My family and I are in the middle of quite an intense season. Early 2022, I was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. Because the cancer was aggressive, we did not know what to expect, except that I needed major surgery and possibly more things after that. I had a complete hysterectomy in March 2022 followed by 27 sessions of radiotherapy and we hoped that that was that. Unfortunately, in the second half of 2022, we discovered that we were not done.
At that time, we were offered two options, take part in a clinical trial which offered the possibility of immunotherapy which isn’t standard treatment yet for ovarian cancer in the Netherlands, or go the traditional route which was chemotherapy and more chemotherapy. We opted for the clinical trial, got lotted in for six rounds of chemotherapy which seemed to have a hopeful result, except the results weren’t enough and my values just kept dipping so we had to keep postponing almost every other session. After six rounds, my oncologist looked at the results and decided to move me from the chemo arm of the trial into the immunotherapy arm of the trial.
In the midst of all these things, I somehow managed to send off two short stories–one for New Suns 2 (which I have been dreadful at promoting since chemo-brain is a real thing) and one for a Dutch anthology titled De Komeet. Hymne van de Overlevers is my first Dutch story ever and I am thankful for the patience of my editors and thankful to my awesome friend, Marielle who went through the final edits for me when brain fog meant I couldn’t even remember what my story looked like and couldn’t keep my characters names straight. (She thinks she did a minor thing, but trust me, it was major for me.)
My final round with chemotherapy was almost three months ago and I am waiting for immunotherapy to start. I have a tumor in my armpit which creeps me out a bit and we hope that with immunotherapy, this tumor will be brought under control. We don’t know if it will ever go away, but I am quite healthy (aside from this thing) and interestingly, the chronic hypertension for which I took daily meds to keep under control has been miraculously cured. I am no longer hypertensive. I just have cancer. A disease which I abhor utterly since I have lost a number of friends to this disease already. I hate cancer and I am sure God hates cancer more than I do.
In the meantime, my hair has started to grow out and thankfully the brian fog is less of a problem. I believe I can properly talk about my work again and recently, I have contemplated writing again. As usual, the question is: where do I start?
The fight against cancer is an ongoing one.
Where I’ll be at:
I have said yes to a number of things related to De Komeet. On May 29, I will be in Nijmegen doing a panel together with other authors at a convention called Novio Magica. It feels like forever since I’ve done anything related to science fiction and fantasy and I confess to feeling a bit shaky–it’s also been a while since I have been anywhere that isn’t hospital or church related, but I am looking forward to it. If you happen to be in the neighbourhood, do drop by and say hi.
How cool is it that they made a poster and my name is one of the names on it.
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