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Cancer, chemo, tired but one can still laugh though.............
(Ruud . Emma Kinderziekenhuis 2003)

April 21, 2004, Spring. The birds are singing, almost ready for the night. 19.14 hours, me tucked away at my attick after a day of "housekeeping". The dog waiting to go out as soon as I am ready for a walk.
My thoughts wander back to Februari, only 2 months ago when I was looking forward to my second hip replacement March 30. I would be like new!!
The first one, done July 2003 (what an expensive but welcome birthday present) was a huge relief. I wasn't in too much pain, I never needed painkillers, but I could hardly move my leg in any other direction then straight forward or backward. I knew that the second operation would do me even more good as with the right side, I was in pain.
 
But one day I felt a lump in my breast, during my period. I was not happy with it, Breast Cancer is a very common thing in my mother's family. Mum had a Mastectomy 33 years ago and is clear ever since, like her sister. But two cousins were not that fortunate!
I waited for the period to be over but the lump and now a lot of pain, did not go away.
I went to see my GP who, concerned about our history, sent me straight away to the Surgeon in my popular Hospital "Ny Smellinghe" in Drachten.
 
I arrived there on the Monday morning for X-rays which did not show much.
Then I had to go for an Echo. The doctor was not happy with what she saw and was very concerned, telling me she would see the Surgeon first to tell him about her findings.
I had to wait for just a little while and then the Surgeon told me he shared the Doctor's concerns. He checked my breast, did some puntcions, told me all about Breast Cancer and what to do if the results are possitive.
I also got introduced to an Oncology Nurse who would, together with two other colleagues, support me through the whole process.
At that very moment I knew I had Breast Cancer. Ofcourse I felt sad but accepted it, knowing I couldn't do much else, trying to make the best of it.
 
On the mobile, I phoned Mum who cried and felt so sorry for me. I told her that I had to wait for the results next week Tuesday, still waiting for the MRI which would be within 48 hours.
I did not return to my work but instead phoned my ever so supporting boss who ofcourse told me to have a day off. He asked me what he could do for me and on my request he kept the news to himself.
 
Home with Mum, I had to cry as she was so very sad, something I could not handle very well!
We talked and talked, a very special habbit in our family which solves many problems and makes you handle your emotions a lot better.
On Tuesday at work I received a phonecall about my MRI appointment that same afternoon.
I was treated gentle, they were aware of the concerns of the Doctor and the Surgeon. My first MRI ever and when not so much noise, I would have fallen asleep!
 
A week went by and on Tuesday I had my second appointment, telling Mum and my boss I would return to the office when good news and going home when bad news. I went home.........................
The look on the face of the Surgeon and the Nurse was very expressive, they did feel very sorry. I asked them not to be too caring but mentioning the name of the Cancer so I could give it a place (due to my study I knew a bit about Cancers) and what to expect. So they did, telling me it was an Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, not the worst type of Cancers to have as it grows very, very slowely. It starts in the nipple and through the milk threads, it spread to the milk lobs where in my case, it went out of control.
The Breast Cancer was not a suprise though the amount of Cancer was not at all a happy message.
They talked and talked, explaining me as much as possible, answering all my questions. The Surgeon said I would be operated the week after and left me to the Nurse who had, thank God, a very good sense of humour although she was a little bit surprised about me being "at ease" with the news.
She added a lot more of information, listened to the Cancer history in my family, meassured my arm as I could expect Lymph-Oedemia after removing all the nodes at that side and arranged the paperwork.
 
Then a week of working, tests, talks with anaesthesiologists, getting my house and the "zoo" organized to be ready for the operation.
 
 
Monday July 19, 2004
 
Tomorrow is my last day of all the Cancer Treatments. The last Radio Therapy Session. My skin is damaged and there is a wound in my armpit that is quite big and that hurts. Tomorrow I will see the Radiologist, she will give me creme to get my skin back into a good condition.
 
I look back, I very seldom do as there is a future ahead of me, and not behind me.
But emotions are filling my heart and soul and tears my eyes.
 
5 Months ago I got diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. My agenda would be full: Chemo, Radio Therapy, feeling sick, feeling tired.
I promised myself to use all my positivity to fight the Coward Cancer as my friend Ineke calls it.
Every day I have put all the energy I had and felt, into this fight. I have never been sad or really down. For a few days, a month or so ago, I felt too tired to see all what happened over the past years, seperate.  My fatigue threw it all in one bowl and mixed it. Though this lasted for a day or two and soon I was back to old Ike.
 
But today I realise how much energy I used. And full hearted though! I learned to smile even more, learned to laugh even more and learned to love even more. Friendships became even more important, life even more valuable. Nothing I take for granted anymore.
Today I realised I have to use my energy in a completely different way from tomorrow on. My fight will be different, more at ease, less a fight.
 
Some do ask me if I will never have Cancer again. I always reply: "I will tell you after I died of natural course".
I don't know if I will have Cancer again, neither do you. As long as you are still alive, you don't know what will happen to you.
What I do know is that I have more chance to develope Cancer and therefore my fight will not end, though will be less a fight. I know I can winn, not on my own, but with the help of God who provided me with positivism, with the help of doctors, nurses, with the help of family and friends. With the help of the knowledge how important a healthy body is.
 
Tomorrow I say good bye to a short period in my life, only 5 months, but without any doubt, also the most important part of my life. I am alive, it could have been so different. I am alive to continue my life. I start a new life............. these emotions are deep. Very deep and very intense.
I don't fight the emotions, I cry.  I cry but with a smile. The upward corners of my mouth, catch the tears. I can taste my tears, I live!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Ike

Hospital "Nij Smellinghe", my favourite Pub!
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Recently their Oncology Department won an Award

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