February 4 World Cancer Day and what that means for us
December 5, 2003, we will never forget that date. The histology report of a cut-away bump in Nico's neck was not good. Two months later the diagnosis could be made, Chronic Lymphatic Leukemia. The treating hematologist thought that Nico would still have some years. After all, his longest living patient had reached the age of 9!
All the puzzle pieces fell into place for us. That is why he had so little energy in recent years. That is why he was sick so often. That is why he got inflammation one after the other.
A year of intense processing followed. We were busy with it every day. Could we still live on Polmone? Could we still continue with our rental activities? What are you all hanging over your head? Are you heading for an agony? What treatments should you do? Are you going to get very sick of that? What would you die of? What will your funeral look like? Literally up to and including the decision to make his own coffin. From that moment he stepped back into life and into the here and now.
We decided to stay at Polmone and continue with our rental activities. After a short period of treatments in the Netherlands, we also took the step to continue his treatments in Perugia. That turned out to be a very good choice because Perugia is the center for hematology in Europe. Very nice to be treated in Italy is that the doctors take all the time for you. And last but not least, that you get the best medication that is currently available. Our life went on.
Of course, Nico had to learn to cope with the limitations of his illness. Always feel that you are exhausted. Many physical complaints. No longer being able to do what you want. The realization that life is finite. But that makes us live by the day and try to enjoy the day. And for me it meant that besides having a man who is sick and often so tired that he can't even think anymore, running Polmone largely came down to me.
But his cancer has brought us so much good! The special support of our guests. The meeting with a physician who helped Nico get off the couch through diet and herbs. The intensive contacts with various of our guests. The true awareness of the blessings in your life. You do have a different view of the world and what is really important in life.
We are now 15 years further and now on World Cancer Day we have a message for everyone.
With cancer your life doesn't end. Look for what still makes life valuable. Live today because nobody knows if there will be a 'tomorrow' for you. And keep making plans. Life can have more in store for you than you ever thought.
Our choice for a life at Polmone is the best choice we have ever made. We live in the most beautiful place in the world. Living in the midst of nature is a celebration every day. You only hear the sound of birds, wild boar, deer and very occasionally in the distance a car or lumberjack who is working. We breathe in clean air. We eat organic vegetables from our vegetable garden. Life here in Italy is a lot slower than the hectic life in the Netherlands. We have been receiving the most fun and special guests here for almost 30 years. We have gained very special friendships. It gives us energy every day!