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The card

Sander Page 1 Sander Page 2 V2

October 24th

Dear readers of Sander’s blog,

My beautiful, strong Sander is no more. Things moved quickly the last two weeks. He tried everything within his power to delay the inevitable, going as far as to receive further radiation treatment last week. Just as soon as the leg would start to shrink, then…
We waited for Sander to find peace. Late Wednesday afternoon, Sander indicated that he was ready to go. He truly pulled every last bit of enjoyment out of life, in any way possible. What a fighter, what an optimist, what a sweetheart for us all.
Sander was completely lucid when he made the decision, despite the morphine.
The farewell was warm and impressive. We were all there: Thomas and Seona, Erik and Inge, Niels and myself. After the first injection of dormicum (sleeping drug), Sander immediately fell into a deep sleep. Thursday night, around 6:30PM, he drifted away for good.
We don’t quite know how things are supposed to go without Sander. We do know, however, that we have a treasure trove of memories and that he will always be with us. We were together almost fourty years.

I want to thank all blog readers for their support and reactions. We know that many empathised, as Sander did with his peers.


Sander has passed



Surrounded by his immediate family and very peacefully, Sander passed on earlier this evening.

We will miss him terribly.

– Thomas

An update

Sander’s update

An update from my hospital bed in my study. I am dictating the text, Els is typing it out.
This last week, a lot of things happened. Wednesday I was taken to Amsterdam by ambulance for radiation treatment. Once there, I spoke with my hematologist and my radiotherapist. The whole process, door-to-door, took less than three hours. In short: A VIP treatment.
The strength in my legs is minimal, so all our hopes are on the outcome of the radiation treatment.

Els’ update

As Sander can no longer stand, we’ve had to adjust a lot of things. Sander was assisted down the stairs by our three strong sons: a real tour de force. Now, he spends his time in a hospital bed in the study, and I sleep in a bed next to his. To help Sander out of bed, we now have access to a lift sling. This works well but Sander is very weak and can only sit in a wheelchair for around 10 minutes. Still, he spends a bit of time every now and again in the living room. He’s having a lot of trouble eating but he does whatever he can to recover some strength. Life, however, is making this process difficult.
Our hopes rest with the outcome of the radiation treatment. This morning, we measured the circumference of his swollen right leg and hope to see it shrink soon.
As you can read in his update, Sander remains optimistic. This optimism is, however, bounded by our current reality.

(Thomas’ note: I translated this post – any errors are mine, not Sander’s or Els’!)

Grinding to a halt

Slowly my life is grinding to a hold. Every day I need more care and moving is getting more and more difficult. Els is having a day job taking care of me.
My leg is getting even thicker and yesterday a specialized physiotherapist has brought a special tool to reduce the thickness. On Wednesday radiotherapy has been planned for a different spot in my belly. The radiotherapist yet found a possibility that had a good perspective to reduce the fluid in my leg.
On Monday my son Thomas arrives at Schiphol airport. At this right moment he finds himself in Singapore. That will be his third visit this year. It’s obvious. The end is near.

Living on borrowed time

End of April I wrote about my thick leg. My leg had become dangerously thick because the lymph fluids were blocked by a blast. A radiation did the trick and until this past weekend my leg had its normal proportions.  On of my biggest fears was this to happen again.

Alas I must report that this weekend the thickness came back. I called the hospital on Monday and had an intake on the very next day. Tomorrow, Friday, I will have my radiotherapy. This is really unbelievable the speed in which this is delivered. I even had a consultation with my hematologist, on her her first day at work after her holiday. Heartwarming.

The CT-scan showed a blast on the inside of right thigh. Fortunately a spot that has not been radiated before and doesn’t  contain any critical organs.

We are very aware of the fact that I live on borrowed time. No more medication. But this radiotherapy will hopefully prevent a crisis-situation. Within my reality this is good news.



September 12th 1975

38. You can count them.



Today we had to let Doris go. Over 17 years of age she began to retain fluid. The vet diagnosed a serious heart-condition. Of course we knew we had this coming. This afternoon she will be buried alongside Oes and Daisy.

She was a terriffic cat, always kind to everyone.  She had a fantastic catslife.

She will be missed. It will be strange having no more pets in the house.



In 1973 I left my parents house to live on my own. I was in the last year to become a teacher. This was a very important year for me in which a lot of important things happened to me. I was asked to play in a band which resulted in a long cooperation with my music friend Bonne. Fortunately I still had some time left to do my exam successfully. More important was the meeting I had with a gorgeous woman, who seemed to fancy me as well. She was prepared to warm my cold hands and this thunder-strike has lasted ever since, almost 40 years. On the picture below with the guitar, from the the same year 1973.

Betere tijden

Why this picture, you might think. Well, I had the plan to have a picture of all of my guitars. Roos, Niels’ girlfriend, is a photographer and she has a little studio. On my request she shot a series on location in out garden on august 24th. Beautifully done, wonderful pictures! Finally it seemed like a nice idea to make a few pictures of Els and me too. See the one above.

What I didn’t know, that on the very next day, I started loosing my hair because of the chemo. Right now my hair is shaved off. Nothing can be done. I’ll have to wait till it grows back on.

Below you see Roos in action. Interested in what she makes? Check out

Roos in actie


I cannot remember a summer this beautiful in Holland. In one of my recent blogs I mentioned we were hoping for a pleasant summer, and while it is not yet over we have have certainly had our wish so far.
In my previous blog I discussed a treatment I received. Now two weeks ago. I have been very unwell from it. For the last week I’ve had a mouth full of ulcers. As of yesterday I am again able to eat somewhat painlessly. I’ve had serious problems with my bowels as well. In short, a miserable two weeks.
Today I was in the hospital for my check-up. My blood levels have taken a substantial hit from the chemo but I am starting to feel better again.
We have decided further treatment will not work. I want to recover as much as possible and enjoy the time alloted to me. I’ll take good painkillers but no further tinkering with my body.
Enjoy my loved ones.
The summer’s not yet over, and who knows – autumn might be beautiful.

(Too tired to translate. Thanks, Thomas)