If you’re eager to do something, do it, because what’s stopping you?
How did you find out you were sick?
I had been having bowel cramps for a long time, and also had a bleeding three years earlier. Those cramps stayed no matter what I ate. I tried so many diets, but nothing helped. After six months of watching my diet, my doctor suggested a gastroscopy, but nothing was found. A lot of time and several ultrasounds later, I did get an appointment for a colonoscopy, but here there was a four-month wait.
Meanwhile, I left on vacation with my boyfriend, but I was only able to enjoy it for two days. I visited the hotel doctor every day because I had heavy cramps and was throwing up all the time. Then, on the last day, that doctor sent me to the hospital because he couldn’t help me anymore. There they took a blood test and gave me nutrients through an infuse, I felt slightly better right away. But the blood results showed that I had very high liver values. They wanted to keep me in the hospital. But, after some discussion, I was allowed to fly home, once we landed I went to the hospital.
There it quickly went from bad to worse. I couldn’t keep anything down, I was bloated, I was on maximum painkillers, … After the weekend a doctor came by to have an ultrasound of my liver. Followed by “Miss, your intestines really don’t look good. Those are three times bigger than they should be. To which I said ‘Yes, that’s no surprise, because I don’t feel well at all either!’ After a few more scans and examinations, a whole team suddenly came into my room. One of the doctors sat by my bedside and took my hand. ‘It was corona, with little physical contact. So yeah, then you know something is wrong.’
Fortunately, I was then well taken care of by the psychosocial team, which I still get to call.
I had a 5-centimeter tumor in my colon. I had emergency surgery and a stoma that same day. But I had no problem with that. I was just happy that it was finally going to get resolved. Unfortunately, after a week my stoma was already inflamed and even almost detaching, which hurt a lot. Further examinations showed that there were already bad cells in my abdominal wall, so my stoma didn’t have much time to heal, because I had to start my chemo soon.
I received chemo every two weeks, which they systematically built up. I also underwent HIPEC surgery, which is a rare procedure where they run chemo through your intestines at 40 degrees. The procedure took at least ten hours. I was under anesthesia, and meanwhile they cooled my body down. They also removed my belly button, since that is an accumulation of everything and bad cells can grow there.
How are you doing now?
Gosh, I have mixed feelings. After the HiPec there was no cancer to see. But in February they had seen that there was a small ball at the level of my left fallopian tube, but that could be anything, even my ovulation for example. A month later I suddenly had a lot of pain in that spot, and it turned out to be a cyst after all. A blood vessel had burst around the cyst, I went to the hospital because I couldn’t stand the pain anymore. They transferred me to a university hospital, where I had an appointment the next day anyway because of my fertility, since my goal was to become a mom. It turned out that I actually had a metastasis on my ovary. I did what you should never do, as you know: I looked it up on the Internet and read that my life expectancy was only 12 to 14 months. I bursted into tears. Everything just started all over again. They removed my ovary, and I went back on chemo. The scan showed that the chemo had not helped, two small spots had grown on their own. Now on my now last scan, the dots had remained stable. So I am being followed up, with scans every 2 months.
How are you currently standing in life?
Pretty positive I think.
I always wanted a house of my own, so I bought one with my boyfriend.
Sometimes I have a hard time with my unfulfilled desire for children. Physically it’s still possible, but there’s a very good chance I won’t be around in a few years. Can you do that to your child knowing that? I decided with pain in my heart not to have children. People who want children but can’t have any, are much better supported in this. I often miss the right support.
Fortunately I do have a good safety net, including my parents, brother and boyfriend.
What do you need on a bad day?
On those days, all I want is to be left alone. (laughs)
No matter what well-intentioned words people offer during such times, they always seem to fall short.
How do you live in the moment?
Very well I think, ‘seize the day’ has come more into my life anyway. If I feel like doing something, I do it. If I like something, I buy it. Then I have had it anyway, that ‘something’ that has made me happy. Enjoying the great little things. And just do it!
How do you like to relax?
My preferred relaxation spot is my cozy couch at home, with some soft candle lights.
What message would you like to give to the world?
Just do what you (!) feel like doing.
And no matter how small, enjoy life. When I used to hear people say that, I always thought “yeah, blah blah blah. But now I know it’s really true.
And if you’re eager to do something, do it, because what’s stopping you?
Subscribe to receive the latest info about our brand