This past week – the last one of 2012 – was an enervating one for me. We celebrated Christmas with the kids – all four of them. Sebastian traveled to us from Groningen, and looked very smart in his new grey suit. He’s quite the man now, working at the ING call centre and doing a great job! Kudos to Sebas! Henriette is working at the Etos in Utrecht, a very nice drug store, where she sometimes acts as assistant manager. She also babysits. And she is following an orientation course for an art academy each Wednesday evening in Rotterdam. Valentine is now a junior in high school (VWO) and wants to go to the military academy to follow the officer’s training. He works at the Plus in Utrecht. Barbara is now 15 and a sophomore in high school (also VWO), she is looking for a job and also still has singing ambitions!
We exchanged presents on Christmas eve, and had a great time. I was particularly happy with the presents from Barbara (a beautiful clay candle holder she made herself and glazed light green), Sebas (a very nice bottle of the best Italian wine, to share with Victor!), Henriette (Weleda beauty products made from rose buds and iris) and Valentine gave me a Burberry gift set with eau de toilette and bath gel. Victor gave me a beautiful wooden jewelry box. They were all very thoughtful. We had taco’s for dinner.
The next day I went to see Nancy and my mom in Amsterdam. As usual Nancy had lots of presents for me, the heaviest one being the beautiful MacBook Pro which I’m now using to type this blog. I really don’t need it, but I have to say its a wonderful computer. Maybe it’ll help to get me over this writers angst I now seem to have. I hope to be able to surprise her like that for her upcoming birthday.
When I came back, Victor was leisurely preparing Christmas dinner, but not fast enough for the four hungry young adults! So we added a soup and salad course and everyone was happy. After dinner, Henriette visited her friend Amanda who was babysitting her niece, nearby. The next day was spent watching films and playing Mah-jong and I took Amanda and Henriette back to Utrecht. Victor dropped Sebastian off at the train station and we were back to four. Thursday night Annet treated us to a lovely five course dinner at De Goede Gooier, a nearby restaurant with a quiet ambiance. They had prepared wonderful vegetarian dishes for me, using wild mushrooms, eggplant and spinach.Valentine had to go back to work on Friday so he left with Annet and Henriette.
Friday was the big day for me. We went to the hospital for my meeting with the dentist and my oncologist. The dentist was very nice, and told me anytime I had any side effects I could come to see her. Dr. Baars, my oncologist, was pleased that I looked better. My hair is growing, albeit slowly and its very short, and my eyelashes and eyebrows have grown back. Also, I’ve gained weight and my muscles are back as well. All in all, I look much like I did before I got sick.
The results from the MRI showed that the breast tumor has shrunk from 2,7 cm to 2,4 and the shape has changed: it is now caved in around the perimeter, much as if it is imploding, whereas it was round before. There is not much to see now in the armpit lymph nodes. The CT scans of the liver were not very clear. This is partly because the mitomycine caused scar tissue to grow which is hard to distinguish from the cancer tissue. Also the cancer tissue has become somewhat vague on the scans. Dr. Baars primarily looks at the blood values which were improved even compared to last time. The two tumor markers are almost normal. I’m not really sure what that means, but it sounds good.
She explained about the new pill cure which I am to follow starting on Monday. I will take capecitabine, a chemo which comes in 500 mg tablets, 3 after breakfast and 3 at night, after dinner. Two weeks on and one week off. Victor picked them up this morning and I had my first dose. I am allowed to travel with the pills, so I’m planning to go to LA to visit Nancy and then up to San Francisco in February to visit my friends there. Annet is taking Henriette to LA at the same time, so hopefully the timing will work out so we can meet up there.
Yesterday we had tea with Marijke, Peter, Marlies, Dani, Carlijn (back from Canada) and our neighbors Nicoline, Kees and Rob. Peter and Marlies had a kidney operation a week and a half ago; Peter is Marlies’ father and donated one of his kidneys so that she can live a semi-normal life again (she’ll be on medication the rest of her life). Her kidneys worked at 18%, and she would have had to go through dialysis if this operation had not taken place or had failed. They are both recovering now, and can walk already! We’re so relieved it went well!
Today we’re taking things easy. Went for a walk in the woods with Ellen, Nancy, Puk and Flo and had some juice at Nijhof/La Place. Now I’m home with Victor, listening /watching Keith Jarrett (Standards) on dvd with a fire burning.
My new years resolution: to take things easy, to enjoy every day and to keep in touch! And of course to try to get better! Much love to all of you. I wish all of you a very happy and joyous new year!