Yes, I’m back. I’m sorry it’s been so long since I’ve posted anything on my blog.

The last months of 2014 were hard for me. We lost another dear friend of ours, Patrick, who died far too young of cancer. He and his family have been very close friends of Nancy and myself since we were teenagers and feel like our extended family. When I was sick, they were there for us. His illness surfaced when it was too late for treatment. He passed away end of November. I wish I could say or do something to be supportive of his family. It makes me feel sad and angry at myself at the same time for not being there.

Just before Christmas, my father in law passed away. He was 90 years old and had a long and fulfilling life.

I’ve been working full-time since January and my work is satisfying. It means having to do less work for the societies that I’m involved in. I have had to reconsider how much time I spent on these activities.

I had scans in January which showed good results. The medication is still working and the cancer is still in remission. I couldn’t wish for better news at this time.

Right now, Victor and I are visiting my father in Malaysia. Thanks to my mom who is looking after our dog Jaap. Without her watching him, I don’t think we would have gone on this trip. My dad is doing well and working hard as a professor at UTP, where he leads the Geophysical Research Center. Wednesday we head back to Holland. I’ve been able to do some writing here, and have been reading a lot. Just finished Stoner by John Williams, Perfect by Rachel Joyce, and am now reading On Liberty by John Stuart Mill. This last one is a favorite of mine, and I highly recommend it to all who are wondering what is happening to the world we live in.

Return to Los Angeles

We arrived in LA on Tuesday which was a gloomy day. We picked up some groceries at Trader Joe’s where Nancy ran into an old acquaintance and as we pulled our suitcases into Nancy’s studio apartment it started to rain.

My next goal in life is to write a book, so we’re watching a lot of films. Last week we saw The Hungergames which I thought was a really interesting story about a future in which oppressed people have to sacrifice boys and girls for a gladiator-like reality tv show in which only one survivor can win and live. Of course, the two main characters both live and there is a sequel in the make.

On Wednesday we planned to meet Nancy’s friends Antar and Chris at the Coffee Bean. Only they were waiting at the Coffee Bean at Hollywood for us while we were chilling in the sun on Sunset. When they came to meet us (yes, Nancy can be very persuasive!) we had a great time. We then went to the Urth Cafe for a very tasty organic lunch. Nancy needed to pick up her credentials for the Oscars and she arranged a day pass for me, so I met her colleagues Caprise and Kelly. They all work on the pre-show which is a big deal because they cover the red carpet arrivals and major interviews take place. The show airs live on Sunday at 5 pm PST so the timing is crucial. It was fun to see the red carpet – which is really wide – maybe 40 or 50 meters or so – and the length of a full city block with a huge tent in the middle and bleachers on the sides. They were still putting everything together for the show. Of course, Nancy knows everyone so we had to stop every 20 meters to greet someone she knows. I’m particularly impressed by her LAPD connections, always handy!

Afterwards we went to the Grove to get some things Nancy needed for her work. At night we headed out to Marina Del Rey to meet Annet and Henriette at the Cheesecake Factory for the best food and views in town.
Cheese cake facory
We had a great time and Nancy and Henriette actually ordered cheesecake which I’ve never done before. That’s not to say that they ate much, just nibbles and they took it back in boxes. Nancy had the Dark Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake and Henriette ordered the Oreo Cheesecake (it has a different name though) which was very good of her because the proceeds go to a children’s charity.
Henriette in cheesecake factory
On Thursday I dropped Nancy off at her hairdresser’s and drove to Newport Beach where I met Michael, Teresa and their poodle Sophie. Sophie is 18 months old and they got her from the rescue. They’ve trained her and she is very well behaved!
Michael, Teresa and Sophiewith Teresa and Sophie
On the way back I met Nancy at the Grove and then we headed back to her place.

On Friday we met Annet and Henriette at the Coffee Bean at Universal, and thanks to Nancy’s friend Mark we were admitted as his guests to the park. This was a huge favor and made our day!
Rick, Henriette, Mark, Nancy and Sheila
It was a gorgeous sunny day. We had a great time!

Last night we met our cousins Payal and Rakhi and our auntie Nevedita in the Pink Pepper, a Thai restaurant near Nancy’s house. It was wonderful to meet them, I had not met my cousins before and they are beautiful and very sweet!
Nancy and our cousin Rakhiour cousin Payal and auntie Nevedita
I was so happy to meet them after all these years! They made such an effort to meet with us, and we had a great time. As you can tell, this was maybe the most important item on my bucket list! Fortunately, I’m still feeling very good. As I’m finishing this blog entry it is Saturday morning in LA, and the skies are blue. Nancy left for work at 7 this morning and she works until 7 or 8 tonight and tomorrow. And on Monday we’ll head back home.

Stopover in Santa Barbara

We left Monterey on Sunday as the weather turned, cloudy and dark. Unfortunately we got a parking ticket because we were late refilling the parking meter. Driving past Carmel we stopped at Point Lobos State Reserve. Although the skies were cloudy, the state reserve was quite busy and once we saw the view we realized why it was popular.

The state reserve stretches along a rocky coast, with beautiful ocean views. The path winds along the sandstone rocks, rising here and there and offering views over the caves, hidden beaches and wildlife.
Point Lobos 1
We saw cormorants (a black slender bird the size of reigers), pelicans flew by us, soaring right next to the cliffs we were standing on and in the water we could see seals hanging like surfers.
Point Lobos 1
It was somewhat cold so after we walked along the ocean for a hour or so we returned to the car and hit the road. Nancy drove us back to Carmel where we stopped at the CVS and Starbucks. There was a homeless man (maybe an old veteran) sitting at a bench outside CVS. I saw another man give him dogfood for his very cute terrier. On the way out I gave him a vitamin water and chocolate chip cookies and complimented him on his pets – he also had a green parrot on his shoulder – and he was very grateful. We then drove via Salinas to the 101 South where we passed a Rabobank, of all places, Salinas seemed very odd to me being Steinbeck country. And as Boom Chicago says “who would take their money to a ‘Rob-a-bank’” – there really seems no other way to pronounce Rabobank in English. We saw three huge Rabobank offices just on the drive to Santa Barbara.

It was a four hour drive to Santa Barbara but thanks to my wonderful sense of misdirection (sending Nancy north when we should have gone south on State Street and ending up in Goleta instead of Santa Barbara, and then taking the downtown exit when we should have waited), we saw all of Santa Barbara by night, which is not very much but my mishaps took us nearly an hour longer. All I can say for myself is that Google Maps spoiled me, and since I have no data outside of the free wifi at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Apple Store I’m basically a lost case when it comes to navigating. Of course, once we got to Cabrillo Street – which sounds a lot like Carillo which we thought we needed – we expected to see the Santa Barbara Inn. Well, Santa Barbara is quite dark at night and it was hard to find. Turns out we were about 100 meters away when Nancy called the front desk and the receptionist had us turn around. 5 minutes later Nancy turned back and we finally arrived, exhausted and cranky (me, that is, Nancy is a weather-beaten traveler who is not easily phased).

We checked out the bistro at the Hilton next door but it was too fancy for my taste and so we took the car and headed downtown. Downtown Santa Barbara was pretty dead on Monday night, which happened to be President’s Day. Some bars and restaurants were open but all were pretty quiet. On the street we passed a homeless woman in a wheelchair who asked for help. Of course, I said, as I gave her three dollars.

We then had soft tacos at the Chipotles and Nancy fetched bottled water from the car. I really feel bad eating out when there are people just outside who don’t have food or a home to go to. Then the lady wheeled inside the Chipotles to use the bathroom – and they were very kind to her, helping her out and straightening her clothes for her.

Since we don’t eat much, we had one veggie taco and one bottle of water left over which I gave her outside. It was much appreciated. Still, I felt a bit down the next day and didn’t enjoy Santa Barbara as much as I had expected. Even though the sun shone it was cold as the wind picked up a bit.
Santa Barbara1

Santa Barbara 2
The shops were very nice though, and we stopped at an olive oil shop where the shopkeeper Robert – once he heard we were from Holland – told us he loves Kinder surprise eggs (the chocolate eggs made of milk and white chocolate with the little gifts inside). So I made a promise to send him some. He has a webshop ( so anyone who loves olive oil can order some here. We passed a wonderful teashop with beautiful japanese teapots and teacups. I wouldn’t mind buying some, but the prospect of trying to stuff them in my suitcase stopped me. So I bought some loose leaf herbal tea called Tranquil Dreams and filter bags.

We stopped by the beach and took some pictures of the seagulls and waves and then headed south down the 101.
meeuwen Santa Barbara

My friends in San Francisco

As many of you know, the reason for this trip was to visit my dear friends Erin, Laurie and Laura in San Francisco. My journey with cancer has really opened my eyes to the fact that my family and friends (all of you!) mean more to me than anything in the world. So reconnecting with my friends was the driving force behind this trip. Thanks to Nancy who made this all possible: she took care of my ticket, has driven me everywhere and has been a great trooper putting up with my whims and whiles.

So Nancy drove us along highway 1 because I’m afraid of heights! We spent the night in Monterey at the Intercontinental and had a nice ocean view. I felt a bit queasy so we had a soup and cheese plate at the hotel. The next morning was beautiful, gorgeous ocean views and a Starbucks around the corner.
hotel monterey
As we left we stopped at the Cafe la Strada to pick up a lunch to go. It is part of a very nice hotel which looked very exclusive (and expensive).
We are sitting there now on our way back to LA.

From Monterey we drove along highway 1 past Santa Cruz and up to San Francisco, with beautiful vistas along the way. Our first stop in SF was Erin’s place in Greenbrae which is above the Golden Gate bridge on a hill.
Golden Gate Bridge
We met her and her wonderful son Alec at the Bon Air shopping center and then followed them up the hill in the dark. Brad was in Boston visiting his dad who is very ill. We ate a great salad Nicoise and had a chance to catch up.

I think it’s been more than 10 years since we last saw each other (before Alec was born, and he is now 9). Erin is a documentary film producer. We’ve been great friends since going to UPenn together (University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia). We also worked together on documentaries for schools at the time. Erin has been working for the Teaching Channel, making documentaries in schools and producing resources for teachers across the country. She is so passionate about her work, it is really inspiring!
Erin, Alec and Monty
They have a wonderful dog named Monty, part border collie and australian shepard (Erin correct me if I’m wrong!). He is 15 years old, has a soft beautiful coat and is very sweet.

We had a leisurely morning, had coffee at Peet’s, and walked around the neighborhood by the water with Monty. Later on Nancy and I went into the city looking for a Paul Frank store (Nancy loves Lucius the monkey!). Unfortunately it was shut down. Now the only store we know of that is still open is in Kuala Lumpur. Perhaps when we visit my dad there we can go there…. Since that store was closed we went into Banana Republic, Nancy bought a nice winter jacket and a shirt and skirt for me. Thanks to the lady helping us I think we got a huge discount: 25% off the clothes, another 20 for taking the card and 10 for buying a tote bag. Not bad!

At night we met Erin at her friend Mark’s boat in Sausalito harbor. We also met Gary and Armand (not sure about the spelling). It was fun to have a pineapple juice on a beautiful boat in the bay! Heard some great stories.
Mark and Alec
Alec wasn’t feeling so well though, so we ate at Erin’s house. Alec got worse and wasn’t feeling so good. He’s such a great and smart kid, we were very impressed by his navigational skills!

On Sunday morning Nancy and I drove across the Richmond bridge to meet my friend Laura. Laura and I met at UT Austin where she did her master’s and I did a year in the PhD program. We had some trouble finding her house but once we did we had a great time talking with Laura, Jeff and their beautiful daughter Lucia.
Jeff, Laura and Lucia
Laura worked as a communications director for a non-profit but is now considering a career change and working on radio interviews. Jeff is an audio engineer at Dolby and told us about the next generation of theater sound! Lucia seemed happy to serve everyone (she is nearly three and so beautiful!).
Our visit was short but great fun! We talked about doing a series on people who are 80+ and active – an idea Erin and I came up with.

We went back to Greenbrae to pick up our bags, say goodbye to Erin and Alec (who was still sick) and left with lots of lemons from their lemon tree.
lemon tree
One of them fell out of my arms into the street and rolled down the hill (a lost lemon!).
Erin and Sheila
Next we drove into the city to meet Laurie in the park. I wanted to see the Japanse Tea Garden again, one of my favorite spots in the city. As we drove along Presidio it became apparent that left turns are not allowed! In fact, it’s almost impossible to make a left turn anywhere in SF!

Laurie was already waiting for us! She’s been to Holland a few times to see us, had been at our wedding in 2005 and again a few years later. She’s such a trooper! She moved to San Ramon because of work, but the work isn’t that great and she misses San Diego. Me too!
Laurie and I worked together at HP back in 96-98. She’s specialized in training and management at high tech companies so if anyone knows of a great company in San Diego let us know!

We walked circles in the Japanese tea garden, thinking it was much bigger than it actually was.
Laurie and Sheila in the Japanse Tea Garden
Then we decided to go have drinks at a mexican place: guava juice for me, ice tea for Nancy and (free!) sparkling water for Laurie. We ordered nachos but they were tossed in a super spicy chili sauce that was way too hot for all of us. So out with the nachos and in with their home made chips, which were a bit too hard for my taste. We decided to eat sushi and looked in the guide book for a good sushi place. There was one on Geary – “no frills and fresh fish” – that sounded good so we headed there. We had to wait for 40 minutes outside to get a seat, but boy was it worth the wait! The best sushi ever! We had salmon avocado rolls, tempura shrimp roll and the spicy tuna tartar with mango. It was divine.
Shrimp tempura roll
At about 9 we dropped Laurie off at the BART station on Market so she could take the train home and we went on our way to Monterey. Which is were we are now.

Today is the first cloudy day since I’ve been here (this is my 9th day here). So we’re taking it easy. We may visit Carmel and then head back to the 101 to Santa Barbara/or drive on to LA. We’ll see and I’ll let you know. Today is President’s day, so Happy Presidents Day everyone!

Update on the bucket list

It’s time to check up on the bucket list, which I posted back in July.

At the time, this was the list:

1. cycling in the sun – done! Did a 30 km ride on a beautiful day in August (went to see Ingrid in the meadow with the horses, cycling through the forest most of the way).
2. sailing on the lake (loosdrecht) nearby in the sun – Thanks to Erwin I can check this one off too. He took me sailing on his catamaran end of August. It was a very enlightening experience!
3. having a drink outside in the sun) – check! did that a few times!
4. weekend Madeira (flower island) – I’m crossing this one off the list and replacing it with something else. It’s a long flight and more expensive than I thought.
5. long weekend Barcelona/Girona – keeping this on the list
6. citytrip Hamburg – instead of Hamburg, I’m going to Antwerp with my friend Francine this coming Saturday. She has offered to drive so we’ll do a quick day trip and have lunch there and maybe do some shopping.
7. Marienwaerdt 15 augustus (castle fair in Holland) – We didn’t go in August but my mom took me in December. It wasn’t crowded and very enjoyable.
8. citytrip Lissabon – crossing this one off the list. Barcelona will be enough.
9. San Francisco (next year) – keeping this on the list
10. Peak district UK – still interested in visiting but no concrete plans
11. Danor review (book I wrote long ago that I’d like to publish, so if you have any tips, let me know) – I’m working on a rewrite now. When this is done, I plan to send it to the Writers Workshop in London for an editor’s review.
12. vegetarian cooking -thanks for the recipes you have sent me! I am starting to cook more (Victor has been cooking all this time!) so I will try these out.
What I hadn’t put on the list but should have was:
– visiting my dad in Malaysia
– visiting a sunny place in the winter?
– sculpting
– meeting friends
For me it’s not so much about visiting places as it is about visiting people I care about. I have several friends in the US I’d love to see, but it’s too much to go to everyone, so San Francisco seems like the best place to go to, maybe with a stopover somewhere else.
My updated bucket list:
– long weekend Barcelona
– San Francisco
– rewrite of Danor
– sculpting
– trip to my dad in Malaysia?
– help Victor set up his tax advisory practice
– start working out again?
– back to work?
Thanks again for your cards, visits and messages, I truly believe it has given me a lot of strength these past months. I’m looking forward to a more relaxed period these next few months, so I probably will be posting less. You can always mail me, whatsapp me or call me! Take care!

This week

Last week I had no chemo because my white bloodcell count was too low. For the first time, I had to slow down, and rest more.

On Tuesday, my dad arrived from Malaysia. My sister was already at Schiphol when we arrived, just in time to meet him.

Deva, Nancy en Sheila Ghosh

I was surprised with 5 beautiful bouquets! There is someone who sent me flowers without a name; the card mentioned ‘carpe diem’. If someone recognizes this, please tell me so I can thank you!

Tuesday evening we celebrated my birthday with an Indian meal and I was showered with beautiful presents from my mom, sister, dad and Victor.

The chemo on Wednesday went fine. My friend G picked me up from the hospital and took me to the Golden Tulip where we had lunch with my mom and sister.

On thursday we went out on the lake in an electric boat.



My dad is now staying with Nancy in Amsterdam, he’s leaving Wednesday.

Thursday evening I had a fever and we called the hospital. They told us to come by the emergency room. Apart from the high temperature (38.9) I felt alright and the tests showed there were no infections or other issues to worry about. The doctor also checked me and said I could go home.

Today again a fever, close to 40 degrees. I don’t feel sick, not feverish. It must be the chemo working. So I think I will need to take a lot of rest the next few days and try to give my body some time to get better.

A run

First I rowed 5 minutes on our rowing machine. But that took all the breath I had out of me. I’m not very fit! I will try to work out more.

Ineke from Viore had warned me that the chemo really impacts the muscle tissue. After she told me that it finally dawned on me that the weight loss wasn’t fat (unfortunately my tummy is still as big as it used to be) but muscle. So now I’m determined to stay fit, as my oncologist suggested. Also I need to gain weight, so the best way I guess is to build muscle tissue.

Then I decided to go running. It went very well. Perhaps I’m a bit too eager, since Silvia – a good family friend who is a cancer researcher – advised me to reduce the time and intensity, and go more frequently. For now, I ran my usual round of 6 km but at half speed, and I paused in between and walked for a few minutes each time to keep my heartrate down.

I think I’ll go again Saturday but do 4 km instead of 6. I hope the exercise will help my muscles gain strength again.


–English —

Yesterday Victor and I stopped by Viore. Carien had tipped  me weeks ago and the hospital had given me a beautiful card with the information. Viore is a walk-in center for people with cancer. It is located near the hospital, hidden between the trees and a small parking lot. It was difficult to find at first.

Once inside, we were kindly greeted by two hostesses who offered us something to drink (tea for me, water for Victor). I could tell my story and they explained about the activities they offer – from art to yoga to sport guidance – and gave us a tour. It had been a lab but with the help from many volunteers and sponsors, it has been transformed into a homey environment with different rooms, a living space with a kitchen, a yoga room (decorated with a seascape and beach look), a small fitness room and even a beauty parlor. What else could one wish for?

Today I returned for the sport guidance session. A very experienced physical therapist explains how to use the different machines and monitors your progress. Since running with Flo isn’t working out too well (she usually isn’t in the mood), this seems like an excellent way to stay fit. And so it is. Two experienced and powerful ladies (A & L) were already working out (both have cancer, L is cured and coaches others, A had bad news like me but is super positive). They’re very trained. But when I had to work out on the apparatus (the kind you see in gyms with the bars and rolls) I couldn’t even lift 5 kg with my arms. The only excuse I have is that I never exercise my arms but now I will need to start. With Ineke’s help, I will try to work out at Viore every Tuesday. Fortunately I could get by on the bike, rowing machine and treadmill (running).

Afterwards we drank some tea and talked and then the rain came pouring down. L had come by bike from Blaricum and went back home via the rain. Very impressive. She told us about her experiences with a breast reconstruction gone bad. Very unpleasant, but she is very brave. And A as well. She has metastases in her head and stomach, after almost being cured. It must have been an awful disappointment, but she is very spirited. Fortunately for me I now have two very pleasant trainingspartner I can also laugh with. It’s a lovely place, Viore. Please let anyone know – it is open from 11 to 4 pm in the vacation period and then from 10 to 6 pm. Thanks Viore and all volunteers, hostesses and hosts! I’m very glad you’re there for me and others.


Gisteren ben ik met Victor bij Viore binnengestapt. Carien had mij al weken geleden getipt en van het ziekenhuis had ik ook een mooie kaart van Viore gekregen. Viore is een inloopcentrum voor mensen met kanker. Het ligt op het terrein van het ziekenhuis, verscholen tussen de laatste bomen en een parkeerplaats. Eerst konden we het ook niet vinden.

Eenmaal binnen werden we zeer hartelijk en gastvrij ontvangen door de gastvrouwen. We werden verwend met een heerlijk kopje thee en water, ik kon mijn verhaal kwijt en we kregen een rondleiding. Het was eerst een laboratorium maar met hulp van vele vrijwilligers en sponsors is het omgetoverd tot een prachtige, huiselijke plek. Een mooie huiskamer met keuken, een yoga ruimte, een sportzaaltje en zelfs een beauty ruimte. Wat wil een mens nog meer?

Vandaag ben ik teruggeweest voor de inloop sport activiteit. Een zeer ervaren fysiotherapeute begeleidt wie dat wil op diverse apparaten. Sinds het hardlopen met Flo niet zo handig is (Flo heeft meestal geen zin) leek het mij een goede manier om fit te blijven. En dat is het ook. Twee ervaren sportieve dames stonden al klaar en waren volop aan het trainen. A en L zagen er super getrained uit. Maar toen ik uitleg kreeg op de krachtmachine kon ik nog geen 5 kg trekken met mijn armen. Enig excuus dat ik heb is dat ik echt nooit wat met mijn armen doe, maar daar gaat nu wat aan gebeuren. Met hulp van Ineke, de fysiotherapeute ga ik nu elke dinsdagmiddag aan de slag. Gelukkig kon ik toch goed meekomen op de loopband, fiets en roeimachine.

Na afloop lekker bijgekomen, en toen begonnen de stortregens. L was komen fietsen uit Blaricum en moest nu terug door de regen. Zij had een ongelofelijk verhaal over een mislukte borst reconstructie. Heel naar om mee te maken, maar zij is ongelofelijk dapper. En A ook. Zij heeft uitzaaiingen in hoofd en buik, nadat ze bijna genezen was. Heel erg om dat mee te maken. Gelukkig heb ik nu twee hele fijne trainingspartners waar je ook mee kan lachen. Een hele fijne plek, Viore. Laat het iedereen weten, open van 11-16 in de vakantie, en daarna van 10-18. Dank je wel Viore en alle vrijwilligers en sponsors! Ik ben er erg blij mee!

Zutphen en Durbuy

Busy week this week. For starters, last Thursday Victor and I visited Zutphen. It was a lovely afternoon and we really enjoyed walking through the old village. It is one of the few cities in The Netherlands that seems like it hasn’t changed in the last 400 years. The only modern building we saw was City Hall, which looked oddly out of place. Sections of the old city wall are still standing. If you like old town, go visit Zutphen and Deventer is not too far away.


Friday we left for the Ardennen –  I had a bad sore throat and worried I might get sick. Fortunately the combination of fresh squeezed spinach/apple/cucumber juice, beet juice, a few paracetamol and Ricola from Annet I’m all healthy again! We arrived at our hotel near Durbuy a few minutes to three, and on the clock, Teresa and Michael arrived (we call them M&T now for short). It was so great to see them! I had seen them in San Diego last year, but for Victor it had been much longer ago, back in 2003 when Michael gave us the historic  tour of San Diego. They bought a French fiber glass canal boat last year, on which they travel all through France!

We walked around Durbuy which seems to exist purely for the tourists since we’ve never ever seen so many restaurants in one square km (probably even smaller – it is the self-proclaimed smallest city in the world!

We ate in the restaurant of the hotel. They serve good food in huge quantities. Unfortunately for me not much choice on the vegetarian side, so I settled on the pasta provencal (tomatoes and bell peppers). It could have fed a family of 6.

The hotel was very nice, the staff friendly, but there was only one problem for me: I couldn’t sleep in the bed because of pain in my back. I ended up sleeping in the bedbunk and that was fine. But I think I will adapt my bucket list and make shorter trips so I can sleep in my own bed.

The next day we visited the caves of Remouchamps. They were really impressive. We walked quite a long way, saw beautiful stalactites and stalagmites, a large caverns (had to climb quite a bit) and finally took a boat on the underground river. Really beautiful!

In the afternoon I was tired and took a nap while Valentine went kayaking. In the evening we went to the Indian castle Radhadesh, a spiritual center for the Hare Krishna’s in a typically French 18th century castle. Mostly white women and men wearing sari’s and indian dress. We were too late for the tour which Barbara had really looked forward to but not for the food! We had a delicious vegetarian Indian meal (Valentine had pizza) so I was really happy. It was a very spiritual place. When Victor paid with his debit card, the line was busy (they shared it with the store) and the German lady ‘cursed’ “Krishna”. Victor bought me a yoga book for 1 euro from which I learned that yoga is all about becoming one with Krishna which one achieves by saying his name continually. I’ll have to remember that!

The next day we visited the topiary park, which had hundreds of different figures cut by hand from boxwood (buxus). I love gardens but this one left me somewhat indifferent. I enjoyed my conversation with Michael though, he knows so much about so many different things and can really get very enthusiastic. Very inspiring! Victor discovered they have a Belladonna plant there with berries, which are poisonous in small quantities and can kill a child. We walked through the town and then it started to rain. We said our goodbyes to M&T in the rain and headed back to Holland. A nice weekend!

Treatment #3 August 1st 2012

Yes, summertime is still here. Here’s me outside the hospital with my mom.

At the hospital, there’s a nice waiting area with magazines and a volunteer brings coffee or tea. Just past 11 three of us were taken to a room with green chairs, and again the lovely view outside. A young woman was already there with a friend, she looked younger than me.

The nurse accidentally cut her foot while moving a chair and yelled out and jumped up. She was bleeding but fortunately enough she had plenty of bandages. Her vacation starts tomorrow and although she was very nice and alert, she would occassionally say she was very much looking forward to the pool at her vacation spot. Sure sounds good to me!

It all took much longer today since she had to take care of all three of us at the same time. The good news was that she got the cap on in no time – we stuffed two washcloths in the sides, I held on to the green snakey hat (made up of green coils through which the freezing liquid streams) while she pulled the yellow helmet over the top. She strapped it on, put my ski band across and that was that. Took no more than 4 minutes.

So then I have to wait 45 minutes till the scalp is cold enough. It took a while before I got the first IV (with salt solution). Ofcourse when the chemo should have been added they were all out to lunch. A young nurse came in, attached it, and waited for ten minutes. She explained when another lady asked that because the chemo I have is rather aggressive, they have to wait in case something happens.

Like last time, this only took about 25 minutes. The cap then has to warm up because if you take it off, my hair would be frozen en stuck to the side and that would pull it out anyway. At that moment, Trees came in. She and her husband are friends of our friends and neighbors Marijke and Peter. Trees was in good spirits. They’re going away on a short holiday and she had two-three hours of chemo today.

The other ladies in the room explained they all had side effects, one lady really had a bad time. I feel so lucky that I’m not yet feeling bad. On the contrary, apart from insomnia (for which I get pills to help me fall asleep) and eyes that burn occasionally I feel nothing at all, no nausea, no pain, no vomiting.

Here are some pictures of us in the park (Groeneveld) afterwards:


Because I don’t want to spam too much, I haven’t blogged as much as maybe I should have.

Here’s a picture of my cousin Ineke and her son Luc, me, Naut (standing) and Valentijn (on the right) last monday (July 23rd), taken by Nancy:

Yesterday I met Ingrid and Carien at the teahouse ‘t Hoge Erf in Lage Vuursche and we had apple pie and coffee, tea and hot chocolate (me!). With whipped cream. Carien came in with her finger bandaged. And she had just returned from vacation in Spain with 8! teenagers. So we asked what had happened. Well, she said reluctantly, her finger was caught in the door and the top cut off. So she pulled it out of the door and put it back on her finger. Fortunately, one of the kids had a drivers license and took her to the hospital. What a horrible story! I can’t deal with things like that, this really freaked me out. To top it off, the surgeon at the hospital wouldn’t tell her if he had sewed it back on and she couldn’t see because it was bandaged again.

It turns out he did save it. What a vacation!


We’re going to the Ardennen on Friday with Barbara and Valentijn and staying till Sunday. We’re staying at La Passarelle near Durbuy and our good friends Michael and Teresa from San Diego (Teresa and I worked together at HP from 1995-1998) are driving up from France. I’m really looking forward to it. Ciao!

Photo credit: Nancy Ghosh!!! Thanks Nanc!