Malamnya, saya dapat telpon dari dokter, hasilnya "clear". Cuman another tumor jinak. Juvenile fibroadenoma istilahnya.

Flash forward, saya pindah ke US. Seperti biasa saya lapor ke dokter ginekolog untuk minta rujukan  check-up payudara. Saya dapat rujukan untuk mamogram dan usg. Pergilah saya ke rumah sakit paling mutakhir di kota saya tinggal. Agak bete, karena menurut saya mamogram agak gak guna, lah wong saya masih di bawah 40 tahun, pasti hasilnya burem karena payudara saya dense sekali - ini kata dokter saya di Jerman loh. Bener kan, pas mamogram, saya harus diulang-ulang sekian kali sambil teknisinya ngomel-ngomel. Sehabis itu dilanjutkan dengan usg. Kira-kira dua hari kemudian, belum ada kabar dari rumah sakit mengenai hasil pemeriksaan saya. Inisiatif saya telpon ke dokter perujuk saya. She did not sound happy at all. Tanda tedeng aling-aling beliau bilang "Wow, you have many spots to be biopsied. Some of them are considered highly malignant". Gue keki sekaligus panik.

Pas hari H biopsi, saya justru pede. Saya justru cerita ke dokter dan perawat bahwa saya sudah pernah di biopsi dan hasilnya negatif. Mereka cuman berpandang-pandangan. Mungkin saat itu, mereka sudah yakin kalau hasilnya bakalan positif kanker.
Saya kira, sama seperti yang dulu, biopsi gak sakit dong. Saya salah besar. Kali ini sakitnya luar biasa. Bahkan kelar biopsi saya mesti harus di mamogram. Rasanya kaya ketiban durian, literally.

Dua minggu kemudian, saya harus menemui dokter breast surgeon untuk tahu hasil biopsinya. Hari itu, saya berangkat sendiri ke Rumah Sakit naik Uber. Suami saya, entah kenapa, punya feeling dan memutuskan untuk kerja dari rumah. Lucunya lagi, sebelum saya berangkat siaran tivi saat itu sedang membahas breast cancer gene, dimana ada lima bersaudari yang semuanya kena breast cancer. I was like..... oh shit...... jangan-jangan pertanda nih.

Sampai di dokter, semua pasien yang nunggu sudah berumur, saya paling muda. Dan satu-satunya Asia. Bukannya ge-er, tapi rasanya semua mata melihat ke saya. Gak lama kemudian saya dipanggil masuk.

Susternya luar biasa ramah. Sumpah, saya ngerasa diorangin banget sama si suster ini. She tried to make jokes, nawarin minum, sampe feeling saya justru gak enak.....Nih suster baik sama gue karena emang ramah banget bawaannya apa karena kasihsan sama saya ya? Saya kemudian diminta ganti baju periksa - itu loh baju rumah sakit yang bukaannya di depan. Kemudian si suster ramah ini memperkenalkan dokter muda yang katanya akan bahas hasil histologi report saya, sebelum dokter utamanya masuk. Dokter muda ini kayanya semacam dokter residen atau intern kalau di Indo. Saya sudah gak simpati dari pertama lihat nih dokter. Udah lah mukanya macam orang baru bangun tidur, rambutnya dikuntel, gak ada senyum dan yang paling bego.... sewaktu baru login ke komputer tiba-tiba dia nanya ke si suster ramah "Um... can you tell me again how to open the file for NEW CANCER PATIENT?" Sumpah muka si suster merah abis, dia berusaha banget menjaga perasaan gue dan bilang ke si dokter kalau lo bisa pake 'any kind of file for any new patient'. Kembali si dokter residen bloon ini nanya pertanyaan yang sama. Kali ini si suster nyamperin beliau ke komputer dan ngerjain yang diminta tanpa banyak bicara. Saat itulah pertama kali gue ngerasa dag-dig-dug dan feeling enggak enak.

Ketika tinggal berdua, si dokter menanyakan historis kesehatan keluarga saya, apakah pernah ada keluarga yang sakit kanker, berapa yang hidup, berapa yang meninggal, pernah sakit apa aja, pernah tinggal atau bekerja di daerah radiasi tinggi - yang gue jawab meneketehe! Kemudian beliau ngeluarin kertas dan bilang: "well, now, let's talk about your treatment" Bentar Mbakyu, gue bilang.... (sebetulnya sih gue pengen bilang, "eh semprul..... hasil biopsi gue apaan?"), gimana hasil biopsi saya? Beliau malah balik nanya, "lha, kamu belum tahu?"
Kemudian beliau menyodorkan kertasnya ke saya dan mengucapkan kalimat yang merubah hidup saya: "This is result of your biopsy. It is cancer."

Abis itu semuanya seperti bukan realita. Dokter utamanya masuk dan langsung diskusi mengenai operasi. Bahkan tanggal operasi saya ternyata udah dijadwalkan. Pokoknya saya harus segera operasi. saya tanya, abis operasi, terus apa selanjutnya. Dan jawaban inilah yang bikin saya semakin bingung. Mereka jawab: kami belum tahu. Apakah harus kemoterapi atau radiasi? Kami belum tahu, itu semua tergantung hasil operasi dan tergantung dokter onkologi. Apakah saya bisa bertemu dokter onkologi sebelum operasi? Belum, jawabnya. Pokoknya, kamu harus operasi dulu. Setelah kedua dokter itu keluar, si suster ramah masuk lagi dan menjelaskan proses pre-op dan post op. Bahkan keramahan beliau pun enggak bisa mengambalikan pikiran saya kembali ke realita. Anehnya, saya sama sekali tidak nangis. Dan tidak sedih. Bahkan ketika si suster nawarin saya tisu pun. Bahkan ketika menunggu Uber di lobbby rumah sakit dan naik Uber kembali ke rumah.

Saat tiba di rumah, saya ngebel, walapun bawa kunci. Suami saya membukakan pintu sambil cengengesan godain saya yang dia kira males ngeluarin kunci dari tas. Gimana hasilnya? Tanya suami saya. Saya cuman bilang " Duduk dulu Mas". Saya enggak akan lupa wajah suami saya sewaktu itu. "Hasilnya gimana?" Suaranya mulai panik. Kami berdua duduk, saya pegang tangannya dan kemudian langsung menangis di bahunya..... saya gak berkata apa-apa lagi. Saya belum pernah nangis sekenceng dan selama itu di depan suami saya. Ketika saya mulai tenang, pertanyaan pertama suami saya adalah stadium berapa (kankernya) dan jenis apa operasinya. Saya jawab pelan-pelan..... dan kemudian nangis lagi. Hari itu, 6 November 2015 adalah hari pertama dimana saya dan suami saya nangis bersama-sama.














Saturday, 3 January 2015

Things I learned in 2014

1. Older does not mean wiser. 
I've seen some people who are supposed to wiser based on their life experience, but instead pertained drama like junior high school students. Eugh! 
2. When invited by someone, always thank them for inviting and don't forget to RSVP. 
Showing courtesy is a sign of a well-mannered and well-educated person.  I recently set up a party and some people just don't have the manner to even reply my email. Talk about no self respect!
3. When coming into someone's house, always offer to take off your shoes. 
Because it bugs me when people come stomping to my house's just-mopped floor and all I can do is to re-mop the whole thing. 
4. Be nice to you neighbours and get to know them. 
Nothing beats having a good neighbor. Period. 
5. Having been lived in many countries does not make you a "World Citizen", if you don't act like one. 




Thursday, 27 November 2014

On being grateful

For the past few weeks Rania has been mentioning the word 'thankful' since thanksgiving is approaching. Yesterday she listed the things that she is thankful for:
Family, friends, teacher, home, food and Earth.
Please know that she writes this list on her own. 
I am really proud of her that she writes not only the the 'usual' items on the 'being thankful' list but also planet Earth. Because I believe that being thankful on the bigger picture is more difficult than being thankful on the small stuff. 
We decided that we want to give back to the community this year as our way of being grateful. We went to a shelter home in Pompano beach where they held a banquet to serve people at the shelter - seating lunch style. They also have several stations, make up for ladies, health check up and kids station. We are at the latter one and in charge of Face Painting. Not that I am good at it, but I was assisting a friend who is a real Face Painter. I think the first two kids that I face painted were puzzled of my results, I was lucky they did not sue me for bring victims of my poor creations 😄. 

Some of the people who had their face painted had it for the first time, today. Ever. And despite how ugly my creation looked like in their faces, they still thanked me for it. 
Today taught me about this; that people who are thankful for the things in life aren't living a much easier life than me. In fact, most if these people had a major crisis in life that they learn to appreciate the minor things. 
I learned today that you may not eat the food you like, or at the time you want. But at least, you eat! You may not have the clothing you want, or the the shoes you need, but at least you are not naked.
HAPPY  THANKSGIVING 2014! Be grateful! 

On being grateful

For the past few weeks Rania has been mentioning the word 'thankful' since thanksgiving is approaching. Yesterday she listed the things that she is thankful for:
Family, friends, teacher, home, food and Earth.
Please know that she writes this list on her own. 
I am really proud of her that she writes not only the the 'usual' items on the 'being thankful' list but also planet Earth. Because I believe that being thankful on the bigger picture is more difficult than being thankful on the small stuff. 
We decided that we want to give back to the community this year as our way of being grateful. We went to a shelter home in Pompano beach where they held a banquet to serve people at the shelter - seating lunch style. They also have several stations, make up for ladies, health check up and kids station. We are at the latter one and in charge of Face Painting. Not that I am good at it, but I was assisting a friend who is a real Face Painter. I think the first two kids that I face painted were puzzled of my results, I was lucky they did not sue me for bring victims of my poor creations 😄. 

Some of the people who had their face painted had it for the first time, today. Ever. And despite how ugly my creation looked like in their faces, they still thanked me for it. 
Today taught me about this; that people who are thankful for the things in life aren't living a much easier life than me. In fact, most if these people had a major crisis in life that they learn to appreciate the minor things. 
I learned today that you may not eat the food you like, or at the time you want. But at least, you eat! You may not have the clothing you want, or the the shoes you need, but at least you are not naked.
HAPPY  THANKSGIVING 2014! Be grateful! 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Cruise

Those growing up in the 80s, like me, must heard of, if not became fan of this original Boyband of all time - New Kids On the Block or NKOTB. It has been 20 years since my crush on Joey, but I can still remember the lines of "Please dont go girl" and "The right stuff" in addition to their "Step by step" music video choreography.
In 2008 they re-launch their career and though it was not as glamourous as before, it was well noted. They made some tours which unfortunately I could not attend at all. But.... They just announced their annual NKOTB CRUISE. Yupp, stuck on a boat with NKOTB themselves! I am of course very tempted to go, especially since the boat will depart from.... MIAMI! 
Unfortunately, children under 16 is not allowed on the boat - meaning little cupcake can't go, so this is impossible for me (we plan to go as a family).
I am super buffed by this but, hey, life sometimes gave us difficult options and this time I had to make one. 
I do hope they make a North American Tour next year and hope they will stop in Florida 😊. Until then... I'll be loving NKOTB forever! 

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

International Moms

I always have this wish deep in the corner of my heart that I will live abroad one day and be some sort of an International Mom. Well, fast forward seven years later and here I am on my third country with my family. 
What I enjoyed of being an expat lady was the chance to meet other moms and today I had another chance to meet different expat moms in a picnic potluck.

 
There are of course differences of the way people live from one country to another, but what's surprising is actually how SIMILAR moms are in dealing with life and kids. 
When one lady told the story of her husband who never could do the grocery shopping right, all will scream in unison saying that is exactly what their husbands are doing. 
Same with husband not doing house chores correctly, pretend to sleep when the kids need them, etc, etc. 
So I guess moms everywhere are not different after all. 


Saturday, 8 November 2014

The 12 years of not moving on.

Yesterday, Indonesian social media was in chaos. The culprit is a mini movie commercial of a Korean based talk app LINE. The mini movie is actually the long awaited sequel of a high school chick movie. You know, "girl hates boy, girl likes boy, boy is selfish, boy goes away, girl chases boy to airport to proclaim the love- the end" type of movie. What's probably a little different is that the movie focuses on the medium of arts enjoyed by the couple; poetry. So instead of cliche dialogue we find smart and deep, meaningful poetry reading.
The mini sequel, beside the subtle tutorial on how to use the app functions, it tells the story of how the guy, living abroad, 12 years of no contact, managed to find the girl and pm-ed her. 
What a jerk! 
Girl feels divided, at one point she dismissed her feeling but on the other side she wanted to see him. The movie ended with the girl again, comes into the airport where they both exchanges poetry verses. 
Now, I learned two points from this short story. 
The first one: a 12 years move-on would fall to pieces with a simple text reply. When your substantial good-for-nothing ex contacted you on social media, do not, I repeat, DO NOT bother to reply unless you are willing to go down into the rabbit hole of love vortex.

The second part is the poetry itself. The banter poetry exchange they had at the end of the movie was superb. The rough translation is this:

Seconds never stepped back, but the blank paper is always there. (We could never turn back time, but we could always use a new blank paper to write new story).

Time never runs backwards and day never repeats itself, but morning always offers a new day, for all questions not answered. (we could never turned back time, but a new day offers a new beginning for life's unanswered questions. 

Well, now that I read it again it might be a bit corny, but hey, dont blame me, blame my hormones.

I love the part where it said that a new morning brings a new beginning and a new hope. So I believe, in life, we ought to always, always, always hope for the best. 
Picture of the lovely couple 12 years later taken from kapanlagi.com

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Outgrowing Technology

I once read quote presumably by Einstein,
"I fear the day when the technology overlaps with our humanity. The world will only have a generation of idiots"
accompanied by photos of different group of people sitting together but had their eyes on their phones instead of interacting with each other. Regardless of whether the quote is original from Einstein or if it is actually another addition to long list of internet hoax, it made a lot of sense with what happen with our community today. 

Just two days a go I read a lady selling her two used a year old iPads in a buy-sell group. She stated "These used to be my kids iPad but they outgrew them." First iPad. First. iPad. I mean, what kind of a world do we live in now that kids got their own iPad where they would outgrew them. Dont get me wrong, I love technology but I do not treat iPad like clothe where my kid would outgrew them in a matter of months. 

Talking about technology, I just got my new iPhone 6 Plus. I do not feel that much difference in terms of speed or technology, except of the Health app. Since I will start walking again with my neighbors this week, this apps will become useful - at least I know how much calories I am entitled gulp in after the run. Ha!

Another thing that I want to share is about this item. I think this gadget is so cute. I am not sure if this is actually useful for me; I mean it does everything that a phone can do, but instead of typing you can speak to it. Anyway, I think it 's just cute!

Amazon Echo

Friday, 24 October 2014

'Life is what actually happens while we dream our dreams'

When I was 19, someone asked me when I plan to get married and be a wife. Question like this might sound uncourteous in Western culture but sadly this is the type of question faced but young or unmarried women in Indonesia, or Asia. At the time I laughed at the idea of having a husband and a family and boasted that I get married by 30 and after my Phd. Fast forward 15 years later and here I am, happily married to an amusing husband and we have a cute daughter together. Most importantly, the married adventure started when I was 28 – not 30; AND the only Phd I have now is doctor of girls tea-time philosophy, if there's any.

Sometime when the house empty I'd pondered what would life be if I changed course. Not the Star Trek time machine course but more like X-Men: days of Future past course, you know, like what will happen if my current self-came back in time and became my old self and did the opposite of what I did.

Will I still be here in US? Will I have another family? Will I have a Phd in Physics or Nuclear science or maybe another Phd holder in tea-time philosophy? Most importantly, will I be happier? Will I be living my dream of tying the knot at 30 and fulfilled my dreams?

My answer is, I do not know. And I probably will never know. For all I know, I am doing my life now and I love the way I am doing it, whether it is my dream life or not.


 

As what I quoted in my recently-found blog from 2003: Life is what actually happens while we dream our dreams.


 


 


 


 


 


 

 

Friday, 10 October 2014

The day Malala wins


I think the world could smile for a minute today knowing that Malala has won the Noble Peace Prize. After a few head scratching moments on the name of the recipients before – Al Gore, Barack Obama, everyone? – seeing such a young recipient with such a bold message is very uplifting. 

What moved me is the fact that Malala stood up to education and terror at such an early age. She started by writing a blog when she was 11-12 years old about empowering women education and her fears. I am in my thirties and my goodness, I did not even wrote about women empowerment or my fears! Looking at the cases of teenagers who died in the area for standing up for themselves, I believe that Malala standing up for her believe is actually part of conquering fear itself.
My wish for Malala is that this will not be the end of her journey and that all will not come to just lip service- as some of the previous recipients. And hopefully more Malala would come from other parts of the world.