Rough times

It has been a long time that you have read me my friends, I know. Obviously there are some reasons for that. I have had a rough time because of some complications. First of all there was my double J-stent that wasn’t singing anymore, and when it was singing it was very bad I assure you. The next thing I had was a nerve pain I had in my lower area. Two complications that seem little but that made my life hell. I don’t have any side-effects of the chemo and that is awesome but then I have these pains that are a consequence of my previous therapy that hurt me every day and made me not have a life anymore (even less then I already had).

What was going on was that some days the stent started hurting in my lower back and when that started, I knew my day was ruined. There isn’t any painkiller that could help me so I had to endure the pain till it was gone. That was hell. Seriously, I could only be in the couch and do nothing or be angry at anyone who was at home. In February I asked the doctor in the hospital at the oncology department to have it taken out because it limited my freedom of movement so much that it made me very sad and this is a feeling that I really have to avoid. She had a discussion with the urologists and they were very reluctant to take it out. But they made a compromise and said they would take it out a day to see and if it didn’t work, they would put another one in. This happened just this week. I went to the hospital on Monday thinking they would take it out with an operation and I was ready for it. I was there at 0815hr and at 0915hr someone came to take me to have a function measurement. I didn’t know what that was so I searched the net for it. Holy shit!! My stress factor rose up to 200 I think. When I arrived at the urology department a nice young nurse welcomed me. She told me that a doctor would take out my stent. I was completely in chaos in my head. I thought I would have an operation and that they would put me to sleep. But instead I first thought I would have a function measuring of my bladder (which is a horrible procedure) and now they were going to take out this stent without anesthetics?? So I could only cry. Everything came out, I was not only stressed by what was going to happen, but everything, the whole period with pain and mental stress just came loose. And I couldn’t stop my tears from falling. I was so upset. I just wanted everything to be over. I was fed up with it. The young nurse was so sweet and supportive. Seriously, she deserves a medal. She was able to calm me down so well. She explained the procedure and told me it wouldn’t hurt and would only take two minutes. She was fantastic!! I was still crying when the doctor came in but I believed her, the young nurse. She told me she was going to stick with me and she did. The procedure took five minutes because one of the assistants tried first. Then the doctor noticed that I didn’t like it anymore and she took the stent out in two minutes. It didn’t hurt. It was of course not a very pleasant feeling having a tube taken out of your urethra, but in the end it was ok. I aways thought it was a hard piece of material but it is just a stupid sort of rubber tube. (I took it home with me, the 24cm of ugly bastard)

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But I assure you that I got through it mainly because of the support of that nurse. At a certain moment she was even ordering me to breath in and out. I must have looked like a drunken woman in labor. That nurse was my champion! But the day after, my operation was scheduled to put a new stent in. I assure you that I was very sad, but as I was waiting in the waiting area in my bed to go t the operation room, I figured it just wasn’t the time for it. Everything has its time and it wasn’t time yet to go without stent. I have to take it step by step and this stent is necessary to protect my kidney the doctor told me. So I had no choice. I put in my mind that this was just a step to my complete healing. First the chemotherapy and afterwards my body can heal from the complications little by little. I just have to continue the fight and hold on.

The second thing that was making my life hell was that annoying nerve pain I have on a small piece of flesh in my vagina which seemed to be a part of my hymen. It is such a tiny spot but it seems that it has tentakels like and octopus that go everywhere over there and make a mess. This is unfortunately a consequence of the radiation that I had during my first therapy. I had it checked several times in the hospital and not a single doctor came up with a solution for it. I got completely crazy so I went for a second opinion and went to see another professor gynecologist and he said (like the previous one) that he couldn’t do nothing about that. The doctors at the oncology day clinic gave me a cream to put on it. They told me it could take up to eight weeks before it works or not works. And I smeared for eight weeks like a crazy woman and nothing changed. I couldn’t move anymore or do anything anymore because of it. It gave a weird sensation inside and it hurt sometimes and sometimes it itched like hell. I couldn’t sit on a chair or walk anymore. Basically I was locked up in my own house. It was my prison because of those two things. That wasn’t nice because it started to work on my mood as well. I have always been positive but this was pulling me down. I started to look and act like Cujo every time someone asked me something. Tired of the pain and angry.

 

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I had to find something that helped me because I couldn’t be positive anymore and that is the main thing for my healing. But then one day I told my nurse that always takes my blood about this issue. She told me she had had an operation and doctors touched her nerve system and she had similar complaints. She told me about this medication that could help. I asked my private doctor and he prescribed it to me. Since three weeks it goes better. I can walk again, sit on any chair and my mood is back; hence the blog writing. God damned motherfuckers!! Almost three months I suffered from this pain and no doctor in the hospital could help me. I have learned another thing. I have to ask, ask, ask in the hospital because everybody has his or her own specialty and they all work in their own box. They don’t think further.  That is apparently my own task. I won’t make that mistake anymore, but please…. I was in pain for over two months! But anyway, that is done, the pain is less now.

But I haven’t told you the best thing that happened during this period yet? Well, after nine chemo sessions an MRI scan is taken of my complete body in order to check the progress of the therapy. Remember that the professor told me that I was in bad papers and had only a small chance of healing. When I had the scan they told me I would know the results the week after. Unfortunately my blood wasn’t good enough to get chemo that week so I wouldn’t be in the hospital for chemo and couldn’t ask for the results. Then I called the hospital to know more. They told me that the doctors still had to have a meeting about it that same Thursday evening and that I would know about it the week after. I went crazy! Two weeks later, are they nuts?? So I asked her if there was a possibility to know it sooner. I could call on Friday she told me on the phone. Jesus Christ what an operation to get the results of my own scan! I asked my darling sidekick Saar to make the call on Friday because I was way to nervous. Saar and Erica my stepsister were both by my side so I wouldn’t be alone when I heard the news. When she was on the phone, the first thing I heard the doctor say was (my ear was glued to the phone that Saar had in her hands) that they are seeing positive signs. I couldn’t handle it anymore, I started crying.  He continued to explain that all the tumors on every spot in my body had shrunk. They even saw a spot they hadn’t seen before but it was the rest of a tumor. He said that this was the second best news anyone in my situation can get. The best one off course is that everything is gone but the second one is that the therapy is working! The doctor was very positive and happy. And obviously so were we!! Saar, Erica and me were crying and laughing of happiness.

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What a news!! Nobody had expected this I am sure! But I always believed in it, although I was in so much stress when we had to make the phone call. But this was great news. I didn’t immediately knew how to act. I didn’t really believed it immediately. It was only when my brother arrived and when I saw his overwhelming happy face that I started believing it.

And honestly I believe the chemo is only a part of the reason that I am healing. I’ll explain later. That good news was exactly what I needed at that moment.

 

My personal army and strength

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The previous treatment I felt like I was fighting this alien alone. People were of course supporting me but still it felt like I was alone. But although it is an individual battle, this time I don’t feel alone. I first of all feel stronger in my head and mind. Now after three chemos I still feel rather ok physically although I started this with a physical delay because my body has already undergone treatment so my physical condition is not as good as the beginning of the first treatment. But still I don’t think about that. A lot is in the mind. If you fall into the trap of letting go, then you are gone. I won’t do that! But not only am I now strong in my head, this time I have literally and figuratively speaking a whole army around me. I have my friends and family in Belgium but also in Canada and other places in the world, and I have my work, my unit who is with me every step of the way.  Everybody stands by me. People are doing everything to support me, to send me energy, light and whatever I need to conquer this. It is amazing!!! I get cards and text messages from my colleagues and friends from my work. You have no idea how it feels for me! I feel big like Napoleon, fearsome like Dzjengis Kahn and dauntless like Shaka Zulu with their troops fighting. Saar adds: ambitious as Alexander the Grate, and with balls like Hannibal! Nele Tahon is on a warpath! 🙂

This thought, this strength, this power, this energy, I get, thanks to everyone that is supporting me. It does something strange in my mind. Knowing that everybody is around me, this is a war I shall win. I won’t be afraid just as long as you stand by me.

I am going to write down some of the messages that I get that give me strength (and I get a lot of them) so I can read them over and over again. And maybe they’ll help someone else also. It is just that the faith people have in me is overwhelming and touches me in the deepest of my heart. And I thank everyone for this with all my heart.

Here are some of the messages people send me and give me power:

  • Nele, Like an instructor said during the obstacle course at the armored Cavalry school to become a Tank Platoon commander 16 years ago: “You have to attack the obstacle!!!” And how you would fly over the obstacles as if it were nothing with the Finish table as your golden one! Just like 16 years ago I am in full admiration now for you about the way you tackle this obstacle. Keep on attacking those obstacles!!!
  • Think positive Nele, radiate vibes. I’m 100% convinced you will conquer also this mutation, brightly and shining and with a deep proud roar. And remember how strong a body is and how much it wants to live.
  • You’re a fucking superstar! Fight like you have never fought before, believe like you have never believed before and live like you have never lived before. I send you light and love!
  • Nele, Like when you told me: “I am a slow learner” Off course you needed a second session, always trying to be different he :-). Same thing though: going for the win! And a small chance is an even big chance. The bug needs more nuclear shit…Asshole. But Nele, really no doubt, whatever the doctors say, it is based on statistics not included your defense material, passion, survival, instinct, Julius. I believe blindly in you and your fantastic body. It is only a matter of time before you tumble over the finish line. Not if but when hunny. Give it your best shot, aim, destroy forever! With your beautiful power mind: GO!! Off course you can, you just need more time my beautiful slow learner.
  • You are a strong and courageous woman. I am sure that you will conquer this dirty cancer.
  • Happy to have seen you yesterday. If the dust around the bad news has settled down a bit and you got out of the intoxication of lasts week news, just know that there are many people ready to help you. If it gets too hard for the people that are helping you now (what is normal during such a long treatment) , we gladly wanna help out. Even if it is only to bring you to the hospital, cooking, vacuuming or doing grocery shopping. Don’t feel bad for asking for help or even distraction. You are one of the strongest soldiers I have seen in the last twenty years, although that realization came only later. You did not always have the support, but you have never let yourself got of track and followed your own path. Better do that now! The odds are maybe not in your favor, but just go and let us know how we can help. x
  • Hero: is an ordinary individual who finds strength  to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.
  • We are blasting you with white light with our meditation group. This cancer is gonna die, it is not part of you!
  • When cancer kicks you in the face. Calmly get back up, Smile and politely say: You hit like a bitch!
  • Nele thank you for sharing with us what you are going through. It reminds us again on how important it is to enjoy every moment in life, every day again. Know that your positivism during exercises and specifically in the unit gigantically improved the atmosphere. With all my heart I hope to see you again in the unit very soon but take your time to heal. Big hug!
  • Proud of how you are dealing with this my friend!
  • Military friendships are ordinary based on certain foundations
    • alcohol
    • a sarcastic and depraved ability to laugh at anything and everything
    • common experience of high adrenaline situations
    • a dislike of superficial people
    • the ability to meet again after years apart , having had no contact and carry on exactly where you left off
  • Dear Nele, Is it not a bit strange that serious fighters are matched with serious enemies? So many go this particular battle ill equipped. But not you. Your courage, your training and your love of life will shorten the odds. I am betting money you will annihilate this bastard. Go for it!
  • I remember being so struck with Nele’s enthusiasm and vitality. Her spirit is strong and very determined. May that spirit prevail and guide her complete return to wellbeing. I too sit daily, and will be thinking of her every morning before dawn. Nele remains radiant – in the photo – even after three months of chemo. That alone speaks to her strength, she is indeed your sister…
  • I will put her name on my altar and add her to my prayer list…she is in so many ways a warrior and your visit is just the ticket to make her feel better, sending love.
  • I meditate daily and she will be with me.
  • We are with you and won’t let you down.
  • I remember her well and we all loved her and her beautiful spirit. I will put her on the healing list at my centre. sending love and healing.
  • There is a lotta love going out there, Nele. We are happy to be in your army

 

Big kiss to everyone!!

Stand by me…

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The battle Plan

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How to deal with this situation? How does anyone deal with news like this. Everybody in his own way that is for sure. So how must I deal with it? How do I give it a place in my mind?  I actually have no clue. I decided to let my being take over, let Nele just do whatever she thinks is necessary. I don’t need psychologists (for now), I definitely don’t need crying time (what doesn’t mean that I never cry, sometimes I need a moment, a minute and then it is done). In a strange way my mind got focussed on the idea that I’ll be part of that small percentage. I know that not everybody probably believes it. Many people are unconsciously negativists. Not me. I have to be part of that group that is cured. There is just no other thought in my mind. No other option. So my mind started working!

I wouldn’t be a good soldier if I wouldn’t prepare a battle plan. The Friday after may first chemo I suddenly got into a combat modus. Cutting my long hair was a first step. Besides the fact that it makes my life easier because I don’t have to brush, wash and dry it anymore (wash it off course), it was also because the shock (for others) will be smaller if my hair would fall out. I personally don’t mind that much. But I have noticed that cutting my hair gave me strength. This maybe seems really strange but I felt like me, like Nele when it was cut. I loooove the haircut and I feel strong and powerful and still very feminine. This was the first step in my war against cancer. Because this isn’t a fight anymore. IT IS WAR!! And my goal is to reach my objective!

I can not describe completely what went through my thoughts but I can tell you that I completely disagree with my situation now. I do not, I repeat: I DO NOT accept that monster being inside of me. It is no part of me and has nothing to do with me. That is a first thing.

A second thing is that in my mind I can not passively undergo this anymore. This is incompatible with who I am and how I think people should act.  The previous time I did undergo because it was all new and strange and I didn’t know what to expect. Please let me try to explain how my mind works. I don’t agree with this situation so I have to attack it. I do this primarily with the help of the professor, his absolute knowledge and the whole staff of the hospital. He is doing his work and exploring all the possible treatment that could help me. On Friday I send him a mail explaining a bit who I am. I really wanted him to see that I am not the average 70-year old laying here waiting for the end to come. I am only 40 and want a whole lot more years! Now, a military action is is always carefully prepared. Every little step is being analyzed in order to find the best way to tackle possible enemy and react to them. We receive the mission, we explore different strategies to fulfill that mission. We don’t just prepare one path, we prepare several paths and compare them.  This way we are ready in advance to deal with all the possible difficulties we might encounter in our battle. Everything to fulfill the mission.

I look at this war as a mission. One tool to tackle the problem isn’t enough in my mind. I want to be prepared to tackle it in another way if one way doesn’t work. This makes sense right. Also I want my plans to be ready in advance so that I don’t lose time. There is no time to loose. I need plan A, B, C, even the whole alphabet if necessary.  So I wrote an email to my professor explaining this to him and asking about possibilities that I have already read about such as immunotherapy  and a diet that I have read a lot about. On Monday I immediately received an email that he would come and explain it to me. So he did. He explained me that the treatment that he is give me has proven the most use and effectiveness in my situation. Also he told me they also have plan B and C and other paths to follow in case of. I was happy to hear this. By no means I would discredit his work and the good medical support I get here. I just wanted to make sure he understands that I am not planning on just letting this happen to me.  It is not who I am and I need constructive advice and support. If people do not believe in my fight it is their problem but then at least I expect cooperation in another way, such as other contacts that I can write to and ask questions. There is no no, there are only solutions. But my professor is a very lovely man and is with me on my path.

I am still researching and reading and I will explore all my options. I do it the military way. This is what I know, what I can, what I am and what I do.

Second Round

Tuesday! Damn preparing myself to start again is hard. I wasn’t completely ready yet. But ok there is no other option. This treatment is a treatment of 18 weeks of chemo every week. I get two chemos that attack the cancer cells and every three weeks medication of molecular therapie or as the professor calls it: targeted therapie. This third bag of medication blocks the oxygen access towards the cancer cells. It has already proven some effect and use. Very interesting!

This time I can loose my hair. The chemo destroys rapidly dividing cells like cancer cells but unfortunately hair cells are apparently also fast. Not that I have ever noticed that on my hair, I always found it growing to slowly hahaha. But there is a system that could make you keep your hair that they use here in the hospital. My hair is not the most important thing but since I have my short combat hair that I really like, I want to keep it a bit longer. The nurse told me that it doesn’t work with everybody but at least I can try. The rest of my hair I will loose, my eyebrows, my eyelashes, my furry body hair 🙂 and all the other hairs you can imagine hahaha. Talking about toe-hair here guys! You perverts! 🙂 But anyway the system is that helmet of which I laughed the previous time when I saw the lady next to me wearing it. I told her then that she could come and join the army with such a flashy helmet. It cools down the hair-bags and cells so the chemo doesn’t reach them. There is a possibility that my hair wil become thinner or falls out. But that is not a big issue.

I have to keep it on for three hours. It was pretty funny the first time. I was still adjusting to the cold on my head due to my haircut and now I had to put a freezing helmet on my very sensitive head.

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Isn’t it wonderful! Hahaha But damn did that hurt the first time. Major brain freeze. I thought I wouldn’t be able to endure that for three hours but after a while it became durable. Still happy to take it off though 🙂

So I get three chemos every three weeks and the two other weeks two. I have to come to the hospital the night before so they can take my blood and give anti-nausea medication and the day after I get the bags of chemo. This time I am not bothered with a bladder probe so I’m a little bit more comfortable. The cooling cap is three hours and the two bags two hours.

Saar brought me an accessory to wear. So today during my second chemo I am wearing it so everybody can see what a lovely princes that I am. 🙂 I just miss my magic wands.

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D-Day

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Friday 18 Januari 2019 was my D-Day about the treatment that I had gone through. It was a very confusing day because the whole day long I was nervous about the result. The doctors were going to tell me if the treatment that I had gotten (chemotherapy, external and internal radiation) had worked or not and wether I am clear of this rotten invader in my body.

Sidekick Saar went with me off course, always ready to support me. Actually I was feeling really positive all day. The last few weeks I was feeling well, doing sports again. I had started going to the gym again. The last months my whole body was stiff every morning, my ankles, my muscles, my joints. After only two visits at the gym where I actually immediately was able to run twenty minutes on the treadmill, my complete stiffness was gone! I was so happy to feel that my body had not disappointed me. It gave me good hopes to get back into the physical condition that I had before this story. I told myself before the start of it all that I would give myself ONE year to get back in shape. Feeling that I still could run like this after heavy treatment and doing absolutely nothing made me super strong again in my mind. And the effects were super! No more pain on the body and lots of energy. I could already smell my squash racquet!

But when we were waiting and waiting and waiting for my name to be called, I started to feel uncomfortable and a little bit worried. My worries were legit. The young assistent who had to break me the bad news told me that the outcome was a mixed result. The primary cancer had shrunk and was almost completely gone. However they detected metastasis further in my body. On the liver membrane and on some lymph glands. Absolutely bad news. We asked some questions, mainly Saar, and the young assistent told us to wait for the professor to explain us more. My brain was probably already gone somewhere else because I didn’t remember him explaining too much. Luckily Saar is with me to be able to hear the whole complete story. What I heard was: ‘Madam Tahon, you are in bad papers, you need 18 more chemos, there is only a small chance of cure’ which translated in my mind: ‘Nele you are going to die in about six months.

We had to wait for the head nurse of my oncology department to explain me more about the next treatment. When she came to get me she was a bit sad and told me that everybody on the department was shocked that it was me she had to come and get. It was only when we got out to get the elevator that my tears came. Damn!! WTF is going on!! This is too ridiculous for words. I had told the professor that I don’t get it, I just don’t get it. I am (was) healthy, sporty and always told everybody that I want to become 120 year old. Of course he doesn’t have much to say about that. But what he did say when he went out of the door and gave me immediately a sparkle of hope was: ‘120 years madam Tahon, 120 years’. I’m not sure why he said it, for moral support or because he really believes staying positive helps, but it immediately switched something in my head. A small chance is also a chance, and then I just need to be in that chance!

Saar and I got the explanation and I cried some more and so did she :-). Thank God for Saar, my rock!! I had no clue how to deal with this, I was just numb. What to do? I didn’t know what to feel, what to do,… I didn’t want to see anybody. How do you cope with the news that there is a possibility that you can die in the near future. How quickly can it go from becoming 120 years old to maybe not even a year! Huge bombardment in my head here!

So since I didn’t know or feel anything at that point, I decided to buy a big screen television. Sounds strange but since I had to die anyway, I might as well make myself comfortable for those last months. My tv was tiny, You needed a magnifier to watch it. So I got a very nice, big one. When I was buying it, a friend called me and I explained my situation on the phone. The boy preparing the tv heard the whole conversation and when we were arranging everything he apologized for the question he had to ask. Whether or not I wanted the five year guarantee on the the tv. Fuck that!! I told him. He told me it was on the device. Fuck that too!! I told him.  I don’t give a damn what people will do with that tv when I’m gone. The poor guy. 🙂 Saar didn’t really know how to respond to that either and I absolutely understand. You want to be positive for your friend and keep up the spirit, but this happened about an hour after the bad news. Also for her this was very bad news and very emotional.

I’m not a cry-baby but I cried a bit that weekend, trying to process everything. Saar stayed with me that night. We didn’t say much just watched a movie, although off course I didn’t see a lot of it. I just enjoyed and appreciated her presence. The day after I met my two other best friends Katrien and Sara. We have a lifetime together. We were in the same kindergarden, went to the Boy Scouts together, went to study together, did many traveling together and so many more things. A lot of crazy stories with these two ladies 🙂 Katrien and Sara have always been my safe-haven to come home after my various missions abroad with the army. The adventures I had with them are priceless, but the friendship is the best. It overtops everything. We are all three of us very different and still it has always worked. It makes our friendship very strong.  Sara’s dad used to call us the KNS Triumviraat 🙂 (KNS: Katrien, Nele, Sara). So I met my girls on Saturday in Kessel-lo to have a drink together. We stayed together all afternoon, went out for dinner with my brother and his girlfriend and my niece Ella and afterwards went to have another drink. And suddenly it was late in the night at the bar. It was a very well known situation and I loved it. The three of us at a bar talking and not letting anyone intervene  our discussions. We were talking about us, about life, about emotions, the love we have, the good life we have led already and sometimes we cried. I had a perfect coping night. It felt so good to be with them and I love them so much. One can imagine the state we were in when we went home hahaha. We had been talking of doing a city trip or so, but when I was sober again I figured who needs a city trip if you have these nights out with your darlings. City-tripping is for when I’m done with this mess.

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So the weekend I was trying to deal with the whole situation and trying to prepare myself again for the next round that already started on Tuesday again. No time and life to waste! My thought exactly!!

My bodyguard Julius

 

fullsizeoutput_73cI decided to write a little post about my dog Julius because having a dog by your side during a difficult periode like this one, is a very special thing. Please allow me to explain. Right after I got the bad news someone told me that dogs can smell cancer. I found it very interesting and actually very obvious also. If we use dogs to find drugs on people or locate explosive munitions on vehicles or in buildings, it is absolutely plausible that they are capable of smelling cancer in urine or breath or even underneath the skin.  After all it’s al about the nose!

 

 

 

 

I decided to observe Julius and his behavior towards me during the whole period. As a Belgian Malinois he has always been very energetic and eager to work and play. That is no different then how he is today. I can not really say that he did something specific or so. I don’t know if he smelled the cancer inside of me, He didn’t really specifically go smell my pee in the toilet or so :-). I mean, he is a Belgian Malinois made to work, he sniffs at everything. I always laugh about it because his nose is everywhere. He sniffs my clothes when I get dressed, he sniffs my handbags, my backpacks, my shoes, and everything there is around me. There literally is nothing in the house that hasn’t been sniffed, including Bridget, my cat, who doesn’t always appreciate that. He is always by my side. He is like a sticker. Every dog owner knows, there is no privacy left when you have a dog. When I go to the toilet he comes to sit right in front of me, looking at me. Once he was in front of me with a tennisball in his mouth when I was on the toilet. He dropped it and because he was so close,  he actually threw it right between my legs into the toilet. Can you imagine that!! :-).

Julius is a big, strong dog. He has a strong personality and a mind of his own. You wouldn’t say, but he is the biggest teddybear ever. He loves to cuddle and comes to ask for it too. He doesn’t have a personal bubble, so you can hug him whenever you want. I touch his ears, I blow into his nose, I touch his paws (I love the smell of Julius’s paws :-)), and he allows me to do everything with him. In short, he is the sweetest ever (or got the best education ever:-)). He welcomes everybody that I let enter in my house through the front door. However, if I were a stranger, I wouldn’t come in when the owner is not at home. He is a kind dog, but his race makes him to guard the house and the family and that is exactly what he does.

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During my treatment I got really weak and I wasn’t able to entertain him and be busy with him as I used to do. It was like he understood it all. He started following my rhythm. As I told you in a previous post, getting up, at a certain moment became a real challenge and took almost an hour. Julius never woke me up before. He would stay down, gave me my time and until he really saw me going to the living room to the couch, he followed me and got immediately down in his basket. Before the treatment started I had rules. He was not allowed in the couch or on the bed. I have to admit that my rules got trespassed when I was weak during the treatment. But it was such a good feeling to have him at my feet. His warmth close to me and the feeling of being safe thanks to him. When I was in a lot of pain, I would lay down on him and I asked him to take some of my pain. Julius just let everything happen. He never objected, never asked for more but just wanted to be by my side all the time. If he would be a real guy, I would have found the perfect man!

About three or four weeks after the brachytherapy when I was busy recovering, he started to be more active again. He started coming to me with his ball to play. I got better so I started doing that again. Then a few weeks later, I was still suffering a lot from the bladder infection but that didn’t seem to be of any importance to him, he started to be more active in the morning. Still waiting for me to wake up but there was more respons towards me. Then he started playing with me in the morning. Annoying me when he noticed I was really awake. And by now, he is even waking me up, the bastard! In the morning when he feels it is time to get up, I feel his wet nose to my cheek or his head popping up underneath my armpit.

In about ten  days I have my scan and three days after I have the results of the complete treatment. I am getting a bit nervous but I believe in my dog. I believe in Julius. I have the feeling he sensed that I was physically getting better because he did everything in my rhythm and now he is so active and playful with me. He has not been like that during my treatment and I also have the feeling he is more affectionate with me then before the treatment. But that can also be because he has been with me day and night the last six months. But as I said I believe in Julius and he feels that I am ok and good to be annoyed again so I think the treatment must have worked.

Either way, this is a small ode to Julius who is I believe a real body guard in every sense of the word. And although sometimes he annoys me like hell, I love him above everything.

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The Ferrari

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Again it has been a while that I wrote. Off  course this was because I wasn’t in the mood to write. The thing is, after my brachytherapy when I was home I started to have this bladder infection. actually it was already there before the brachytherapy and was one of the reasons, together with the fever and low white blood cells that the brachytherapy was postponed with one week. Apparently having a bladder infection after such kind of treatments is not abnormal. After all they are doing all sorts of things down there and my body just says: enough!

But around week two, it got so painful that I went to the doctor to get something. It was hurting my whole body. The bladder pain went all the way in my back, my belly and upper legs (on te side). When going to the toilet, every muscle that is located around that bladder would tense. Speaking of a free workout for your abdomen. At least I didn’t lose those muscles thanks to that :-), but I don’t recommend that workout! Sometimes it would hurt so much that tears came to my eyes, not to mention my neighbors that every time I went to the bathroom, they probably thought someone was being tortured in my house.

The main issue for me however was that it was keeping me away from doing what I wanted to do: recuperating as fast as possible en get back to doing sports. IN MY FACE!! My bladder had absolutely no intention of complying. So the doctor prescribed me antibiotics. A little bag of powder. I was so happy to feel the pain relieved a bit. I thought everything was going in the right direction. However, this seemed to be the deux chevaux of the antibiotics because it was driving, but didn’t really take any speed and broke down a couple of times along the way. It definitely did not reach the finish line. Week six after my brachytherapy I went to the doctor again (he saw me quite some times during that period) and told him to give me something stronger. So he prescribed the Ferrari of antibiotics for bladder infections.

I must say, now after tree weeks of driving that Ferrari (I was supposed to drive it only ten days, but it didn’t close the deal either), I am so disappointed in the Ferrari! See what it did was, taking away all the pain, which is a very good thing. Not only do I not have to get up around twenty times a night to pee, or I was just awake due to the pain, I start to be able to sleep better. I do realize that I am writing this at 4AM but falling asleep is still a problem. During peeing everything started to be normal again. It is heaven when one can pee without pain, you have no idea! The funny thing is that now that that pain is gone, I feel the pain of the stent in my ureter again. I had stopped taking the painkillers for it because I didn’t feel that pain anymore. It was overshadowed by the bladder pain. I am actually happy to feel that stent pain again haha! But the thing is, the Ferrari is not reaching the finish line either. I still hope that after this last box of antibiotics the annoyance I still have will be gone. Either way I want to quit the antibiotics because it isn’t good for you either.

Two weeks ago I had a rough moment. Not because of my illness (which is gone already I hope) but because I was so frustrated that my expectations of being physically fit again by now were not met, due to that stupid infection.

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Today my head is ok again. Like I said, I am still annoyed massively by that infection but my mind is back on track. I am ready to conquer that colony of bacteria. I will start moving more again physically and make my body strong. That way they will die!

You are probably wondering why this is so difficult to heal. It has all to do with the radiation. You see, the internal radiation is still doing its work. That is why I don’t have results of my treatment yet. The hospital is only taking a scan in January because taking one now or some weeks ago would not have been representative. So because this radiation is changing the DNA of the cancer cells, things are still going on inside my belly en that makes all the cells weaker and not strong enough to fight an infection there. Also the stent is still inside going from my kidney to my bladder. Strange material in the bladder is also detrimental for the infection. They will only take that stent out when everything is back to normal inside.

I am starting to have enough of this Ferrari.

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If after this box of pills the bladder infection is not gone, I start to drive the Rolls Royce!!

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