Today was my first appointment for the chronic fatigue study in the Rangkuti Clinic in Koog a/d Zaan. It was a half hour drive and a quarter to find a parking space...
I was tired and still a bit nervous when I arrived. While I was waiting I filled in a questionnaire about my medical problems, treatments, medicines and some personal questions (among them: how often do you have sex? how often do you masturbate? *lol*). It was very thorough. After I filled it in someone went through it with me to fill in the blanks.
Then it was time to enter the treatment room. I undressed to my underwear and lay down on a bed. I was covered with a big soft towel. There were three doctors. They felt both my pulses and looked at my tongue. After some consideration one of them placed 8 laser-acupuncture wires with tape: one on each foot, one on each hand and four on my right ear. I got glasses to protect my eyes and all I had to do was relax for 30 minutes (?). No problem there! After they checked my pulses again I was ready for today. I felt relaxed and good.
Next Friday new appointment at noon!
Friday, March 31, 2006
Today was my first appointment for the chronic fatigue study in the Rangkuti Clinic in Koog a/d Zaan. It was a half hour drive and a quarter to find a parking space...
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Tuesday my mother did the extensive lung function test in Haarlem and yesterday the lung specialist had the results. She has 50% lung capacity left. That won't become more, but the decrease would go a lot slower if she'd quit smoking. She says she is going to quit after the surgery. I'm a bit sceptic about it, because she has said it so often before, but I really hope she'll succeed this time! I'll do my best to support her all the way.
This finally was the last step. Now we have to wait for the hospital to call when she has to be admitted. A week before that she has to take Prednison and the first days in hospital will be used to prepare her lungs for the surgery. Mum is afraid and pessimistic. I understand that, but I'm trying to get her a bit more optimistic. Power of thought is very strong!
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Yesterday evening a SFGA delegation brought a visit to the witches cafe in Utrecht. Not official or something, we just agreed to go at the same night. I have been there before, but that was on another location. The new location is private and very nice. The cafe is run by people from the Silver Circle and the Pagan Federation. I saw some old acquaintances, but also new people. I found out that Mandragora is giving his workshops in Beverwijk, which is very near to IJmuiden. I took his flyer and will certainly look into it!
We had a great time and left around 11 o'clock.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Last Sunday I visited the Onkruidbeurs (Onkruid is a spiritual magazine, beurs=fair) in Houten with my sister Joke and WonderWillow. There were two big halls with lots of stands, varying from publishing companies to colleges to shops etc., all in the field of spirituality, new-age and the like. Upstairs were two rooms for lectures.
We met a lot of friends and acquaintances. Vrouw Holda (my friend Renee) had a wonderful stand, where Wonder and Joke both drew a personal rune which Renee explained to them. It was great to see, hug and talk to her again.
Wonder had a meeting with Benjamin Two Bears about a future project. I had met him before, but this time he brought his wife Margot, a (drawing) medium. She is a very nice person and I'd like to make an appointment with her.
I have bought a book on the recommendation of Wonder: The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen. He said it was the best book he ever read and his taste in reading is similar to mine. I wanted to buy a beautiful water fountain (table size), but when I went back to do so the last one had just been sold. Pity!
We visited a lecture/workshop on Tai Chi. That has always fascinated me. We did a few basic positions and movements. Very difficult, but a challenge and it felt great. I hope it will be taught in my neighbourhood one day.
The title of this post is "Hope", I'll explain why. We attended a lecture about integration of eastern and western medicine by Dr. Sofyan Rangkuti (doctor, surgeon, acupuncturist and herbalist). He first told about what has been achieved so far. Then he talked about two projects/studies in which patients can take part for free; one for back issues and one about... chronic fatigue. After the lecture I asked him about it. An assistant told me to call the next day, so I did. Guess what... they have place for another patient! My first appointment is next Friday, March 31st, in the clinic in Koog aan de Zaan. It will be a multidisciplinary treatment. I'm curious, but also a bit nervous!
Monday, March 27, 2006
My desktop computer is away for repairs. Most likely the motherboard needs replacement, but it's busy in the store so the technical support department won't have time until Friday or Saturday. Luckily I have a three year garranty that hasn't expired yet.
In the meantime I'm on the laptop, but that's sloooow and sometimes the connection fails. I'll try to post updates anyway, but I won't be online very much. 'Til later!!
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Spring is in the air! The sun is shining, lambs play in the meadows, crocuses and other bulbs come up. The world looks brighter. I didn't do anything special for Ostara, but that's okay for now. I am too busy with other things. I've decided not to put extra pressure on myself about it until I have my own space and more time to celebrate.
Yesterday my cousin Sandra got married. My mum was invited and I accompanied her. The bride (and groom!) looked marvellous and very happy. I'm glad for them and hope they'll continue to have a great life together. I didn't know a lot of the guests, only the family. It was nice to talk to them again. I also felt the presence of my grandfather (my mum's dad). He didn't communicate much, just let me feel he was there. The last time I felt him was at the funeral of my cousin Hans years ago. It's such a pity I haven't known him that long. I would have loved to get to know him better, but he died when I was 7 years old.
This morning my mother had an appointment with the lung specialist. We thought this would be the last step before surgery, but no such luck. Next Tuesday she has to do an extensive lung function test in Haarlem and Wednesday we have to see the lung specialist again for the results. The severe pulmonary emphysema is an extra risk in surgery. Normally he would advise against it, but the replacement of the aorta valve is essential. To reduce the risks my mother will be admitted to hospital a few days earlier, so the doctors can give her lungs extra medicine and care before the operation.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
It was long ago, and it was the time of winter. Snow covered the ground and the chill in the air made this a harsh and unforgiving time to be about. Whiteness everywhere. The world slept.....
A little girl had strayed from her home (a very bad thing, but such as children are wont to do) and she found herself wandering about in the woods; alone. She was cold and tired, and afraid. In despair she dropped down in the snow and began to cry. She cried for her home. She cried for her mother and father. She cried for her life.
Then she saw it - a bird - a frozen bird - lying, dying in the snow. She jumped up and rushed to take the bird into her arms. She held it close to herself; wrapping it tightly in her arms. She tried to warm the bird and thaw its frozen wings, but it was too cold and life was quickly leaving the bird's body along with its warmth. She was beside herself! She thought only of the bird now, not seeing that she herself would soon be in the same situation that this small bird was in now.
She cried out for help! "Help! Help this bird to live", she cried. "Goddess Eostara, please help this bird!"
Now, Eostara was one busy Being about this time. Under normal circumstances the Goddess of Spring and Warmth would have dismissed this cry for help and continued about Her more important business. But it piqued Her interest that this girl was calling on Her to help a bird instead of herself. She decided to investigate and perhaps lend a helping hand.
Eostara came to the girl. She floated over the snowy landscape. In Her wake flowers bloomed and sweet-scented blossoms burst open as colors blazed into view. Spring followed in Her path and the sound of laughter and gentle breezes could be heard on Her breath. She was glorious to behold. Rebirth and new life radiated about Her. The girl was astounded.
She jumped up and thrust the bird at Eostara. "Save it!", she cried. "Make it well!" Using the demanding tone that only a child would have the nerve to use in the presence of a Goddess.
Eostara took no mind of the girl's inappropriate behavior. She knew of her intent and her motives. The girl was sincere... the girl was unselfish.... the girl was so very young.....
Eostara reached out Her hand and touched the bird with one delicate finger. Light flowed through Her, warming the bird. Its eyes opened suddenly. Its foot twitched. It hopped out of the girl's hand and began to flop about madly in the snow. The girl squealed with delight. "You saved it! You saved it!", as she danced about in the snow, overjoyed. But wait --
"Hey....." the girl said after watching the bird for a while. "Its wings are still frozen to its body. It can't fly! You didn't do it right!!"
Oh my. Now, Eostara surely wasn't used to this kind of response when She had just performed a minor miracle. But with Her infinite patience (which by now was wearing thin) intact, She gave the bird one last effort, another chance at survival. She reached over to the hopping bird and touched it again gently with Her hand, turning it into a bunny. "There!", she said to the girl, "Now it has no need of its wings".
And as the now totally confused bunny hopped off into the brush, Eostara drifted away to perform other tasks of sunshine and light (as far away as possible from this girl). The girl was delighted at the sight of the bunny scrambling into the snow-covered brush. "All better", she smiled. She suddenly knew the way home...
Now, all this was fine for Eostara and the girl, but what of the bunny? Well, now, this is one totally confused little animal here. This rabbit still has a habit of laying eggs! And to this day, when the snow begins to melt, and the flowers begin to bloom, and the air is filled with the sweet scent of blossoms and warmth, the bunny begins to lay its eggs. Oh, and these aren't ordinary eggs either. These eggs tell of color! Of Spring! Of Eostara and her gift of renewed life and release from winter's chill. They are tokens of recognition and gratitude to the Goddess Eostara for the gift of Spring.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Today I decided to draw a single Tarot Card. This time I did it online from the Osho Zen tarot. The card was Thunderbolt and this is the explanation:
The card shows a tower being burned, destroyed, blown apart. A man and a woman are leaping from it not because they want to, but because they have no choice. In the background is a transparent, meditating figure representing the witnessing consciousness.
You might be feeling pretty shaky right now, as if the earth is rocking beneath your feet. Your sense of security is being challenged, and the natural tendency is to try to hold on to whatever you can. But this inner earthquake is both necessary and tremendously important - if you allow it, you will emerge from the wreckage stronger and more available for new experiences.
After the fire, the earth is replenished; after the storm the air is clear. Try to watch the destruction with detachment, almost as if it were happening to somebody else. Say yes to the process by meeting it halfway.
Hmmm.... The right card at the moment!
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
The talk with the UWV doctor yesterday was hard. Of course I had to tell everything and answer a lot of difficult questions. I was so glad Ron was there with me! Towards the end I burst into tears. I felt miserable, ashamed and sad. I don't know much yet. There will be a second talk, either with another doctor (for a second opinion to be declared 100 % unfit to work) or a work ability expert (to see what my possibilities are if I would be declared partially unfit). So I sit and wait...
This morning my mother had an appointment with the cardiologist again. She has to have surgery to replace the aorta valve. Some kind of ring will be placed behind the other valve to neutralize the leaking. The surgery will take place in the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis in Amsterdam, where she also got her bypasses 16 years ago. Next week we have an appointment with a lung specialist to see if she needs special care before, during or after the surgery. And then we wait... According to the list on the hospital website the waiting period is quite short though, only a few weeks.
Monday, March 13, 2006
This morning I was watching Larry King on CNN about the death of Dana Reeve, the widow of Christopher Reeve ("Superman"). Last week she died of lung cancer at age 44. Larry was talking with friends about her life with Chris and her own battle with cancer. Lance Armstrong, Dana Reeve's friend, the legendary athlete and cancer survivor; ABC news correspondent Deborah Roberts, Dana Reeve's friend and her co-host on the show "Lifetime Live"; Senator John Kerry, close friend of Dana Reeve who campaigned for him when he ran for the White House; renowned spiritual adviser Deepak Chopra who also knew Dana Reeve; Dr. Maya Angelou, whose poems inspired Dana Reeve after Chris' death; Marianne Williamson, the best-selling author and lecturer on spirituality; and Kathy Lewis, president of the Christopher Reeve Foundation. You can read the whole transcript here. It was very moving.
At one point Deepak Chopra said the following:
"We are spirit. We are souls. We are part of a greater wholeness. And that is something that science and spirituality are bringing to us together. So religious insights, spiritual insights, the experience of great seers in ancient times, and today's modern insights all give us a measure of hope, and consolation, and also some feeling that we are part of a bigger wholeness, Larry.
(...) And, you know, there's never any reason to get disheartened. Cancer patients should believe the diagnosis so they can take action, but never believe the prognosis because statistics never applies to the individual. It's like saying, "The average temperature in New York City is 70," but it doesn't tell me what the temperature is today. Or the average income of a person in Los Angeles is $100,000. It doesn't tell me what your income is, if you're coming from Los Angeles. So do not buy into the statistics."
That last part struck me and got me thinking. It doesn’t apply only to a serious matter like this, but to all kinds of situations in life. And, in some strange way, to my own situation. I can’t fully explain, but it gave me hope. Perhaps statistics are against me, but that doesn’t mean things are hopeless for me as an individual. Tomorrow, my fatigue, depression, eating… The hell with statistics, I’m a fighter!
Friday, March 10, 2006
Yesterday I spent most of the day in hospital with my mother. As preparation for her surgery she got a heart catheterization through the groin. We had to wait for a long time, but the nurses were very kind. Around 2 pm my mum was finally taken to the operating room. It took a while to get the local anaesthetic right, which was very painful. The procedure itself wasn't that bad. When it was ready the doctor had to put a lot of effort in to apply a compress. Back on the ward mum had to lie flat for at least 4 hours. She was very glad she didn't have to stay the night in the hospital, but it was after 10 pm before she was home!
This morning I've done some shopping for her. She felt better but the nerves from yesterday were coming out, so I stayed a bit longer until she was somewhat calmer. Next Wednesday we have another appointment with the cardiologist.
Monday, March 06, 2006
Today I received a registered letter from the UWV, the organisation that pays my monthly disability allowance. I have to go there for a re-examination and re-assessment of my condition next Tuesday. There are new rules and laws, so everyone with an allowance gets a call to come. I knew this was coming, but my hands were trembling when I had to sign for receipt. I'm afraid, I'm dreading this... My feelings about it are so conflicting.
At one hand I want to be declared 100 % unfit to work, because I am not able to do it. Some days perhaps I could, but most of the time I just can't. I hate to admit it, I wish it was different, but it's true... That's why I'm so scared to be passed to work.
On the other hand I don't want to be declared unfit. It's so definitive. It feels as if I have definitively failed or something. My common sense tells me that's nonsense, but still... the feeling's there.
I'm restless, confused, afraid and sad. What a week this is going to be... Somehow I'll have to try to face this more positive, try to have some faith. I want to, but how..?
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
I just received a message on an e-maillist with the link to a video. It is a woman coming home after Trading Spouses (Jouw Vrouw, Mijn Vrouw over here). She is a christian and had traded places with a witch. She's completely freaking out in front of her husband and kids. Scary...
The video is 5 min 31 sec and you can see it here.