The renewed pleasure to be able to travel

The renewed pleasure to be able to travel

I have been silent for quite a long time… but it is not for health related problems! It is just that I was busy traveling: Canada and the US!

We went to Toronto to visit our daughter and her husband. We left France in the spring and arrived in Canada in the winter :-)! Freezing temperatures, snow, rain, wind!

Then, we visited our friends in Boulder-Colorado, a place I visited many times when I was allowed to work in a chemistry lab, to make it short, during my first life :-)!

We climbed the high mountains (3000 m) in deep snow and low temperatures. But because of my new high quality red blood cells I had no problem to perform this exploit! A few places we visited: mud lake (Nederland-Colorado), Brainard lake (Ward-Colorado), Bear Lake, Nymph Lake and Dream Lake (all in the Rocky Mountain National Park)…

We shared lunchs/dinners with our friends in Boulder, and I was able to show them my new hobby: making real “brioches”!

After, we went back to Toronto for an another week, then moved back to France to find again the Spring :-)!

Here are some photos taken during this trip…

First Toronto:

 

Colorado:

My famous brioches:

Spring in our garden in Bures:

If I can travel freely those days, it is because I had the enormous chance to meet fantastic people at the Saint Antoine hospital and in particular my wonderful graft doctor, my donor who gave me the chance to live my second life, and my family and friends who supported me so well… I love you all :-)!

 

 

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Dynamic phototherapy to remove a carcinoma

Dynamic phototherapy to remove a carcinoma

Last wednesday, I had an apointment at the Tenon hospital-department of dermatology to remove another carcinoma, the one located at the back of the skull.This time no surgery (well at least for this time!). The principe of this technique is simple: first a cream containing a photosensitizer is applied on the carcinoma. I had to wait 3 to 4 hours before the second step (the photosensitizer is supposed to enter the skin during this time). Then a strong light is focused on the carcinoma during several minutes (a little painful, it is like a local burn). Pretty simple no? Results will be checked in 3 months.

A much better description of the technique can be found at:

https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/types/surgery/photodynamic-fact-sheet

The dermatologist looked also at my body to discover if a new carcinoma had appeared, and also to check for some cGVH in the mouth and on the sexe: according to him nothing (however when I will meet with my kind graft doctor next june, I will ask her again about the GVH: she is a specialist!).

Beside, last week, as requested by my graft doctor, I did a full blood analysis: according to my kind doctor, the analysis is perfect!

The only difficult point for me is the fact that I am always tired, even when I do just a little gardening. It is disturbing and it is not going away…

But the spring is there, with some sun and a lot of flowers in our garden…

Lunch at the hospital…

 

 

 

 

 

 

With love!

 

 

 

March 8th: Women’s day…

March 8th: Women’s day…

Today is Women’s day! For me, as a chimera half-man half-woman, it will be only “half a women’s day” ah ah! But I will celebrate anyway!

Friday afternoon is the day when I am working on stained glass: I will ask my teacher to pay only half the fee :-)!

I am almost 33 months after the stem cells graft. My blood analysis is kind of perfect. I might have still a little bit of GVHc, but it keeps coming and going, mainly in the mouth and on the sexe… In two weeks, I will meet a dermatologist for another turn of phototherapy (a carcinoma to remove). I will ask her what she thinks… Anyway no big deal!

To celebrate this special day, here is a song by J. Ferrat:

based on a poem by Aragon:

http://muze15.canalblog.com/archives/2011/07/17/21598991.html

I will not leave this post without thanking the fantastic team at Saint Antoine hospital and in particular my kind graft doctor , my anonymous donor, my wonderful family and my friends: I love you all!

Take care and enjoy life!

 

 

 

 

Trying to become an artist :-)!

Trying to become an artist :-)!

Today I would like to introduce a “new”artistic activity I started a few months ago: clay modeling.

After I had to stop to do experiments by myself in a chemistry lab a few years ago, i became somehow “frustrated” by not having anymore the oportunity to work with my hands, as I used to do during my long career as an experimentalist.As I was not very good as handyman, I had to find a new activity. I started to work on  stained glass projects 3 years ago (and I am still doing it once a week). As a Christmas gift, I got a one trimester class of clay modeling.

Here is my first experience…. Making “a head” is not as simple as I was thinking. There are “some rules” to follow such as the shape of the skull,  the relative positions of the ears, the noze, the eyes, the mouth… Our teacher pointed out all those rules and gave us an advice: when you “see” people on the street or on the TV, just “look” at them as if they were “models”!

At first, I had in mind to make a man head…here is the first step:

 

Trying to put in place the ears, shaping the eyebrows, the chin…

 

Then, one day, our teacher asked me: do you really want to make a man head? I answered that I had rather choose a woman head (you know, I am now “half-woman” after being grafted with stem cells coming from a young lady ;-)!). I had to make several changes : smaller noze and chin, smooth cheekbones and eyebrows, shape of the eyes…

 

Then I added hair….

 

Now an hair bun ;-)!

 

Et voilà! My head is almost finish….

Evolution in action :-)!

This woman head will be for me the statue of my anonymous donor :-)!

A big thank you to the doctors and nurses at the Saint Antoine Hospital, in particular my kind graft doctor, my wonderful family, and my friends: I love you all!

Plastic Surgery: removing a carcinoma

Plastic Surgery: removing a carcinoma

Yesterday, I visited the Tenon hospital dermatology department to have a carcinoma removed via surgery. This one, located on the left temple, had been treated by various techniques but each time had made “a come back”!

The surgeon removed a piece of myself (5 cents coin (euros), a dime coin ($ US)) under local anesthesia.He then sewed me up, the most painful part of the act… In two weeks, I will need to meet a nurse to have the stitches removed…

Here is the result:

I discussed with the surgeon on the oportunity to have some wrinkles removed during the process to look younger…just joking!  He told me that I looked young enough, and that I was “a miracle” after what I had been through…

My dream was that I could become a new Clooney…

Before/After

Too bad I did not succeed to convince the surgeon!

Next month, I will visit again the Tenon hospital to have another carcinoma removed, this time via dynamic phototherapy…

To finish on a sunny note, here are more photos of our trip to Gran Canaria: enjoy!

Take care and enjoy life!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

With love

 

 

Gran Canaria

Gran Canaria

As you might know, at this time of the year the Paris area has usually a pretty bad weather: rain, grey skies, even snow… That is too much for old people like us! We need sun! So, we headed south to an island, spanish territory, located near the Africa cost, called Gran Canaria. It is one of the many islands in The Canarias.

During this week, we enjoyed temperatures in the twenties, sunny weather and the like! On this volcanic island, the panoramas are wonderful, and depending the positions on the island, north or south, very different lanscapes are on display: dunes, volcano rims, humid valley, beaches… Of course the vegetation is changing a lot. We saw for the first time hills covered with almonds in bloom. So beautiful! and a lot of orange trees and lemon trees.

Of course, we visited several churches to fulfil my quest of Saint Antoine statues :-)! We found 3!

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To finish on “a medical information”: on the first day of our trip, I noticed “a small pool of blood” under the skin on the right forearm.It was followed later in the week by a similar thing on the left hand. It was not the first time I had noticed similar blood spots on the arms and hands, but this time it was much larger. I was not really afraid as I had done a blood analysis a few weeks ago which showed that I had a large number of platelets. However, as I am curious and want to understand “everything”, I asked my kind graft doctor what it could be. She told me that it was common in people who had an hematopoietic stem cells transplant. She told me that it was related to some kind of “capillary fragility”. She has always the right words to reassure me!

With love!

 

 

 

31 months after the graft

31 months after the graft

This week, I visited the Saint Antoine Hospital twice: on monday for the blood analysis and on tuesday to meet with my kind graft doctor.

On monday, the nurse who did the blood collection told me that if I did not pass out she would give me a piece of chocolate… and I got the chocolate ;-)! Easy way to make me quiet :-)!

On tuesday, I met my nice graft doctor. She gave me the results of the blood analysis: everything is near perfect, including the analysis related to the immune system. All the numbers are by fare much better than the ones I had in my previous life,the first life before the graft! But, as pointed out before by my doctor, it is not “me” who is charge! Then we spoke about my visit to the dermatologist at Tenon hospital and she gave me the results on the cell culture regarding one of the carcinoma I have at the back of the head: superficial, so it might be treated by dynamic phototherapy… We will see. Then we spoke about my concern regarding a coming back of the GVHc in the mouth. Although the dermatologist told me that she did not see anything, my graft doctor, who is “a specialist” in GVH, told me: it is not lichen as before but maybe… Anyway it does not need any treatment. Then, she asked how I was feeling: for me the only “problem” I have is “the fatigue”. When I have a small activity like working on stained glass for 3 hours, I feel “drained”: no energy left. Of course, I offered my kind doctor an hypothesis to explain this phenomena which is frequent in people who had a stem cells transplant: “our energy is mainly used to keep a kind of equilibrium in the fight between the foreign immune system and “me”…. Correct or not I don’t know but my graft doctor did not see that as completly foolish (maybe she is too kind to tell me that it is plain stupid!).

My next apointment with my kind graft doctor will be on june… Before I will have a small surgery to remove the carcinoma on my temple.

I am also busy being “creative”!

I am cooking:

 

I started recently to attend a class on sculpture /modelling:

 

And I started a new project on stained glass:

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If I can do all those activities (as well as going to my lab and traveling around the world) it is because I had the chance to meet the fantastic team at the Saint Antoine hospital and in particular my super graft doctor, to have stem cell given by an anonymous donor, a young lady maybe from Germany. Without the support of my family and friends things would have not be so smooth…

I love you all!

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A statue of Saint Antoine: Saint Ambroise church in Paris.