3rd & 4th Circular Letter, May 11&14, 2009

Amsterdam, May 11th
Dear friends of Monika,

This is Marieke writing from Monika’s email. You are those with whom she has been in contact with recently and you know about the pain in her shoulder. Friday a scan was made and after that the pain has increased steadily. Today we heard the results and they are devastating. There are metastases (cancer) in 3 places in/around the lungs. This includes the nerves and that explains the pain that breaks through the morphine. A nerve medication (Lyrica) was added to that but does not really work yet so we made her as comfortable as possible with ice and pillows on a sort of throne.

She is experiencing a level of pain now that allows her to “rest” a bit, while I type while sitting at her feet at the other end of the mattress.

Please feel free to spread the word as you deem appropriate, not all family/ friends are aware of this new stage and to inform them requires a bit more introduction.

This is what she dictated me just a while ago:

Tell them how deeply I appreciate their concern. I  feel it. It is like I don’t know at the moment what my path is and what decisions to take.

But I really feel deeply loved.

I want them to know how deeply I appreciate it.

I struggle with the pain. I have not made my peace with the pain.

But I don’t feel alone and I do feel loved.

I am overwhelmed with the concern and care and love that I received from each of them.

I want them to know they deeply touched my heart.

I know you all want to take the pain away and none of us knows how to do that. It is a struggle I am helpless against now and I was helpless against it for the past 6 weeks.

I have experienced so much kindness, so incredibly much kindness and my hart is just full of  gratitude.

This was followed by some tremendously enjoyed chocolate eating.

I will try to keep you informed. We go to the hospital tomorrow at noon to hear what can be done and see the pain-team

Love Marieke

May 14th

This is Marieke taking dictation from Monika.

Dearest ever more beautiful friends,

As some of you, but not all, have heard, my situation has turned. The cancer has spread through the lymph and the blood and has turned up in four different locations. Three of them are in the lungs and one is in a lymph gland near the kidney blood vessels. It is no telling where it can show up next.

This has basically changed the situation and the focus, from healing to keeping up a good quality of life for the time that I have left. I have had extreme pain in the shoulder for the last six weeks, which was caused by the tumor located in the top of the lungs, which pushes against nerves.

I am in the hospital now, taken care of by the pain team, who are trying different approaches to bring down the pain. This is beginning to work at least to the extent that I (and Marieke) have been able to sleep at night.

The hospital team has been extremely kind and allowed Marieke to stay in the hospital with me and even sleep here. Being in the hospital limits my accessibility by skype, email or telephone so it is difficult to answer you individually.

My wish and dream is to stay as clear and positive and painless as possible, throughout this transition period. At present I have no idea of how much time I have left. because the pain was so prominent, I have spoken with the medical staff mainly about pain measurements and not about other medical treatments which could buy me more time. I am taking rather high dosages of morphine.

The positive news is that I have been receiving so much support from near and far, that I feel a lot of trust. We have as a team managed to keep my integrity even inside the alienating atmosphere of the hospital. My heart has stayed open throughout the whole process, feeling genuine gratitude towards everyone; both the mainstream medical staff as well  as my holistic health practitioners that have been supporting and accompanying me. (My main confidence/trust issue has been about how to combine the often contradictory approaches of mainstream and alternative health care).

There has been a shift in me to surrender. But even though I don’t feel on top of things or being able to take control at the moment, I am not feeling a victim. I have stopped worrying about doing the right thing, because I don’t know what it is anyways. What is sustaining my spirit and peace of mind are the friends and family that miraculously pop up all around me at all the right times and in many different forms. In person, through prayers, by mail, skype, or what they send to me . Some have accompanied me quite closely throughout this process, some have turned up after years of not hearing from each other. I have been accompanied to the hospital, by a whole team which has given tremendous support and solidity.

Marieke and I have stayed close and I have fallen in love with her all over again. She is the best thing that ever happened to me in my life, an incredible gem and what has been very rewarding is that all my friends have embraced her just as wholeheartedly as they have embraced me. She never ceases to amaze me in her wisdom, patience and willingness to face each situation as it comes. I have never felt so much loved  in my life by anybody.

From the many messages I have been receiving, what has struck me and touched me, is how many people are connected in some way to the depth and mystery of life, even if it is not expressed in spiritual language. It is not polite superficial a little bit helpless “hope you get well soon” messages I am getting, but deeply aligned and attuned responses that resonate with the depth of what is happening. They are weaving a magical carpet of connection and connectedness, which is truly beautiful.

At the moment I can imagine going in a joyous celebrative mood and atmosphere, surrounded and accompanied by a lot of love and positivity, from people near and far. The main issue that still stays unresolved is the question of physical pain and misery which I haven’t been able to grasp and embrace. This still remains the unknown and the mystery which in my spiritual development I haven’t learned to be with and accept.

When I am out of the hospital and to the extent that I keep up my energy level, I look forward to continuing inquiries, emails, phone calls, letters and exchanges in person with all of you. I have been deeply enjoying all encounters in the past months. The focus and purpose of my life has always been about community building and I feel a huge and unexpected sense of community building in and through this whole process. That deeply touches me.

This is it for now. Our logistics are not well oganised at the moment.
If by chance you feel that we have missed someone on our list, it is simply a mistake. Please forward this to them with a cc to us so we can include them in the future.  On the other hand, if you receive this and don’t want to have all this information in so much detail, that is totally fine as well and we can take you off the list. Please let us know.

I truly enjoy the company of all of you, in all the ways you are providing it for me.

Love, Monika