Three hundred and sixty five days since Valentine’s day 2021. My husband gave me flowers and a book. I cooked him dinner. He is the cook not because I don’t cook, but because he loves to

Two hundred and ninety five days of having no clue of what was to come. Of thinking I could live to a 100 years old.

Seventy days since being diagnosed with stage 4 (palliative) Uterine Leiomyosarcoma with lung metastases. Since my self imposed lockdown. Since living with Cancer in times of Corona

Thirty five days since the removal of the primary tumor and a full hystorectomy (still palliative). Of avoiding anything with lots of people, having one visitor at a time who has been tested within at least 2m distance, no hugging until I can’t help myself. Which is torture because I love hugging.

Like my husband keeps saying this is not the best time to have Cancer. Don’t really know what qualifies as a good time to have Cancer.

According to a Belgian study Corona speeds up the growth of malignant tumors at least with unvaccinated Cancer Bravehearts. The effect after vaccination is now being studied.

So in line with our philosophy of focussing on living with Cancer rather than dying of it, my husband booked us a hotel at the beach for Valentine. I surprised him by booking a restaurant. He was too scared to do so himself. But not before I called and told  them:
I have Cancer and this is the first time that I am going to visit a restaurant. May we be seated where there is little to no traffic?
Can you use olive oil instead of other oils when preparing my dish? To all they answered affirmative.

Beachclub Woest. 
Shit scared and my face hidden behind a ffpr3 mask I entered the restaurant like someone entering a lion’s cage. Which, come to think of it, I actually once did in Tunisia. No one else dared and I was like he is fed and sleeping so what could happen. I stepped into the cage and at that moment he woke up and I turned around and I simply stepped back out afraid to breathe. That was once again my spur of the moment plan. If it doesn’t feel right, if the lion starts roaring, I’ll just turn around, hold my breath and step right back out.

Our table was in a corner with a view of the north sea. I kept my mask on and at first my gloves. Well until I used the hand desinfectant to clean the table. To wipe the glass of water and the cup of cappucino. Next time I’ll make sure I have my Dettol wipes with me.

After that my husband took over that task. I didn’t mind. I felt like a child being finally allowed to play. The view of the north sea at high tide with waves almost at our lips was worth the discomfort of a ffpr3 mask.

There was this lone surfer who at first looked like a lifebouy until he jumped unto his board and attempted to ride a small wave. I tried to imagine why anyone would be in the water at dusk in the freezing cold.

Maybe the same reason I am defying all odds to sit in a restaurant with more people than I have seen in the past six months : to feel alive in spite of, to live in spite of, to feel happiness in spite of, to feel connected in spite of, to do the things I used to with my husband and, to do them now.

To venture out into the dusk hoping to ride that wave even for a few moments before darkness falls.

“I just can’t imagine you might die this year. Can you?”
“No, right here, right now emotionally no. But to be honest I am getting more adept at living now and not thinking past the day or week.”

I kept pulling down my mask to put food into my mouth to then be chewed within the privacy of my mask. My husband’s funny Valentine. There was very little traffic of people moving around except waiters.  But, enough to keep my mask on while everyone was relieved to be free of theirs.

Right there, right then I was willing to wear more masks and contrapments just to feel free of Cancer and to feel the freedom of two people in love and doing what they love doing. How they play rather than how they work.

The walk on the beach in the dark with the sound of waves and our long shadows was one of the many perfect moments last night.

February 13th in Callantsoog in the north of the Netherlands.

My week’s resolution? Just two.
Venture out into the dusk, do not wait, do like you have always done, play like you have always played before darkness falls.

No bullshit talk only real talk. Especially with my loved ones.

Happy Valentine’s day dear people. Venture out now. Do not postpone or procrastinate. Live now. Play now. Love now. Be now. The only thing that is important when everything else fades.

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