Back again

For all of you who missed me, I’m back with another post. I’ll give you an update on 2017.

The biggest news is of course, the birth of my niece, Sasha Remi Westwood Ghosh, Nancy’s little bundle of joy. She is – quite literally – a bundle of joy, shining her bright smile since she joined us on this planet on May 25th, 2017.

In the beginning of May I went to London to visit Nancy. Nancy – who was 9 months pregnant – took me to see 3 wonderful plays:

  • Obsession with Jude Law, directed by Ivo van Hove, with the Toneelgroep Amsterdam, based on the Italian Ossessione from 1943. (Halina Reijn and Jude Law were excellent as Hanna and Gino whose love is doomed. Read the review here.)
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead – the Tom Stoppard play came to live at the Old Vic (50 years after premiering there), and to laughs, as the audience (and reviewers) loved it. Daniel Radcliffe (a.k.a. Harry Potter) played Rosencrantz to great comic effect, although his counterpart Joshua McGuire, was even better.
  • Finally, we ended our London theatre season with Romeo and Juliet, at the Old Globe, which is much as in Shakespeare’s time, except it’s more hygenic now and probably smells better. The director had chosen a Baz Luhrman like staging and styling, with the characters wearing white and black, to modernize the play. I enjoyed it, although a more traditional styling would have appealed to me more.
  • All in all, every reason for working on plays once again. Armed with good books about writing for the stage, I left with Nancy to come back to The Netherlands.

Two weeks later, Nancy went into (hard) labor and gave birth to her daughter, Sasha Remi. Nancy was quite bruised and very tired, but did a great job in the weeks and months after to take care of little Sasha, helped by our mom, who is a great support in times of need.

Besides the good news, I also had a bit of a scare.  In May I noticed blood coming out of the nipple on my right breast, again. An echo and biopsy showed renewed growth of small tumors in the right breast. The MRI scans I had in May showed 3 different small tumors in my right breast, about 6 mm in diameter, together about 2,3 cm. They were in the same area as the previous tumor, so it’s hard to say if they were new.  Thankfully, the tumors in the liver were stable, so the Tamoxifen seems to keep them in check. My wonderful oncologist, Dr. Baars, suggested radiotherapy (bestraling) to treat the breast.

In June we visited our friends Laurie, Dana and Mary in Cape Cod, and saw Doug and Maurene, and Alice and her friends as well. We had a great vacation. I will upload pictures in my next post.

In July of 2017 I started 21 sessions of radiotherapy. The hospital is quite nice, and the room is lighted with LED lights in different colors. They try to make you feel comfortable. The machine is quite large, with a flat table you lie on. My arms went into braces and the machine turned around me. The actual radiation time only takes about 3 minutes, but the positioning on the table needed to be exact, since the angle of the rays was important.

I managed to keep working during the treatment. I worked in the mornings and then went to the hospital in the afternoons. Later in the week and in the month, Victor would take me. My mom drove me as well. I wasn’t too tired, although the daily travel takes quite a bit of energy.

During all these events, Victor was my support and took care of me, driving me places, and cooking wonderful meals to keep me going. I found it took all my energy to keep working, and had little left for other pursuits. Victor, in the meantime, wrote a book about how to implement the new European privacy law. Please check out his book here (and please share with anyone you think might be interested):

Implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

After the treatment, I went back to work full time, but found it quite challenging. The program I’m working on is quite political, and the changing cabinet had impact on the governance. Also, our programmanagers were dismissed and we had to deliver results while waiting for a new program manager.

In October, Victor and I went to Edinburgh with Sebastian, Henriette, Barbara, and Valentijn to celebrate our 12,5 year wedding anniversary. Edinburgh is a wonderful city. We had a great tour guide – Bill Hill – who showed us all around his home town and told us great stories. We will definitely go back.

On October 26th, we went to a Simply Red concert, and it was a blast! Definitely had a great time. Mick Hucknall is very good live, after opening with jazz standards, and some older ballads, he went on to the classics, but also gave us a new song, simply called Queen – a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

The scans in November showed that all was stable. All tumors are still there but are no longer growing. I still have my checkups every two months. Dr. Baars has now left the hospital as she is retiring. I owe her my life, and will send her a thank you letter for all she’s done for me. For now, I leave you. Goodnight all!

 

6 Replies to “Back again”

  1. Thank you for your update. Courage!
    Enjoy life and all the best. I am recovering from a cataract operation that went wrong! With one eye all is blurr, so I must be patient and I hope it will turn out well…

  2. Beste Sheila, wat fijn om weer van je te horen! Ik maakte me al een beetje zorgen, het bleef zo stil, maar gelukkig, je bent er weer, hartelijke groeten, Anke Meester

  3. Hai Sheila. Dat was wel weer even een jaar met ups en dankzij jouw dr. Baars niet al te veel downs. Fijn dat het beter gaat met je. Fijn dat je zo’n geweldige familie om je heen hebt. 2018 is nog heel vers en ik hoop en wens voor je dat dit een heel mooi jaar mag zijn.

  4. Hi Sheila,Thank you for updating us.Congratulations to you sister n welcome to this world to Sasha Remi..(such a nice name).
    Wish you health of course for this new year and joy.May it be a wonderful one for a complete recovery.You are a great woman and inspiration should qualify you. You stand and fight on and on.You are just AMAZING!!

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