Sunday, June 24, 2018

#4 completed

Time to celebrate!

Today I had my closest friends in Switzerland over for a dual celebration:
  1. My chemo is completed
  2. I turned fifty

I had my 6th and hopefully last chemotherapy three weeks ago. I had promised myself to celebrate that BIG TIME. And what is better than having a glass of champagne with family and good friends?

The New Fifty

I turned fifty at the end of April. At that time, I was worn-down from chemo and was not in the mood for a bigger celebration. Now that chemo is behind me, it's time to rejoice and have a party!

The new fifty!

I haven't had a midlife crisis (yet...) and so far I do not mind being fifty at all. I definitely do not believe that fifty is the new thirty, or the new forty. It is the new fifty, and that is a great thing! I am old enough to have plenty of experience from work- and private life, and have gained wisdom from mistakes I have made. I am also young enough to make new mistakes and fulfill my dreams!

Monday, June 18, 2018

#18 completed

Beautiful Ligurian Coast

After an intense, positive and joyful week with my oldest daughter's graduation and visits from family and friends, I needed a break to recover. I was extremely happy to get an invitation from my sister to come and stay with her and her kids for a few days on the Ligurian Coast, close to Sanremo, Italy. After an additional doctor's check up, I got green light to travel.

Villa Nobel


All I knew about Sanremo was that it delivers all the flowers for the yearly Nobel Prize Award Ceremony and Banquet in Stockholm. It turned out to be a cozy town with a beautiful, medieval town centre, a small harbor and a nice beach. Sanremo is also know for its pleasant climate, which made it attractive for many writers, poets and scientists, at the end of the 19th century. Alfred Nobel was one of them and he spent his last years in Villa Nobel, where he died in 1896.  

Great cure

I am sure that the few days I spent in Italy reading and relaxing in the shadow with the great company of my sister, nieces and nephew, were a great cure for me. Of course, the excellent Italian cuisine with Spaghetti Vongole, Fried Calamari, Prosciotto and ice cream added to my wellbeing! Action 18 is now completed.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

#11 completed

A beautiful hike

One of my favorite hikes in Switzerland is the "Gratwanderung" in Stoos. The hike streches along a mountain ridge with steep slopes on each side and beautiful views of Vierwaldstättersee and the surrounding mountains. 
A clear, sunny day

Fog, fog and fog

Yesterday, I got the chance to do the hike together with some of my good friends. Unfortunately, the sky was not blue and clear, but foggy and cloudy, and the view was almost non existing. In the thick fog, we felt like we were the only persons in the world. We did not see a single human being along the hike, only a mountain goat, that fled when we approached. I was happy to be well enough to do this walk, even though it did require many stops on the way to rest and catch my breath. I am proud to say that action 11 is completed! However, I do hope to come back to enjoy the breathtaking view.
Top of the mountain

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Joyful things to look forward to


Today my Survival T-Shirt arrived! The delivery was a lot quicker than I anticipated.

However, there where not that many things I could attempt to start this week, as I am still weak after Monday's chemo. I try to rest and watch Netflix, to save energy for one of this year's biggest family events: my oldest daughter's high school graduation! The festivities start tonight with a boat party on lake Zürich with students, families and teachers. We look forward to tasty food, drinks and great music in a beautiful setting to celebrate their achievements. On Saturday, the official graduation ceremony will be held at a conference centre by the lake. I look very much forward to having family and friends from Sweden joining to celebrate with us. I expect this ceremony to be more formal and staged than a Swedish one, as my daughter and her fellow students need to rehearse, how to walk and stand, not only once but twice. It will definitely be an exciting and joyful weekend!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Important milestone

Chemo completed

Today I had my sixth and hopefully last chemotherapy. It feels great to have completed this phase of my cancer treatment! Chemo has been controlling and setting the pace for my life for the past four months, with one infusion of chemo drugs, then three weeks of recovery, before the next infusion and so on. I have not been allowed to travel and should only have limited contact with bigger crowds of people, to reduce the risk of infection. Infections could potentially be life threatening as chemotherapy drugs drastically reduce production of white blood cells which are vital for the body's infection defence. 
Last chemotherapy

Side effects

When most people hear about chemotherapy, they think about the nasty side effects. Chemo is definitely not a walk in the park, and I sincerely hope, I never ever will have to do it again. Luckily my body has coped relatively well. The first week after treatment has been rough with extreme tiredness and the feeling of having been ran over by a truck. Food and drinks have a bad taste of iron along with nausea. Fortunately, the medicines I take, have curbed the nausea quite well. During the second week, most of the side effects have gradually vanished and I slowly recovered. Followed by a relatively normal third week. Every chemo has been hitting my body harder and harder, thus making recovery increasingly difficult.


Milestones should always be celebrated and my motto "Tomorrow it may be too late. Live, think and act for today" followed. However, today's chemo makes it impossible to celebrate the way I want, hence saving the champagne for the weekend. By then I should feel better. Anyway, chemo is finally over and I am smiling. Cheers!
Celebration time!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Getting inspiration what to do when I survive

Positive inspiration

I am a cancer survivor! When realizing that fact, I needed positive inspiration. A lot of people talk about things to do before you die and making bucket lists. However, that did not resonate with me as I felt I needed something more positive. When looking for other ideas, I found Greig Trout's website. Greig is a two times cancer survivor and he found that having things to look forward to, and proactively working towards them, was imperative to him surviving cancer and the psychological effects that came with it. He created the list: 101 Things To Do When You Survive.

Greig's optimism and positive attitude inspired me and I decided to do something similar, hence My Survival List.

What is My Survival List?

My Survival List is my personal list of things I want to do, starting now and not putting it off to when I retire in 15-20 years. Right now I have 31 things on my list and I will keep adding things day by day.

I do not know what will happen tomorrow, in two years or in ten, but I know I will start doing the things on my list and making sure I am happy doing so.

If somebody else gets inspiration from my story and start doing things he/she likes, that would also be fantastic!

Saturday, June 2, 2018

#1 and #3 on My Survival List

A good start

#1 completed, Survival T-Shirt ordered

As I got inspired by Greig Trout's webpage, I wanted to order his survival T-Shirt. Today I did that, hence completing my first action on My Survival List. I look forward to wearing it and it feels good to support the charity Macmillan Cancer Support. It will take a week or two before I get it delivered. 

#3 started

I have always wanted to learn to play the saxophone. After having played the mandatory recorder flute as a kid, we got to select our next instrument to learn to play. Heedlessly, I did as all my friends and chose the piano, even though we did not have a piano at home. Of course my parents had no intention of buying a piano, as they realized that my piano interest was not really a serious one. Unfortunately, I did not dare standing out from the crowd and did not pursue my true interest for the saxophone. As it turned out, that was the end of my music life.

Last week I signed up for saxophone lessons at our local music school, and today I picked up my rented saxophone. Now I dare and it's time to learn to play!

My saxophone