29 May 2008

Looking for sponsors

Being slightly deranged I have set myself an almost impossible target. As I have been training to enhance my fitness, I thought it would be a real achievement if I could walk the yearly Avondvierdaagse, a 4 evening hike of 5 kms (in my case) in the county of Hilversum.
I signed on just to see how far I can reach.

I will be walking with Kiara's school and have made a deal with Marcus, that if I don't manage to finish a walk, he will come and fetch me. It is possible to just walk the walk, but it is also possible to get a medal if you finish the entire hike. I have chosen the latter. I swear that if I do win the medal, I will wear it for an entire week!

Seeing as I thought that I might not walk again only a year ago, I thought that it might be a nice idea to get sponsored. The money I earn will be donated to the Trappenberg as they taught me how to walk again.

So here is how it works: If you are willing to sponsor me, send me an
e-mail at sisterbird@planet.nl. Each evening will count as one lap. Decide what you are willing to sponsor for each lap. I will be walking 4 laps. Next week Friday I will mention what I have achieved. You will then know how much you owe me. I will send you details of my account so that you can send me your donation. As soon as I have collected all my sponsorship money I will write out a check to the Friends of the Trappenberg and personally deliver it. An account of this delivery will be made right here, so watch this space and please be generous!

27 May 2008

Bouncin' back

I have no idea what the Docs are up to. Whatever the case, I am certainly on top of things. The requested radiation therapy seems to be working. Not only is my shoulder more mobile and less painful, but my general health seems to be boosting again. I am full of other smart ideas, which means that I have a lot of planning to do. I'm currently on a mission to beat the b**tards into shape to get them to join the programme. C'mon Doc's, what's the matter with you? This woman ain't ready to give up yet!

24 May 2008

The day after

I went for radiation therapy yesterday. It was a busy morning as Kiara had show and tell at school. I had to make photocopies of her presentation first, then I went to hydrotherapy. Afterwards I headed to school to help Kiara out with her presentation. She scored an 8,5 out of 9 which I was rather happy about. She had put a lot of effort into it. Straight after her presentation I went home to grab my stuff for the hospital. Marcus drove me there, and I have to say that I was very nervous. Nervous, because I am not too enthusiastic about the accuracy of the department. I was therefore worried that they might make mistakes. Marcus stood by my and made sure that my grid marks corresponded to the machines. My shoulder and rib were beamed. We had ice-cream on our way back which was delicious. By the time I got home I was in pain. The pain including a stiff neck continued to increase during the evening and hit a climax at about 01.00 am. I was alone and it was easy to panic. The pain I can handle, but what it signifies is litterally killing. A time like that makes you think about your prospectives, the trouble is, I can not really do that. Lost of sleep and pushing my thoughts away has resulted in me feeling better today.

22 May 2008

New radiation therapy scheduled

The past week has been one of those weeks with many disappointments. I won't elaborate on everything but I have selected a few highlights to illustrate where I am at. Whilst crucial decisions are to be made I can only conclude that the general attitude of my physicians, and the pace at which they work, is not sufficient to please me. I have been waiting for my scan which they will be using to make a decision about my head. They have kept me waiting 4 weeks already. On the 30th they will decide what to do. In the meantime a request has been filed for radiation therapy on my shoulder which has been very painful since the end of November. (Just to give you an indication how fast they work). I had requested to go to the AVL hospital for radiation as my experience in the VU hospital is abominable. My own radiologist in the AVL was on a sabbatical until Christmas, so Lips asked me if I did not mind having my radiation therapy in the VU hospital in order to speed things up. Tuesday I went in to get marked. Most people don't know that this happens so I thought I would share it with you. The reddish lines in the picture are henna tattoos. They show a gridline so that they know exactly which part to radiate. This is precision work. What you see here is how precise the radiologists in the VU hospital are. There are two parallel lines. One of which has a circle around it. This is to indicate which line is the main line. Right next to it, there is a line which they did not need. It was the previous main line. Well, they are off by a few centimeters. More to the left you see a faded line...well oops...that one was wrong!

They were trying to get both my right shoulder and my ribs on the left into one scan. They actually scanned me first to come to the conclusion that they could not get both parts in and had to redo it in two new scans. That is one scan too many for me (the first one). I can not get my head around mistakes like these. When I ask for scans when I am sure that something is going on in my body they refuse because of the amount of radiation, but when the f*** up nobody seems to care. Anyway my next radiation therapy is on Friday at 15.05 and I feel like I have been set back by a year emotionally. A new area has been found on my right arm. And I keep hearing the doctors tell me they don't need to scan my extremities because cancer of the Thyroid does not spread there of on your head. Well guess what?

All in all I am not too satisfied with the attitude of my doctors. More and more I feel like my recovery is such a suprise to me that apathy has hit them. I am not supposed to be walking around, let alone look so healthy. They had expected that I would be 6 ft under by now. So...why bother.

I have taken my irritation and informed my GP who by the way, confirmed that the radio therapy department is a mess in the VU hospital. I will be going back to Dr. Luykx, the oncologist in Hilversum for an assesment of my treatment. Perhaps it's time for treatment in a new hospital.

17 May 2008

Ulrum united

Getting back into a normal modus was not quite as easy as I had expected. The week in Ulrum, Groningen was absolutely fantastic. I used to go to there once every year for a retreat. I haven't been able to do so in a long time, so I rented this house in Ulrum.

Groningen is situated in the North of Holland by the coast near the Wadden Islands. I have a particular love for this part of the country as it is the only area in the Netherlands with Big Sky. Rather than going into retreat I decided to invite the family along to enjoy my favorite part of the Netherlands with me. On our way there we stopped by Siem and Ada at their home and Vineyard. Siem and Ada are Paula's (Martin's ex) parents. They have been like grandparents to Kiara. It was a particularly sunny day, so after a wonderful lunch with club sandwiches which Ada had prepared, Siem taught Kiara how to play Jeu de Boules. He won! As they played, Ada showed me the vineyard, a massive endeavor in which they have been quite succesful. Around 15:00 we made our way to Ulrum via the Afsluitdijk. After an hour and 20 minutes we reached the house in Ulrum.

Kiara and I settled in nicely, and later that evening Marcus and Collin arrived. The next morning we went to Pieterburen. They have a seal care centre there where the sick animals are treated before being let into the wild again.

We had a good time and had a walk through the botanical gardens of the Paulus church. After lunch we did some sight-seeing. The following day we went to Insect World in Leens where we learnt all about the significance of insects. Kiara ended up petting an Iguana. Yuck!Lunch at the Insect World was fine and cheap, after which I brought Marcus and the kids to the swimming pool.

I made my way back to the house as Aldith and my parents were expected. Mom had brought Surinamees food (pom) which was delicious. After dinner Kiara and the boys went for a kart-race directly behind the house. Collin was the winner scoring with a velocity comparable to amature racers! We must find a pot of gold to get him into racing. That evening Marcus and Collin went home. Aldith had only come for the day so only Kiara and my parents and myself were left at the house. We played games until late in the evening.

The following morning we continued our sight-seeing tour. I showed my parents where I had stayed for previous visits. An old cloister in Kloosterburen which now serves as a hotel provides an excellent place to relax from the city stress. We were able to look inside as there was an exposition in the chappel. Later on we drove to Verhildersum to have a look at the old Burg. It was great being there with my parents! When they left, Kiara and I headed for the Tea Factory in Houwerzijl and had tea and scones. The Factory's tour resembled the tour that we used to make for large companies at DST where I worked years ago. I must find out if it was one of their experiences.

At night my friend Eddie who lives in Groningen visited. We ate together and caught up on news. It was good to see him again. Afterwards I packed all our stuff and put it in the car, ready to leave before 10 am. Our trip to Groningen was fabulous. On Friday Kiara and I went to Groningen city to the cartoon museum. We headed home afterwards.

I had intended to get away from my everyday preoccupation and it worked! The weather was marvelous and the company even better. Every time that I do something that I have planned and things work out...I think "Gotcha"!

04 May 2008

Spring holiday!

Off for a short holiday in the province of Groningen!
We will be back soon. Check out the quaint little house I rented. Can't wait!

Rachelle comes to play

Today, Rachelle came over to play. It was time to see Valentine (Valentijn) again, so rather than having me over, Rachelle planned a big escape to my home. Valentine is so big now that he looks like a little Budha, so I am sure he came to bring me luck. He was certainly a wonderful sign of vitality.

Towards the end of the afternoon we (Rachelle, Valentine, Bo, Kiara and I)headed out to Laren to eat poffertjes (mini pancakes) on the coolest hotwheels in town.
This brandnew Audi happens to be my dream car. Even the Larenaren who are mostly very rich people were impressed by the car. Rachelle and I had great fun posing in it in front of my house later on that day. Check out the chickies in the Little Deuce Coupe! Remco. I promise you...I did not drive your car!

Girls playing with Boys Toys

She's got a competition clutch with the four on the floor
And she purrs like a kitten till the Lake Pipes roar
And if that aint enough to make you flip your lid
There's one more thing, I got the pink slip, Daddy

And comin' off the line when the light turns green
Well she blows 'em outta the water like you never seen
I get pushed out of shape and it's hard to steer
When I get rubber in all four gears

She's my little deuce coupe
You don't know what I got(My little deuce coupe)

Life continues

Though recent news has not been too optimistic, life carries on as normal.

It took me 10 odd days to absorb the blow but Bird is versatile and ready to take for the sky.

It struck me that I have not witnessed a summer in 2 years, as I was in the hospital and rehab the whole of the summer last year. One of the consequences of that is that my garden had turned into a jungle.
Last friday Marcus came over with Sydney for the first time. We had lunch in the garden which I haven't done for a long time. It was a kiddy lunch with cheese croissants and pink cakes.

My garden is prepared for the summer! Next week I will attempt to clean the tiles with my high-pressure hose.

While Marcus worked. Sydney and I made faces and bonded. We had great fun and it felt fabulous to feel the warmth of the sun.

Meanwhile Kiara was at her junior sports reporter workshop at ZAPP looking very intellectual.

The rest of the day there was much time for small jobs like bringing my junk from the attic to the local recycling station, washing clothes, and resting. Life continues as if nothing was wrong.