Heading for the south…

Heading for the south…

After a long time without travelling, because of the lockdown, we decided to go to the south of France, “la Camargue” and “la Provence”.

We spent a few days near Les saintes Maries de la Mer. We visited several places including the ornithological reserve of la Camargue. Various species of birds to watch: flamingos, herons,…

Camargue is really beautiful…. but there are too many mosquitos :-)!

We then went to , a small village in “les Alpilles”: Maussane les Alpilles. It is located near les Baux de Provence and St Rémy de Provence. Such as wonderful area… and sunny too ;-)!

We visited a lot of churches, abbayes and various monuments. We did also hikes. Most of the time , I was wearing my hat, following the advices from my dermatologist :-)!

We also visited again “la Carrière des Lumières” displaying an exhibit about Cézanne, and Kandinsky…

We are already in June… In a few days, it will be the 5th anniversary of my stem cells graft… Thank you all at St Antoine hospital, in particular my kind graft doctor, thank you my anonymous donor, thank you my family and friends: if I am here to celebrate it is because of you! I love you all !

Columbines

Columbines

Today, I would like to invite you to make a short tour of our garden in Bures-France to discover “the columbines”, which are really beautiful this year. I discovered this flower during my first visit in Boulder-Colorado-USA. The blue columbine is “the official flower” for the state of Colorado.

I planted some seeds of “ancolies” (or columbines) in our garden, and they kept coming back each year (self-seeding).

Here are the ones we have this year, coming in various colors:

I hope you will like them as much as I love them!

Take care and enjoy life!

With love

Building up a vegetable garden

Spring is there! It is time to start to work on my vegetable garden.

Last year, at the end of the first lockdown, I decided to start a new part in our garden: a vegetable garden. It was more to stay busy than to save money by growing our own vegetables ;-)!

Building up on the “tremandous success” of the 2020 season, I decided to increase the surface devoted to the vegetable garden…

I planted several kinds of vegetables: eggplants, tomatoes, butternut, zucchinis, pumpkin, chilli pepper…

Maybe I planted all the vegetables too early, as it might freeze during the coming week…

If I can get enough vegetables, I am planning to distribute some to the people around me, including my fantastic graft doctor at the St Antoine Hospital who helped me a lot over the years following the stem cells graft and is still present whenever I ask her for help…

Love you all !

To be continued…

Early Spring

Early Spring

Spring has always been my favorite season. This year, Spring has made an early start! The beauty of the flowers helped me to “forget” the covid somehow…

It is also time for me to “remember” that if I can enjoy. the beautiful flowers and the life, it is because I had the chance to meet the fantastic hematology team at Saint Antoine hospital, and in particular my nice graft doctor, without forgeting my anonymous stem cells donor and my family and friends… In a few months it will be the fifth anniversary of the graft…

I love you all !

Carcinomas and me: a long love story!

Carcinomas and me: a long love story!

Last October, I had a new carcinoma treated by dynamic phototherapy. Yesterday, I had an appointment in dermatology at the Tenon hospital to check if the treatment had some effect on the carcinoma. Although this carcinoma was located on the left temple under hair so not visible, I could “feel” some roughness under my fingers…. So I was confident that the carcinoma was still there.

My doctor told me that I was right. So something should be done to remove it. She first considered removing it by surgery (I had already two removed by surgery), but as it is “a big one ” (the size of a two euros coin), she decided to try before, as a last chance, a new cream I never used before: fluorouracile-containing cream Efudix.

I have to put this cream once a day for a month…Then, I will meet again my doctor to evaluate the evolution. If there is no result, then it will be again surgery… As pointed out by my doctor, it will be “tricky” as it is located next to the one removed before. The “reserve” in skin is not so large so that there might be some difficulties to close the wound… It could be another “free lifting” :-)! Another experience ;-).

Meanwhile, before, I will meet my nice graft doctor to evaluate my situation regarding the steam cells graft…. almost the 5th anniversary!

Last week, on april 22, I visited the Tenon hospital and met with my dermatologist to evaluate the “action” of the new cream on the carcinoma… Well, according to her, it was not clear. It was still kind of “redish” but she did not know if it was coming from the irritating effect of the cream, or just that the carcinoma was still there. So, she decided to make a new biopsy… She will give me the result in a few days. If it is the same carcinoma, I will need a new surgery to remove it…

Last week, I got the answer: it is not a carcinoma! No cancerous cells! Just some “wounded cells from the previous surgery!

So for the first time in years, I am carcinoma free! It is a very good news! Next apointment for a regular check next october…

With love :-)!

Anti-covid vaccine

Anti-covid vaccine

After a slow start, the vaccine campaign in France was supposed to speed up. Monday January 18th was the first day when people older that 75 and “at risk people” were supposed to start to receive vaccines. The least we can say is that it has been a difficult task to register to have appointments to get the vaccine… After just a few days, there were so many people interested in getting it that the schedule was full for at least two weeks… It was mainly due to the limited number of doses available…

As “an old collaborator” with the Curie Institute, I was offered the possibility to be vaccinated. I was really happy, until the day before the “day” when I got an email informing me that all the appointments for friday 22nd have been canceled: no vaccines available :-(!

What could I do? Of course, I did not register to other places, as “I was sure” to get the vaccine from my working place… I was left without any possibility to be vaccinated before several weeks, this being optimistic! I was crying…

After discussing with an Italian doctor who worked at Saint Antoine at the time I had the stem cells transplant, she suggested that I might try to contact people at Saint Antoine to ask them if they had any idea “to save me again”… I contacted my best friend at Saint Antoine, i.e. my fantastic graft doctor, who registered me to be vaccinated at the hospital at the end of the second week of February. Again, she saved me! How could I thank her… maybe some chocolates ;-)!

But, 3 days before the scheduled appointment, I got a phone call: appointment is canceled, no vaccine available… I might be contacted again when the vaccines delivery will resume: bad luck. But I stay confident that at some point, I will get it…maybe for the 5th anniversary of my stem cells graft in June. I keep optimistic. I trust my graft doctor.

Last week, I took the chance to contact people at Curie Institute to check if there was any possibility to have the vaccine at Curie. I got an answer, not too optimistic, that I could show up at the Curie Hospital to check if there were some extra doses of Pfizer RNA vaccine left after all the scheduled people, nurses and doctors, had received the shot. The answer was yes, so that I had my first shot of Pfizer vaccine yesterday! So happy!

In three to four weeks, I will need to find a place where I could get the second shot…Saint Antoine hospital or Curie hospital?

I first contacted people at Curie, but after a few days I got a negative answer: no Pfizer vaccine would be available…

I turned back to Saint Antoine, my last chance. After a short discussion (usually they don’t like too much doing only the second shot), I got a positive answer: yes! Saint Antoine hospital doctors are always there when I need them. Love them! The appointment was for tuesday march 23, then wednesday 24th….hope it will work…

Then, unexpectedly, I got an email last week from Curie, with the news: I might get the second shot on Friday 19th. I applied the precept: mieux vaut tenir que courir (half a loaf is better than no bread) and went to curie for the second shot! So now I am fully vaccinated!

In two weeks, I will go to the Saint Antoine Hospital to have the serology to check for the quality of the immune response…

Two weeks ago, I visited the Saint Antoine hospital to have a blood analysis. It was mainly for a serologic analysis of the antibodies against SARS-Cov2. A few days later, I got the results from my kind graft doctor: high level of antibodies detected! Yes! As stated out by my wonderful graft doctor in her mail, it is ” a very good news :-)”!

Before getting the results, I was not 100% confident as I had read in the scientific literature that the response to the RNA vaccine in people who had hematopoietic stem cells transplant was not always optimal… Of course, I forgot that I am “in a special situation”: I am old but my stem cells are young since my donor was a very young lady :-)!

A next step could be to follow the evolution with time of the antibodies … So to be continued!

Love you all!

To be continued…

Pastries: an occupation during the lockdown times

Pastries: an occupation during the lockdown times

During the two lockdowns we have had so fare in Spring and Fall of 2020, I had to find some occupation to keep my hands busy and try not to think to often of the pandemic developing around us… I started to make various “pastries”, but mainly “chouquettes” at first as they are my favorite!

It was also time for carrots cakes with cranberries and mapple sirup, apricots “clafoutis”…

I used a ” flowers pots” approach to make small bread loafs…not a great success I should say ;-)!

Then came banana bread, chouquettes, small almond-flavored and coconut-flavored”cookies” using an alsatian recipe…

Then came scones, cheese gougers, apricot jam…

In between the two lockdowns, it was time for magdalens, financial cakes… During this time, in August, my great son was visiting. I made magdalens and financial cakes using applesauce instead of sugar… better be creative :-)!

Cherries clafoutis, chouquettes, almond-flavored cookies, magdalens, coconut-flavored cookies, pistachio-flavored cookies…

During the second lockdown, it was near Christmas: it was the time for “bredeles”, the alsatian cookies typical of this period of the year…

more…

To celebrate “the brexit” more cranberries scones and my favorite the chouquettes!

Christmas chouquettes and first try to make “hard” chocolate chips cookies…not bad ;-)!

Cataract

Cataract

Greetings from Bures-France! We are still in lockdown…

Beside the “special medical events” I had to deal with over the 4 last years (hematopoietic stem cells graft, carcinomas), as an “aging person” I have now a classical problem: to deal with the cataract!A week ago, I had the first surgery, on the left eye. I was scared, although it went well…

The second surgery took place on monday, december 7th…. I was scared as hell , although it was not too new :-(! Like for the first surgery, I slept during the whole time, so I have no memory of what happened after I got an injection of some kind of “relaxing” chemical :-)!

The best thing is that from now on I might not need anymore prescription glasses! Big change (I had them for 52 years!).

I am now “an enhanced human”, being a chimera woman/man with new eyes :-)!

I am now wondering what kind of improvement I should consider. Any suggestions?

Each time I have to. deal with events related to my health, I am always afraid that the fantastic job made at the St Antoine Hospital by the “stem cells graft team” and in particular my kind graft doctor, might be compromised…. Stupid I know ;-)!

Story will be continued in a few days…

This week, I had an appointment with the ophtamologist to check if everything was OK. I got the “official” news that from now on I will be googles free! Not sure people will recognize me :-)!

With love…

For the ones not aware of the french slang, “mirettes” means eyes :-)!

To put a grin on your face

To put a grin on your face

We are already two weeks in the second lockdown.

Of course, it is kind of hard to start all over again what we experienced in the spring

During the first lockdown, we tried to “do something” fun to share with our family and friends. We decided that on each sunday, we would dress in special outfits. We used what we had in our drawer as we could not go shopping. for non essential goods…. Here are the results…

  1. Dressing up to go out for a date

2. Heading for the beach

3. Working as garbage collectors

4. Working in the garden

5. Cooking pastries and cakes (we bought the chef hat during the first escape after the end of the lockdown)

6. Going for a hike…at the back of our garden

We thought that number 6 would be the last disguise: wrong :-(! Two weeks ago lockdown number 2 started… We racked one’s brains to start all over again the same game. Here are numbers 7 and 8 and 9 and 10.. and 11 and 12!

7. Preparing to go out for Christmas. You will notice that we have masks, a big difference with episode 1 :-)!

8. On our way to Hawaii… with new masks ;-)!

9. Being Amishs…

10. Exchanging clothes 🙂

11. Canadian loggers…

12. 5th week of lockdown in the second round… beginning of depression :-)!

13. Netflix series “Lockdown” season 2, last episode….

Sunday December the 20th: end of the second lockdown….. We decided to go on vacation:

To be continued…with the 3rd lockdown coming in mid-january!

Lockdown season 2: a sense of déjà vu

Lockdown season 2: a sense of déjà vu

Greetings from Bures-France! We are already in our 5th day of the new lockdown, and it feels like weeks… The weather does not help: rainy, windy and cold! The lockdown season one was much better: sunny and warm! As we are always saying in France: c’était mieux avant (it was much better in the past) :-)!

Right now, the situation looks pretty bad, with our friend the virus running freely everywhere around… Better stay home when possible! As an old retired person, it is easy to follow the rules, but for people with children and/or working it is more complicated, stressful. Every day, I am thinking of people working in the hospitals, family relatives, my great graft doctor, my dermatologist… I hope they will go through all this mess untouched…

The fall is now there, with leaves falling down in my garden…It keeps me busy and I am doing some physical exercise!

Soon, it will be “a surgery season” for me, as I need to fix some cataract problems. First eye will be at the end of this month, second one early december: kind of afraid of this, more than when I had the stem cells graft… yes, hard to believe…

Anyway, I am so happy to be alive. because of the people at Saint Antoine, and my graft doctor, my family, my friends, my graft donor: you are so precious ! With love :-)!