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Archive for July 2007

Long time no blog.

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I haven’t been the most vigilant blogger this week. I had a couple of distractions, most notably, a blocked, and therefore deaf, left ear. First things first, most important news of the week:

My eldest sister is pregnant again! Yippee for her and her hubby. They are such great parents to little Christopher, who is such an amazing kiddie. He will be on the brink of being two years old when the newbie makes his or her arrival. Sonja and Jannie are over the moon. They are older parents (in their late thirties) so are thrilled that Christopher will have a sibling. Warmest congrats to them!

Second most important news: Michael is going to Italy, to watch the Monza grand prix! His parents are sponsoring him and older brother, Mark, to go on this special trip. How kind of them. The trip is scheduled for mid-September. M says he can’t really get excited until he has his European visa, so hold thumbs for him. He will be going for a week, and hopes to fit in some touristey visits to Rome, Pisa and Venice. How exciting. I am thrilled for him that he is going to get to go.

Travelling to other countries is more important to M than it is to me. My priorities lie in other directions at the moment. So it is really wonderful that he can go with his brother (a HUGE F1 fan) on such a special expedition. Our lives haven’t been that easy for the last couple of years, because of my health. A lot of stress and worry for M, who has stood steadfastly at my side through it all. He deserves this treat 100% and I am so thankful to my in-laws for providing it.

The ear: It has been coming for a while, this thing with my ear. Getting more and more blocked until, on Saturday, it closed up shop completely. I couldn’t hear a thing out of it! Michael was telling me about the Pantheon, which he hopes to visit on his grand tour. Except, I heard ‘panty on’. I said, “What?! You have a panty on.” Talk about a misunderstanding. Good job we got that cleared up, lol.

So I went to the doc today and had it washed out. Had to lean over a basin while she hosed out my ear. (Well, it felt like it). Eventually a wax plug came out, and I could hear again! It wasn’t the best sight though, I must say. She picked it up out of the basin with a piece of toilet paper, and stuck it in my face for my viewing pleasure. Michael says I can be glad she didn’t stick my nose in it and say, “Bad girl. Don’t do it again”. Ha ha. Michael does crack me up sometimes.

Friday past was my four month anniversary for being cortisone free. From now on, I’m setting records all the way. ūüôā

¬†Yesterday, I rather impressed myself in the kitchen. I made custard from scratch. I used to think that making it from custard powder was making it from scratch, lol. But yesterday I actually made it with egg-yolks and milk and sugar, the proper way. It was very pale though, not the usual bright yellow colour. That would be from all the colourants they add in commercial custard. As if it’s gonna taste any better if it’s a bright yellow! Anyway, my custard tasted quite nice. We had it with tinned peaches, a relic from my childhood that I haven’t had in years!

I went for the Quantec therapy, and it was quite successful. I’ll do a separate update on that, though, but don’t expect too much – I still don’t know why I have MS.

Written by Maggie

July 30, 2007 at 3:40 pm

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What a remarkable day today has been. And it’s only 4pm, who knows what could still happen, lol.

This morning my Chi Kung DVD arrived. My mom was kind enough to fetch it for me. I sent it to her post-box, because the post-office where our box is, is a bit of a mad-house these days. Waiting in a queue for half an hour is the absolute norm, and you can actually consider yourself lucky if that is all you have to wait for. By contrast, my mom was the first customer at her post-office this morning, and it was well after nine. She is such a sweetheart. She came to town with my dad this morning and dropped my parcel off for me. Then she went shopping while my dad and I gymmed. 

I was very naive thinking that once I had the DVD in my possession, all would become clear. If anything, I have even less of a clue what is going on now, ha ha. That stuff is hard to do. But I will persevere with it, because the benefits sound amazing. I did have a small, mini-breakthrough earlier. There is an exercise where you have to imagine a golden sun between your hands. And for the very first time, I actually felt the warmth in my hands. Believe me, this is a major breakthrough, forget mini. I’ll say it again: this exercise system is so different from anything we have in the West that it really is a bit mind-boggling for your average westener (me). Watching the DVD does feel pleasingly like being in the class, as I’d hoped. I still feel clueless, but at least I’m part of a class, feeling clueless ūüôā

Today, I had an appointment for a bio-electro-magnetic-therapy session. I saw an ad on the door of one of the toilets at the gym. I was interested, so booked an appointment. The practitioner is a very nice lady. Read on to see just how nice.

Basically, I just had to lie on a bed with magnetic currents in the mattress for twenty minutes, and pay R50 for the priviledge. While doing so, I got to talking with the practitioner, and she was telling me about this other machine she’s got, that is so amazing. She thrust a testimonial of a guy with MS in my hands to read. (Amazing story). Turns out that this machine that she was talking about, is the Quantec technology. I am so interested in this. I was prepared to go to JHB to find someone to do it on me. Remember that disastrous bio-feedback session I went for, where the practitioner upset me so much? Well, this Quantec therapy is what I thought I would be doing that day. Silly me!Apparently the machine is from Germany, and is based on Eintein’s quantum theories. I’ve been reading up on it here, and here¬†and it sounds amazing. Apparently it scans your whole body in a matter of minutes and can tell you exactly what’s wrong, and what’s causing it. And…drum roll…treats it. It kills viruses, bacteria, fungi, you name it. I don’t know enough about it to say much about it, so I won’t. Visit the sites if you really want to know.

So I booked a session for next Tuesday. R200 for an hour and a half. Suddenly, the woman came back to me, and said that she is not going to charge me. I can have as many sessions as I’d like. I can also lie on the magnetized bed when I like, she’ll have the staff lock open for me. Turns out, she is the owner of the gym. She said she wants to help me, and all I need do, is give her feedback. How amazing is that?! She wouldn’t even accept payment for today’s session. I was in such a state of excitement when I got home, it took me about half an hour just to calm down. Yippee! My faith in human nature once again restored! There are such lovely people in the world. Actually, I have quite a charmed life, in many ways.

It occured to me this week that Fingolimod has bought me some time. I don’t want to be on medicine for ever. I want to be healthy, not have to worry what’s around the corner, what the long-term effects of the drug might be etc. I want to have a family of my own, and I can’t do that while on a weird untried drug. So I’m trying to utilize this precious time that it is admittedly buying me.

I’m very grateful to the Fingolimod. I feel quite great. Good enough to pursue all my options, and crack this code. I so want to be well. And I know I will be.

Written by Maggie

July 20, 2007 at 4:30 pm

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Born Anglican

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I went to church with my mom on Sunday, for the first time in years. Well, I did go last year, but that was for a christening. And the year before I went for a dedication.

MS has been a convenient excuse (though mostly valid, especially with the sore back and all the kneeling required). But I’m more than okay to go again, and I really feel that I need to go.

I was raised an Anglican. Now, Anglicanism is steeped in tradition. There’s a specific service that is read every Sunday for the Eucharist (Holy Communion). Since I was little, they did the sung, or chanted, service, where the priest chants something and then the congregation sing, or chant, it back. It is very beautiful, I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed it. I have memories of yawning my head off in church and not paying attention when¬†I was a kid, but on Sunday, the service was so familiar and dear that tears sprang to my eyes. I hope that this means that I am maturing spiritually, even if just a little. Some parts of the Anglican Prayer-book date back to the 1500’s. One could say that something that old has no place in this modern age, but then, something that has stood the test of time and lasted so long, must have something to it. It is very comforting to chant the service, as familiar to us Anglicans as breathing.

I don’t mind a bit of happy-clappy. Nothing wrong with that. But my roots are Anglican, and we’re a staid bunch. It felt like coming home when I walked into that church. There is no strict dress-code. I actually wore jeans, because I didn’t take dressy clothes with for¬† my visit at my parents. And no-one looked at me askance. I was welcomed warmly and told how good it was to see me.

Michael and I were married in that church, St. Anne’s. The same priest that married us is still there, and he was sincerely happy to see me. He shook my hand so warmly, and as we left, he said it’s good to see me looking so well. He said that I stood up and fought back, and said “not me!” (he was referring to my health). I was very touched by that.

All in all, in was a very good experience for me. I intend to become the regular church-goer that I used to be again.

Going to church makes a lot of sense to me. Of course, one needs to find a church where one is comfortable, and feel spiritually stimulated, otherwise what’s the point? My viewpoint is this: at it’s crux, we go to church to praise God with other people. I for one am not disciplined enough to praise and sing all on my own. (Well, apart from bedtime prayers, and I often fall asleep, shamefully enough). If one is disciplined enough to praise and sing, read the¬† bible etc. on one’s own, then great. But a lot of us need some encouragement, and that is why I think the church is important and has its place. And the sense of community garnered from it is important, too.

I can’t wait to go again. Never thought I’d say it. I wasn’t the most enthusiastic church-goer all the years that my sister and I dutifully attended with my mom. But I’m so glad she took us, because some very important foudations were laid. I hope I get the opportunity to drag my own kids to church one day, lol.

Written by Maggie

July 19, 2007 at 10:59 am

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Meerkat alert.

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I saw something quite amazing over the weekend. My mom and I were sitting outside in the sun reading the Sunday papers. Their property has a fairly high white wall running along the one side. Next to it, at the back, is a small enclosure with a large dog kennel built from bricks, that they used to put the dogs in when there were visitors or repairmen around. They haven’t used it in ages, though, and there’s all sorts of rubble lying there. On the other side of the wall, is open veld.

So, while reading the papers, I saw something out of the corner of my eye, flashing by.

“What was that?!” I exclaimed.

I kept looking at the wall, and then to my amazement, a saw a largeish brown meerkat pop over it, right onto the roof of the dog-kennel, maybe a meter from where I was sitting. It was so cute, and close enough for me to see it’s little ears. If I’m not entirely mistaken, that is one of the key differences between meerkats and mongooses, the matter of external ears versus internal. (I speak under correction). Edited to add: Actually, I was speaking total crap here. I did a search, and there was nothing said about ears,¬† merely that the meerkat is a member of the mongoose family. So there you¬† have it on authority.

The meerkat’s attention was totally focused towards the wall and not on me. I looked towards it, and there was a big white cat from next door, just sitting there, watching the meerkat as if it was a large mouse. Then the meerkat starting giving these little dry barks. It’s the first time I have heard them make a sound. It obviously felt very threatened.

The dogs arrived at this stage, but couldn’t reach the meerkat because it was in the enclosure. But the poor little meerkat had dogs barking behind it, and a cat waiting for it to lose concentration in front of it. Eventually, it jumped up and over the wall, and the cat, wary of the dogs, didn’t follow. This whole episode took at least 10¬†minutes. Now that’s what I call entertainment. Animal Planet right in the backyard.

My mom thinks that the meerkat has babies somewhere in the enclosure, because it returned there afterwards. There is definitely something drawing it there.

Unfortunately, there is always the worry of rabies. The dogs have all had their rabies shots, but with a wild meerkat in the vicinity you’d want to look sharp. So cute though.

Written by Maggie

July 18, 2007 at 9:51 am

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Couples who laugh together, stay together!

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Michael and I had a ‘moment’ yesterday. I like to tell crappy jokes. He doesn’t like listening to them so much, though. But yesterday, I came across a real pearler. I had a good laugh when I read it and couldn’t wait to tell him. (I’d like to post it here, but it’s a bit PG. Tempted though). So yesterday evening, during an ad break of The Class (good program that) I remembered, and told him the joke. He was making coffee at the time. About half way through, he started smiling, and asked me, “Where did you get this joke?” When I delivered the punch-line I started laughing (this is my trademark, laughing at my own jokes). I managed to get it out, and we just exploded with laughter. Snorting, and scrunching up our faces, clutching our stomachs. We were laughing more at each other eventually¬†than anything else. The endorphins were flowing, I enjoyed it so much. A belly-laugh like that does so much good.

I’ve always said that the number one characteristic my husband would have to have is the ability to make me laugh. This, Michael delivers in abundance. I consider a day where I haven’t laughed a waste, and those days are rare, with Michael around. The fact that he’s also gorgeous, clever¬†and perceptive is a big bonus, of course.

Edited to add: If anyone would like to read the joke, just ask me and I’ll e-mail it to you. It’s a bit risqu√©, and I didn’t want to put it on my blog. This is a family blog, lol.

Written by Maggie

July 17, 2007 at 10:39 am

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What a wonderful weekend.

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Had an absolutely amazing weekend. Plus, I’m back to my (non-hormonal) self. No wonder I got left behind on Friday, lol. I was acting like a cow all week.

Way too tired to update now, though. Will have to wait till tomorrow.

Written by Maggie

July 15, 2007 at 10:48 pm

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Friday the 13th

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I’m not superstitious, but already this day sucks a bit. I had insomnia last night, didn’t sleep a wink, just lay awake with thoughts whirling in my head. And my stomach is extremely unsettled. I’m feeling hormonal and ready to cry at the drop of a hat.

Michael has gone away for a long weekend to visit his grandfather and his brother. I opted not to go with originally, because he’s going to go cycling in the mountains and play golf, and just generally have a nice sporty weekend. Plus I’m going through a whole lot of stuff of my own. I have been toying with the idea of going with, but didn’t want to end up disappointing him if I felt sick again, which changes on a day to day basis. Anyway, this morning when he walked out the door, my heart gave an unanticipated lurch in my chest, prompting me to fling two days worth of clothes in a bag and phone him on his cell. He was at his sister’s, picking up his two young nephews who are going with for the trip to visit their cousin for his birthday. Their house is five minutes drive away from us. Anyway, I asked if there’s room in the car for one more.

He said yes, then phoned me back to say that actually there isn’t room, and it’s going to take a lot of time to pack stuff out and make room.

Fair enough. He spent a lot of time last night strategically packing his golf-clubs, bicycle and luggage in the car. I tarried too late, and lost my spot, lol. I guess it could be classified as buggering him around. What can I say? Typical woman. I had a little cry after that, but I’m okay now.

I can’t face sleeping alone tonight, though. Normally, it doesn’t bother me, but I don’t feel my normal self, which is why I’m acting so weird. Maybe I’ll go for a girly night at my sister’s, and spend some time with her darling little boy.

At least M will be keeping a blog (using his fancy new cell-phone) to¬† keep us updated. (My SIL will particularly be enjoying that so she can keep track of her boys). Anyway, I had to smile this morning when he told me his URL. It’s

Isn’t that adorable.

Edited to add: This morning’s saga played out at 4am. And I’m never at my best in the morning. So today’s soundtrack is definitely Gwen Stefani’s 4 in the morning. Such a sad song, of course.

Written by Maggie

July 13, 2007 at 8:57 am

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Remember a while ago when I was waxing lyrical about washing the dishes? Or rather, being able to wash the dishes. Well, lately I’ve been getting complacent about it. It kind of lost its novelty, know what I mean? Ha ha.

Then last week, I hit the skids a bit again. Suddenly, washing dishes seemed like a major attraction once more, lol. I have to laugh at myself sometimes.

Thing is (and it took me a while to jerry to this) my MS reacts to PMS hormones. It’s happened too many times to be coincidence. Indeed, it’s become my catch-phrase. I can handle one or the other (PMS or MS) but not on the same day. And I’m not just talking about the usual irritability, of which I am normally fairly immune (although M might disagree! ūüėČ ) No, I’m talking about actual exacerbation of MS symptoms. To the extent that I think I’m starting to have a relapse. I really thought (and was quite depressed at the prospect) that the Fingolimod wasn’t as good as I’d thought, and that I was indeed having (another!) relapse. This week, it seems to have receded. Thankfully.

My mom mentioned to me that there seems to be a correlation between the two. I kind of¬† knew this, but this was the first time that I realised that the correlation may be bigger than I’ve thought.

Is this why women are twice as likely to get MS than their male counterparts? Is this why pregnancy is generally so beneficial to MS? I know there are actually trials currently in place testing the clinical effect of the pregnancy hormone, estriol, on MS. What is the missing link here? It’s right under our noses. And yet, why are there men that get MS at all, if this is the case? Makes no sense.

On the other hand, PMS can be a bitch, and generally makes everything seem worse. I think the chocolate industry owes a lot to PMS, I really do.

I did a yogalates session this morning. I was getting a bit bored with it, honestly, but it turned out to be a very successful workout. And for the first time, I was able to do all the ‘moves’ properly. Progress indeed. I’ll give it another month and then I’m moving on to Workout 2.¬† Success does breed success. My abs may not look like much yet, but they are starting to feel like, dare I say it…steel! No, only kidding. But they are feeling tighter than their former, droopy-drawers selves, for sure.

Written by Maggie

July 10, 2007 at 3:07 pm

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In love

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I am besotted in love. With a song: Freshly Ground’s I’d Like. I’ve always loved it, since the first time I heard it, but now I have it in my possession, and I just about swoon from pleasure when I hear it, lol. That girl has the purest voice I’ve heard in a long time, and the way the song is put together is amazing. It’s wonderful that there is talent like that in South Africa.

Also listening to Golden Oldie: Sh-boom (Life could be a dream, sweetheart).

And rapping a bit with Beyonce and Jay-Z’s Check Up On It, the theme from the new Pink Panther movie. Cool song that.

And Gwen Stefani’s 4 in the morning.

What would life be without music? The rough times would be rougher, and the sweet times just not as sweet. 

But I suppose I’d better go and do something constructive, much as I’d like to sit and listen to music the whole day, lol.

Yes, something constructive like breakfast! No wonder I’m hungry, ten o’ clock and I haven’t eaten yet.

Written by Maggie

July 10, 2007 at 10:19 am

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A lasagne making, yogalates practitioner.

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That’s me. I’ve officially completed my first month of Yogalates.

The Yogalates (and Pilates) promise goes as follows:

After a month, you will feel the difference.

After two months, you will see the difference.

After three months, you will have a whole new body.

After one month, I can confirm that I definitely feel a difference. My back is less sore, my hips/ knees are more flexible, and my posture is loads better. Can’t wait for the end of month 2. I’m quite proud of myself for keeping this up. Mind you, there’s a lot at stake. I was so tired of going around with a sore back I would have done¬†absolutely anything.

Yesterday, I decided to make (what used to be my all-time favourite) lasagne for M and myself. When I think of lasagne though, I think major work. Nuh-uh! Not anymore, thanks to my new, throw-it-all together method. I cheated, and bought a packet white-sauce and a tin of tomato relish instead of making the meat sauce myself. So all I had to do was cook the (extra-lean)¬† mince, cut up some fresh mushrooms and green-pepper, and then layer the white sauce, pre-cooked lasagne sheets and mince in a pan, throw on the grated cheese (courtesy of Michael) and voila! 30 minutes of baking later we had a lasagne fairly indistinguishable from the one’s I used to slave over for hours. And at least a step above those lasagnes that come in a box from the supermarket. No energy is the mother of invention, lol.

Written by Maggie

July 8, 2007 at 3:00 pm

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