Allah is the Most Loving and Merciful. We will not be given sickness without Him providing the medicine, no hardships without solution. It all depends on how we make meaning of whatever happens to us.
In the face of a series of breaCan treatment procedures, my husband’s presence means a whole world to me, bringing joy and tranquility to me and the kids. He has been wonderfully doing multitasking house chores, taking over my daily routines. He does the laundry, cooks for us, and get my meals ready before me. I know he enjoys cooking, but washing the dishes is not really his thing. And now he willingly does it. I really have to pray to Allah for His blessings and protection to be rewarded to mas Prapto. His sacrifice, leaving his job on an unpaid leave, to be able to stay with me and the kids, is certainly not an easy decision to make.
I actually expected to have the surgery done within a half day. That was why the doctor just signed me up at the Day Surgery Unit at Royal Women’s Hospital. I reported to the Admission office early in the morning at 8 a.m. Mas Prapto was with me, while Ganta would drop Adzra to Sarah’s apartment, just upstairs from the unit where we live. Bayu, Sarah’s dad would then take them to school. The plan was that Ganta would leave school after lunch time to accompany his dad. I would be in the operating theater by then.
It turned out that things did not go as expected. While the pre-operative procedures went smoothly, the surgery itself actually started when the clock struck two in the afternoon. Mas Prapto and I kind of anticipated that it would take me hours to regain consciousness. And it did. Well, I’ve had surgery five times, excluding this one. So, it was no surprise. I kind of knew my coping mechanism. I was still not able to get my eyes wide open and maintain my alertness past 7 pm. And the day surgery would close at 8.30 p.m. After two shots that unsuccessfully got me on my feet, the doctor decided to send me to the ward. Stay overnight. That’s the best thing to do. I could rest longer, and Mas Prapto and Ganta could go home and pick up Adzra at Diana’s house. Diana is a friend, a neighbour, fellow PhD mommy. She and her husband run a family day care, where Adzra spend two afternoons after school every week.
The next morning, Ganta asked for permission not to attend classes, and he took Adzra to school, before going back to the hospital with his dad. I imagined mas Prapto would be busy in the kitchen, preparing breakfast for three of them and packing up Adzra’s lunch. Meanwhile, I felt much better. Starved for sure. I had not had anything to eat since Tuesday night. Just two sips of hot tea at the recovery room, and I threw up the liquid. This morning, after Amy, the nurse took off the syringe hose, I finished a bowl of nice, hot porridge, prune juice, and a slice of whole grain bread and butter.
One of the doctors came and checked the stitches. Amy checked my blood pressure every hour. Sue Thomas, the breast care nurse, also checked on me. A staff from the pharmacist came over with the medicine. She gave me some more prescribed medicine, which I did not buy. Since I came home, I have not had any unbearable pains. I just swallowed one tablet of Panadol on Thursday night. That’s it.
I was already home by noon, and friends kept coming till Saturday night. Some called me and sent me their prayers, wishing for a speedy recovery. And of course, food. It’s something I’m really grateful for. We’re all in the same boat. Without any support system like parents, relatives, or maids, having some dishes for a couple of days is just the thing that will make our life easier and brighter. Alhamdulillah.
How did my friends find out about my condition? I only told two or three friends. Yet, being part of a close Indonesian community, news travels fast. That was why most of them were surprised by the news. I just met them at Pengajian Aisyah on Saturday, and said hello to some of them, Moreland Primary school Indonesian parents, at Adzra’s school the day before the surgery. It was like breaking news then. And now they heard that I just had an operation. They were even surprised to see my big smile and a fresh look on my face, as well as my normal, yet slower movement. More surprised even, or rather, confused reaction, when I told them that I had an early BreaCan.
The truth is…I am not really sure how I’m supposed to feel. I feel fine. In and out. That I have to walk more slowly is understood, considering that the part that was just cut should be handled with care. Other than that, I’m the same Tiwi. I can easily tell my friends the details of the surgery, how I came to have this BreaCan, and show them how to do early detection as well. I guess it would ease people show their reaction and express their feeling if I feel at ease with it myself. Carrying this ‘burden’ this way actually helps me hear more stories of cancer survivors from my friends. Which really boosts my optimism.
It’s time to be more rational now. Tears should not claim too much of my attention. If I feel like crying, perhaps the best time would be when I kneel down and raise my hands up for His blessings and protection.
No matter how strong I might feel about myself, I have to be aware that internal wound is in its process of healing. And I should not interfere in anyway that might jeopardize my condition. The left, upper part of my body has two long cuts, still covered with transparent dressing. So I let myself be an obedient Tiwi. Following my husband’s advice to sit like a princess while he organizes the service. Well, why not. And the kids have been enjoying their dad’s cooking.
Sickness is part of joy, if we bring wisdom in our attempt to make sense of it. The choices are in our hands, how we want our body to be treated. Never let diseases control your mind. Make the decision. Early detection can save your life.