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Saturday, February 23, 2013

My sisters fight with breast cancer.

This past Wednesday my sister Sietske had her last day of radiation therapy.For five weeks my sister had to go to Amsterdam every day to get her ten minutes radiation therapy. I wished I could have been there for her. But I live across the pond in Canada in Burlington and she lives in The Netherlands in Zandvoort. Two months ago my sister called me with this horrible news. I haven't really dwelled on what's actually happened to my sister's body as I type. We have no history of breast cancer in our family and my sister is eight years younger than me. So why was this happening? So as we waited for her biopsy results I was sure that they had it wrong.This is not happening in our family, she would be in the clear. And then there is this one phone call and it becomes part of our family. Your every day life.
My sister Sietske on the left, with our Aunt Anneke at a family reunion last year.

The past two months I have learned so much about breast cancer, than I have ever known in my entire life.I have been on that damn computer and it's confusing.She has to have the lump removed. It's all so surreal. Than we get the good news, it has not spread into her lymph nodes the lymph nodes under her armpit are clear. These lymph nodes help fight germs and are very important to cancer. This network collects fluid, debris and other things that are in the body's tissue, outside the bloodstream. But instead of carrying blood, these vessels carry clear water fluid called lymph.
My sister stood tall, of course there was fear and we both cried and were not afraid to show it.
While she was getting her daily radiation therapy I called her every second day. After a couple of days of radiation she became very tired. This is what they had predicted, so she was prepared. The five weeks of radiation are now over but the stress has caused her severe headaches. They advised her to see a therapist.Next week she will start , hopefully these massages will relieve her from these headaches.

Radiation therapy is a local treatment that only have an effect in the irradiated area.The radiation dose to the tumor is as high as possible. The surrounding healthy organs are spared as much as possible with the help of moving lead blocks in the header of the irradiation device.It meant for her that over a period of five weeks she had to have these treatments. Saturdays and Sundays were the only two days she did not receive these radiotherapy treatments. The five weeks are over, she still has to go for check ups, but we feel confident that she has won this fight. Luckily it was discovered while the tumor was still small. She was suppose to have a health check up for an operation on her knees. She would receive a new knee and her legs would be straightened.That's when they found out. How lucky she was. She will get her knee replacement next year. For now she will take it easy. So far it has been quite a journey.But she handled it very graceful.I am very proud of her and I love her very much. I will see her in May.  We are blessed and we celebrate her road to recovering.

Hope, Faith, Love, Courage and Strenght


  1. thea ik wens jou en Sietske heel veel sterkte.

    greet jongebloet.

    1. Thanks Greet. Ja het waren een paar angstige maanden. Sofar so good. Gelukkig waren ze er op tijd bij. groetjes van Thea en Ruud.