Dear Family and Friends,
Yes, here she is again although I have
not always been a loyal friend and writer to some of you!
Loads of excuses ofcourse, like a wonderful,
terrific but busy job with sometimes long hours. Or a stupid computer which has been out of order for a very long time, even
What ever, I am back again.
My life changed completely after the first
A full time (and sometimes more) job with
a wonderful company with great colleagues.
A very healthy new hip which made my life
so much better!
A second hip replacement planned for the
30th of March.
Unfortunately something came in between.
Last Tuesday, after several visits to
the hospital, I was told I have breast cancer. And severe too. This type of Cancer is called Ductal Carcinoma and spread itself
as a huge cob web through the left breast. When it started to form noodles, I felt it for the first time. It can only
been seen on an MRI scan and fortunately they booked one straight away.
The whole breast, all the glands and nodes
will be removed (lateral radical mastectomy) and a test on the glands will show if it spread itself or not.
If so, Chemo therapy follows, if not,
it will be radiation.
A Ductal Carcinoma can grow for 7 years
before it is noticed.
A very weird idea to walk around with
it for already so long and a very good excuse to get rid of it as soon as possible!!
The operation will be next Thursday the
26th of February in my favourite hospital called Nij Smellinghe in Drachten - Friesland.
I was sorry to hear the news and feel
even more sorry to tell you.
I feel very much at ease, I can't change
it and a sad face isn't of any help at all.
I am surrounded by lots of wonderful people
who offered so much help and who look after my Mother who is ofcourse, very sad about it.
I am ok, young, healthy and optimistic
and apart from what is going to happen, having a stabile life, a stabile income and a job waiting for me.
Also my colleagues make sure I can leave
them and the company with a heart at ease.
What a positive change comparing to a
So, I say goodbye for a while, hoping
you are all very well.
Dear Family and Friends,
Yes, indeed, I am back from the Hospital
after breaking another record (again).
The operation went well on Thursday. I
did not need painkillers and was doing my crosswords half an hour after I arrived at my room. I can move my arm much
better then I should do which is another bonus.
Was up and running the next day again
and getting bored on Saturday.
Fortunately they could remove one drain
so I was allowed to go home on Sunday. Great!
Drove my car again on Wednesday so I could
see the Surgeon on Thursday on my own.
He was ever so surprised about my recovery,
the wound is healing quickly and they removed 15 of the 30 stitches.
I still loose a lot of fluid so have to
change the Redon (container) frequently but it is improving.
Though it is not al good news unfortunately.
They removed 15 glands (all they could find) and some of them are infected with cancer.
Next Monday I am going to see the Oncologist
for the final report and on Tuesday they will scan everything possible (bones, lungs etc) because now it could have spread
anywhere in my body. Very weird when you think about it because I feel extremely well. Even going back to work next week.
Chemo Therapy will start very soon but
I will hear more about it next week. At first it will be 4 months and from there 2 months Radiation.
I think this is the first time in my life
I have plans for over a longer period then 24 hours!!!!
The Surgeon said I am mentally and physically
extremely healthy and strong which helps tremendously by what is coming up soon.
Ofcourse still very optimistic, loads
of energy to win this fight!
Have won more wars though!
I hope you are all fine and doing well,
you are in my thoughts.
Dear Family and Friends,
Finally good news!!!
Last Monday I went back to my favourite
"Pub" the hospital, for the usual check up's, the draining of lymph fluid (Serome) gathered in the arm pit (due to the removed
glands) and the results of all the Scan's, X-ray's and Echo's of my body because they found Cancer in 9 of the 15 glands.
Also to the surprise of my Doctor's, there
are no other tumours!!!
I think you can imagine a little bit how
extremely happy I was and still am ofcourse. I could dance though!! Wow Whoopee!!!!!!!!!!
What a huge relief, can not put this into
Ofcourse there was already the good news
about the wonderful healing of the wound and the remarkable movability of my arm.
But next we had "business" to do as ofcourse
there still is the Chemo en Radiation ahead of me.
The Oncologist examined me and I got certificated
"Extremely Healthy". After that the bloodtests and the Heart check.
In between those tests, I went to see
the Oncology Nurse who again removed 1,5 dl of lymph fluid.
This will go on for some other weeks until
the little lymph canals will find a new way round over my shoulder. How ingenious........
Last but not least a visit to another
Oncology Nurse for a talk about the Good's and Bad's of Chemo therapy.
The Bad's are ofcourse the side effects
of the Chemo. The Good is e.g. me getting bald but getting back much nicer and even curly hair!!!!! And ofcourse slimming
The most wonderful Good is ofcourse me
getting rid of the Cancer for ever, hoping it will never return!
Next week Friday, the 26th of March is
my first Chemo. Then 3 weeks of rest and the second Chemo. This will be 4 times in total.
After the Chemo 5 weeks of daily Radiation,
this all together will "keep me off the streets" for a while.
My boss is a wonderful man and I can work
when I want and stay at home when things get a bit difficult. I feel fortunate.
Yesterday (Monday) I went back to work
which is a wonderful feeling.
Nearly hugged to death by my colleagues,
returning was good.
Life isn't so bad though!
Got to say I am very touched by all the
attention like e-mails, cards and telephonecalls. It makes life so much easier, thank you all.
Love hearing from you again.
Dear Family and Friends,
Again "News from The North" , just
about recovering from the first Chemo.
But first: thank you ever so much for
the mails, cards, phonecalls and above all, your love!
What happened the past weeks.
As you know, I went back to work full-time,
and this was great. Boss, colleagues and clients are wonderful and an important factor in the joy of working. Besides that
you are in private life so very important. I realise how lucky I am.
In between jobs, still some visits to
the Hospital for drainage's of the lymph fluid (Serome) but this finally came to an end.
The last time they drained 2 dl and my
body used the space under my skin to rebuilt pockets so everything comes back in place.
The last fluid will disappear in a couple
of weeks and with it the bumps. A matter of giving and taking. Body and I agreed this way.
On request of the Oncology Nurse, I went
for a wig. I had to go to Groningen for it. Very reluctant because I do not want one.
But the Nurse said I should at least go
to see how it looks like and to choose a model and colour. When I should change my mind after getting bald, they could make
mine within 24 hours.
You could say I went with my hair straight
up but have to admit that IKEA was more attractive because I could buy my Caviar with Dill again (I am an addict you know).
When I arrived at the wig shop where "leaving
items out is the power of decorating" is, the owners were very surprised I was on my own. "Oh Ma'am, you are on your own!!
No body to support you???????"
Ofcourse not, I do have my driver license
They were ever so friendly and caring,
though I asked for a less caring as it gave me the shivers!
Half an hour of trying, looking, colours
and sizes and my reluctancy got bigger and bigger. Every time I watched a persiflage at myself in the mirror. The wig too
far at my fore head, the hair even more to my nose and instead of the lousy head of hair I deal with for already
48 years, I all of a sudden had a huge head of hair!!!
Very carefully I explained why I did not
want a wig and then they showed me a scarf. A long one which you can twist and wind around your head in a cheerful way. And
yes, Ike was back in the mirror!!!!
The 27,50 Euro's I have to pay for the
scarf fits me much better then the 250 Euro's extra for the wig. Settled..........
Bought one and a few days later I
bought enough fashionable coloured cloth to make 7 new ones: one for every day.
Then the Chemo, the first one on the 26th
Comfortable transported in a Taxi which
I need for the Radiation as well so why no full use of the 80 Euro I have to pay before the insurance comes in.
Spoilt with tea, biscuits and a very lazy
chair, they first gave me through the drip something against getting sick, very slowly as it has some temporary side effects:
an itching feeling in that part of the back that stops having a decent name......................
Next for 20 minutes the Chemo with the
nice rose-red colour, especially made for me!
Then home, walking the dog, a chat and
drink with Mum, walking and the dog again and yes............ at 3 PM the misery started. I got sick, very sick and could
not keep any food or drinks in my stomach.
The medications I took home and which
I was allowed to take more then once a day, did not do their work well.
Well, this went on and on until Tuesday
afternoon and I felt pretty wobbly.
But the weather was too nice to ignore
and I went out for a walk on Tuesday afternoon. But after 1 km, when I arrived at the Pont, I had to sit down, seeing "stars".
I allowed my body a nice rest.
Thursday out for foodshopping and Friday
buying some flowers for the garden pots so sitting in the garden would be more colourful.
I eat normal food again (suddenly "hungered"
for Hutspot, a Dutch treat of carrots, unions, meat and potatoes) and drink an awful lot to clean my body from the rubbish
Next Monday back to work and fortunately
two lovely weeks ahead to regain strength. The 2nd Chemo is the 16th of April.
Oh, I still don't loose hair. I hope I
will do as I am very much looking forward to the beautiful hair that will return after the treatment.
It wouldn't happen to me though, not
having this side effect................
Dear Family and Friends,
Time for a little chat and a big thank
you for the lovely replies to my former news letter!!
In the meantime I had my second Chemo.
It wasn't as bad as the first one due to some new medications with the lovely name Domperidon (it sounds like a Spanish Lord...).
It made it all more pleasant.
The tiredness is worse but this was predicted.
A very strange feeling to live a predictable life........
This second time I took a week off which
caused a nice and relaxing feeling. I haven't been out, not even with the car, just a little holiday in my own village. Not
bad though with the lovely weather we have!
It was good, I sniffed loads of fresh
Yes, Ike is bald.......................
finally!!!! I would I had known the good sides about it before!
2 weeks after the first Chemo, during
my shower, I felt something strange around my fingers, washing my hair. I looked and yes, lots of hair wrapped around my fingers.
I could just pull it out very easily, funny!
I had planned a day out with a friend,
going to "Cirque du Soleil" in Amsterdam, so right after the shower, I made a scarf matching to what I was going to wear.
It looked really nice.
Different make up, different look and
off I went.
In Amsterdam we had to wait for a while
and there was a very cold wind blowing. People stood there, hidden in their coats, mourning about the weather.
And there was I, my head wrapped in a
nice warm scarf, a quick way to find out how useful they are!
On Sunday I made some more scarves, at
least I tried but ofcourse the machine broke down. Fortunately I managed to make 5 and I am now looking fashionable every
Being bald is not bad at all, it saves
me 20 minutes during the morning so you could say I now have a sleep in every day. It also saves lots of money by not
needing to go to the hairdresser and don't have to clip my nails. For the female readers: I do not have to wax my legs
I also use different colours of eye make-up,
which I put on before the scarf. Looking in the mirror, I definitely look like Imhotep, the famous Pyramid architect and great
medical doctor, especially the time he lived in. The difference is though, that I can't design a proper Pyramid and do
not know much about illnesses in people, let alone mummification)
The two weeks before Chemo, I went back
to work and it went very well apart from one morning when I did not wake up in time. Who cares........... not my boss!
The night before the second Chemo, I went
out for dinner with colleagues and arrived well fed in the Hospital on Friday.
Live is not bad at all..........................
Today my second day at work, yesterday
was rather quiet, not too much work and alone in the office so I had plenty of time to finish the work which was still there.
During an e-mail conversation with my
boss, I was promised a temporary worker but I haven not seen one. Who knows what surprises will show up this week.
I left a bit earlier, after a physical
Today I discussed working less hours and
we agreed about me leaving around 3 PM. I am more tired then last week and looking after my little house in combination with
an 8 hours day at work, is now a bit too much. Therefore I left at half past four today...... :-))
During the past week I have put some time
in creating my own little web site. Just because I want to put my stories on "paper" in a different way, to show Cancer is
not all misery.
If you would like to have
a look, you can click http://paraveterinary.tripod.com. The sire is still under construction, lots
has to be added, but this is a start.
Nothing will change much now
for a while. I am working hard on being as fit as possible for the 3rd Chemo and when that one is done, there is only one
left................ do you hear that??? One!!!!! A count down!
I hope you are all doing fine, stay healthy,
mentally en physically. You are all in my thoughts.
Dear Family and Friends,
Time flies, almost a month ago since you
received my last news letter.
In the meantime we have been in touch in
many ways: phonecalls, cards, e-mails, visits. All very much appreciated!! Also good media to know about how you are doing.
You are all friends with the capital F.......
I start with the good news. Just two weeks
to go before the very, very last Chemo. I can't believe how quickly it all went by.
The way I look at this last Chemo is a
bit double. Yes, I do look forward to it and No, I don't.
The third Chemo on May 10, was a bad one.
Even worse then no. 1. I have been very, very sick for many days. The trick is to drink as much as possible liquids to drain
the poison from your body. But every bit of liquid irritated the whole vomiting system.
I felt worn out after a few days. The
usually very effective medication wasn't of much help.
But, as always, I managed to get it under
control and by last Friday I felt better again. Ate normal food and drank as much as possible (no.... no alcohol!!!).
The side effects are getting worse, very
tired and very quickly emotional about the odd things: happy and not happy events.
Just not at all like Ike to cry that quickly.
Be assured it has nothing to do with
the emotions about Cancer. I know, people keep telling me this and I gave it a proper thought, but it is just one of those
side effects so do not feel sorry for me!!!
I am not yet back to work. My colleagues
are great and very understandable but I also know, all being extremely busy, it is hard to deal with someone who is present
but not able to work full speed and who you can't ask about urgent matters because she is getting forgetful and loosing concentration.
This also happens now and I have to accept that in the first place.
So, too tired to be back. It is good to
be surrounded by supportive people.
I also have to work hard to keep
up my "marketvalue" as my face is now showing the side effects too: eye-bags and skin rash. Nearly 50 is much more understandable
Though it is not all misery. I noticed
little bits of hair are growing back and I can hardly wait to see what colour it will be.
As you know I love grey hair..........
And every one with straight hair, gets
curly hair in return.
Gosh, what a lovely dream, me with beautiful
grey curly hair..........
Well, one can always dream though!
Sunday I was with my mother, talking about
antiques. We both love that. Before my marriage my whole flat was decorated with antiques but ex did not like it so slowly
everything got sold or disappeared to Mum's attic. Also an hanging oil lamp.
Part of it I found in the garage and part
of it was at the attic. I went for it and at the attic I found one of Mum's collectable dolls with a wig on. A real wig, bought
by Mum appr. 30 years ago but still in a good condition. Colour: dark brown.
I gave it a good wash, repaired the elastic
fastening, combed it and put it on my head.
Mum had to laugh and I reminded her
to some of my cousins. True, I do look like one of them! We had lots of fun about it, it was not at all my colour and it changed
my face completely!!! Mum says I look well with it, it suits me but you know Mum's eyes are getting worse rapidly so I did
not really trust her opinion on this one.
I went to my neighbour who smiled and
smiled and said I look nice with it!! "Dare to wear it when you go out with the dog tomorrow!!" she said.
Don't say that twice to me....................
So I went out and met many people. Some
just looked, others talked to me but did not mention it (this says more then words......) but most of them were very kind
Have to admit that I now changed it for
my scarf again, that feels so much softer and more comfortable and it is me again.
Though the wig experience was good enough
to repeat it!
Still with a smile, I say goodbye to you.
No doubt we will speak to eachother soon again, in what ever way.
Take great care you all and smile a lot,
it is of so much help!!
And you know, when you smile at people,
they'll smile at you........
Love you all.
Chemo, Computers and cars, friends and
enemies at the same time.
What a surprise to be off line for two whole
weeks and to find those lovely messages in my inbox. Thank you all, very welcome! I tried to reply to them but
might have not managed yet with one or two. Trust me, I will as soon as possible.
It was good to hear from you all, especially
because apart from the best wishes, you send lovely to read letters about what keeps you busy and I like that. So please.........
Appr. 5 weeks ago since my last news letter.
You know I had my final Chemo session, Wooheeee!! And as a Good Bye, I was sicker then with the previous one. I often
have been thinking about all those people, especially the teenagers with bone cancer, who need 10 Chemo sessions. They are
in Hospital during the sessions and well looked after because they get very, very sick. I know, we all have to go through
it, hoping to survive but it is very difficult to deal with when more then 4 times. I admire all those people so much. They
deserve all possible understanding, compassion and support and a place in Heaven for their courage.
To make a long story a short one, it was
only till Thursday (Chemo was on Friday) that I felt slightly better and not vomiting anymore. I lost so much fluid that we
have been talking about me going to hospital to avoid dehydration but the thought of being in any car, made me even more sick.
Due to being sick, all sorts of scents are experienced as terrible, awful, horrible. Perfume, food, flowers etc. Like the
taste of food and drinks. It took me a while to get used to all this again, somewhere in my brains there was this connection
between smells, tastes and vomiting.
Right now I am doing very well, I eat, drink
(no, no........ alcohol!) like in the old days which is splendid. The petrol to keep me running. I do loose a lot of weight
during the Chemo week, sometimes up to 4 kilos and are very disappointed when it all returns including 1 or 2 extra kilos
where I dont ask for!!! Very annoying. The blood values went down again, especially the HB and I feel extremely tired. I hope
for Iron tablets as radiation will bring it down even more.
The day before Chemo, when being so smart
to pay my bills, my PC broke down. No connection to the Internet and/or no connection from PC to PC by telephone. Something
to do with the IP. A "Digital Identity Crisis." Last Friday, one week later, I took it to the repair shop, luckily in the
village, who had to clean the computer completely to put Windows back on again. It worked well and last Thursday evening I
got it back, including Telebanking. But....... still not possible to pay the bills, not the right settings. Like being on
line by cable, no connection here either, wrong settings.
But on Friday both Help Desks talked me
through various programs and since then I am back on line again. Thank you nice people from the Help Desks!
It was a miserable week for my car as well.
It returned from the MOT and service during the previous Chemo but it now showed some other problems. It is back again, not
leaking oil anymore but I am not looking forward to all the bills! So, car, PC and owner are back on track.
Next Monday I have to go the Hospital in
Leeuwarden for a pre-radiation talk and some check ups. Then I will also know when the Radiation starts. 5 weeks, daily but
not during the weekend. This will keep me off the streets Tuesday a meeting with the Gynecologist/Oncologist for the Vulva
Skin Cancer (VIN3) I developed in November/December 2002. I should be looked after in Groningen for it (it is very, very rare)
but Drachten says they can do it too so again another "bartender" in my favourite Pub to see. As many of you know already
(New Letters 1 and 2) VIN3 (full Skin Cancer) needs to be treated by Laser or Surgery to avoid Vulva Cancer but to the huge
surprise of all doctors, my body solved the problem on its own and no signs there right now. Just because I want to live a
healthy life, not allowing the skin cancer to develop into worse (I think so). A possitive outlook can do so much). But still,
they need to keep "an eye" on it. Wednesday I am seeing the Surgeon for a check up of the operated area. To me it all looks
very good although my left arm is a bit sore, but this is caused by the Chemo, so I am told. It might get worse during radiation
and I am free to visit the Physiotherapist for it. We'll see. So, a full agenda here!
Last week I went to Leeuwarden
for my prothese, the right name for it is "Epithese", an outside prothese.The one I got and wanted is a sticky prothese which
sticks to the skin to avoid extra weight on your shoulder where the new lymph nodes grow.The best way to describe this Epithese
is like a Chicken Filet with adhesive pearls. For those who want more info, please click http://www.amoena.co.uk It feels like I received a wonderful and very
expensive present and I am very happy with it.
My hair grows back. Very, very slowly and
as far as I can see, it is a mixture of grey and dark blond (I hoped for beautiful grey....). It is still too short to tell
if I will have curly hair in return but I will let you know as soon as possible. One comfortable thought here, it cant be
worse then my old hair!!!
Time to return to my daily duties my dear
friends. Since Friday I am a Foster Mum of an adorable baby Starling with Fluffy feathers on top of his head. Mum found it
and I adopted it (its the paraveterinary blood). The first 24 hours, the Starling behaved very stubborn and is therefor called
"Stub". He yelled his head off when I tried to hold him and kept his little mouth shut as soon as I wanted to feed him, fighting
to get loose but he cant fly. Since Friday he accepted me to be his Mum and asks for food as soon as he sees me, his little
yellow beak wide open, following me every where. He loves to sit on my shoulder, cuddling up, sleeping. He needs feeding at
least once an hour. He feels very comfortable staying with me but I hope he wants to join his friends outdoors as soon as
he can fly and look after himself. I dont mind Hedgesparrow Fluffy staying with us, but do not want another bird to look after
Take great care you all, enjoy life, stay
healthy, I care for you an awful lot!
Latest News on Cancer Test Results..........
This morning I went to the Hospital for the
results of the VIN tests and........... wonderful news............ NED (No Evidence of Disease).
Gosh........ I am so very, very happy! I can't
believe my luck!!! Dance with me !!!!
Dear Family and Friends,
It has been a while ago since
you received my last newsletter. Much happened
in the mean time and life is getting back to normal quickly! This is a good thing.
You kept in touch, wrote me
e-mails, phoned me, sent me cards and kept me up dated about your life which was of such a help to keep life as normal as
possible during the therapies, a sound base from were I worked on a better and healthy future. A big THANK YOU is needed here. Without all your help the fight would have been much
tougher!! Please keep that in mind........... Well, what happened since the last newsletter.
23 times over a little more
then 5 weeks. A daily trip by taxi to the Centre in Leeuwarden. I was told it was going to be a burden because it was daily.
But fortunately it was not. It was an item on my agenda, nothing more.
The therapists at the Centre were great. Very caring, clear in their explanations and most of them with a very good sense
of humour. My Radiologist/Oncologist is a young woman, a good listener, practical and very caring. I saw here every other
week but when necessary, she is always there for us "patients". A wonderful system which really works for so many people.
Being at the Centre, seeing so many other patients,
some too young to have Cancer and some too old to suffer so much, I realised how fortunate I am.
|My Picasso-like Radiation stripe ....... and my matching hat!
I received three different types of
radiation with my shoulder joint and lungs protected with huge and heavy blocks. My back, chest and armpit kept well until
a week before the last therapy. Then the skin got damaged, the arm pit badly and it got very sore. The last day I went to
see the Oncologist and a nurse, they wrapped me up in bandages and two different cremes. The creme for the armpit was an anti
inflammation one as I do not have nodes left and an infection could do a lot of harm. But it went very well although the pain
and the itching. In no time there was new skin growing in the armpit. All what is left from the damage now is a sore spot
on my chest but this is healing too.
The first 3 weeks of the Therapy
I have been "morning sick" (no, I am not pregnant!!! That isn't possible anymore, the Chemo has put that to an end........!!!)
but later on the day, I felt better again. I did not go to work, getting more and more tired and tried to behave like an old
lady. With less energy left, that wasn't too difficult, must be my age as well I think. In the middle of the radiotherapy
I turned 49 but did not celebrate my birthday, I will do this next year. But to those who remembered: thank you for your attention!
The second week after the last therapy, I felt I gained in energy. I woke up earlier, did not sleep during the afternoon anymore
and had better sleeps during the night. Not sleeping very well has been a major problem but thankfully it improved tremendously.
Keeping up with housekeeping went much better
and I was even singing and humming most of the day which is a very good sign!
I also had check up’s on the Vulva
Skin Cancer. Not in Groningen but in Drachten as the last time it was VIN1. The Gynaecologist did 2 Biopsies (ouch, the local
anaesthetics did not work……. and two weeks later I was told the happy news that there wasn’t any sign of
VIN!! Can you believe it?? Gosh, I could dance!
A "new car":
2 Weeks ago I received a phone
call from the Volvo Garage who I asked a year ago, to look for a Volvo V40 as my 12 year old 480ES was going to cost too much
to maintain it. Now they had a suitable 8 year
old Black Metallic V40 with many extra's. Mum and I went to see the car as for her it is important to be able to get in- and
out which was a problem with the 480ES. As soon as we drove off in the V40 I knew this was going to be my car. Financially
it does not cost me much more per month but it runs like a Rolls Royce. It
felt like I received a wonderful present and for me it is part of my new future. I collected the car August 7 and enjoy driving
it so much! Attached a photo so you can have a peek around the corner.
Last Monday, the 9th, I went
back to work, part time, after a long phone call with my boss a week earlier, in which he told me I was going to do different
work then used to. I am now going to look after
the incoming and outgoing procedures of the boats plus the information and / or leaflets for these boats. Also keeping the
companies web site updated is part of my job. After his holiday I will hear more about it. Well, this was another challenge
and I will not say no to it! Some of the work I did before and enjoyed it so much more then typing letters. I do hope I still
will make the phone calls for our Sales Mangers!! We'll see.
So back to work but unfortunately I found
this very, very difficult. Not my new work, I do look forward to that and have many ideas I want to work with. But I do not
have a desk and computer anymore. So many things changed and the lady who was going to do my job temporarily, now got another
job with the company but at my old desk with her new computer. My computer went to the Sales Managers who's Lap top just gave
up a few days before. Now I got shovelled around from desk to desk and from PC to PC without any of them working well with
the programs I need. This needed a lot of energy and common sense. After three mornings I felt frustrated, lost, out of touch
and out of control. Colleagues were great and very understanding but could not do much about it.
I did not return to work on Thursday after
a night without sleep because it all went through my head. The best way to explain my feelings is this: The past 6 months
I worked very hard to fight the Cancer, to deal with the treatments, to be happy, to have a positive outlook on the future
and to keep life as normal as possible to be able not to walk on lose sand. All very successful. Though coming back at work
and not having my own workspace anymore , not the right equipment for the new work, caused many negative emotions which I
can't handle yet as I found out, unexpectedly Though this my bosses and colleagues understand as well and nobody blames me
for giving it an other try again next week. In the meantime they look for a permanent solution.
Step by step, the Oncologist
told me. That is for many things.......................... not just my health!
I will be having Cancer check
ups regularly, every two months either with the Surgeon or the Oncologist.
Next week Wednesday I will have
a final talk at the Chemo department about emotions and how to get on with life.
We all agree I do not need that but it is part of the "game" and I promised to bake them a Chocolate Cake so we are going
to have a tasty half-hour!
Looking back, the past 6 months
went very, very quick. As said, I worked hard and have very good feelings about it. Life is going to be wonderful (it always
has been, but even more now). I feel like I can conquer the world after winning from the Cancer. I know, the next 10 years
I will be looked after and I am well aware I have a higher risk of developing any Cancer again. But I also know I have won this fight which I could not have done without my strong
personal believe in my God and the overwhelming and honest support of all of you!!
Sometimes I am asked: "Will you never have
Cancer again??" My answer: "I will tell you after I died of natural course".
Take nothing in life for granted, never.
Health is such a precious thing, don't fool around with it!!! It is your base for living! And living is what I am going to
do. I am alive!!!!!!!!!!! What more could I wish for??????
Big hug from a very happy and
ever so thankful Ike.
|My new hair.......
no. 14: 17-11-2004
Dear Family and Friends,
Although I promised
you (long ago), regular news letters, it has been a while ago since you received the last one, no. 13.. Now
life is getting back to normal, I seem to have less and less time to maintain regular correspondence. I
don’t mean to and I don’t like it, but it happens (uh… happened!) Of course, with
many of you I kept in touch by private e-mails or phone calls, which is nice and welcome. Still
it is time for an update from the Friesland Front to start with a question I often hear……………"How
are you really????"
Fine, I am doing
fine, honestly. No fall back’s or dip’s, feeling low’s etc. Yes, still tired at
times with still some side effects from the ChemoTherapy but these are different then mental problems. All
my doctor’s warned me for mental fall back’s as soon as life would go back to normal (is life ever normal?? Forgot
how that is…..). The therapy months were a tight schedule and a mental fight to keep my life as normal as possible to
avoid falling in a black hole afterwards. This took an awful lot of energy and although it might
sound strange, I used this energy with love and pleasure and am now extremely thankful I was able to do it this way. I
could not have done it without the help of all these wonderful people around me, they too worked hard to avoid changes in
the relationships. They have always been optimistic, behaved like usual, made fun and in general, had the same sense of humour
mixed with the tiny little bit of "sarcasm" which I added to the way I handled the Cancer.
So, private life
is wonderful, even better then before because I value it so much more then before the Cancer. I
am more happy with my little house, my view, Autumn (always been my most favourite season), the love I meet where ever I go,
my animals (the Zoo is extended with hens and a cockerel) and so much more! I will never take things for granted anymore.
web site did bring me more………………… the creation of more web sites! 5 years ago I
could only write a letter in WP 5,1, not interested either in how computers and or their programs work. Now
I find a great joy in working in Power Point for presentations (also part of my job), HTML programs and making web sites although
still with the help from servers like Tripod. I
even subscribed for a www-site, so please note that my new address is : www.paraveterinary.com. I added more to the "Daily
Life" site, added more links plus uploaded pictures to my web album. The site will be great one
day!! I also work on sites of others. The links will be in my e-mails and at the site.
I look like
Holland’s Glory: very healthy, far from skinny and with a wonderful quality of hair. I can’t tell you how happy
I am with my new hair. It is still short. I went to see the hairdresser twice but just to shape the edges, the rest is free
to grow. Everybody I meet, likes this short hair and tells me it suits me so well, ‘don’t
grow it much longer’. I will see, I can always have it cut back (or pruned….), I now know how it looks like in
all stages. Being tired at times (but this is also improving) is not something you can fight. It
happens and you have to accept it. That does not mean I am giving in straight away though! When it happens at work, I
just carry on, knowing it will be 5.30 PM soon. During a meeting with the doctor of the ‘Arbo-dienst’
(some sort of Insurance Company who reintegrates sick employees) we decided I was going to work for 70% until December and
from there on 100%. But the 70% turned out to be 85%, due to some causes (internal reorganisations).
My job content, changed almost every 14 days and since a few weeks I am an Interim (really???) Receptionist,
with still some of my normal work. At first it felt strange, especially because I agreed doing the work occasionally when
they needed a spare receptionist but all of a sudden I was one full time. I felt like being back at the age of 19 when I started
my first job as a receptionist. But due to the pre-natal depression of a colleague who will not return anymore, and the leave
of a colleague who find herself a new job elsewhere, I am now back in a job I always liked….. though 25 years ago! I
learned so many other skills in the meantime. Never mind, it is a nice job with a nice company and
with great colleagues so I am not complaining. Back in uniform as well, my oldies from being the
"boss" of the Product Promotion Team. Because the company is open 7 days a week, we work shifts
which means that I am often working with weekends with two days off during the week for compensation, and every other week
one day extra during the week. Not bad uh???
Side effect, still
bothering me at times but this is normal and known to last for a year, sometimes even longer. Knowing
my capability to recover fast, I expect my side effects to last for 6 months………. They
are swollen joints of my hands (painful too) and painful muscles, every where in my body. I know
take Vitamin supplements and liver cod oil, which is of help, good. Also a dislocation of a finger
joint was part of the side effects, I did not do anything strange to cause it and put it back in place myself, what else could
I do on an early Sunday morning? Some weeks after, still a swollen finger, I went to see the Orthopaedist
for the upcoming hip replacement and he also took X-rays from the finger but this looked fine. The
right (ehhh…………wrong) hip looked worse then before and the replacement will be in January. I
don’t take part in the so called Joint Care Project (6 people operated on the same day, Physio together and being ‘released’
together). I will be a normal patient who can take her time to recover. And if I think I am still not fit enough, they will
postpone the operation to February or March or what ever. But the hip is very painful so I am ever
so much looking forward to the operation……………. 4 weeks of rest, almost a holiday! I let you
know the date as soon as possible.
|At the reception
In the meantime
I had of course several check ups with the Oncologists and Surgeons. They are all surprised about my quick recovery and the
movability of my left arm. So happy faces all around me. The next check up will be the 22nd of December,
then they will book the scan for me to see if the inside is doing as well as the outside. In January of February the will
take X-rays again.
I also went to
the Academic Hospital in Groningen for a DNA research. Due to so many women with Breast Cancer in our family, it is very possible
me having one or two Cancer Genes. One is just Breast Cancer and the other one is Breast and Ovary cancer. In April or May
2005 I will receive the results. Then it will be time to make up my mind. When it is just breast cancer, I will have the other
breast removed as well with at the same time, a reconstruction for both. When I have gene no. 2, I will also have the ovary
removed. If I can avoid cancer: Yes Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As you can see,
life is definitely back to normal, with all the hassle and bassle but even more with all the good things life has to offer.
I do not promise you News Letters on short term but I will keep in touch when ever time. And please
check my web site regularly.
Will you please take care
you all??? Speak to you soon, lots of love,
Dear Family and Friends,
So many of you deserve a personal phone
call instead of this news letter!!!
I received Heart warming Christmas Cards
and e-mails, thank you so much..........
I would have loved to send you a personal
message. But time flies, unbelievable. Determined to speak to you before the hip operation but somehow I seem not to
manage to do so!
Long busy days at the office (officially
75%????? What about 100%???????? Or even more??????), coming home totally exhausted and falling asleep as soon as my
but touches the settee. This is a reflection of the past few weeks. Unfortunately it is in the way of a private life, though
I give in to this sleeping. My body seems to need it.
Since a few weeks I am on EPREX and iron
tablets. The meaning of all this is that I become very energetic but instead I sleep hours and hours and hours. In my chair,
at the settee, in my bed (fortunately!!). Also at work I found it difficult to keep my eyes open. Due to the Chemo my memory
isn't that good but right now it is a disaster.
But ok, next Tuesday is the big day. I
am going on "holiday" ........full services!!!
A comfortable, fully automatic bed, food
and drinks served, books to read and music to listen to, a good sense of humour.
Besides that I am ever so happy to get
rid of the bad hip (the operation is scheduled for Wednesday the 12th. 8 AM), I am also very much looking forward to do nothing
else then recovering and having a rest. A total rest, no new records to brake. Although, leaving the Hospital with one crutch
instead of two, must be possible.
They give me all the time to recover,
gosh, I will be spoilt!!!!!!
I have been off from work for some days,
so many things have to be done. Enough food for Mum, me and the animals to keep us going for 6 weeks (I am not allowed to
drive a car for that long), a walking service for dog Invandra who will stay, like bird Fluffy, with Mum. My little friend
Lena will look after the cats who stay comfortably at home. And neighbour Wietze looks after the chicken. One hen is laying
eggs so fresh eggs to look forward to.
Then the house needs to be ready: the
high toilet seat, a bow for the blanket (sleeping on my back for 6 weeks), everything I often need at "grip" height as I am
not allowed to bend over for 6 weeks, washing, ironing, cleaning, etc. etc. It feels like I have days short.
So forgive me I wasn't around often or
not at all.
But, within two weeks
after the Op, I will be able to sit long enough to read the e-mails at my Lap Top.
Speak to you soon
Dear Family and friends,
I am back again….. after a long time! And so much
happened in the meantime.The last letter was from just before the operation so let’s start with that.
Wednesday: It went all very well; I was the very first
patient for that day. The Op. lasted one and a half hour and again I lost quite a lot of blood with the usual consequences
for my blood pressure. I was back at the ward around 12 but it was not until 5 PM that my blood pressure was under control.
Though I did fine and had a very good night sleep. The next morning the Physiotherapist arrived with the Zimmer frame for
the very first walk, just a few metres he said. But I managed the long corridor and back, not only to the surprise of the
Therapist but also to my own; I was so much more "movable" then after the first hip replacement!! On Friday I walked with
my two crutches and crossed half the Hospital, drank a cup of tea at the Oncology Department and had a careful walk outdoors,
happy with the smell of a frosty but sunny day. Late afternoon the Therapist and the Staff Nurse told me I was allowed to
go home! My partner could help me with the elastic stocking. But there is no partner and it was too late to contact the Aid
Service so I stayed put and enjoyed being spoilt. Because again, I was well looked after and had lots of freedom to do what
I thought was good for me.
I promised the Physio to go home on one crutch. He smiled
and said: "Leaving the Hospital on one is OK but then you walk with two again! And before you go home on Monday, we practice
walking the stairs!" Yes, sure………. So on Saturday I walked the stairs on my own (have a good memory!) and
on Sunday I walked with one crutch and did the stairs even more times as well as my walks outdoors. On Monday I got released,
happy to go home.
From then on things went so well, walked without any crutch
a week later. But……… I was so extremely tired! For once I had to admit that my body said STOP, don’t
overdo things, rest, rest and rest even more. I had good hopes to be back at work after 4 weeks but decided to listen to my
warning system and told everybody I was going to live like a Hermit for at least 6 weeks. No phone calls, no Internet, no
visitors and not going anywhere. Living in my village, this is not too difficult! I slept a lot, also during the afternoon,
did not do any other thing then the usual housekeeping. And I enjoyed it, very much. Finally I came to rest and very slowly
life got back to normal. After 6 weeks I went back for as well the Cancer- as my Hip check up. Driving my own car…………..
Another week off for food shopping, housekeeping and getting used to going back to a normal rhythm to be prepared for a working
life. My two bosses and I decided that I should work one week for 50% and then back to 100%.
Many things changed during my absence. Colleagues left,
a new Interim Manager arrived and a new colleague at the reception desk. After one week, I had a meeting with the Doctor of
the Insurance Company. He is such an amiable man and was a bit worried about my enormous amount of energy. He wanted me to
work 50% for two more weeks, then 75% for again two weeks and then back to 100%. But I did not agree and after a while we
compromised. 50% next week, 75% the week after and then back to normal. So I did although I didn’t fully agree.
I now have the management over the Reception area and
the Gift Shop and enjoy the work that comes with it. I am busy and noticed myself singing and whistling whilst working.
I am also back in to my uniform.. why is this so nice?
Well, during the Chemo (and even after….) I tried to eat and live as Healthy as possible and gained weight! Far too
much! And when back to work, I could stand straight up in my uniform but could not sit in it anymore. I lost 7 kilo’s
by now and hope for much more, love to go back to normal.
This is also going back to normal. I am catching up with
friendships as I have neglected some of you terribly. I am out and about again, meeting new people, seeing old friends. At
home I finally made a start with my garden and can work for hours and hours without being really tired. Though do not ask
after my muscles……….. especially the legs were not used to support 200 kilo’s of pebbles for my front
garden! But as always, I heal quickly and get stronger and stronger.
My life is so much more beautiful, greener, more sunshine,
more laughter and I feel more at ease. I smile even more then I did before. I am truly happy about all that happened to me
as it made my heart grow so I am able to enjoy life even more to the full. Life is great, SUPER!!
On April the 21st I am going to Yorkshire for
a few days. Foster Brother David is taking me (I can kiss him for that!), it feels like going home again and you believe me,
I will enjoy every second of my trip!! No matter if it is raining, with me the sun is always shining!
The check ups showed I am healthy, which means I am without
Cancer for one whole year. Isn’t that amazing? It could have been so different and here I am: alive and kicking and
But the best news ever is that I received the results
of the DNA test for the Cancer Gene BRCA1 and/or BRCA2. Oh, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the letter form
the hospital in Groningen. I do not have any of those two Cancer Genes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Unbelievable with so much Breast Cancer in my family.
My Breast Cancer was just "bad luck", just a coincidence, nothing more and nothing less. Such a relief, no second Mastectomy,
less worries for getting it again. What a freedom, what happiness. I cried and cried, read the letter again and again and
even now, a few weeks later, it is still a miracle. It feels like I am born again. Just can’t put it into words really.
I hope this will be the last News Letter for a very long
time. I hope I can be in touch with you individual again. Though keep visiting my web site as I will post on there regularly.
Last but not least: I thank God from the bottom of my
Heart for all of you. As every one of you, in your own way, helped me through the "busy" times. Helped me smile and helped
me laugh and also allowed me to feel tired. You always looked forward, were always optimistic, knowing that fitted me best.
Yes, I am an optimist, I live for my future and I am strong, determined but I am above all very human and sometimes still
that little girl. And without you, I couldn’t have been that strong!! So the biggest hug in the world and all my love
for my wonderful Family and Friends!