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Tibbe (16) has a prosthetic leg

Tibbe was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2022. He was followed for a year by the TV program Niet Klein Te Krijgen. Tibbe had to make the difficult choice to have part of his lower leg removed. With a rotationplasty and prosthesis, he would be able to function well again after rehabilitation. Meanwhile, the chemos and surgery are behind him and he is finished with his treatments. How is he doing now?

Tibbe: ‘In the last episode of Niet Klein Te Krijgen you can see that we celebrated a party in my room in the Máxima. We popped a bottle of alcohol-free champagne, the catering came with ‘bitterballen’ and our nursing specialist walked in later with a confetti cannon. It was great fun. After that we were allowed to go home.’  

Now it's two months later. 'It really feels like a relief that it's all over. I walk on crutches and I’m working on my rehabilitation a lot. That means practicing with the prosthesis every day. Twice a week with a physical therapist at home and once a month at rehabilitation center De Hoogstraat. There, they always adjust my prosthesis but I also do exercises such as walking on the bridge and climbing stairs,’ says Tibbe.   

Coen is an orthopedic instrument maker at De Hoogstraat. He says, 'When Tibbe visits, I look at what he can do together with the rehabilitation doctor and physiotherapist. Then we look at how we can adjust the prosthesis accordingly. Tibbe practices with the physical therapist. I make any necessary changes, for example the alignment of the prosthesis. We always look for the best solutions and possibilities so Tibbe can function at his best.’

Just walk
Tibbe: ‘I practice with my prosthesis at home. Sometimes with one crutch and sometimes completely without. My tip to others is actually: don't think. Just walk. Because when you 'just' walk, you don't think about how you do it. This is also how it works with a prosthesis. Slowly but surely things are getting better and better. If I continue like this, I should be able to walk without crutches in about six months.   

Being sick and the whole treatment was mentally and physically hard, but in the end I came out of it pretty well. I only notice that I am very tired. School, for example, I have to build up slowly. I now go twice a week and start a little later, because then I can rest a little more in the morning. In addition, I need to regain confidence in my body. Now when I feel something isn’t right in my eyes I think: as long as it's nothing bad.’ 

The gym at the Máxima 
‘When I was hospitalized in the Máxima Center, I visited the gym a lot. Even on days when I was very tired from the chemo and really didn't feel like it, I went anyway. That's what I want to say to other children in my situation: If you have even a little bit of energy, get some exercise! Because a rhythm of movement helps you in your rehabilitation process. 

On June 13, 2023, a group of people gathered for me. I was presented with the flower bead by my oncologist and I got to ring the bell – both symbols for finishing treatment. A total of 17 people were there, including my family, friends, nurses, nurse specialist, oncologist, psychologist and physical therapist. There were so many that we gathered in the gym. A very special moment. That was really amazing,’ says Tibbe. 

The gym at the Princess Máxima Center is part of the Sports and Exercise Program ‘Máximaal Bewegen’. An exercise program is offered every day in the gym, garden and in the parent/child room, aimed at a faster and better recovery of children with cancer. The program is used about 4,000 times a year. Unfortunately, the health insurance company does not reimburse this exercise program, only basic physical therapy is reimbursed. For the annual funding of this program we are fully dependent on the Princess Máxima Center Foundation. Would you like to know more about this or support the Foundation? Click here. 

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