France was great. My uncle’s house is amazing, the food was amazing and the area was amazing. We had the tail end of good weather and during the day we wore shorts. At night it could get cold. We didn’t have a TV but had a fireplace. And Lori took her best pictures ever. We also visited my cousin who lives with her husband and three kids near Chambery, only a two hour drive away. We had never visited and really enjoyed seeing them.
Our 10 days were way to short.
Our trip to France was my turning Point . After this trip I picked up my life again. On all fronts. First off I joined a gym. I had gained over 10 kilo’s the last 5 months and was very weak. At the gym they helped me setup an easy training schedule. I also helped out at the office. Right away there was a project waiting for me.
I was very motivated during this time. I was back and on top of it. I made it through the chemo and my tumor shrank. Now I just needed to work myself up again. I did have a lot of side effects to deal with. My nails were coming off, I was tired again, the skin on my face was itchy and i didn’t have feeling in the soles of my feet. But i didn’t care. I was back!
And then Doc mailed that he was coming to Europe. “Lets do something” I replied. And 6 weeks later the VRMevent took place. VRM is an idea, a theory, I am very much interested in. In those 6 weeks i got a team together with whom I filled an afternoon with cool speakers, arranged sponsors and a venue. We had 60 to 70 participants and everybody had a good time. My old employer RapidSugar was a sponsor and I had the opportunity to work again with Sander and Naos which was very nice.
The weekend after that we had the MoMo speakers diner at my house again. One of the speakers was Bruce Sterling, a science fiction writer I have read since the early nineties and who’s books inspired me to do what I do now. It was sooooo cool to have him come to our house. The next day MoMo #8 took place. I was about to host it again but bailed at the last minute. I was too tired from the diner and the week before. At MoMo Bruce was the highlight by speaking to the audience with his cynical voice from the pulpit at the Rode hoed (click on his picture to see and hear it):
To get some air after a tough summer Lori went to visit her family and friends in the States for a couple of days. That was good for her and me. I hadn’t been on my own for months. It was pretty tricky. I really noticed that I wasn’t as strong as I thought I was. Physically it was a lot of work to take care of myself and the house. And I missed Lori a lot. I hope I still show here the appreciation I learn again that week.
Somewhere in the middle of this i had an appointment with my Oncologist to hear the results of my PET-scan and what further treatment he proposed. A PET scan is a scan which maps out all active tumor area’s. The doctors news was bad. He said there was still a lot of tumor activity and that a new round of chemo might be necessary. That was another blow. I was so happy being back. I was so focused on my road to recovery. And now it seemed that I might be due back at the hospital before Christmas.
Thanks to my blog I was in contact with Matt from the US who had had the same form of cancer that I have. He had helped me before with general advice and comfort from a fellow traveler. And he gave invaluable guidance. He said that doctors always want to continue treatment in our form of cancer but that it isn’t always necessary. The PET scans are always inconclusive. He gave me the email address for Dr Einhorn. He is the oncologist specialized in testicular cancer who helped Lance Armstrong and increased the survival rate from 15 to 85%. Together with my Oncologist we contacted him for a consult. He predicted that my planned biopsy would turn up nothing and that he expected that watchful waiting could commence.
He was right
We celebrated the good news with Maarten & Darina and Jos & Anita at Ron Blaauw. A good 2 Michelin star restaurant.
The end of the year was busy with Christmas at my parents house, which was also attended by my Swiss Aunt Juliette and my brothers family. I surprised Lori with a Macbook to help her on the developmental path towards a photography career.
Together with my partners at SPRX we made a nice xmas video:
That last week of the year was relaxing and with lots of reflection. These three posts are part of that. I am still trying to come to grips with what happened. It was so much.
Writing these posts helps me put it all in perspective. In particulare how busy the last three months have been. Everyday I am still bewildered with my physical weakness. Lori laughs at my groundhog day moments of continually rediscovering this, and lets me find out for myself that I am overdoing it. Yesterday we went out shopping and after two hours it was over for me. That still surprises me. I stopped going to the gym because it made me more tired instead of making me more fit. I decided I need more guidance in recovering my strenght and enrolled in Tegenkracht, which is an organization for cancer patients who want to get back on track through sports. My goal is to cycle to France and climb up the Mont Ventoux. I did it before and loved it!
My mind still hasn’t caught up with what happened to my body. I need to make time for that.
I truly believe it was a great year. All be it a busy and tough one.
I am thankful for Lori, for my family, for my friends; IRL and virtual.
2009 will be my year of recovery, balance and success: