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..

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 🙂

To be continued…

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 :-)!

Dynamic phototherapy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photodynamic_therapy

Dynamic phototherapy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photodynamic_therapy

Hello everybody!

Two weeks ago I had an appointment with my dermatologist at Tenon hospitaL She first checked the left scar, after she removed a previous carcinoma at the back of the head: it was perfect! Then she gave me the reults of the biopsy she did on a suspected “thing” on the left temple: of course it was a new carcinoma, no surprise! After weighing out the options to remove it, dynamic phototherapy or direct surgery, she opted for the phototherapy. Her main concern, if the surgery was performed, was that it could be difficult to close the wound as there is little extra skin to pull there…

Since the results using phototherapy have not been great before (the carcinoma disappeared but made a come back a few months later), she decided that we should try to have two runs of phototherapy instead of one. So, I had the first run last monday and will have the second one on thursday (fingers crossed but I have little hope).

In between the two appointments, our government declared first a curfew, then yesterday a lockdown. In the Tenon hospital, the services have been moved to give room to the covid-related patients…chaotic… Just hoping that the people working in hospitals will go through those difficults time with as little as little possible losts.

At the end of next january, I will meet the dermatologist to see if the phototherapy was effective or not… If not, back to surgery!

My main concern is that if they keep removing skin everywhere on the face and head, I might end up being transformed as for famous cases seen in the show business…

Of course, after my appointment at Tenon, I payed a visit to the chapel, where my good friend Saint Antoine was waiting for me ;-)!

Up to now, Saint Antoine has done a great job to protect me…well of course if I am OK it is more because of the great team at Saint Antoine hospital , and in particular my kind graft doctor :-)!

During those difficult times, where our little friend the virus is flying around, I just have a hope: to meet you all again in a few months, family members, doctors at Saint Antoine and Tenon, friends from all over the world (i will not meet my stem cells donor but she is always with me ;-)!). I love you all!

Robert Redford or Georges Clooney?

Robert Redford or Georges Clooney?

September has been an “hospital” month.

It started with a regular visit to my kind graft doctor at Saint Antoine Hospital. She gave the results of the blood analysis: all numbers are “perfect”! (Leucocytes: 4850/mm3; Hemoglobine: 14.3 g/ dl; platelets: 216G/l)

It was good to talk with her since I did not meet her since march. We talked about “the covid” and she pointed out that the lockdown was not new for me as I had a previous experience during my stem cells graft :-)! I am still in full cytological and molecular remission :-)! I will meet her again in 6 months…

Last week, I had an appointment in Dermatology at Tenon Hospital. It was a “surgery ” visit, as I had another carcinoma at the. bottom of the skull, which needed to be removed. Everything went well, but it took more time than expected. The problem was linked to closing the wound, which was kind of large. The doctor and the helping nurse had to pull hard on the suture to close the scar….

It was the second time I had a kind of “plastic surgery”, so I was looking forward for a removal of some winkles to look younger. I even dreamed of a real modification and improvement of my face. So I came with two photos, one of Robert Redford, one of Georges Clooney and asked my doctor to choose the one she liked the most…

I ended up with Robert Redford’s face…the old version 😦

Next time I will try to be more convincing…. because there will be a next time! My doctor discovered a new “carcinoma” on the left temple, and performed a biopsy… results in a few weeks (in fact she already knows the answer but want to be sure). Of course, I have to see nurses regurlary so that they can take care of the scar. According to them, the doctor did a great job and the wound is healing nicely…

It is not the end of my health related appointments: at the end of november I will have a cataract surgery for the right eye, then two weeks later for the left eye… I am scared…

But I am also “scarred” ah ah!

I would like to thank people at Saint Antoine and in particular my kind graft doctor, the doctor at Tenon, my family, my friends and my stem cells donor: I can enjoy life because of them! I love you all!

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French vacations

French vacations

Same time last year, we were in Ontario-Canada: our daughter was pregnant and it was almost time for her baby to arrive…

One year later, because of our friend the coronavirus, no travel to Canada was possible without a 14 days quarantine on arrival to Toronto.

So we spent our vacations in France! We first went to visit again “le Château de Chambord”, just for a week-end.

At the end of June, we visited “L’Ile d’Yeu” in the Atlantic ocean, of the cost of Vendée.

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On the way back home, we stopped by “the Abbaye de Fontevraud”.

At the end of July, we visited “les Hautes Vosges”.

Beside traveling, I have been able to build a small vegetables garden…

This summer was my 4th summer after the stem cells graft in June 2016! People at Saint Antoine Hospital Department of Hematology did a fantastic job, and in particular my kind graft doctor, who has always been there to help me during the difficult times. I don’t forget my stem cells donor, and my beautiful family too! I love you all!

 

 

My carcinomas and me: a love story

My carcinomas and me: a love story

I have had a long love story with  carcinomas on the head. It started years ago with one on the forehead, which was removed by surgery. It was great since, as a consequence, I lost a few wrinkles :-)!

Then, during the “stem cells graft event” in 2016, after having my hair shaved, doctors discovered that I had another carcinoma on the left temple. The year after, I was treated at Tenon hospital first with a cream, Aldara, but it did not work. Then it was photodynamic phototherapy, which did not work either. It ended up with another surgery: again I lost other wrinkles!

Last year, during a routine checkup in  the Dermatology Department in Tenon Hospital, my doctor found a new carcinoma at the back of the head, on the left. After treating it first with Aldara cream, then liquid nitrogen, it disappeared for some time… and then came back! Dynamic phototherapy once more had an effect… until two weeks ago. During an appointment at Tenon, my doctor discovered that it was back. I got the biopsy results a few days ago: to get ride of it I will need another surgery… The bad side is that because of the location of this carcinoma, no wrinkles will be removed, so no rejuvenation is expected:-)! Surgery is scheduled for the end of September…

I have been lucky to meet wonderful people, both at Saint Antoine hospital (in particular my graft doctor ;-)), and at Tenon hospital.  Wathever they suggest, I know that they are making the right choice for my well being. I love them all!

Take care everybody!

With love!

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Doing some sweets…

 

 

June 24th 2016- June 24th 2020

June 24th 2016- June 24th 2020

 

Soon it is will be the 4th anniversary of my hematopoietic stem cells transplant. Four years already! Hard to believe!

I would like to warmly thank the fantastic team who saved my life: all the people in the Department of Hematology at Saint Antoine Hospital and in particular my graft doctor (I will never forget her). I would like also to thank “Marie”, the nurse who actually performed “the graft”: it was her first time, and for me too! I wonder where I would be without the gift of stem cells from my young donor: I will never meet her… I had also the chance to have my big family and my friends around me: even while “confined” I had visit every day from Jaja and others…

I really really love you all :-)!

The best way “to celebrate” this anniversary is to put together photos, from “before” to “now”.

2016

2017

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2018

2019

2020

“The mask” with a Saint Antoine on it: the best protective device you can think of :-)!

With love!

 

Unlockdown

Unlockdown

After 2 months of strict confinement, the lockdown has been lifted in two steps: on May 11th, then on June 2nd. In the Paris area, there are still several restrictions such as no movies theaters, a few museums open, bars and restaurants open only on outside terraces… More restrictions might be lifted in 3 weeks if the sanitary situation is improving.

To “celebrate” this event, I made a last disguise: heading to the mountains :-)!

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Before I virtualy went out for a date:

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I travelled to the beach:

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As a gardener…

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I posed as a cook with my chouquettes:

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As I am writing this post, on June 3rd, in less than one month I will be celebrating the fourth anniversary of my hematopoietic stem cells transplant (June 24th 2016). How lucky I have been to meet the fantastic people in the Hematology Department at the Saint Antoine Hospital in Paris, and in particular my kind graft doctor: she has always been around to help me during the difficult periods after the graft, including “the c GVH” times, but not only… It will be the first time this year, when I will not meet her for the June anniversary. Of course without my anonymous stem cell donor nothing was possible. I will never know who she is but I am always “hoping” that one day she will be able to read those lines… When I was “confined” in my room 426, I had regular visitors, my family and friends! They have been essential to my fast and successful recovery!

I love you all! Take care and enjoy life!

 

 

Lockdown …

Lockdown …

Hello from Bures-France.

Since march 17th, 2020 we are in lockdown (confinement). We have to stay home, going out only for important reasons such as visiting a doctor, going shopping, for a short walk to exercise (one kilometer limit from home),… Each time we have to have a signed paper with us explaining what is the purpose of being out. We should be alone or respect the social distancing when in couple during the short walks :-)!

This confinement can be really hard for people living in small appartments, with children (parents are now “substitute teachers” since the schools are closed and the education is “on line”). As for us, we are lucky to have a garden, which provides extra space and also a way of being active via gardening…

On the light side of the confinement, with time passing, we hear more and more complains regarding the “hair problem” :-)!  Hairdressers have been closed for 8 weeks now, and the ones who were unlucky of not having an hair cut before the lockdown are now in trouble!

Being one of the unlucky guys, I decided to make something of it: as an experiment, I took a photo each friday morning during the lockdown…Here is the result… It is an experiment in progress as we are still in confinement (may 5th)! I hope you will enjoy it! I also added “old photos” taken at different times of my life, mainly for fun ;-)!

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February 2020 in Toronto

April/May 2020 Bures: going out…to our garden!

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End of lockdown, May 24 2020…Heading toward the mountains…in our garden :-)!

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Years 70’s and 80’s…Young and beautiful 🙂

50’s… in a small village called Meillonnas, near Bourg en Bresse… Cute no?

July 13th 2016: leaving the room where I was in “confinement” after the hematopoietic stem cells transplant: hairless but alive ah ah! I will never forget all the people at Saint Antoine who saved my life, and in particular my kind graft doctor. Of course there is my young donor: I will never meet her. but I am living with her DNA in me… I had a daily visit of my wife, members of the family and friends. It was a “light” version of the lockdown we are living in now…

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For some time, I had to wear a mask, so I am well prepared for our new life, where we will have to hide ourselves under a mask:

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Take care and enjoy life! I love you all!

 

 

A visit to my graft doctor

A visit to my graft doctor

On March 3rd, I had an apointment with my kind graft doctor at Saint Antoine Hospital. The day before it was blood analysis time… Before, I had another blood analysis which was designed to study the state of my immune system.

My doctor told me that every thing was “perfect”, including the state of my immune system which, according to her, was better than average: yes! In the trouble times of corona virus outbreak, it could be an asset!

Of course, I have theory to explain this fact ;-)! If you remember well, my hematopoietic stem cells donor was a very young woman. So, as a chimera, everything which is related to “blood” is linked to my female part, including the immune system of course. A quick look in the scientific literature “confirmed” what I already guessed: the female immune system is “stronger” that the male one! (https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511180740.htm),( https://www.labroots.com/trending/immunology/12425/female-vs-male-immune-response). I am not sure that this “hypothesis” will have the support of my kind graft doctor ;-)!

Before, I had the chance to travel to Toronto to visit my daughter’s family. Our grandson is changing fast! He is already 6 months old, and can seat by himself. he is a smiling beautiful boy!

We also paid a short visit to our friends in Boulder Colorado… We have so many good memories linked to Boulder! And so many very good friends there!

I am posting a few pictures taken during our trip. I hope you will like them!

Spring is arrived in Bures!

If I can enjoy another spring, it is because of the fantastic team in the hematology department at St Antoine, and in particular my sweet graft doctor, my wonderful donor, my family and my friends: thank you so much! I love you!