Paris and scans

Dear friends,

I forgot to tell you about Paris. Paris was wonderful. The Stanford alumni meeting was held in the Intercontinental Le Grand in Paris on sept 7th. I really enjoyed it. The Stanford Alumni Association did an outstanding job in organising the event and the mini lectures were incredibly inspiring. I went to Cliff Nass’ lecture on multitasking – he was my mentor at Stanford and was really happy to see me! He’s done research on multitasking which shows that people who think they are very good at multitasking usually aren’t; in fact, multitaskers are usually not very good at remembering anything they do. People who never multi-task are better at it than those who do it all the time. His advice: do 1 thing for 20 minutes at a time! I was very glad to hear this because since I’ve been sick my concentration has become better but only if I focus on 1 thing at a time. And in fact, I try to do only 1 thing for about 20 minutes and that seems to work well for me.

Dr.Nass tests the Google cars (the ones that self-drive) and Google Glass and is a very interesting person to listen to. It made me wish I had done my PhD with him (I did my Masters at Stanford, but I’m a PhD drop-out, gave up after 1 year at UT Austin). There was a meetup afterwards of people interested in consulting in developing and emerging countries. Perhaps something will come out of this.

That night we enjoyed a river cruise on the Seine which was beautiful. I met some great people. The next day Nancy, my mom and I enjoyed Starbucks and Chez Paul bread. I get a bit flustered when I see homeless people so I gave a beggar who had no shoes on the Champs Elysee a loaf of bread. What a contrast!

Last Friday (Sept 20th), I went to the AVL for scans. The AVL (Anthonie van Leeuwenhoek) is our national cancer research hospital. My last scans were in April, so it’s been a while. My mom met me there and watched my stuff. I had just sent off the last version of our draft Architecture for Digikoppeling (our national protocol for data exchange) to my colleague Tom who sent it on to our review committee. So at the hospital I had a bite to eat, they have a nice cafe. I sometimes forget that when I first arrived here I couldn’t eat at all. That was nearly a year ago (Oct 17th) and I remember smelling the pizza that the young man across from me (yes in Holland male and female patients share rooms) had ordered while all I could manage was a nutridrink with fake strawberry flavor over ice! I still give thanks every day that I can eat normally again and live a normal and healthy life!

So when I take off my dress and boots and my wedding ring (no metal in the MRI) I remember what it is like to be sick. Not to feel sick, fortunately that time has passed. The nurses inject the IV and connect me to the machine for the contract fluid. The MRI takes about 20 minutes and makes a lot of noise. There is a poster on the wall that you can see (I have to lie face down in the machine with my breasts in a plastic frame) so they must use some sort of mirror like a periscope but then flat. The poster shows a picture of Oscar Wilde, but the text is too small to read.

After the MRI, I get dressed again. The IV tube stays in my arm while I wait for the CT scan. After about 50 minutes the nurse comes to get me. The CT scan is quick. This time its face up in the machine. I notice the fluid in my veins because it gives you a warm feeling, and feels like a full bladder.

After the scan, the IV tube is removed and I put on my boots (dress stayed on this time). I suddenly noticed blood gushing out of my arm. I press down in time to stop the flow and go back to the nurse to get new gauze and tape. Next a quick stop to get my blood checked (there are no other patients so it is very quick) and I’m done. It is nearly 5 pm and my mom comes with me. We drive to Nancy’s house. It’s nice to be able to relax a bit and we order Thai for dinner. At home in Eemnes we have no good Asian food nearby so we almost always cook ourselves. But this is a nice treat.

I’ve been working on getting my websites updated and found someone to help me with the system administration of the server. Also, I’m starting to learn how to program Python. Last Tuesday I went to a PyLadies (Python Ladies) meet up in Amsterdam (@Marktplaats.nl). It was great to meet other women in IT and I’m motivated to start learning Python and Django!

Next Wednesday I have a meeting with Dr. Baars and will learn the outcome of my scans. I will update my Bucket list as well!

On October 12th, I’m attending the seminar “Tussen Hoop & Vrees” (Between hope and fear: for patients with metastatic breast cancer”.

2 Replies to “Paris and scans”

  1. Hi Sheila,

    Goed om te lezen, dat het goed met je gaat! Je bent weer lekker druk bezig zeg!

    Heel veel succes komende week met de uitslagen. Dat zijn altijd spannende tijden… Toi, toi, toi!

    groetes,
    Marianne

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