Sunday, December 30, 2018

New Blog address

I have switched to a new platform as of December 29th 2018. The new address is

I look forward to stay connected.

Happy New 2019!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

#39 completed

Christmas traditions

Most people find Christmas traditions important and want everything from food to decorations to remain the same year after year. Traditions give us a sense of belonging and a way to express what is important to us. They also connect us over generations and make each family unique and special. 

In my family, we have created a gingerbread baking tradition that since many years is deeply rooted in all four of us. I believe we all feel that there would be no real Christmas, unless we meet with our good friends and bake gingerbreads.

Gingerbread baking

It started already in 1995 when my husband and I, plus two other couples met over a weekend to bake gingerbreads, enjoy good food and wine, socialize and enjoy each others company.

At that time we were in our late twenties or early thirties, had just married and one couple had even had their first child. Over the years the number of participants have expanded from the original seven to somewhere between twelve and eighteen depending on how many kids that attend and if they come with or without their partners.

For the last couple of years we have met at one couple's home in Nävlinge in South Sweden, since that is a convenient location for everybody. It is amazing that we have managed to maintain our gingerbread baking tradition, with all the things that happen in people's lives such as births, moves, divorces and new partners. Last weekend we met for the 24th consecutive time!

24th time

My participation last year was limited as I was ill and slept through most of the weekend. Later it turned out that the cancer was the root cause, but at that time I just felt bad that I could not participate the way I wanted. Therefore, it became even more important for me to be able to join this year, and I definitely wanted to have our gingerbread baking on My Survival List.

Some of the bakers
As every year, the dough is homemade using a grandma's old, special recipe. When we bake, we make plenty of gingerbreads. This time we baked for 2.5 hours and filled 57 baking trays. We all like thin and crispy cookies and the bottle neck is always the rolling. If not thinly rolled the gingerbreads will be too thick and not as tasty. As many of us are engineers, we have obviously found a way to speed up the process by using a pasta machine to thinly roll a large quantity of the dough. Mass production is surely possible.

The baking is of course important, but it is indeed a social event with plenty of laughs, deep and interesting conversations, walks, tasty food and wine; everything enjoyed among close friends.

Action 39 is completed, and I really look forward to our 25th anniversary next year!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Life after cancer

One year ago

Next week, one year has passed since I got my cancer diagnosis, and my life took an unforeseen and totally unexpected turn.

At the very moment, when my oncologist explained all about my tumor, something changed forever, and ovarian cancer became part of my life. Well, to start with, it was not only part of my life, it directed and determined what had to be done in order for me to survive. Now one year later, after my treatments have been successful and I have reached, what every cancer patient dreams of, remission, I try to adjust to my life after cancer.

Stability and predictability

My cancer came out of the blue, without warning and without any symptoms, but a tenacious cough. I did not fit into any of the common risk groups that increase ovarian cancer probability, such as age, obesity, smoking or genetic predisposition.

According to my oncologist I was one of them who just had bad luck. I have tried not to dwell too much about my bad luck, as I believe it is pointless. It is what it is and I can only look forward and focus on making the best out of every day.

Given my unexpected diagnosis, I have longed for getting back the familiar feeling of stability, that there is some sense of predictability about my life. However, I have come to realize that it has forever changed, and the wish for a return to stability and predictability has just been wishful thinking. Cancer will be part of my life for many years to come, since I will have to do scans every third month and will be faced with the relapse fear over and over again. 

New Normal

When I was diagnosed, I was abruptly pulled away from a fully active and intense working life that took me all around the globe. All of a sudden, my every day life was spent in a much smaller world, mainly at home, dealing with a potentially deadly decease. At first it was extremely difficult to grasp that I was severely ill, as I felt and looked the same, as the day before I was diagnosed. After having had my surgery in January, it however became obvious how ill I really was. 

Right now I am trying to figure out how I want my life after cancer to be. Earlier, I took my health more or less for granted, but for sure I will need to give my health top priority moving forward. I am currently uncertain how I want to design, what my doctors and other cancer survivors call, the "New Normal" i.e. life after cancer. I do know I want to spend more time with family and friends and that I want to continue working my way through the activities on My Survival List. I am positive that I will find my New Normal, one way or another. I guess, the best approach is to take it step by step and make sure I first fully recover. With Christmas and New Year's celebrations coming up, I will for now focus on enjoying the holiday season with my family!

Saturday, December 8, 2018

#38 completed

Horses, horses and horses

Both my daughters are excellent horse back riders, however their skills definitely do not come from me. I am a lousy rider and somewhat scared of horses. My contribution is being an enthusiastic supporter and driver.

When we lived in Sweden, my daughters and I used to go to the International Horse Show in Stockholm every year. We enjoyed watching the best riders in the world compete in dressage and jumping and, of course, seeing the magnificent horses.

We have maintained the tradition also after moving to Switzerland, by going to the Zürich Horse Show. Due to my surgery in January, it was not possible for me to join my daughters this year. When I realized we could go to the show in Stockholm and get back to our old custom, I booked tickets and off we went!


At the event this year, I was most impressed by the dressage, where the world's top ten ranked dressage riders competed. We watched the Grand Prix kür, the riders' freestyle program with music.

The winner
It was fascinating to see the horses' movements choreographed to perfection with the music. Each rider had chosen a different type of music, with everything from rock to tango and classical music. The German world- and olympia champion Isabell Werth, with her horse Weihegold, was outstanding and won after an amazing ride. We also got to see the best ride ever done by a Swedish dressage rider, when Patrik Kittel and his horse Delaunay finished second.

Overall, a great day and I am happy to have completed action 38.