It’s accomplished and I was looking forward to it: the first series of radiation treatments. 22 x 7 times I was able to hold my breath, singing the same verse in my mind each time. The skin in my armpit is broken, a large patch of skin next to it is threatening dark red and I am tired.

A mask has now been created that fits tightly around my face, in preparation for the next short series of radiation treatments in the new year. These radiation treatments are given in very high doses on my vertebra and chaining my face and neck to the treatment table with the mask can prevent the radiation from accidentally hitting my spinal cord. After that, a course of chemotherapy will follow for at least six months. All in all, a fairly clear treatment plan, but with a life around it that now consists of chunks of uncertainty, held together with ‘subject to change’ adhesive tape.

For the first time in my life I do not look forward to New Years eve. I don’t really know what to do with my relentless flow of great ideas and plans for the future. The new year scares me sometimes and it’s harder for me to keep my morale high despite the pain and fatigue. My brother decided to change his plan and will guide me through those two days. A comforting thought.

These weeks, many sweet films are shown. Seeing the happy ending always makes me happy. I wish that happiness to everyone wholeheartedly. While zapping I recently ended up in the film Cinderella, made in 2005. I had missed the first hour, but luckily that is no problem with this story. In the last half hour, I was not only impressed by the special effects, but also by the moral that Cinderella brought to the viewers’ attention three times: “Have courage and be kind.” A resounding moral that wouldn’t look out of place on an adhesive or in brightly colored letters on a princess dress in the Disney store. As is so often the case with these kinds of sentences: only when they fall into a container of life experience can you measure the enormous size and the weight resounding in a heavy splash. It is indeed very valuable advice, but at the same time it also proves to be quite a challenge to stick to it.

To me it means the courage to face reality and to do the right thing diligently, even if it scares me. Having courage also means recognizing that sometimes I have to step outside the boundaries of my comfort zone. And not only realize that, but also dare to do it. In addition, the courage to continue to contribute to improving healthcare, as a designer, from the role of a patient’s wife and now also as a patient myself.

Kindness can be just as challenging, especially now that most of the lovely people around me (thankfully!) can’t feel what I’m going through. By the way, actress Lily James puts down a Cinderella in the film who is certainly not a wimp. Her inspiring interpretation of being friendly is trying to positively touch everyone she meets. She appears to be an enterprising type. In addition, she also chooses to be kind to herself.

I’m still a bit cautious with new plans, but I do have a good morale already. Or maybe it’s a good resolution: Have courage and be kind.

PS: Thanks for the cards with sweet wishes, very nice. Wishing everyone a good new year!