Rene has melanoma and blue birthmark: ‘I had no idea for twenty years’

Rene has melanoma and blue birthmark: ‘I had no idea for twenty years’

There are some very difficult moments there. During the first weeks of immunotherapy, Renee was unable to walk due to severe pain in her back, a side effect. “I had swellings in my back that were touching the nerves. The pain forced me to crawl to the bathroom on my hands and knees, which was really terrible. It added fever, and really serious side effects. I thought if this continued, I wouldn’t need it, but fortunately that went away. No I still have complaints, but I can now function reasonably well at home.


Action is not possible, and Renee’s complaints are too unpredictable for that. “I think this might be the hardest thing… I’m not a homebody at all. I want to start, earn my own money, and ‘just’ participate in society. And now I feel like I’m out of it all.”

This new situation also takes some time for her family to get used to. “When I was in very bad shape during the combination treatments, my two children (16 and 15 years old, ed.) were constantly standing next to my bed. They are very involved and interested, but all this of course has a huge impact on their youth. At the same time, I cannot hide anything About them.

“Everything they pick up gets Googled immediately. So we just try to talk about it as openly as possible with each other, and we also receive support to learn how to deal with it. On the one hand, it seems annoying and desperate, but on the other hand I think “I’ve been dealing with this for a long time, and it’s going to be okay. I’m sticking to this positivity.”

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Kinder curry

Immunotherapy can have an effect on the functioning of organs, so Renee must pay close attention to what she eats and drinks. She’s already developed a liver infection — which is no fun — and is sticking strictly to her new diet. She initially followed a Mediterranean diet with lots of fish and fresh vegetables, but is now trying to mix it up a bit with other influences. “We like curry at home, which is not ideal if your bowels suddenly become empty,” she laughs. “So we now eat modified versions without the spicy herbs. Baby curries, we call them. And I haven’t had coffee, soft drinks or alcohol for over six months.”

It has been replaced with organic lemon juice, water and tea. Renee regularly misses her favorite white wine. “I actually didn’t drink much at all, but on such a gorgeous sunny evening I thought: Damn. But hey, these are little things. Besides, we’re trying to make a party out of everything and seize the day. And no, you don’t have to start doing that.” Until you get cancer, just start today.”

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