Dear Family & Friends:
I have bad news about Margreet. She's in the hospital in Sneek, a town
near where we live. She was admitted last Thursday afternoon after it
became clear that the loss of her left side arm and leg, which has been
in a progressive worsening condition for the past two weeks, was not due
to what they (doctors and physiotherapist) had been thinking, stress,
over-excersion from work and/or psychosomatic from accumulated emotional
stress from many years. They've done many tests, including an MRI and
they've found a tumor in her brain. Very deep in the brain and
We are now waiting for this Monday for all the experts around here,
including an neurosurgeoun from Groningen, to see the results of the
tests to determine what the best course of action will be.
Quemotherapy, radiation or laser surgery. We expect that she'll be
moved to the academic hospital in Utrecht, which is recognized as the
best neurosurgery hospital in Nederland, by the end of the week, if not
before. It depends on the availability of beds.
On a "normal" person this could be a situation of a possible survival
rate of 3 to 6 months, or perhaps a year in the best of cases. However,
this is MARGREET, so we don't expect this at all.
After going through the stages of shock, despair, anger, crying and so
forth, we've come to see this happening as an incredible blessing.
On the first night she was in the hospital, she kept remembering people
saying about this type of situation to keep fighting to the end. But
she thought, I can't pick a fight. I always loose. So she looked at
her brain and looked for the tumor, just to see what it looked like.
She saw a little creature that reminded her of Mickey Mouse. So, he's
Mickey now. Then she talked with him and figured that he'd been trapped
in her brain and made a pact with him. If he promised to not grow, or
even shrink a bit, so he'd have a little more space and be more
comfortable, she would take him everywhere. We'll even go to Disneyland
Paris, take him to Connecticut to meet Jean-Luc, and so forth. So, she
felt much more at ease the next morning.
Next day she asked the radiologist that made the MRI if she could see
the pictures to get a better idea of Mickey. Marcia was here also so he
was very glad to show them to her. Marcia was shocked at the size of
it. Much worse that she had hoped. It's been growing there perhaps for
years. The loss of power of her left side is due to the inflammation of
the tissue around it, so she's getting medicine to reduce it and she's
now, 2 days later, beginning to get her power back on her leg.
On Thursday night we called and informed the family about the situation
and also some of our friends in California that practice Healing Touch
and asked them to set up their prayer meetings and the long distance
healing sessions. There are now a whole network of churches of several
types and groups that are praying for her recovery. So, the spiritual
side is covered, but if you do that sort of thing, please do it and send
her your/His/Her good spirit. The more the better.
On the material side... as I mentioned, Utrecht has the best hospital
for the type of care needed. Marcia, being in the healing arts in that
city, is busy searching, with the help of her doctor colleagues, for the
BEST surgeon in that field. She has a great network of people in all
areas of health fields, including social support groups, so we'll be
certain to get the best support that we can, which is very people
Mars and Douwe are going to get a prebuilt modular building to place in
the back garden of their house so that Margreet can move into it and not
have to deal with stairs to go up and down to the shower and bathroom.
After her treatments she'll need to be close to the hospital and they
live some 10 minutes from it. I'll be able to live with them, sleeping
in the guest room, so I can visit her while she's going through the
treatments. When she comes back she'll be close to the family,
specially Arianna and the new baby who is expected to be here in two
weeks, which is all that she's wanted for a long time.
On that respect, tomorrow she'll ask the doctors if it makes any
difference to start the treatment two or three weeks later, so that she
can be in good shape (relatively speaking) when the baby is born, and so
that Marcia won't be distracted by her treatment condition, which I
understand can be pretty awful.
So, although 'rational minds' would say that she's in a terrible
situation with very little chance for survival, we think it's quite the
Marcia told her that just a couple of weeks ago she and Douwe had been
talking about figuring out a way to get us both to live somewhere near
their house. They think we are a good influence on Arianna and will do
the same for the new kid. Also, Douwes business is growing a lot and he
could use my help, which I would definitely like to do, but sometimes is
not possible because we live so far. And now that it looks like Peak
Oil is already here, I've been afraid that in the near future it will
become prohibitably expensive to make these 150km trips every week to
babysit the kids and help Douwe with his business.
We've also been saying for a long time that we'd like to move there.
Margreet has this image of the children coming to the house after
school, to visit Oma (Grandma) and would like nothing better than that.
She has also mentioned that she would like to be able to quit her job,
since it's very physically stressful and the company doesn't seem to
care about the working conditions of its employees (New management
techniques for Nederland, influenced by the American model of business.
Disgusting!) Now that she can't work, and her mother is here no more,
there is no reason for us to remain here, so we've decided that the
logical thing to do is to move out of here and close to Mars and Douwe.
The reason she needed to keep working is that she needed 3 more years of
work to qualify for a pension. Now she'll be getting medical disability
so she doesn't have to work.
Seems to be one of those situations of "Be careful what you wish, for it
may become true"... (Wait! Wait! I didn't mean *THAT!*) Well, here it
is, and if what we are thinking is not a total denial kind of thing
(only time will tell) we'll be better off than we were before. We are
bracing ourselves for some very hard times up ahead due to the therapy,
and we'll help her as much as we can, and we know that she won't become
an "old grandma", but whatever time remains, whether it's 6 months or 6
years (and hopefully more), we'll make the best of it and be very
thankful for the blessings we receive. (It is amazing how the level of
importance changes when mortality becomes real)
Anyway, if you'd like to call her (remember the time difference), the
number in the Sneek hospital is: (country code 031) then 515 488 667
Don't be sorry, she's feeling good about what is happening.
Miracles are happening by the hour :) Last night Mars found that one of her neighors has a contractor brother and though he's very busy (he was going to send one of his assistants to survey the place, but just called her this morning to tell her that he's coming personally to do it) he's agreed to upgrade the little building that stand in the back of their house, and he can start next week, so it will be much better that a prefab thing we were thinking about.
This is turning into an amazing experience.