Yuniko, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, now feels healthy and happy. In her productive life, Yuniko travels a lot while sharing her knowledge as a management trainer.
As a cancer survivor, Yuniko also shares her experience on how to deal with the disease.
Yuniko eats healthy foods, spends enough time to get rest and pays attention to her mental health. "Enjoying life, positive thinking and maintaining peace at heart. This is my formula for better mental health," Yuniko said.
Working out is a must, but Yuniko admits she is still struggling to get exercise regularly. She prefers reading books or listening to music.
Yuniko loves books on psychology and philosophy and reads fiction only occasionally.
"I don't have a favorite author. I even forget who writes what," she said, laughing.
Yuniko enjoys slow music to calm the soul, and loves listening to Whitney Houston songs, but cited REM's Everybody Hurts as one of her favorites. "It is so touching."
Yuniko, who obtained her masters degree in a private school of management in
"This is my personal commitment. I want to do something for the cancer community," said the 42-year-old single mother with a little girl.
Yuniko recalls her own experience when she discovered a lump in her breast which later forced her to have a mastectomy and chemotherapy.
Had she found this lump sooner, Yuniko might not have needed to have this treatment.
The experience has led Yuniko to now encourage women to do regular breast examinations because the sooner the disease is detected, the easier it is to treat.
Anyone can contract cancer. It is a real problem for women all over the world (including
Once, when CISC was invited to talk about cancer in a government office, only six people showed up.
"We need to be smart in conveying our message about cancer. For example, we can talk about it in arisan (traditional social gatherings). People are usually happy to attend arisan," she said.
Yuniko said there was no use in regretting, denying or blaming anyone.
"Face it bravely and optimistically to beat it," says Yuniko.
Cancer seems to have inspired Yuniko to become a better person, to work harder in leading her life in a more meaningful way.
Now Yuniko wants to help people further by writing her book, I Have Cancer, It Doesn't Have Me. In this little booklet, Yuniko talks about her experiences, reflections and hopes as a cancer survivor. Unfortunately the book, which was published by Obor last year, is only available in the Obor bookstore in
Yuniko is preparing another book which is expected to be available in general bookstores. Meanwhile Yuniko is actively running the CSIC, aiming to provide moral, emotional and social support for cancer patients and their families.
The cancer group organizes regular visits to
Once in a month the group also hold a support session in Menteng,
Cancer patients who need help can call CISC volunteers at any time and, if necessary, volunteers can come to their place to provide support.
"Our activities run well because of the wonderful sincerity, tolerance, sisterhood and friendship. We see our differences as something beautiful," Yuniko said.
"My personal obsession is to make CISC an open, independent and heterogeneous organization with shared leadership," she said.
Despite its modest appearance, CISC has attracted quite a lot of people. Its cancer survivor gathering held early this year was attended by between 300 and 400 people. But Yuniko does not know how many members or volunteers it has because "they come and go".
The group is currently in need of volunteers who are technologically savvy, to make its plain website (http://cancerclub.wordpress.com) more attractive.
"We don't know how to do it," Yuniko said.
Yuniko may not know much about web design, but she does have many strengths of her own. CISC has good rapport with professional medical organizations, cancer organizations, hospitals and doctors thanks to Yuniko's soft-spoken, tactical approach.
Regarding public complaints about unprofessional doctors Yuniko urges patients to remain patient. "Let's be realistic. Doctors are not perfect. If you don't have the information you need because the doctor is not in a good mood, just leave and come back later," she said, suggesting that patients should also try to find information they need from various sources before seeing a doctor.
I wrote the story for The Jakarta Post, published Sunday Aug.31, 2008.