Live the life

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!


  1. Jan Burger

    Roos and Nico, I didn't know it was World Cancer Day today. (actually just a strange thing, as if you can / must celebrate!).
    But when you notice that you have cancer, your life does not stop. We have experienced it with you, Nico, from the start. There were indeed many explanations for all kinds of phenomena. But also your positive attitude and the way in which you stood and stand in life have taken you further up to 15 years, I think.
    Ger fortunately has the same kind of attitude. After four years she is even a little better than a few months ago. At the same time it is also confusing: what about? But we just continue with the things that are possible.
    There are a lot of nice people and places to enjoy around us (and sometimes a bit far away !!!), and you can get a lot of fun out of it. So that's what we do.
    You can't do much about the harsh reality of cancer in the body.

    With kind regards,

  2. Greetings from Jan Valckx.

    Hello Nico and Roos,
    Very good to think about this serious illness.
    We all know examples in our family and circle of friends.
    But life goes on and a thorough awareness of this is very important.
    Only when you have really been thrown back and forth through life can you really be moved!
    And that is precisely what your story tells and what we experienced during our vacation in the spring of 2018.
    Two people who are very moved, people who enjoy and let other people enjoy.
    Elly and I look forward to visiting Polmone again in April.
    Then we can have a nice stay and if the weather in April is just as beautiful as in April last year then it can't go wrong!
    On 3 April my mare Havanna is calculated and I hope for a beautiful and healthy foal again.
    If all that went well again, we will come and enjoy all the beauty that Polmone and its residents have to offer.

    • Jeetje Jan, what a nice response! Thank you so much! We are already looking forward to you. Really nice to see each other again.
      Lots of love for you and Elly

  3. Agnes Wesselius

    Hello Roos and Nico,

    Today I was in our "relief center" for cancer patients during the open day due to World Cancer Day. Heard a lot of woe and served cups of tea and coffee, recommended our activities and finally let the visit go home with a beautiful rose. I must tell you that I have met few people in the fifteen years that I have been active there who can look at it as much as you. How blessed are you with an innate positive look, humor and look at doors that have just opened thanks to all this. Disease as an opportunity ... in my opinion a very difficult "life assignment" that you carry out with verve. Chapeau!

    Dear greetings, Agnes

    • Dear Agnes, what a very nice response from you. And that you were just today in the reception center for cancer patients! We realize that we have been very lucky! And so it is not so positive for many other people.
      Lots of love from us!

  4. Mariette & Kees

    Very nice to read all of this and what a job you must have had to rebuild and build everything from the start! I am glad that you are doing well and hopefully you can enjoy each other for many years and the beautiful Polmone !!

  5. Anne Zijlstra

    Dear Rose and Nico.

    Thank you for this special look into your life. I can only admire all this optimism and joy of life and it pays off for 15 years!
    Dear greetings. Rens and Anne

  6. We have a great deal of respect for the positive way in which you deal with the situation. Did you also read about Leonardo Cenci, the last week,? He was a cancer patient who encouraged multitudes of people and was inspired by his combative attitude. He has established a foundation called Avanti tutta. He did not call his illness a drama, but an opportunity. A chance to fight the cancer with everything that was in him. Unfortunately, he eventually lost that battle, but instead of the 4 months the doctors gave him, lived another 7 years and even ran the New York marathon twice! All of Perugia walked out to his funeral service in the Duomo.
    You are also such an example for us and we hope that you can enjoy the day together for a very long time!
    Love from Jan and Mary-Ann

  7. How lucky to be able to tell this like this fifteen years later and good that you do that too!
    Wish you many years together at Polmone or wherever. Love❤️

  8. Tobias Op 't Hof

    Ha die Nico and Roos:

    What a wonderfully optimistic message.
    Of course I would like to continue reading your stories.
    I don't know if I have to fill in this form or if I am already on your list.
    Well, just to be sure, just one more time.


  9. Dear Roos and Nico, what a beautiful inspiring example are you! Life really live, you can do it and do it for!
    Big kiss for both of you.

  10. Maria Ankone

    It is always fun to read the Poletta's Gazetta: even the difficult moments. Even then we were there.
    Indeed, long live!

  11. Nice message, Roos and Nico!

  12. Dick van der Horst

    What a great choice to write this article and ... what a great article. You can still do it Rose. See you in a month.

    Dick (and Deisi)

  13. Beautiful story Roos & Nico! This summer Dylan and I are coming to experience life with you!

  14. Bram & Katinka

    Dear Rose and Nico,

    What a wonderful story with a message from you on World Cancer Day!
    You also convey the message that you give us all optimally.
    You really went for it, for your choice to stay at Polmone, but you still go for it!
    We know no better than that you Nico - wherever possible - are there, and then you can clearly see that you are there with full conviction and to experience more.
    You do not only convey to us, but to all guests that you live life and that it is so worth it! That is the power that you radiate, but also receive the power to enjoy life.
    And of course there are moments of excitement, hope and fear, but time and again the power and the will to live to keep turning it into something beautiful wins.
    Your hospitality is as strong as a house, where guests feel very much at home, but which is always a positive impulse for you.
    You have made something wonderful out of Polmone, you are admirable yourself.
    Dear Rose and Nico: medical science may indicate that the course of your health may be called Nico, a miracle and one thing is clear: the miracles are not over yet!
    See you in September!

  15. Anita van Andel

    Wow! I am speechless. What a fantastic piece. Magnificent. Just like you! XXX Anita

  16. Hi Nico & Roos,
    The Gazetta from Polmone, what a great initiative. I like to read her [wife]. Nice opportunity to get to know many more details of the history of Polmone.
    It is even nicer to know that after almost 16 years, Nico is still able to live life. Keep it up! In the meantime, I look forward to the next episodes of the Gazetta.
    Dear greetings,

  17. Dear Roos and Nico,
    What an impressive story! I can only imagine that you will begin to realize how wonderful the world is when life can no longer be taken for granted. Good that you have made us aware of that again!
    Kind regards from Jolan and Ad

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