These are some anecdotes about recovering and getting better, about trying alternative methods of therapies keeping my body in the best shape possible. Accepting my condition and gaining inner peace.
The video “Schindler´s list” had been released just before my stroke. I have no idea why, but three weeks after the stroke I had this urge to watch something sad, really sad, so I asked mom to rent it. She rented the movie as I wanted. When we were watching, I could not help but just laugh and laugh all the time as I was watching this heartbreaking movie like, it was the best comedy ever! I am even ashamed to admit it, but probably at that moment of my life I felt so horrible that all that these people in the movie were going through was like a joke to me. They would just suffer a little and die, but my ‘Auschwitz’ would last maybe 50-60 years or so, till the day I finally die. That was my perspective at that moment in time, just after the stroke. I did watch the movie again about six months later and I cried my eyes out. So the healing process was in progress.
When visiting Bali with my parents in 2004, I got three hours of complimentary massage daily from the hotel. On a certain day, my masseur ‘Putu’ recommended us to go see their village doctor. The village doctor was very experienced and well known, and even ‘National Geographic’ did a piece about him. We decided to give the man they called ‘grandfather’ a try.
The visit to ‘grandfather’ for a healing massage turned out to be a whole experience. First of all to get to his house was already an adventure. It was a two-hour car trip. Along the way, we saw sweet little monkeys. The road over the volcano was narrow and winding, and it rose above the clouds. The car engine screamed so loud it was impossible to hear any conversation. And then the roads, they couldn’t have been more winding. I thought for sure I would vomit. At certain moment, we stopped beside a ravine for a while and ‘Putu’ massaged me back into shape.
When we finally got there, I was like; ‘oh Jesus’, the house was at the bottom of a deep crater. There was no way I could get there in a wheelchair. A short, slim yet muscular man started walking our way. It was ‘grandfather’. He was around sixty years old, black hair and had lively brown eye. Very talkative but, unfortunately, he did not speak a word of English. After greeting us, this little man lifted me up out of my chair and carried me down to his house in his arms. Can you imagine how afraid I was going down that ravine in this little man’s arms?
I heard that all the locals cried out when he worked on them, but I was ready for him. I was going to take it like a true woman. No pain, no gain. Still I must confess that I didn’t get through the massage without crying. Grandfather’s fingers were like dull knife blades! And he massaged me for three hours straight. After he finished I felt like after a whole body work out; my muscles were as soft as jelly. It felt like I was spinning in a blender for three straight hours. But this painful experience made me feel in a way like I have not felt after the stroke. My body was so loose; my muscles were so relaxed, it felt wonderful.
It was just a prelude to things to come. As ‘grandfather’ said that the first session was just to fix the muscles, the real therapy was still to come. I went back nine more times till the end of the vacation. Although it wasn’t a cure, it was still worth doing just for the way I felt every time I came out of that crater.
‘Grandfather’ had forbidden me to eat sour fruits, juices as well as drinks with ice in them after my first massage. That is everything that I liked. He said my body wasn’t in balance. Now I have to give up drinking orange juice at home. They serve me cooked red rice for breakfast, luckily I like it.
I had still another healing experience while being in Bali. I am a bit embarrassed to admit to all the different healings I’ve gone along with.
First we drove to ‘Denpasar’ to the poorer part of the city. We drove up a narrow one-way street till the end of it straight up to someone’s apartment. It looked very poor, and it was a total shock to me. The healer, a stocky man, wearing only a sarong and a big piece of chewing tobacco poking from his lips, was waiting for me and lifted me onto some platform. The man frightened me from the beginning to the end of my treatment. He never spoke to me the whole time I was there and didn’t even try to make any eye contact.
He took a bamboo stick that was a few centimeters thick and broke a 20 cm long piece off. Then the so called ‘examination’ began. First he applied some oil to my right shoulder and then began to tap the area around my shoulder with a stick, after a while the pain grew intolerable. He carried out this procedure on my all my joints in the same way. Sometimes I was crying out loud because the pain was too much for me. When he reached the soles of my feet, it was too much even for me. I don’t, usually, give in to pain, but this time I said: “ENOUGH!”
As a souvenir of my visit, I had some fine looking black and blue marks on my body that I tried to hide from my Dad all week. I was furious after that treatment. That evening I told my mother that I must be so damn stupid. To let someone beat me with a stick before I realize that no one can help me. Only I and I alone can help myself. I just have to accept things and move on with my life. That was the last time I visit a healer. There is only one healer in this world who you can truly trust, yourself. All it takes is a change in your attitude in the way you think. That insane experience was VERY GOOD in an alternative way. Not physically but it made me understand something very simple and profound.
Usually, people see me sitting all pretty in my ‘Black Rolls Royce’ (wheelchair) legs crossed, and hands always nicely set one on each other, not looking paralyzed. Suddenly I move my fallen elbow back onto the hand rest, and people pretty much have a stroke of their own.
I can’t imagine what kind of motionless picture I give to people, how they envision it. It is hard to explain; you have to see it, to understand it. If you see me in the chair, I may look like a shallow doll. What do you want; all I can do while sitting in my chair is move my neck, raise my elbows a little and stretch my legs. Only in a pool it is a little different, and I´m like a different woman then. I can walk when therapist holds me a little. It requires allot of strength and will power, but it is possible (and yes, yelling does help). I can do push-ups and sit-ups in the water. I can kick and even run in tiptoe way there. When I swim I´m on my back, and I just kick. My head is on therapist`s is shoulder for support. When I don’t feel like, I have the power to kick I swim like a dolphin. I ask my assistant to put music on to inspire me. I have this special playlist that Henning made for to empower me to go on. Just like they do in ‘Aerobics’ or ‘Zumba’.