How I feel

Dear friends,

I’ve decided to try to post to my blog using e-mail. Since I started working again I’ve had a hard time trying to figure out what to post on my blog and so I keep putting it off.

So here’s my new attempt at keeping in touch.
First of all, my health is great. I’m feeling energetic and the new hormone therapy I’m on seems to work. It also causes some side effects, such as stiff joints and muscles and I still have trouble falling asleep unless I take medication. Yesterday Victor and I thanked our GP whose been there all the way for us, stopping by weekly when things were looking bad. Now that I’ve crawled out of the canyon so to speak I wish to thank each and everyone of you. You’ve been great friends, cheering me up and making me realize that friendship is what matters most.

Now that I’m starting to work again, I’m realizing that its easy to fall into the trap of focusing too much on work. Especially a concern for me at the moment, facing a deadline next week. But what is a ‘deadline’ when you’ve faced death itself! There is just one deadline for me and I would like to postpone that moment for as long as possible. It was a really close call and in retrospect I realize now how lucky I have been.
I will not let anything or anyone tell me what to do or how to live.

I guess you can tell work is a bit stressful at the moment. But it is very nice to be able to work again. I have great colleagues and I really enjoy what I do. But where I used to be good with deadlines, I’m not anymore. Still, it is great to be able to work on a relatively intellectual level, discussing standards for interoperability. I’m very glad I don’t have a chemo brain anymore (yes, it really does exist)! I’m getting better with my short term memory as well. Although two weeks ago I managed to lose my car keys in a plant while shopping. Since then, I carry them around my neck.

Next week on Friday I have my monthly checkup with my oncologist. So far, the blood values have been stable which means things are under control. When I tell people I have metastatic breastcancer, they often ask me if I’m cured. Well, I’m not really cured, I tell them, because the cancer is still there. But it appears to be under control and is not growing at the moment. So hopefully, this will become a chronic condition for me.

I recently discovered that it is possible to become a member of the Borstkanker Vereniging Nederland (breast cancer association in The Netherlands)- I signed up for it and would like to encourage others to do the same. It’s only 35 euro’s a year.

At the same time, I have signed up to write a blog. I have to write my first one still, but I know what I want to write about. So many women with breast cancer end up getting it again. Two weeks ago on Friday morning, I was driving to Leiden to visit a colleague but got stuck in traffic because the bridge was open and could not close. (Yes, in Holland we have a lot of bridges that open – even on the highways – and if they don’t close you get stuck!). The woman in the car next to mine also got out of her car. We started talking and I offered her and her son a sandwich, for which she was very grateful. Turned out she had just had chemo a day or so before and was very hungry. She wanted to take off her wig (go ahead I said! no problem) because it was itching, but didn’t. She had her own business as a sports instructor and told me her dream was to open a sports and wellness hotel in Spain one day. Her son who was with her would do the personal training, her husband would be managing and her other son was a cook. I was so delighted to hear about her dreams!

It made me realize that to dream is to live. My dreams are simple: I want to finish my books. And last week, my mom found an old play I wrote over 20 years ago. I thought I had lost it, so now that I have it again, I’ve scanned it in and have decided to find a theater willing to perform it. Maybe when we visit London at the end of the month I can look around for theaters.

When I’m done formatting the play I will tell you more about it. For now, I have to work on the architecture of Digikoppeling (data exchange) and when I finish that I will continue my work on the play.

Nancy is now in London with Jennifer Lopez (she was in Turkmenistan with her as well) – quite a story what they had to go through over there. At the end of the month, Victor and the kids will take the car and boat to Dover and Nancy and I are flying to Gatwick. I’m very excited! So nice to be able to go after we had to cancel our trip last year (because I got sick). All the kids are very excited too and it’s so nice that all four of them are coming. We’re also traveling to Kent to see Hever Caste where Anne Boleyn grew up and visit Chartwell – Winston Churchill’s home.

That’s all for now folks! Best wishes for a wonderful summer.

10 Replies to “How I feel”

  1. Goed om te horen dat je weer zo actief bent. Wij wensen jou en je familie ok een heel fijne zomer toe. Hartelijke groet, Harrie en Christine

  2. Geniet in Londen. Ik ben zo blij dat je weer werkt en ik vind het geweldig dat je “in de buurt” werkt. Aan de andere kant, werk is maar werk.

  3. Hoi Sheila, Dank voor je mail, het is zo fijn om over jullie te lezen. Ik heb echt bewondering voor je. Denk je dat het mogelijk is om weer een keertje iests leuks te doen met ons vieren, gewoon gezellig in de tuin weer even bij te kletsen? Hoe gaat het met Victor? Speelt hij nog wel drums? Doeke en ik gaan woensdag richting Portugal, gaan we een week over doen. wij passen op een huis van vrienden ( zo zielig voor ons). Een paar kinderen komen per vliegtuig ons gezelschap te houden voor een paar weken en dan reizen wij weer met ons tweeen richting Nederland. Zo eind augustus, moet alles hier dan weer in orde zijn voor de start van het nieuwe seizoen. Zullen we dan wat afspreken???? Sheila, laat iedereen praten ja, jij hebt genoeg geleerd en ervaring opgedaan om zelf door te gaan. Heel veel plezier in Engeland met z’n allen en tot snel, Ellen Capel Date: Fri, 12 Jul 2013 08:58:02 +0000 To:

  4. Great to hear from you , Sheila, and all wonderful news! My goodness, you’re so ambitious and that’s what youth does for you! You GO, girl! The same wishes for a wonderful holiday! Jane K.

    1. Dear Jane! Thanks so much for your encouraging words! It really helps so much to be in touch with people like you! Thanks again for your support. Best wishes to you and your family.

  5. Hoi Sheila,

    wat een wonderbaarlijk proces heb je toch doorgemaakt en wat ben je er goed mee omgegaan. Je bent het voorbeeld dat ik altijd aanhaal bij mensen met deze ziekte. Ik hoop dat het nog heel lang zo in opwaartse beweging mag gaan en dat je een chronische ziekte hebt waar je heel oud mee kunt worden!

    Liefs en groet, Annet.

    Op 12 jul. 2013, om 10:58 heeft Sheila’s blog het volgende geschreven:

    > >

    1. Dank je wel Annet! En veel dank voor jouw steun het afgelopen jaar! Gek dat het nu een jaar geleden is dat mijn/onze wereld helemaal op z’n kop stond. Gelukkig heb ik weer een toekomst, en hopelijk een wat langere dan vorig jaar ik had durven dromen.

      1. Inderdaad. 25 juni. Nu weer volop in het leven gelukkig. Geniet van je vakantie! Te beginnen in Londen!

  6. Hi Sheila, That’s a lot of good news in one blog. You’ve worked really hard, done so well and always strive for more. Keep it up. Good luck with the play. We’ll be there if it’s go to production. Love, Teresa, Michael and Sophie too.

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