Difficult news

This is the sort of thing I wish I didn’t have to put on the internet.

1 in 9 women in Belgium will develop breast cancer. About 10.500 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Belgium each year and sadly, this year, I am one of those women.

This means I have to stop all my professional activities for at least 3 months, possibly longer. As I understand it, I can no longer even post messages on my Facebookpage or even email you. All the activities I had planned for the next 5 months have been cancelled.

At this stage, I have no idea what happens after those 3 months. I might feel well enough to start working again, fulltime or part-time, or I might still be struggling with my health. All I can say is that I will keep you informed of when I can start working again. 

I had wanted to give you some different news actually. Last February we heard my husband Michael, who also teaches in the Academy, was granted a fellowship in the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions of the European Research Council (within the Framework of the Horizon 2020 program). This research grant is awarded for two years for a multidisciplinary research in the area of maritime history-maritime biology-shipbuilding technology, which Michael will undertake at the University of Brest (Bretagne) in France. 

The specialists of the University Hospital of Leuven who will be treating my cancer have assured me that organising our move – as planned – is the best thing for us to do, in spite of my illness. I might be able to move with my family in August, or I might have to stay in Belgium a bit longer. In any case, this already meant I had to rethink my activities in the Academy and focus more on online teaching, digital information (like ebooks) and more online courses along the line of my existing free online course. This email course will remain available during my sick leave.

In the meantime, I’m very positive about my recovery and I have lots of confidence in the abilities of the surgeons and oncologists at the KU Leuven, my Alma Mater.

If you can spare a moment, please support cancer research and relief. Here are some initiatives I know of that might interest you: 

See you in a couple of months I hope, 


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