Posts tagged ‘cancer’

Toussaint

On the evening of Saturday 19 March my brave and beloved husband
Toussaint Schroders has died from cancer. He was 67 years old.
He died at home, we were there with him.
He will be buried Thursday 24 March here on Terschelling.

Life goes on, even with stomach cancer

An update. (by Toussaint Schroders)
Toussaint’s blog

It has been a while since I wrote here. Everyone who responded here and in person, thank you! To have cancer and lead a life beside that unwanted and pushy guest is a daytime job. In my case I have been through an abyss at times. The chemo seems to work fine, but is undermining my energy levels. Well it could be the chemo, as it is not likely that the cancer itself is causing the fatigue. I find myself sitting in a wheelchair. A barrier I fought against for too long and too self-willed. Now I do use the thing, it is a wonderful tool. I am being moved. Thanks to and with aid from my dear partner I am getting places now without panting for ten minutes getting my breath. Professionals at ferries and taxis proof to know what they are doing and are friendly assistants. I shall probably meet a grumpy person now and then, but I shall always remember I came across these kind people during my first wheelchair experiences.

Fortunately the oncologist had a good cure: a few days with no chemo, then start again but with a lower dose. Eventually the body has to be in such shape that it can deliver resistance to the cancer. And that chemo also needs a body in reasonable shape to do the work. The short interruption has worked, I started chemo again but I have recovered enough to be able to at some food now, the mood is better and the fatigue a lot less.

About this fatigue: I had no idea this was possible. I call it a sort of “perverse fatigue” and not in the sense of Freud’s meaning to this concept, but more as unnatural, unwanted and disgusting. It is fine to be tired, very tired even, after a chore, sport or other performance. It is different when swaying your legs out of bed is enough to make your body scream “tired, back to bed” . I hear this from more people with chemo, the only comfort is that it will pass.
Fortunately there are more things to fill my life with, apart from being “cancer patient”. With thanks to my dear ones I was able to have a wonderful turn of the year. Intensive beach- and nature drives with friends to show us around. Wonderful hours which I shall never forget.

And I feel strongly involved again in local politics. Even if the voice is a bit wheezy and I can’t attend everything, I am there and I contribute. I also get annoyed over ranting and negativism. I worry about plans the government has with our island. And think along with plans and intentions concerning the future, when I won’t be here anymore, as of course most of us do, but with a diagnosis as mine, it is made crystal clear to a person Strangely enough that doesn’t bother me, it is more of a stimulants. Even when all my atoms shall be absorbed by the universe, life will go on here and it is a stimulating and positive idea to think of that already, and to try and leave things in a reasonable state for our offspring.

I shall leave it at this on this lovely Sundaymorning (Feb. 15). The truce in Ukraine not yet shot to pieces, but people killed in Copenhagen and as it looks now, our freedom of speech and diversity threathened again. The world goes on, sometimes incredibly barbaric, sometimes heartwarmingly beautiful.
Like our National Thinker said: “Everyone can die, but to make something of life before that, is a lot of fuss.”

Personally: an update on my present situation. (My husband’s blogposting)

My husband’s Dutch blogposting

The friendly surgeon was frank, I am no surgery material, the latest laparoscopy confirmed what previous examinations in Leeuwarden already had pointed at. There are too many cancer cells spreading to have a succesful surgery.

I shall go for chemotherapy, which can be done in Leeuwarden, in close connection with the Antoni van Leeuwenhoek hospital. Considering my general condition and the condition of my other organs, this could yield good results.

The diagnosing period is closed now. What follows, is called the “palliative treatment path”. I shall now have to find a balance between resting and improving my shape, between accepting and hope. To put it briefly: continuing life, in spite of the fact that there is less later than before.

Now this applies to everyone above a certain age, but not everyone is told as explicitly and crystal clearly as the one diagnosed with this form of cancer. For now, life still seems more than worthy of living. So we shall just do that.

I hope and expect I shall function on my present health level for a considerable time. With chemo and specific approach of my overall shape, there might even be an improvement.
Dear blog visitors, more people than I expected are visiting here. I appreciate that. It is possible to leave a comment, but not necessary.

Personally, stomach cancer and not getting used to it.

The translation of my husband’s new blog posting.
DSCF7741
When the news has “landed”, should a person get used to it also? I don’t know, on the unsurpassed internet much and often good information can be found about cancer and the people who have to deal with it, but I could not find a generally applying answer. So I wonder if one can get used to a situation like that. Something like dentures, or another kind of prosthesis. A nuisance at first, and present in an intrusive way, then, after a while, just a part of your body. You rather didn’t have it, but it happens to be there and it is no use complaining. This is how I would want to face my new companion, the stomach cancer. But by then all kinds of emotions are running through my brain and body. Exhausting emotions, while the body already has difficulty to function with all those evil cells that are joining the system.

It so happens that there is a surplus of bloggers, writers and other media professionals who are active reflecting their own anamnesis.
Often fascinatingly and well written. But I now get the impulse to defend myself, I really didn’t get this cancer to join in this hype. And the fact that I blog about it, has no other function than the rest of my blog has. It is on my mind, and I want to share that on a modest scale with the people who take the effort of coming here. Nothing more, nothing less.

Meanwhile life continues. There are many beautiful moments with my beloved one, (grand) children and during lovely walks. The support and friendship I experience is overwhelming. How to put that into words I don’t really know. It is heart warming and it comes in directly, I shall leave it at that for now. Being ill is what I mostly do whit in the walls of our home. How we manage and experience all of it here I won’t describe, there has to remain a comfortable limit of some privacy.
A nice diner whit in the framework of local government, (without joining in the meal still a fine evening) , a lively council meeting and much, mutual concern. Those are about the ingredients that makes it possible for me to be more than a man with a disease.

This week I shall step into the hospital world again. A 2nd opinion, so also a verdict again. That too is something I shall have to go through, and then the wait whether chemo and/or other medical interventions might do something for me. Maybe I shall find out in time how to live life while the finiteness of that life announces itself so shamelessly and impertinently.
Meanwhile I listen to old songs, Schubert. Timelessly beautiful. Dietrich Fischer Diskau in his years of glory.

It looks like it will be a good Sunday. All the best to you. Till next time.

My husband’s blogposting in Dutch

Our last bird left

There are no words,
Tears were shed already,
Hands held. We stare
Out of the window into nothing
Where the birds used to be when we fed them.

The lonely Robin is eating your apple,
The one I bought weeks ago
That you can’t eat anymore.
We don’t speak, just look.
The last Robin is leaving us as well.

It is Autumn, all seems dead
And rain speaks of our near farewell
That we don’t want to fear
As I reach for your hand
We hear the Robin sing next door.

Waiting for daylight

These fears keep us going in spite
To lean back now means to give in
We won’t give in for now in spite of all
And we won’t do the looking back in spite.

Against the odds you got it.
(you hadn’t smoked in decades,
you hadn’t drunk in years,
you did eat healthy stuff.)

We watch the curtains wave, we wait
For daylight entering the room.
Nocturnal clouds move over
Like every ending of each night.

Personally (translation of Persoonlijk by my husband Toussaint)

My husband Toussaint is very ill now and he wrote the following:

“This posting might not remain here very long. Maybe I remove it tomorrow, or get up this night and remove these writings quickly.

A strange introduction? Certainly, hesitating so not to have to begin? Sure.
Acting interesting to capture readers? Certainly not, please move on browsing on the world-wide web. This is just a personal story, but it happens to be mine.

Why this long-winded introduction? Well because: this week I was told I am seriously ill. My stomach is being burdened with a rather rare form of cancer. With bad prognosis. I don’t want to go too much into details about the exact sort and diagnosis. Perhaps later, if I decide to keep on blogging. At any rates, my life has changed dramatically, as well as that of my family.

I am about to go into a period of goodbyes, limitations, getting worse and the end. I try not totally to let go of the little hope that is left (my limited medical knowledge and google don’t give me much hope). I do hope that some time will be given to me, to be active, as beloved one, father and grandfather. I am not ready by far to give that all up. The first hours of informing people, getting stuff at the physician’s, taking care of business, that has been done. Now it depends on whether or not I am able to live the live in the here and now. To not run for the future (if I could do that, I would probably have done so already) but also not to be petrified by fear for that same future.

This may sound brave and philosophical, but I wouldn’t know how to rephrase this as the emotional rollercoaster keeps going.
If I can give you some good advice: appreciate life and each other, it is gone before you know.

I now shall consult an old, sad friend. Symphony no 6 “Pathétique”by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Music which touches the essence of men to me. If you like to react to this, please do. I shall moderate everything, and might not publish everything.
For now, thank you for going with me in my story so far.”

For Toussaint, me and our family it will be a difficult time ahead.

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