Friday, May 17, 2013

I've Got Breast Cancer

So this is it. I wonder why I was not ready for the bad news when I realized that it was actually the reason why I decided to have a series of doctors’ consultations and lab examinations. When I felt a small lump on my left breast last February, the first thing I wanted to avoid was the danger of not knowing the worst. I had had surgery on the same breast before, plus the fact that my younger sister died of late breast cancer last year, so I supposed I should have anticipated the worst.

Anyway, after spending around two months with all the tests and consultations, the news came. It’s there on the same spot, it’s just that now, it’s cancerous, rather than being just a benign lump like what I had back in 2006.

So what do I do now? I have to prepare myself, physically, psychologically, and financiallly, for a series of upcoming treatments. Surgery, radiation, and most likely chemotherapy. I have my study underway, and with the children with me, I don’t have to pretend that I will be strong enough to deal with everything myself. I certainly don’t want to put the kids in jeopardy in the first place.

Here’s the plan for the next 12 months. It’s going to change the course of our life, me and my husband, who is still in Surabaya. But it’s for the best. Alhamdulillah, it didn’t take him days to decide that he would join us and stay here in Melbourne. I know it’s a big sacrifice. He will have to take an unpaid leave from his job, leave his business for a while. I pray to Allah that he will be granted better things for this sacrifice.

In the meantime, I’m educating myself with all the books the doctor and hospital gave me. That’s the good thing about health system overseas. Patients are always given sufficient information package about their health concerns, ask a lot of questions during consultations without the fear of being considered fussy or pushy, and eventually have the freedom to choose what treatments suit them best.

I have a month to go before the scheduled surgery, and I promise myself to work harder and finish the chapter I’m working on now. I want to have more peace of mind when the surgery is done, more time to recover after that, and think about what’s next, before jumping back to this seemingly never-ending project.
PhD is not a joke, but my supervisor is so thoughtful as to tell me that in the next five years, PhD course will appear only as a small dot in the big frame of my life. It seems it’s one thing that matters most, but this BC has warned me that health and well-being are what matter most. Thanks a million, Fran, for being so understanding and reassuring. This thesis will be done, maybe not as swift as I had expected. But I’ll be there.

Having BC is one thing, but seeing it as a means to reach to next level of spirituality is worth considering and inhaling in every breath I take.

No comments: