Monday, June 30, 2008

The Man with the Golden Grin

This morning my husband, Maarten, noticed that his hair was starting to come out, one of the unfortunate side effects of Chemotherapy. So he asked our Neighbor, Wim, to shave his head. Of course Maarten also filmed the event, shortly to be seen on, and I walked around taking photos of it, to be found on

It's been a few years since I've seen his hair this short, but I have to say it suits him. Even if I do have to fight the urge to tell him to 'Drop and give me twenty'.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lost and Found Again

When I was a second grader at Eader Elementary school in Huntington Beach, California, I had two best friends: Ena (pictured right, with afro) and Liz (on left in white, with wave bangs). We were in school together, girl scouts, we played barbies would ride to the beach after school and go boogie boarding. In the summers we kept ourselves occupied by riding around, going to the Edison community pool (to see who was brave enough to jump from the high dive) and scrounge around for change so we could get a Big Del burrito at Del Taco.

When we were in 8th grade, my parents had nerve to buy a house in Fountain Valley. It was only 5 miles from Huntington Beach (next town over), but for a 13 year old girl, it might as well have been siberia. Add to the fact that Liz and Ena would be attending Edison High School and I would be attending Fountain Valley High School (fierce football rivals), I'm sure only added to the drama. But we still kept in touch.

As we got older our paths took us in different directions. I went to to the University of the Pacific to play Field Hockey and get a Bachelors Degree from the School of International Studies. While visiting a friend in Amsterdam on my way to a study abroad semester in Spain, I met the love of my life, Maarten Lens( He added the FitzGerald when we married in 1999. After I graduated from UOP in 1994, I moved to Amsterdam to be with Maarten and get a Master's degree in International Business and Marketing, and never left.

Ena moved to New York to attend Pratt Institute and study Architecture. There she met and eventually married Shawn, a set designer. Coincidentally while I was in Madrid, Ena was studying in Rome and came to visit me. She is currently moving from New Jersey back to Huntington Beach with Shawn and their two beautiful children. Ena and I have stayed in close touch through the years. I never laugh more then when I am on the phone with Ena and we do the 'Remember when's'. Almost no one else can tell me to get a grip on myself better than her. She knows me better then most people (perhaps since we've been friends for 28 years).

Liz and I maintained sporadic contact after high school and after I moved to Amsterdam. The last time I saw her was about 6 years ago. In 2000 she spent a lot of time soul seached and decided to convert to Islam. At her mosque she met and married her husband, who is from Tunesia. When we last met she was pregnant with her first child (her daughter, who is now 6). She has since had another child (a son, who is 2). I have heard bits of her life here and there from Ena and Ena's mom, but I think almost every conversation I have with Ena always included Liz in one way or another because she is such an integral part of our childhood.

Last night I was checking my e-mail when I saw that Elizabeth wanted to become my friend on Facebook. Elizabeth who? The message was from Liz, my old friend! I contacted her immediately and as soon as I heard her voice it was like coming home. I think we just picked up where we left off. Incredible.

Both of the girls will be in Huntington Beach this summer visiting their families. I am hoping to go for a visit, but it all depends, of course, on how it goes with my husband's chemo. He finishes on September 8th with his last round.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Maarten's Journey Begins

It's strange to think that my husband is on this new path, separate from me. For the past 15 years we have done almost everything together. But this is a new path for him to take. I will follow him on it, carry him if I need to, but it's his path, not mine.

I also find it strange to be in the house without him. I know it's only for a few days but I find myself listening for the sound of him arriving home and locking up his bike, or outside chatting with the neighbors. That will happen again soon enough. As long as Theo is gone.

This morning I went to the hospital at 9.30 and brought him a ham and cheese Croissant, then sat with him until lunch time. Tonight Fran and OA are picking me up so we can go for a visit. I've made him some food. He's starting to feel a little naseous, but it makes me feel better to know he has some decent food.

Off to the hospital...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Theo the Tumor vs BEP the destroyer

Round 1

My husbands tumor is treatable. What a relief! I was able to expel a breathe this afternoon I didn't even realize I was holding in (although I'm sure my friends were aware of it, just nice enough to let me live in my favorite country of Egypt...floating down de nile...). God bless my friends (Fran and Iris have been particularly lovely), my family (my sister and mom are ready to jump on an 11 hour flight if I say the word) and my neighbors (ever present, always making sure we are well).
We will get a confirmation on the diagnoisis on Monday, and he will most likely go into the hospital at the end of next week for his first round of Chemo (BEP), which will mean a 6 day stay.

To keep his mood up while In there I've ordered an enlarged version of this photo for his hospital room.

Freddy always makes him smile.

Although his first question about the hospital visit was, 'Will I have internet access?'

Love my husband's ability to get down into it.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It will be a long tunnel, but at least I can see the light.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting...

NOT anticipating.

Just waiting.

Slightly Hesitating

More waiting

Both tired and slightly fading,

From all the waiting

Love from friends is certaining aiding

Then we will all be (hopefully) CELEBRATING

Tomorrow we will hear if there is more waiting...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Biopsy over, Now the Waiting begins

Biopsy on Monday went well (as can be expected) Now we are waiting until this evening for the results and next steps.

We have had such an outpouring of love and positivity from family and friends that it is at time overwhelming, yet comforting to be wrapped in it.

Last night we had a few friends and family members over for a BBQ. It was a lovely evening and Maarten relaxed and enjoyed himself.
Tonight around 20.00 cet we should know which way the wind will be blowing.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Blowing Bubbles in Italy

Just got back from a weekend in italy to attend a friend (one of the best)'s wedding. Jeanine and Luca married at a beautiful location in Mombaruzzo Italy. The sun was shinning, the prosecco was plentiful and we blew bubbles

The wedding was lovely and the trip accoplished what we needed most at the time; distraction. Honestly if we had written a description of our ideal weekend PT (pre-tumor) it would have been this past weekend: Beautiful location (Italy) Lovely Hotel (La Villa Hotel), Great Food and wine (Italy!) Wonderful Friends and...wait for Outlet Mall! Yes! We had everything. Lens was happy to buy his Prada sandals and I was happy with my Onstuka Tigers.

The bride was gorgeous as was the groom equally so. What a lovely couple.

Anyway, we are off to get a biopsy

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Everything changes in a second

My beloved husband went to the doctor yesterday morning because he had a cough that wouldn't go away and was having trouble breathing. After being sent to the hospital for an X-Ray, CT Scan and bloodwork, turns out he has a tumor the size of two fists sitting between his lungs on top of his heart.

Monday he will get a biopsy to see if this is a bad tumor or a good tumor. As good as a tumor can be, lets hope for the latter.

Yesterday morning we woke up looking forward to our trip to Italy this weekend for a close friends wedding. This morning (didn't really sleep much) all we can think about is 'The Thing'(as my husband has baptised it) in his chest.

We don't know anything yet, just that it's there.