1st Circular Letter, December 2008

Dear beloved friends and fellow travellers,

I can’t begin to tell you how all the thoughts, love, support, flowers, presents, rituals and healing you have sent my way have effected me! It was just an amazing wave of light that enveloped me and I am convinced has contributed crucially to my healing and altered the course of my illness.

It has been an experience of feeling connected and part of a wide network that touches me deeply as I have been a “loner” for great parts of my life. So thank you, thank you all! You all found words that gave me inspiration and comfort, it was coming from such a heart level!

Please excuse this circular letter, be assured that I connect individually with you when I read your mails and letters and every one is very unique and I savour them one by one. But I am still weak and cannot manage more than a couple of e mails a day. But I want to give you a sign of life and of my appreciation and connect back with you.

I have been out of the hospital now for 2 and a half weeks. The first period we spent in our office/home in Zandvoort at the beach, where there is a lift and I can see the sea from my bed. Since Tuesday we are back in our home in Amsterdam, as I am able to manage the 3 floors of (Amsterdam narrow) stair cases now and logistically it is easier to get to appointments with doctors etc.

Recovery is going slow but steady. It is quite different from the romantic image I had of lying in bed propped up in pillows, reading novels and feeling better every day.. It basically takes all my energy to do the daily basic functions of taking a shower, making myself meals and taking my supplements, then I have to rest.

Marieke is an angel and takes care of all the household chores like shopping and cleaning and bringing me hot water bottles with incredible patience.

I am still dealing with surgery side effects: incontinence (since they cut through a nerve in the bladder) and cramping bowels which still keep me awake at night. But my mobility is increasing every day and every couple of days we even take a walk outside (slow motion!)

The next step will be an intensive 5 and a half week treatment of radiation which will start mid January (so I will not be able to attend the retreat), which I am not looking forward to since the side effects of radiation will hit the same organs that are still effected by the surgery (bowels, bladder), but I have decided to go through with it since my uterus cancer was stage 3 and had spread locally into the cervix, a lymph node and covered a piece of the rectum, so local radiation to clean up any invisible cancer cells still left in the area seems wise. I am not going with chemo, which was also suggested to me, that is where I draw the line, but will trust in the healing powers of my body and alternative medicine to fully recover and heal after the radiation.

So there is still a lot of discomfort, pain and suffering ahead on the physical level and of course also emotionally, since it is not an easy process (dealing with pain and dealing with fear)

What sustains me emotionally and spiritually is my relationship to Marieke, our love and closeness have grown throughout this process, a beautiful unfolding, the inquiries I do almost daily with fellow students and my private session teachers, and the way you all, dear friends, have connected with me and kept me in your thoughts and hearts.

On the inner level it has been and continues to be a very intense process, including facing the possibility of death as well as embracing the potential of full recovery. Priorities shifted big time and my days as a workaholic are over. The situation reveals and brings up many aspects of my structure in a deeper way than I have experienced before. Monika, as we knew her, is not surviving this, which is, indeed, a huge chance and potential. Parts of me I have hidden and disconnected from for ages, like the little one who is fearful and needs a lot of reassurance, or the one that is murderously angry with my father, are coming to the light and being acknowledged. It is an incredible support to have the tools of the Diamond Heart school to help go through this process! I feel I am gaining flexibility, my heart is more open, I come more often into equanimity and even trust is growing, though there are definitely also moments of big misery and despair, which so far I have been able to stay with, preferably nestled in Marieke’s arms.

So thank you to you all, who are sharing this process with me, accompanying me, sharing your own personal stories and experiences, including me in your thoughts and meditations and healing rituals, lighting candles, sending angels, praying for me, sending me important information, beautiful cards, letters and e mails, books and presents, fragrances, oils and encouraging me to think positive and engage fully in this process.

My deeply felt gratitude and love to you all! And my best wishes for peace and contentment during the Christmas holidays!

Monika