Last year I joined Zonta, a service club for women to which my friend G introduced me. Zonta is a group of professional women, from different professions, focused on improving the lives and position of women in the world. I really enjoyed my first year with Zonta. On Tuesday evening, we had a lovely picnic in the park by het Gooimeer (near the golfcourse). I had mailed everyone to inform them about my situation and had received such sweet emails. We had a lovely picnic, and Victor had prepared a wonderful quiche with spinach and artichoke hearts. Nice to have such a close group of ladies to talk to.

All in all a fine evening!

Lots of love

Beautiful hortensia from G

I first told my mom, Annet and the kids. Annet came immediately to comfort me and hear the news. The kids were shocked, and had a hard time with the news. My mom came straight away and was so smart to pick up Indian food.

As we told our friends and neighbors, lots of love started pouring in. I felt so loved by everyone’s thoughts, good wishes, the beautiful flowers sent by Marja, Patrick en Anne.

and by Sheira Mohaboe.

Saturday my mom helped me with the front garden and we emptied the green house, to create a nice relax space for me. On Saturday, my friend G stopped by with a beautiful bright pink hortensia, and she explained about her experience with breast cancer.

Just an hour later, Bart stopped by and later Marita  came with a huge purple lavender.

In the US and in Holland several friends and family members are praying for me and lighting candles.

Thanks to everyone for your warm wishes and support! It means so much to me, and gives me so much strength!

I feel lots of positive energy and I feel very optimistic.

Thursday June 28th 2012

On Monday June 25th, I went to see my GP because I had noticed blood coming from my right breast, about a week before. She immediately felt a hard swelling on top of my right breast. It was odd that I had not noticed it before.

She immediately scheduled appointments for me at Ter Gooi hospital in Blaricum, which is a lovely village in Holland, very close to Eemnes where we live.

On Thursday, I drove to the hospital for my appointment with Dr. Sneijder at 9 am. He conducted a physical examination and concluded that besides the swelling in the breast, two glands in the armpit were also suspect. He warned me this could be bad news and sent me to Radiology.

First I went to the mammogram – your breast is placed on a shelf and a transparant shelf comes down and crushes it. Very awkward and somewhat painful. I felt faint, since I had not eaten. The nurse was really kind and concerned. She told me to eat something before the biopsy.

The radiologist then conducted an echo, and gave me a local anesthetic in the breast and made a small incision. Next, a large needle went into the incision to remove tissue (6 times). With a thin needle, he removed cells from the two glands in the armpit. After that, I went home.

At two pm, Victor and I were back at the hospital to hear the initial results. Dr. Sneijder informed us that the cells from the glands were cancerous, which meant I had breast cancer. He expected that we would need to remove the whole breast to be safe and also any glands that were infected. A special nurse helped us then to explain about the next steps – additional tests – and to plan in the appointments. Victor was really emotional. This was the beginning of a new phase: life with cancer.

my blog

Dear friends and family,

I’ve started this blog to keep you all informed about my health. About two weeks ago, I noticed blood trickling from my right breast. My GP sent me to the hospital for tests. Last Thursday, June 28th 2012, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Since I had no idea that anything was wrong this was quite a shock.

I am keeping this blog as a way to keep track of all the events and my progress through the various phases of treatment.  Please share this with anyone you wish. I am writing the blog in English so that my friends in the US and my family can stay in touch.

I want to thank each and everyone of you for your support and kind thoughts.