Sunday, September 23, 2007

Something fun

Every now and then I will place a link to an artist's website which I think is good. As I find them. Agnes Rosse is an artist from France whom I met in Casablanca together with her poet husband Pierre.
Travel forms a central part of her practise.

I particularly like Agnes's site, beside the playful, light work, for the clarity with which she presents it. This is good reading for anyone wanting to practise their French! Or communicating in a clear fashion about art. She invites crabs for artist's residencies, and her rich, full-colour transnational matchbook project is alluring in all its absurdity. The videos are good (if at times mildly disturbing) and her t-shirts support her in her travelling work!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

just a week

A bit of sunshine this week, ending in drizzle.

I wizzed through the Olafur Eliasson
exhibition at the SFMOMA, as you had tipped me, S2.

I bought a medium duty three-hole puncher and carefully put it on top of the piles of paper in the study, ready for use.

After a month, the "chemo jokes" have started flying. We must be wary of shocking our guests.

I had dinner with 15 Dutch ladies living in SF. They complained about the bill, loudly, which was reassuring.

I went for Friday night drinks, but found I had nothing to say, except maybe when eyelashes start falling out. This does not make for two- way conversation; the bar has lost it's appeal.

I learned that there are men who have their t-shirts taken in by their local seamstress to get that sculpted look. Others just have their shirtsleeves shortened.

My three chemo turbans arrived in the post and were approved by my son. He said I looked like an Egyptian princess in one of them and was given permission to wear them.

Jip has been told he is the star student of his class next week, which means he will be allowed to hand out papers for the teacher all week. He is so proud, you would think he might burst.

Rosie has (nearly) learned how to slide down the stairs head first.

love, s1

Friday, September 21, 2007

Insects and sunsets

Dear sisters,

Singing lesson again today! This time I was told to look for insects in my voice!
Here, let us pay homage to the uncertain fate of the cricket behind sister uno’s fridge.

It is a Californian cricket. If you go to "previous species" on that site you will find their songs to be quite varied. The beauty being in the exciting, variegated patterns.. Best to let it play once as it loads; the rhythm will be irregular because it is loading. Then let it cycle. Such soothing sounds! If the cricket’s silence gets too much for you, you could record this and place it in a loop, and have it as a soundtrack….

After my lesson I went for a walk by the sea.

And, yes, I had poffertjes by the sea. With sunset. What you see is the sunset, and the sunset as it was shining through and reflecting off the poffertjes café window.

I send all this light to you both and your many and varied affective extensions.

Love from Sister 2

farming, heebeejeebee blues and rainbow dancing

Greetingz all you lovely earthlingz ! Whilst sister two eats poffertjes at the dutch coast , sister three is preparing for a twelve hour bus trip to the eastern lands.
I am keeping it short , just wanting to end this inspiring two month stay in the western country called Belgium in good spirit, so here is a little film , the sort of thing you would enjoy to watch on a twelve hour bus drive for example, but i think within it are hidden some golden tricks for us all, wherever we are in this world.The message is music is good for us and so is farming!
And now for some sister bonding , here's a little tune for our possible future performing trio

And just to round it all off here is an experimental film from 1936 called the

raibow dance

I hope you enjoy !
Love Sistar 3

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


"Bald" is just another excuse for a fashion moment.


8 days, 3 hours and twenty minutes: cricket behind the fridge is silent. We fear the worst, but sleep once more.



The photo of this woman was on the front page of the New York Times last week. Her name is Mrs Sesay and she is suffering pain from breast cancer.

Quote (NYT September 10,2007: Donald G.McNeil Jr.):

"She had breast cancer in a form that Western doctors rarely see anymore - the tumor had burst through her skin, looking like a putrid head of cauliflower weeping small amounts of blood at its edges.

(...) she is destined to die in pain. She cannot get the drug she needs - one that is cheap, effective, perfectly legal for medical uses under treaties signed by virtually every country, made in large quantities and has been around since Hippocrates praised its source, the opium poppy. She cannot get morphine.

That is not merely because of her poverty, or that of Sierra Leone. Narcotics incite fear: doctors fear addicting patients and law enforcement officials fear drug crime. (...)"

Monday, September 17, 2007

My life as an Allegory

Dear Sisters,

No sooner said than done; enter my life as an allegory!
Last weekend I was beckoned to Paris, and this weekend Glasgow called me with a very special mission. Although the former was a folly the latter was a necessity as coined by my friend D. who is living there and needed a hand. Two hands to be precise. My hands. I had modelled for her when I was her assistant for a while in Brooklyn. It was then that she taught me how to do gold leaf and how to apply encaustic to a painting. She also taught me some good Brooklyn gangster slang like “swim with the fishes” (you don’t want to do that). We’d talk about things like that and about feminism. Positive stuff. She gave me a free place to live for some months. You don't forget that kind of generosity. Ever.

Her hutzpah makes me laugh out loud, you just don’t want to mess with D. We smoke cigars. It was my face she wanted then and I soon became her reincarnation of a Giotto painting. Very demure and serene. Underneath she had asked me to paint the word INDETERMINACY in black, roman capital letters.

This time, the hands. And this necessity for her was worth a plane ticket for me. I mean, what’s a girl to do? Stay at home?

The fact that we spent a lot of the weekend catching up and laughing and some of it walking over hills and getting bathed in oxygen, breathtaking views

and sunlight and sampling delicious meals are just added perks that go with the job!

for the lovers of drystone walling...

Do I think I am a lucky bunny? Do birds have wings? In fact I think the hands were a good pretext for her to be really generous. Although it is good they are attached to my body so the rest of me could also come.

In case any of us ever forgets, painting can be quite difficult.

“Oh no! That looks too much like Van Gogh…I don’t want it to look like that….”
Exit room.
Have a cigar.
Re-enter: “there, that’s better”.
“It’s not quite how I want it”.
Two hours later: “um; I’m going to stop otherwise I am going to spoil it.”
This goes on in cycles for some time. This is what painting is. We raked up that Beckett quote that so aptly fits painting: “try. Fail. Try again. Fail better. “

And here I was not in the driver seat! I just had to sit there, like the last time, as if 8 years hadn’t passed, fitting back into that slot in other-time: where I become the body that is to be depicted, and it all feels right, like it is appointed and the canvas has been waiting. Each time we resit I struggle to get the position right and allow D. to place my fingers as they had been. Outside I spy a magpie watching us. It starts to rain, and the bird wisely finds shelter under some foliage in the swinging tree. I see a spot of dark blue feathers watching me. It is amazing how creaky your fingers get from doing nothing, just holding the same position, with the cloth they are holding with the suggestive crease down the middle.

The hands alive in stark contrast to the rest of the deliberately stylised painting. Still, Giotto is the basis, and Platonism and empiricism and all this stuff I want to study. By the end of the two days there were beautiful hands there. Not finished, but certainly there. Not a bit like Van Gogh, every bit like D. Fine and clear. Painting is your identity. You put it out there again and again.

And the painting, with its various, disparate elements, suddenly came together. Like a rug tying a room together. Kind of like the way it has taken me at least seven years to even start to understand the language of this extraordinary friend, painter, philosopher, devoted mother, teacher, human being sitting opposite me.

Kisses from S2

Sunday, September 16, 2007

is our mother really an eco warrior viking ?

Yes sisters , you most probably have heard our mother brag about how she is an eco warrior viking.
but how much of this do we actually have evidence ? Yes it is true she enjoys gardening and is even into composting now and has rather a larger than tiny nose but im afraid to say that she sometimes forgets to turn the lights off and i have never seen or found any viking hats lying around the house. I have just put her to the test and asked her a daring question " can you tell me why you are an EWV exactly? " "Because im strong and healthy", was her reply. Hmm, interesting.
I do not wish to make you doubt sisters , im just looking for truth , love and peace
but i have here real evidence of our mother in her younger days acting as an APACHE warrior ! And who is that handsome dashing young man with the moustache ? Is this proof our father might have hidden the fact that he was once a moustache warrior ?!!
I know this is a lot to take in at once sisters but i believe it is for the best that the truth is now out in the open for once and for all. Ok good luck and strength to us all ! By the way , i believe our mother is the third blond one who appears from the left. Here it is , i wait no longer, here are our
apache parents' hidden secret past , courage !
love S3

Saturday, September 15, 2007

a little czech gott

You might not remember but i had mentioned in a previous post that i would share some images of a little czech god named Karel Gott

well here he is in real live black and white action
hope you like him as much as i do !
Lots of love
sistar 3

Talking of butterflies...

Hello dear sistars,

I am sad to hear that you will have to go through all of that treatment
but i think in the long run it wil be for the best. Lastnight i couldnt get to sleep for ages and i had a funny tummy full of worry , so i decided to write down all my little fears in my diary and somehow i felt a bit lighter and more peaceful after having written them down and then i fell asleep and had a dream wherin i saw a triple rainbow ! It was really colourful and very intense and i think those rainbows were us sisters sticking together through the rainy times. And then there were two more other rainbows that appeared in the sky ! It was a very nice dream and i think it means everything is going to be fine ! Yes and now sistar one here is a song dedicated to you of our favourite singer at the moment. The cd was bought by sister two in Prague when she came to visit me and if you do not already have it, please let me know and i will send it to you in a special package by post from Prague.
Some sweet musika for you !
Lots of butterfly hugs and
Love from sistar three

Friday, September 14, 2007

Introducing...the BUTTERFLY HUG

Dear Sisters,
I have been meaning to tell you about this for some time. It helps trauma victims to recover remarkably fast, and if you're feeling down, it also helps. Don't ask me how. But it does! It has something to do with connecting both sides of the brain.

Here's how you do it: when feeling distress, or down, or anything, cross your arms so your hands are touching the tops of the opposite arm. Close your eyes, think of something nice, like a safe place: somewhere you feel really good, like floating on the ocean, or sitting under a tree in Normandy listening to the wind talking through the leaves. As you visualise this happy, comfortable place, which in your mind you can walk around, and make really three dimensional, alternately squeeze one arm, then the other. Keep this going for a while and soon you'll feel a great sense of ease coming over you. It helps getting thoughts unstuck. It helps redressing balance and it gets you through difficulties.
It helped 80% of child war victims in Bosnia. It will help you keep in a good mood. We love you that way. By the way this is for both of you. It works with me.
love from sister two

ps: this is what they do with EMDR therapy. I have yet to find a clear description of it on the web. But it is very, very effective.

pps: if this fails, I'd recommend some more gregorius.

thinking of you in Scotland

greetings from a hill in scotland.
greetings from various hills in scotland, and the glorious light and the feeling we had in the fairy woods covered in moss and sunlight. beautiful view. asking ourselves how did we get here? feeling lonely at the beginning and open at the end of the walk. black cows and luscious green grass, a tenderness we tasted in our dinner.
people spend 1500 euros rent on a one bedroom appartment in the countryside. how do people do it.
greetings from a pub in scotland, we had a beautiful meal.
the staff laughed at our jokes.
greetings from the edge of the mc ewan's beerglass.
greetings from the redbrick, or more like, orange brick houses here. sandstone. beautiful tiles in the hallway.
greetings from the airport with the twenty men in kilts.
with feathers in their hair and breath smelling of beer.
football fans. sister one we are rooting for you.
love from sister two

Geen zin, geen zin? Dan maak je maar zin!

So, my cancer cells are of the agressive kind, that behave badly. This basically means the full treatment for me, I heard this week.

Four months of chemotherapy, one year of herceptin, 6 weeks of radiation, 5 x a week and if I am a candidate, 5 years of hormone treatment.

The fact that I really will be a patient for the coming year is sinking in. The idea is exhausting.

The good news is that, if I do all that, the chance of the cancer popping up somewhere else in my body within the next five years will be less than 10%, which is a good statistic.

I have heard the treatment is do-able. Especially if you have been pregnant. It's just like the first three months of pregnancy for seven months. That's alright then. I was at my best in the first three months.

But at this very moment, I just feel that I do not want to do this. Like a child being dragged to the dentist. If I smoked, I would smoke a few more now. Drinking is an option, but doesn't have the required effect, if you don't finish your glass. Spending money is obviously another way I often use to express myself. I find myself dangerously surfing the web, looking at shopping sites and briefly thinking I do need those green leather booties, designed by a designer, to make me feel better. So far, I have contained myself and restricted my purchases to three "comfortable turbans in fashionable colours", designed for chemotherapy patients.

UPDATE: I do not need to take the herceptin after all, as my cells are not receptive to that treatment. So, after chemo, it's radiation and then hormone treatment.

Love S1

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


My visual input this month came from the revamped version of Fritz Lang's 1927 Metropolis.
I saw it in the Castro theatre, which is a little older than the film. I went with our father, who has a similar fondness for sitting through strange old movies in old movie theatres, not shared by many. I made the most of an opportunity. No, it is not a film I would reccomend on dvd, but it is indeed fantastic, when you get into it. Great costumes for future reference.


Wherein sister 2 goes to Paris and finds a charango teacher

Dear sisters,

I went to Paris. The idea was irrational. I get like that sometimes. I ended up (re)discovering an art student card gets you into all art museums for free! You don’t even have to queue or pay for the special exhibitions. I discovered this after the queue, of course. I went to Muséee d’Orsay for the first time in my life, for I had some gaps to fill. One of the aimed at gaps still remains.

Courbet’s L’atelier du peintre was packed off ready for the whopper show coming in October. (I’ll have to be irrational again) As Mieke Bal pointed out to us, the thing with the artist's studio is that one might wonder if the painter is ignoring the woman (an allegory of painting, after all). Careful inspection should reveal though, that he is poking his brush in the bushes. Anyone in doubt only has to look at the painting next to it (which thankfully, was present) La Source. Femininity in all its bliss.

I am still wondering how I am going to handle being both allegory and painter and the same time! I am sure I can count on you to bring me back down to earth sistars!

Last year something similar timingwise happened when I headed for Versailles, especially to see the hall of mirrors and it was half covered for restoration. But as always there I was stupéfaite by things I never dreamed would reach me.

One thing I am noticing these days, now that I have a different approach to seeing (something to do with a liberating detachment from a reverence for Art History which happened to me not so long ago) is that so many museums are full of junk. This serves a purpose, for it is a ground against which the masterpieces really do jump out. Kind of like the cruel pro-Antwerp installation some years ago, of two contemporary floral paintings, in the Museum of Fine Arts: there they were, side by side, a minor Italian imitation flat thing alongside an absolute bijou of a devotional flower piece by Daniël Seghers painted with such delicacy you could almost feel the translucent petals against your skin and yet they were so completely paint: a poem. Seghers upstaged the I-talian hands-down, one would think the curators would have shown a little more discretion, but no. This was the definition of a curatorial gloat.

So there was one flat landscape after another, boring me to tears and then suddenly Eugène Delacroix’s painting almost jumps off the walls at me. I would even go so far as to say that the other stuff doesn’t even qualify as painting: I seem to have wiped it clear from my memory. Camillle Corot also rocked me, no less so because it had something of the gesture/tones used by Geraldine Gliubislavich, a painter whose work I recently had the honour of hanging beside (I mean, my painting did). Kind of like the burnt sienna lines loosely depicting the landscape were reaching out at me. You know these lines they have a life all of their own. Eye, eye! I shout! I love it when painting goes 3D. Painting is a peculiar, solitary activity, so it is nice when painters reach out to each other in solidarity across time.

One of Geraldine's pieces.

My charango elicited inquisitive looks from the security guards. I had fun trying to explain to the nice-Asian-coat-check-boy-with-beautiful-voice what an armadillo is. I made a drawing in the end. Carrying a charango around wins you lots of friends; even when you can’t play it yet. I caught a whiff of perfume on the street and got a sample sprayed on me in the perfume shop. It was a scent made with orange and ginger. I know blogs don’t have a scratch and sniff function yet, so do please imagine, or believe: I smelt delightful.

The afternoon brought a really nice encounter with Geraldine, who lives in Paris. She took me to Georges the brasserie on the roof of Beaubourg (Pompidou)…which has an amazing view and snooty service, Paris style, which melted into kindness towards the end of our visit, kind of at the same time as the view became rainy. Then we went to Younès Rahmoun’s opening. Then a visit to La Cité des Arts, an artist’s residency place full of artists. We did a singing session, with my hostess Bérénice (you recall of the hammam) stellar in her performance of a Breton folk tune. She had no idea what the words meant but the spirit was all there. She sounded like a singing light house. At her house we met her roommate who is the sweetest girl who does make-up at the Folies Bergères. I listened to them papoter about their lives, feeling like I was having a peep into their existence in a big and burly city, and soon fell asleep. Next day I accompanied B. to her work at Synesthesie in Saint-Denis. The suburbs, she warned me. Younès’ piece was amazing. He rebuilt the space under the stairs at his parents’ house, which he had arranged to work in. This construction responds to the movements of the person sitting inside. As the person calms down, lights outside start glowing. 99 green ones. He is a remarkable artist whom I shall be happy to follow. The colour green for him stands for paradise and he believes you can find it in yourself wherever you are.

My day ended back at the cité where Younès and Khalid made an amazing wholegrain bulgour couscous with meat and vegetables, which was like paradise: soul food for the journey ahead. My wish of finding a charango teacher was granted in the bus when Alfie from Colombia whom I had also met on the way there called around all her friends and got a hold of Raoul. I had my very first lesson the very next day.
And the day after Raoul invited me to his church, where I learnt lots of Spanish. Church was preceeded by breakfast and their son informed me that there are only 9 ice-cream parlours on the Meir, the main shopping street, while there are over 120 clothing stores. He found this fact remarkable if not a great injustice. He said: “you know, Belgium is tiny on the world map but there are lots of things in it”. Their daughter explained to me their whole family tree and the exact location of every member. It is funny how, when I spoke of “here”, she thought I meant their street; elsewhere in Antwerp or Belgium was “there”. And their great mum Rocio explained to me her beautiful name means DEW.

The church was fine, as churches go, and the reverend or whatever you call the person at the front of the room made a good job of entertaining whilst passing on his message. I got a little uneasy when the group prayer on one of the members began, and felt like running out of the room (it just all went science fiction on me) but I could see they meant well. I politely declined to be converted but I tell you I have been thinking in Spanish all the next day. Must be a cheap way of learning a language! Although how much phrases such as “speaking in tongues” and “interpreting the mystery” come in handy on a daily basis, is not entirely clear to me. Hey, in my life, anything is possible! They were kind people, although I felt a slight sense of accusation in the question; “Are you a Christian????” from the vicar or priest’s wife, and forgot to answer what I had written on my imagined Casablanca t-shirt, cos I felt so sorry about disappointing her; but being there in that modest space that looked like it was housed in a garage from the street I felt an agreeable shift in my sense of place. This is Antwerp after all, right? A cosmopolitan city!! After the church R. and his children trooped back to their house for a party and invited me to join in, and like an idiot I went home. For all I know I could have been singing happy birthday to new friends. Instead a quiet afternoon in the peaceful, sunny solitude of my own home which was also quite nice and necessary after the exertions of being in Gay Paree. Probably nowhere near as fun.
Missing you! Great thing indeed about the operation, keep up the valiant spirit!
Love from sista 2

Monday, September 10, 2007

Wherein A. is hypnotised, we realize we are sinners, I see more doctors in the weekend, a cricket, and at request, a bit of San Francisco

Dear sisters,

Just to let you know.

A. has stopped smoking.

For this stopping occasion, Allard decided to hire the services of a hypnotherapist, as you do in California. The event took place on Saturday. Franc, the hypnotherapist first took A's money and proceded to tell him that he should realize the world is not round, but in fact flat. Or in smoking terms: "smoking is not addictive, it's the sugar they spray on the tobacco, you just need to eat a few grapes to keep your sugarlevel up and break your habit, which I will do with hypnosis, which, by the way, will really only work if you believe it will". A. could do that. Anyway, one and a half hours later, A stepped out of the office a non-smoker, with a card to prove it, his subconcious having been spoken to. Red is now an important colour to Allard. Whenever he sees the colour red, he slips into his happy place and forgets all about ever wanting a cigarette. (Expect maybe on leaving the office of Franc). It has been three days and he is doing well. No side effects (all those sugary grapes, you see). Perhaps just a little more snappy than usual, but not anything an ousider would notice. Whatever it takes, really.

Allard went to 'Back to School" night at Jip's school. The parents were introduced to 'Father' who ranted and raved about "the sinners" who do not attend mass on Sunday. He had spotted them lingering at Starbucks. We must lie low. Jip is actually loving school. Rituals and regiment do him well, it seems. We wouldn't want him to get into Fathers bad books on our part.

On the medical front, I got another wonderful opportunity to perfect my waiting skills. On advice of my doctor -we needed to be sure a nagging pain in my leg was not a bloodclot - I went to the emergency ward -it being Saturday - for an ultra sound. A visit to an emergency ward never takes less than five hours and this was no exception, and all this with NO CELL PHONE RECEPTION. A low point of my medical week. Especially when they tried, with difficulty, to find a spot on my arm to stick yet another needle into. I came in with the broken bones and left with the gangly teenage girls, throwing up in the waiting room after having eaten "a quarter of a cookie" Luckily no blood clot on my part. On Monday, I waited again, this time with my chauffeur, our father, to have blood drawn at the Cancer center. We played "spot the wig" to pass the time. Otherwise, slowly but surely recovering from surgery.

We have a cricket living behind the fridge. The cricket escaped a certain death by jumping out of Lizardy's cage. He sits behind the fridge, celebrating his freedom by chirping as loudly as he possibly can. It keeps us awake at night. This has been going on for three nights now. How long do crickets live?

Finally, for those who requested more of the city of San Francisco, here is a snapshot of our mother overlooking it, on one of the parents' brief sightseeing opportunities.

Love S1


Dear family
I do not wish to be a troublemaker but i felt a strong urge to drag this poor old cow out of the pond and bring this bit of past to the surface. I think that your husband , sister one , has some serious explaining to do to you and all of us. Well on seconds thoughts maybe it is better if he doesnt explain at all. We are an open minded family and i think we can all let it be. Brother in law , just one word of advise, please get some singing lessons ! Here is the evidence inaction
ok, bye bye !
Love S3

Sunday, September 9, 2007

just an ordinary sunday

"Are you the magician ? " was the first question asked to me this sunday morning at the train station Jemelle somewhere in the south of Belgium.
"No , im the puppeteer,almost the same thing , well i wish i was the magician ! " i answered to the blue glasses blonde girl who turned out to be my taxi driver. I was then wooshed off through lots of luscious green scenery ( yes that means it has been generous in the rain department this season )
wooshed off to a small village festival celebrating twenty years of childrens events or something like that , i didnt quite get what it was but i was there to do three paid puppetshows in a green army tent , so i didnt really ask any more questions , i just did my job. A nice little spot with a clean stream flowing past and trees bathed in coloured confetti ,children playing wooden games , a life size minifootball match where kids were attached to bars like a real table football layout and had to kick this ball but could only move sideways ( yes its hard to explain but is worth mentioning )
and then there were these giant dwarfs with blue outfits and red polka dotted scarfs walking on stripy yellow red stilts ( no i was not high on morfine but had been offered a glass of red wine by the organizers)
sausages being cooked on a giant metal (medieval) disc , a storyteller who i shared the army tent with for the performances who eats flowers as a hobby and told a beautiful african story about the baobab tree and a rabbit, it was about opening ones heart to one another.
And then there were more children climbing up a wall with ropes , a make up stand and hompa bompa musicians playing waltses with tubas covered in travelled stickers, the drunk trumpet player dancing with a funny fat lady
but best of all was the village accordeon group called " les accords du son " written in big gold letters on the white drumset. The drummer had a haircut from i dont know which era or planet but it was quite marking.
And then there was the magician who i had been mistaken for before , a nice man with grey jacket, glasses and only nine fingers ! no really ! he transformed two living turtle doves into a living rabbit before my eyes!
A drum made of horses skin, children walking on an almost invisible line two metres above and about ten metres across the river, a little parrot of ones of the villagers standing at the bar.
Yes , you could say there was a general laid back feeling about this place and day. I didnt really know where i had landed but enjoyed it quite.The puppetshows went well, children laughed at the right moments and applauded ( always a good sign) one child burped really loudly during the show but i blended it into the story as if it was all meant to be.Now im back in Brussels , have made myself some haute cuisine leftover pasta with pesto and have just watched "Bend it like Beckham" a really good feel good english indian film, i reccommend. And now for something completely different , no high tech stuff involved , just 1000 hands
Enjoy! Glad to hear operation went well, keep up the good work!
love S3

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Look, I can post one handedly!

Dear sisters,

THE THING IS OUT! Cut clean. I have donated my tumor to the tumor bank. Any takers?

With hindsight it wasn't so bad. A day of not eating, waiting and being asked many question by many people, many of which were the same. When did I last eat, How much do I weigh?, Am I allergic to anything? Have I had surgery before? What is my name? Date of birth? Am I in here for a partial mastectomy of the left breast, disssection of the sentinel lymph nodes and possible dissection of the axillery lymph nodes?

So much for my i-phone, fully loaded with music, films and audiobooks. I couldn't concentrate much.

I can highly reccomend the "something to relax you" they give before going to the operation room and also the painkiller they give you at the slightest hint of pain after waking up. It doesn't just kill pain, it sends you flying high as a kite. I had my own little Burning Man on the fourth floor of the east wing, with my man-made morphine, Coco Rosie on my i-phone and my new accoustic noise cancelling head phones by Bose.

The feeling of elation was defintely helped by the news that the lymph nodes were clean. Yeah. No, cancer cells to be found under the arm.

I crashed at about 5 in the morning, after a night of slipping in and out of a weird and wonderful sleep, when a headache came rushing in, followed by dizzyness and nausea from the anaesthesia. It was good while it lasted.

Now back home, walking around with a cushion under my arm, inbetween taking frequent naps and eating organic foods. Next week I hear what the next step will be. First step taken.

How are you, sisters?

Love S1

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Saturday, September 1, 2007

The elders have arrived and I waited some more this week.

Dear sisters,

Yes, the parents have arrived. They came in giggling about a little incident on the plane, in which a young man dared to refer to them as 'THE ELDERLY', as in: " I always like to help THE ELDERLY", after lending the parents his headphones. And it hasn't stopped since then. Each program is assessed to see if it is suitable for geriatrics. It is getting rather boring.

In reality, they have settled into their basement suite quite nicely, my fridge is now stocked up with organic foods and I have not been allowed in the kitchen much, which in the meantime has also been rearranged. And yes, dear sisters, mother brought her own pinny! We have been eating lots of dishes with beans, vegetables and a wonder spice called turmeric, which aside from their cancer fighting properties, have, I am sorry to say, less pleasurable side effects, resulting in involuntary movements within the body. You can't find a quiet corner in the house.

Jip has been introduced to the art of knitting and is in rugby training. Both grandparents have personally demonstrated the somersault, which I am not sure was wise, but Jip and Rosie are practising hard to get up to their level.

Grandparents and grandchildren left this morning for two nights away. This means TWO NIGHTs alone in our own home! The idea of this luxury confused us so much, that Allard and I resorted to the one thing we can fall back on when in doubt: retail therapy. And yes, they look pretty cool.

You could nearly forget there is that other litttle matter. That little matter is being surgically removed on Tuesday, I am glad to say. We are getting started.

I also volunteered to participate in a study program which involves three MRI scans over the course of my treatment. I had the first one last week. I had forgotten how claustrophobic I am. You glide into a very narrow tube, head and all. I kept my eyes tight shut, but my arms touched the side, so I was, at all times, fully aware I had nowhere to go. My breathing inmediately became faster; my chest was going up and down like mad. The whole idea is to lie absolutely still as the machine is so sensitive, so I hope my 45 minutes of torture were not for nothing and they managed to get some usable pictures. It did get better after a while. When you are inside you hear drumming sounds at different intervals. I tried to imagine I was in the desert at Burning Man, WHERE WE SHOULD HAVE BEEN THIS WEEKEND, and there was someone drumming in the background. I will have to practice. I kept being jolted back to the very narrow tube, being absloutely unable to move, with my boobs hanging down through two openings in the bed. I am probably dreading the next time more than my surgery on Tuesday.

All in the name of science.

Love S1