Posted in Journal

A Change of Mind; can’t look at breasts the same way again

[At one point in time, every person may have experienced losing a dear one — be it a family member, relative, friend, or colleague — to cancer. Cancer is no new news and is not something I’m unfamiliar of. In fact, I’m well aware of it – types, treatments, blablabla. It might have escaped our attention until it comes back and haunts us once again. My life is already full of negativity I didn’t bother to worry about things that will only add to the mounting daily stress. Why think of what could badly happen *knock wood* when we can focus on (continuous search for) how to live life well, with positive outlook? Talking about dismissing things that don’t pertain or directly affect us. It was so far yet so close (or the other way around) kinda feeling, which still feels surreal when it came about and said hi…]

(We often argue that) we’re too caught up in ‘life’ that health comes second. We all desire to be fit and in good shape and know exactly what we gotta do in order to achieve that state: exercise, regularly. I touched upon tenacity above, but this fella takes more than consistent commitment to be fruitful. When professional work eats up three-quarter of our alert time (and the other quartern to commute and barely eat, bathe, and take toilet breaks) 5-6 days a week, and we’ve gotten so haggard as a result, the last thing we wanna do is fork out hours from our private time to work out or hit the gym. We know it’s good for us – no, it’s a must! – but that goes against spending our free time enjoying ourselves (some me time), lazying around, sleeping more, getting relaxing treatments. They’re all excuses, but don’t they hit home?

Another point is to maintain a healthy lifestyle and that includes a healthy diet. Many point to home cooking as the best source of healthy, balanced diet… now, did I mention in that hectic routine one might have to drag one’s body to eat or wash up? Working adults normally have one-hour break (my bro gets only 30mins tho’). Unless your office provides canteen or catering, people gotta eat out, which cuts down break time.

C’mon, one hour is more than enough to have a decent meal! Yeah, but some of you may have to spend these breaks discussing/doing work still, or worse, couldn’t afford to take any because! there’s so many things to do and get done! In this situation, fast food comes to the rescue. It’s filling and served fast, tho’ not necessarily affordable and cheap. Just pop before any fast food counter and seconds later you got a meal in your hands. No food court stall or restaurant can beat that – especially when you’re famished. You eat way faster than the time you spend waiting for the orders to be served anyway.

Our priorities, whose pet phrase is “I don’t have time for that!”, change the moment we’re in bad shape. We suddenly spend every second nourishing weakened body, working towards regaining health, and have every moment to ponder about everything – be it regret the poor lifestyle choices we’ve been making or the deal we promise ourselves we’re gonna do differently thereafter (and forget about it soon after we’re back to 100% fit).

Oh! Whether you’re a low or high maintenance, frugal or spendthrift, that hard-earned money you make by digging the earth but flows out like water? It zips out of your savings account in the speed of light. *Money~ hiks!*

We only live once, in the same body. It ain’t a car, when the machine fails we can just chuck it and buy another one. Organs can be removed or transplanted, our figure can be enhanced, but we can’t swap body with another’s. We’re the one enjoying/benefiting from our healthy body, we’re also the one suffering from the weak state. Why is it so hard to resonate?

But that’s not always the case. Sometimes we reap what we didn’t sow. Many things are passed down from generation to generation, including ‘bad’ genes. Which, I must say, will only worsen the further it goes down the line. We can exercise good lifestyle choices but in the sense there’s nothing we can do about it – we’re born with it! The chance/risk is higher when your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, great-great-grandparents (until you lose track of ancestry) had that problem.

The perfect case is my mother. Or I’ll start from my grandma first. I heard it from my mom that she almost doesn’t eat ‘bad food’ yet her cholesterol, sugar, and blood-pressure level remains higher than normal measurement. The same goes with my mom. She’d avoid eating food that’s considered unhealthy – greasy, fatty, fried, santan (coconut milk), seafood, lamb, innards, or even salt to the point i’d taunt “we won’t die from eating salty food once in a while!” – does morning walk and taichi and takes care of household chores – A LOT OF WORK! – and she’s diagnosed with breast cancer.

Like, where the heck was that coming from?

Sadly, till now no doctor or researcher can come up with an answer as to what’s the root cause of cancer. It’s safest to say that she got it because it runs in the DNA. And for decades, the treatments haven’t progressed much from radiotherapy and the dreadful chemo. This discovery alone, not to mention the experience from being by her side through the process and the aftermath of the surgery, is enough for me to have a change of mind regarding female breasts.*

I bet we all experience this inferiority complex as to how we look compared with another’s. Although a handful is enough, we can’t help but envying those with bigger boobs, fuller buttcheeks, or curvier figure. In our eyes, those traits define appeal and attractiveness more. However, nothing is permanent. Many things will eventually fade away with time, including beauty. I’m not saying they don’t matter, particularly when we’re still young and highly competitive, but they concern me much, much less than they did before.

Now, every time I see breasts, I’m automatically reminded of my mom and her case and the fact that all women have risk of developing breast/ovarian/cervical cancer. Therefore they’re formulating shots like HPV to lower the risk. I’m not saying we all would be getting ‘em one day, but let’s face it, in today’s society and lifestyle, we all have a fair chance of contracting nasty horrible health problems. The most prevalent cases for female are the aforementioned reproductive glands/organs; for male is prostate. The risk is higher when someone related to you biologically ever had ‘em.

With this, my stance on the rhetorical question of life is clearly defined: it’s health any day. Once you got that under control, then you’re free to aim for anything under the sun.

“Cita-cita saya, sih, ingin bisa sama kondisinya. Datangnya baik, pulangnya juga baik. Namun, seperti biasa, cita-cita bisa saja setinggi langit, tetapi kenyataan mau tak mau harus dihadapi. Sah-sah saja saya ini kembali mau dalam kondisi baik, tetapi kondisi baik itu harus dieksekusi bukan hanya dicita-citakan. Eksekusi itu sebuah kenyataan.

Ketika masa eksekusi harus dilaksanakan, eh.. kok, menjadi orang baik itu susahnya minta ampun. Menurut pengalaman saya, menjadi menyebalkan itu jauh lebih mudah. Sama seperti menjadi sehat itu susahnya setengah mati, tetapi makan enak dan membuat saya menjadi anggota seumur hidup sebuah laboratorium klinik itu mudahnya seperti membalikkan tangan.

Tak berbeda dengan resolusi tahunan saya untuk berbuat baik, yg selalu kandas setelah dua minggu. […] Saya terlalu memaklumi kalau berbuat tidak baik itu sebuah persyaratan untuk bisa disebut manusia. Saya memaklumi bahwa tidak baik itu baik.“

–Samuel Mulia, Kolom Parodi: “Amit-amit” hal 27, Kompas, 28 Juli 2013.

_
*) To address those who might opine, “Well, it’s only boobs.” You must’ve heard that Angelina Jolie underwent double mastectomy when she was cancer-free just because she has a certain gene in her, and she’s perfectly fine now. There are things called breast implant or prosthetic bra to make up for the loss, so it’s not that big of a deal! Moreover, they’ve carried out their ‘duties’ well – giving life to my siblings and I – plus, she’s menopause already, but still!! they are part and parcel of what define us as female. Just because the term’s served doesn’t mean it’s not regrettable, not needed anymore, or is easier to let go. Once removed it’s irrecoverable, and that’s something she probably will forever be confronted with every time she undresses or bathes – and I don’t want her to be self-conscious about it later.

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