An (Unverified) Hypothesis about Cancer

Background story:

Kepulangan untuk liburan lebaran tahun lalu saya ditandai dengan satu hari insiden kehilangan handphone dan bertepatan dengan hari meninggalnya Iyan. Saya dikenalkan dengan Iyan lewat Pita Kuning, lembaga yang mengkhususkan diri dalam bantuan perawatan paliatif untuk anak anak penderita kanker. Iyan meninggal akibat kanker, Acute Myeloid Leukimia. Iyan belum genap 6 tahun.

Saat pulang untuk lebaran tahun ini, sehari sesudahnya, ibu saya mengajak untuk membezuk salah satu anggota keluarga yang sakit sampai mata beliau tidak mampu melihat. Saya kemudian diberitahu bahwa beliau didiagnosa leukimia setelah sehari sebelumnya prosedur lumbar puncture dilaksanakan. Sepulangnya disambut berita ibu Ani Yudhoyono.

Pertemuan dengan sepupu saya saat lebaran, mengingatkan saya juga dengan Tante yang meninggal akibat kanker payudara beberapa tahun lalu.

Tahun ini berita serupa soal kanker datang bertubi tubi. Sahabat SMA saya menghubungi saya sebelum ramadhan akibat mertuanya terkena kanker getah bening. Dalam bulan Ramadhan, ibu salah seorang teman kuliah saya menjalani operasi pengangkatan kanker sekaligus bedah plastik di Dharmais, setelah operasi pengangkatan tumor dilakukan hampir 5x sebelumnya.

Afterthought :

Sulit menyandingkan kanker setara dengan yang lain akibat sangat kompleksnya penyakit ini. Penderita kanker bisa muda atau tua, kaya atau miskin, wanita karir atau ibu rumah tangga, Urban Amerika atau Pedalaman Sumatera, tinggi resiko atau malah minim resiko, dari masalah kulit hingga otak, tak pandang bulu. Syarat utama kanker hanya satu: punya DNA.

Penanganannya dengan obat obat kanker (sitotoksik) juga tidak kalah rumitnya. Jenis obatnya, pengembangannya, efek sampingnya, prognosisnya. Some(often)times it helps but another time it is not.

Cancer is terrifying, expensive, physically and mentally exhausting.

I feel that it is approach us closer as each day passed nowadays. Sometimes it made us feel helpless.

The conclusion

Saya dan abang saya kemudian diskusi ngobrol soal ini. Kita sampai di kesimpulan yang mengguncangkan iman kanker (mungkin) ialah bentuk evolusi yang tak bisa dihindari. Bahwa manusia sudah terlalu banyak di dunia sehingga kanker muncul sebagai seleksi alam melengkapi kelaparan, perang, wabah. We tried to say that is a life fact and it didn’t make us less sad in the end.

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Our Endless Pursuit of Happiness

Apa yang membuat kita bahagia?

Ini, mungkin pertanyaan paling hakiki yang sukar ditemukan jawabannya. Salah satu teori yang paling sering saya dengar: kebahagiaan datang dari hati yang bersyukur, perasaan cukup, attitude of gratitude.

But I found that was not that simple.

Bahagia karena hal hal kecil entah itu hobi receh, karena tawa yang kita bagi dengan orang sekitar, karena keluarga tempat kita pulang, atau karena kebaikan kecil yang kita terima, memang ialah hal yang mungkin. Tetapi selalu bersyukur, tanpa ada emosi, up dan down, untuk saya, merupakan sesuatu yang terlalu utopis. Ideal tapi tidak realistis.

Saat lebih muda, kebahagiaan menurut saya setara dengan meraih impian dan kebebasan finansial. Tak bisa dipungkiri, mimpi yang hancur dan ekonomi yang kekurangan dapat menjadi momok yang menghantui puluhan tahun kehidupan. Saya, secara personal, merasa sangat sakit saat mimpi saya tidak tercapai, seberapa kuat pun saya berusaha menurut versi saya. Saya pernah nyaris depresi karena tidak punya uang sama sekali dan bingung besok akan makan dengan apa.

Namun kemerdekaan finansial dan mimpi yang tercapai bukan pula hal yang akan memberikan kebahagiaan secara konstan. Saat memperoleh kemerdekaan finansial, saya malah merasa hidup menjadi tidak berarti. I felt that I didn’t give any meaningful contribution in life despite I earn money. Saat mencapai impian, malah saya akan punya impian lain untuk dicapai. And feeling like that, I beat myself up because it would sound so ungrateful. I thought that God and another people, my friends and family, would despise me.

Pada titik yang sedikit lebih ekstrim, ada yang menikah untuk bahagia, dan kemudian malah menemukan bahwa kebahagiaan tidak selalu relevan dengan berumah tangga, atau romantisme menemukan belahan jiwa (jika ada). Saya rasa banyak kasus di dunia nyata yang membuat skeptis dengan konsep ini. Contoh berumah tangga tapi terbentur finansial, berumah tangga tapi tidak cinta, berumah tangga dan kesulitan menjaga komitmen. Saya setuju dengan pendapat: salah kalau tujuan berumah tangga untuk mencari kebahagiaan atau melengkapi diri.

Saya pernah membaca satu artikel mengenai filosofi jepang, tentang tiga inti kebahagiaan: yang memberi kecukupan finansial, yang membuat kita menikmati saat melakukannya dan yang membuat kita memberikan makna bagi sesuatu di sekitar kita. Saya bertanya tanya apakah ini memang jawabannya? Salah satu dari kumpulan pertanyaan abstrak tanpa jawaban.

Is it possible to have happiness?

Is it really need to put meaning in it?

I found myself is still unable to answer…

Rather than happiness, I was more content with peaceful, inner peace term instead. Pursuing happiness is always impossible to me, but made a peace within self is an act that I thought possible. You don’t need to be always happy, or to incredibly love yourself. But, being recognize yourself that you were human with turmoil emotion: sad, anger, envy, caring, careless, kind, longing, seem just enough.

Life Worth Living

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Part 1

Kemaren saya membaca obituari seorang pemuda yang meninggal di usia 28 tahun. Karena penasaran, bacaan berlanjut ke biografi beliau selama hidup, tulisan tulisannya di sosial media, serta cerita orang orang yang mengenal beliau secara personal. Saya kagum dengan sosoknya dan saya menyayangkan kepergiannya yang begitu cepat dan tiba tiba.

It was a sad news and a heartbreaking one. I thought: he supposed to-and could-do much more. I have this invalidated thought: it was unfair for one in million people like him-with much integrity and ability, to go too soon, like that.

But, sometimes we just don’t have time.

Part 2

Not merely an hour after that, I read a heartfelt writing about how someone struggling for life. How life just feel miserable. This feeling resonate to many people, including myself. How we feel sometimes useless, hard to love, not worthy enough, and hate ourselves for that. Hidup, mencintai diri sendiri ada kalanya-kalau bukan seringnya-terasa berat. Even thought we knew that we have time to devour. We have time to savour.

Afterthought

I began to wonder: what life is worth?

Is there any kind of life worth living for?

Is merely breathing mean life worth living for?

If we could give big good influence for many other people, is it that kind of life worth living for?

What is the point of all of this?

How we value our life? How to work our best to live?

Well, sound like a heavy thought from reading from an obituary and a blog post.

But to live maybe not about live a life worth living.

To live maybe about only to breath.

To live maybe about to take small step each time no matter how much we hurt.

Maybe to live is about to know that we live-even thought life still miserable.

Maybe from then, we would appreciate another living being around us: from someone who live a short life but give powerful impact for people around, to someone who struggling hard to live each day. Maybe live is not about whether it worth living or not. Maybe it is about trying to stick to whatever values we believe.

Social Involvement for Introvert

When a friend told me that college student nowadays should actively participate in organisation as extracurricular, I was a bit surprised. In a good way. If I were told something like this 10 years ago, I would hate this policy. As the truest introvert, I didn’t enjoy many extracurricular activity during my school and college days. Why do it, while you could enjoy quality time by yourself? Why should blended with people-stranger-when it would trigger your anxiety and nothing good come from that? Why would you had unfinished thought provoking debate for something that couldn’t give you extra earning and make you more sceptic about people? Life is more peaceful in this little world I choose to live in. Being with cheerful person, do a superficial conversation is not my thing. I would never stay true to myself while trying to blend with another person. I didn’t enjoy being at the spotlight, thought sometimes I found my self in that position because some circumstance, such as : I could not help myself for stop asking questions. Being like that, I found new problem: conflicted when there were people who didn’t try to give their opinion/answer too. But nonetheless, being socially involved scare me and I kind of hate that. I rather read a good book while snuggling in my room rather than being a part of the crowd.

Now, being older, I feel that socially involved, being a part of community/organisation is necessary as human. But for introvert, I thought it need a more delicate approach. An introvert couldn’t just pressed to blend without losing themselves in the process.

For introvert, social gathering and being a part of team in organisation itself is struggling. So, it important for them to be a part of something that enjoyable or meaningful as the first to consider. It could be for humanitarian clause, hobby or interest, not for merely a fame. Introvert may tend to try to go into something where their friend into it. It is a comfortable choice but not a wise one. It easier to blend when you choose something that represent your values.

In social organisation, an introvert took time to adapt. Adaptation for introvert mostly come from understanding the other and inner peace. That would take time. It would become a disadvantage, because some people not always try to understand the conflicted feeling of introvert and sometimes quickly labeled them as boring or passionless or apathy. The label could grow negatively to the introverted person and make them more anxious to being a part of something. Being patient for oneself and stick to inner values considered as a way to face this obstacle. An introvert need to hang there until find the enjoyment and values represented in the organisation.

Being introvert does not mean not to be socially univolved, like being quiet doesn’t mean you should to supressing your thought. It just need some special approach to find the charm in it.

Inferiority Complex

Saya merasa ada yang salah dengan saya akhir akhir ini. Pertama, saya takut untuk melakukan segala hal, bahkan sesuatu sesederhana mengunjungi keponakan saya. Saya hampir selalu menemukan alasan untuk tidak pernah beranjak dari kamar. Beberapa hal yang berhasil membuat saya keluar kamar membuat saya merasa sangat anxious. Contohnya dalam seminggu terakhir sebelum sidang proposal saya, bukannya belajar, malahan saya cemas berlebihan hingga tidak tidur. Saking takutnya gagal, malah saya tidak melakukan persiapan apa-apa. Setelah sidang, yang sebenarnya lancar lancar saja, kecemasan saya tidak menghilang begitu saja. Sebulan ini, dua kali saya membatalkan jadwal mengajar saya karena saya merasa tidak kompeten dan tidak menyampaikan materi dengan baik. Selain itu, saya sangat sensitif dengan ucapan dan pandangan orang, baik itu orang asing ataupun sahabat saya sendiri. Bahkan pesan yang tidak dibalas membuat saya berpikir, apakah saya tidak mampu untuk menyampaikan sesuatu dengan baik? Saya pernah merasa keberadaan saya di bawah rata-rata manusia normal. I almost beat myself up about everything: about my writing, about my teaching, about how I spoke, about my face or pimple, about the choice I made. Sekarang saya sebegitu takutnya gagal. Saya takut dikritisi oleh seseorang. Saya takut ditolak. Saya takut dikasihani atau dijadikan bahan omongan. Saya takut mengambil kesempatan karena saya takut sesuatu tidak berjalan lancar atau tidak sesuai dengan yang saya mau.

Perasaan ini sebenarnya bukan perasaan yang baru. Masalah saya dengan kepercayaan diri diamini oleh beberapa orang dari dulu dan dimulai saat masih remaja. Saya tidak pernah merasa cantik, walaupun banyak orang yang berkata saya cukup cantik. Saya tidak pernah merasa pintar, walaupun beberapa kali juara kelas atau pernah mendapat penghargaan akademis. Saya pernah malu hingga tidak mau menulis lirik lagu favorit di buku, karena ditertawakan oleh teman sebangku karena mengidolakan Avril Lavigne saat SMP (dimana bagian belakang salah satu buku pelajaran saya tertulis lirik lagu dan nama pelantun ‘I am with you’ itu). Walau demikian, dulunya, saya pikir saya menghadapinya dengan cukup baik. Saya bahkan menerima perasaan inferior ini. I always said: it protect me from being an arrogant person. Dulunya, perasaan ini, nggak membuat saya berhenti mengejar sesuatu yang benar benar saya inginkan. Saya dulu sepertinya menghargai diri dan pilihan pilihan saya walaupun hasilnya tidak selalu seperti yang saya harapkan. It never that was a BIG deal if I found I failed in a test, if my writing was bad or unstructured, if people didn’t found me amusing. Everyone is struggling. Everyone experiencing failing. Everyone has something that make them unique and good at. We all just need to respect the other as a person. That was what I told myself before. Everyone has inferiority complex, thus how we face it made the difference.

Sekarang saya takut untuk mengambil resiko. The thought of something might go wrong sometimes too strong and I find that unbearable. So I choose not to do anything instead. Now, I crave validation from every person I encounter. I am scared for just be there. I thought that I couldn’t thrive, so why does I even try? No matter how much I told myself that I am good enough, it wasn’t working. I just couldn’t bear to fall apart and I could not stand anymore. I fear that I could not face myself anymore.

Saya akan terlalu arogan kalau berkata bahwa kejadian ini artinya saya tidak sehat. Well, I thought I am going to search help no matter what…

Update: I found myself still struggling. But way better now. I try to talk to my mother and my friend even if not the kind of talk I wish I could deliver. I took small step try to go out and attend a test and interview just for the sake to put myself out there.

Drifting Mind

No longer younger, that how we are now

Fight for our own battle, that kind of life we were living

I know it impossible to go back there,

Hey,

How exactly you picturing me as a friend?

Sometimes I am afraid just to seeing you

I could not said what was in my mind

The thought that we would become estranged is scare me

I treasure our friendship, our history so much

So why, every time we talked, I feel like being judged?

Maybe, now, I was just being a sensitive female being. An envious human.

Could I beg people to being nice?

Could you hold my hand and hug me close even if we drifted far from that one direction?

Could you still be by my side even if we pick different side in the road?

Could I still be loved even if I am an imperfect human being on this noisy world?

Honestly,

I fear loneliness

But I fear to lose myself even more….

I don’t need to be forever right

But I want to be forever human…

If my thought is wrong

If what I belief is biased

Could it be my own battle to resolve?

Not the battle between you and me?

My Personal Rank for Best Japanesse Drama in 2018

Unnatural and kemonare were the best with thought provoking storyline. DELE was good with intriguing theme. Hana hare was a favorite because of enjoyable character and its LOL moments.

2018 was my come back year to j drama fandom. So, I guess there is no better way to close this year’s end than write something about that, right? 😀

If I should to rank the dorama in 2018 that I’ve already watched so far, my personal rank would become in this order :

(1) Unnatural – Investigation/Medical

The protagonist in this drama is Misumi Mikoto (Satomi Ishihara), a pathologic physician who work for UDI lab. UDI stand for Unnatural Death Investigation (real lab in Japan), a laboratory that investigate the cause of unnatural death. Aside of Mikoto, there are Nakado (Arata Iura), another pathologist with numerous experiences but has personality issue, Kube-kun (Masataka Kubota), a fellow junior-photographer who has some kind of hidden agenda, Shoji (Mikako Ichikawa) an UDI laboratory technician, and the head of UDI, Kamikura. Altough it was clearly Mikoto as the protagonist, there was no wasting character in this team. They shines as the UDI team individually. Their work was about this team work, not merely Mikoto.

This show is unique and interesting. The different case in every episode is always unpredictable, full of emotion, and very very engaging. Nothing meaningless from each episode and the way it interlacing with one another to build a whole completed story were perfectly done. The casting and the way it contribute to the storyline also a good watch. It gave the interesting mystery, the lesson of humanity, the character development, the entertaining interaction, from the beginning until the end. Very impressive.

(2) Kemono ni Narenai Watashitachi/Weakest Beast- Romance

Kemono ni Narenai Watashitachi, or Kemonare, was finished airing some time ago. Many people dropped the dorama due to its slow development, hard to root for character, or somehow heavy storyline. Expect to watch long dialogue during the show, but if you kind of people who like watch the show that feel realistic enough about adult life, struggling in job, looking for what loves and relationship affect our lives, this show is a go.

The protagonist was Akira Shinkai (Yui Aragaki), employee for IT company, did her job perfectly, logically intelligent and also caring to other. Our heroine was smart but not come to snobbish. She was kind but did not appear as innocent nor stupid. She is likable. She is the epitome of perfect woman both in her private life and in her job. But her character (kind, reliable, responsible) made it hard to avoid extra job that supposed not to be her responsibility to do and prevent her to said necessary thing that comes as unkind or would disappoint people around her. There’s a solid reason behind that. Althought she clearly got certain flaw, I love her character the most.

Then, there was Kosei Nemoto (Ryuhei Matsuda), an accountant, popular among woman but somehow appear ‘mean’ because of his tendency to speak as it is. Also a logically intelligent person, he didn’t let emotion got in his way. Both he and Akira were regular in 5tap, a bar near Akira’s home and Kosei’s office. At first, their conversation was superficially like stranger until they could almost read the real each other character precisely and addressed each other difficulty without being too privy.

Not only this two, another interesting character like Shuri (Haru Kuroki), Kureha (Rinko Kikuchi), Kyoya (Kei Tanaka) added the dynamic of this drama. Kyoka was Akira’s boyfriend that cohabitating with his unemployed ex-girlfriend, Shuri. Their circumstance frustating at first to watch, but along the way, it somehow feel ‘suitable?’ and understandable. At first, all the character was annoying and hard to root for. But as the story progressed, we could see them in different light. I found all the character issue were relatable in the real life and I feel like recognize human as it is: struggling, longing, and suffering.

For me, Kemonare was more than a romance and relationship themed, although the way it portrayed relationship also extraordinarily a good ones too. It told the adult life, our tend to value people and ourselves. It comes to thought what right we have to put label on someone whether she/he was okay, perfect, live a miserable life, or else? How far we could change while stay true to our genuine self? It also confront our fear because of the choice we made and fear because of the change.

In relationship department it made me evaluate about values in love and relationship. Shouldn’t we like someone as human first than just simply like him/her because of love? Should love about caring our partner but not our thought? If loves serves other, is it wrong to serve us? What makes we connected to a person?

This story told beautifully without exaggerated moment, with carefully tend dialogue. For me, this feel real, deep, and honest. It gave me a rollercoaster of emotion in a very fond ways. And I could not recall when the last time, I felt so compellingly drawn to human through screen like this.

PS.

Both Unnatural and Kemonare were from Akiko Nogi sensei as the scriptwriter.

I pledge that, from now, I would watch every work from her. I found her work always charming. I also love how the character always centered in woman with all her strength and issues in life without positioning man as a jerk nor secondary.

(3) DELE- Investigation.

Sakagami Keiji (Takayuki Yamada) and Yutaro (Masaki Suda) works in an IT company called dele.life that specialise in deleting all electronic data from deceased client. Kei was the founder but has limited ability in field because he was crippled, and then Yutaro comes to did some of job that Kei could not do, basically confirmed the client’s death.

An intriguing premises that deliver in each episode. Should we leave any trace of our existence in digital data? What it mean if we did that? What would we did if it would hurt or cause harm to another person? The story not carefully threaded as whole storyline like unnatural but still enjoyable.

Aside from this three, here’s another j drama in 2018 that I had finished:

1. Hana Nochi Hare- Youth, School RomCom

Hana nochi hare could not compete with the other in storyline (cheesy enough about rich boy fall for poor girl) and script department, but it was excitingly enjoyable and I have had many LOL moment while watching. This show was the one that remind me of the joy by watching jdrama. Thus, Hana Hare, become one of my favourites drama from this year too.

P.S

I became a fan of Sugisaki Hana after watching this show and ‘Her Loves Boils Bathwater’.

2. Todome no Kiss

Good storyline with abundant good looking actors. It didn’t really hooked me in the earlier episode, but in continuity it’s become interesting. The character development is good and quite engaging, but I just don’t feel the ‘right’ push to be put this one as the best dorama. Maybe because there’s another drama with better storyline of the thriller/psychological aspect?

3. Eerie Mienai Kao

4. Good Doctor

5. Princess Jellyfish

6. Cold Case Season 2 – Investigation/Thriller (Great and Great)

This series would beat dele and kemonare (and I was really conflicted for unnatural or this one) as my personal best drama in 2018, but being broadcast by WOWOW made this one an outlier for me. The casting, the storyline, and the cinematography are so perfectly done. In my opinion, this season made me emotionally wrecked than season 1. This drama is really that good.

Drama in 2018 that I watched by number of episode but not finished (because of various reason) were:

1. Kyo Kara Ore Wa

2. The Confidence Man JP

Have finished this one recently. And what a ride that was. The earlier episode about the scam scheme didn’t always caught my attention but it’s getting better and better. Masami Nagasawa was fun to watch too. Highly recommended. It was not my best 3 thought, but became another favourite of mine.

3. Dairenai (Although Erika Toda and Muro Tsuyoshi were good tandem in this and extremely engaging to watch, the premise about alzheimer in love story just too soap opera-ish for my liking)

4. Gibo to Musume no Blues

5. Suits JP

6. Black Pean

7. Legal V

8. Miss Sherlock

9. Himomen

10. Way too Kawaii

Older drama that I’ve been watch recently and become personal favourite were:

N no tameni (2014)

Code Blue series (2008, 2010, 2017)

(still surprising that I had missed this ones during my college day as all about japan fandom)

PS.

All my thanks to all the english subber and indonesian subber that make it possible for me to enjoy this shows. Thank you.