Tag Archives: cfsme

Healing: Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra, review

panorama of the neighbourhood from the rooftop of Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra in Kerala, India

Continuing the story of my stay at Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra iin Trippunithura, (near Kochi), Kerala, India. Part 1 is a personal diary of my stay seeking treatment for syndromes, there is also a collection of “Kerala Field Notes” with riffs and lousy snaps about a few other activities while there.

For background on the series, check the Healing Ramble introduction video and follow along for Auroville diary, a rapid exit and then onwards to Nepal and possibly Pacifica, maybe Adelaide. Maybe you already saw the dispatches from Phitsanulok, Thailand. 

Unsurprisingly, there are various photo essays (ephemera, Lomo “spy camera” from a cenotaph in b&w or colour for your amusement), a Remembrance Day podcast and video spiel from Gandhi beach.

Next, (for convenience and hopeful promotion of Dr. Veena’s Ayurveda Hospital – Gmap), sharing a publicly-posted review (under no-longer-secret-pseudonym), ergo:

Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra Review

I recently stayed three weeks in-patient at Dr Veena’s Ayurmantra and found the experience was exceptional due to the kindness and skill of Dr. Veena and Dr. Hamesh. 

After years of shuffling between all manner of specialist doctors with divergent opinions but no solutions besides prescription medications and experiencing little to no improvement, I decided to try a non-traditional approach with Ayurvedic medicine and set out to find a clinic which suited my needs. I wanted a place that was small and attentive and not a “tourist spa”. Further, I sought a place with amenities and cleanliness which would make my stay pleasant.  Continue reading Healing: Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra, review

Kerala Field Notes: painting, rupees, museum, specs, wedding etc

The doors open, you don’t know where you might go, so you go

An omnibus round-up for lousy photos of logistical considerations, various tasks and personal memories in Thrippunithura (Kochi), Kerala, India (wiki), late 2016 while staying at Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra hospital. Please read the related story and consider watching the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series. 

In the neighbourhood

sherbet coloured houses in the neighbourhood 

I sought permission to go out of the house to explore the neighbourhood, and after a while, she relented, warning me of the intense heat. I made a few oil pastel paintings of neighbouring houses which were all “sherbet coloured“ with lime greens, tangerine oranges and lavender which I found delightful.

i stepped out to make oil pastel painting and quickly made pals / note my awsum disposable clothes 

However, as soon as I would sit down with my art supplies, the neighbourhood boys and men would gather around to see what I was doing, ask me dozens of questions, and look on intently at everything I was doing. Continue reading Kerala Field Notes: painting, rupees, museum, specs, wedding etc

Healing: Story of Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra ~ Thrippunithura, Kerala, India

Me and Mr. Mohammed the Ayurvedic practitioner at Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra in Kerala, India

What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin/Kochi, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques. Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff.

Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series. Importantly, this is not meant to be a travelogue or creative writing exercise, just laying out my experience as it came to me. I may include some links to other projects or creations that came out of this, maybe… I’m not there yet.

This entry, from Thrippunithura (Kochi), Kerala, India (wiki), late 2016 and was written during my stay and in the weeks following – hence possible tense shifting and “note-style”. For the record: it’s nowJune 2021, i live in Japan, am stable if far from “normal”.  No advice or sympathy requested or accepted. Carry on. 

Thrippunithura, Kerala, India , Nov. 2016

Intro: On my healing journey, I had tried most every possible medical modality to find some relief, and was determined to try everything which showed reasonable promise a benefit.

A friend from Dubai recommended Ayurveda as a natural and holistic approach, and in a fog – truly, in a really difficult point in my healing process, I investigated 20+ Ayurvedic clinics in India and Sri Lanka – very rapidly and without knowing what i was doing really…, received all manner of different replies, prices and recommendations.

my first cup of Chai in India! such splendid heaven for a dime

I settled on Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra the province/state of Kerala, India due her excellent clear communications and no nonsense approach to the clinic (some seemed dodgy, others were “resorts for yuppies” with very high rates, most told me to “call” and i am not a phone calling type). 

Settling-in

I flew from Thailand (after time doing a load of tests at a hospital in Phitsanulok) to Kochi (aka Cochin), spent two nights in an airport hotel recovering in a bath {note: will share travel tips later in the series}, venturing out only to drink coconut (below) and tea (above) and rolled by taxi to the clinic – exhausted, demoralized, confused but open to anything.

stepping out into “all of the India” to drink a coconut 

The clinic was run by a whip smart woman named Dr. Veena who was sometimes assisted by her husband, a jovial tall thin man named Dr. Hemesh who worked at a regional Ayurveda hospital requiring a long bus ride for him every day. Such chemistry between them ;)

I lived in-patient in this facility for three weeks. My room was simple with the bed, wardrobe and desk and a wet bathroom. For much of the time, I was the only patient in their small three-story facility. Other times, there was a couple from Malaysia.

They also had a wonderful 3-year-old daughter who spent the day with relatives and came home welcoming me with a best hug calling me “Uncle”. The staff included a house lady, and a practitioner, a short Muslim man with a moustache – though almost every man the state of Kerala had a moustache. My 3 week, intensive, in-patient program of traditional Ayurvedic treatments was designed to address chronic pain, pain and heaviness in legs, reduced/uneven sleep. The treatments consisted of various massages with medicated oils, plus inhalations, purging, dripping medicated oil/milk on forehead, eyewashes … plus specific food for body’s needs, meditation time, stretching and a variety of herbal medications.

assorted Ayurvedic medications i took “to go” at the end of my treatment cycle along with Dr Veena’s handwritten direction 

Left with 2 month program of medications (capsules, liquids, ghee, powders…) and advice to avoid cold, avoid acidic food and meat, do yoga stretching and breathing exercises. Day-to-Day

Shirodhara vessel for gently pouring liquids over the forehead 

Continue reading Healing: Story of Dr. Veena’s Ayurmantra ~ Thrippunithura, Kerala, India

Healing: a declaration, about going & becoming ~ Phitsanulok, THA

a certain angle required to unlatch the door to everything which exists “out there”

What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and technique dealing with #MECFS.

Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series.

This entry from Phitsanulok, Thailand  Oct. 2016 riffs in between 2 extended parts of the trip while flashing back on a few parts which we might get to (chronology be danged).

For reference, its now June 2021, i live in Japan, am stable if far from “normal”.  Carry on.

sure, break the glass but the door is still locked

Phitsanulok, Oct, 2016

I wrote this declaration upon waking up,

“This past summer after literally losing my mind {long story, didn’t end well, not recommended}, I decided to step into the abyss, bravely, intrepidly and without compromise.

While holed up at a mountain cabin while chaos swirled around my life, I’d listen to the messages from records stashed in a basement 25 years before like an unintentional time capsule. I hotboxed my beloved old VW bus, which is now a sauna, where so many memories – happy memories – happened. I reunited with charming characters from my past and even better, met their children who were adults, moreso than me anyway.

Then with a solid head of mushrooms and MDMA (therapeutically), a plan came to me. So on this psychedelic carpet, i clicked enough buttons on the internet to purchase an abstract variety of plane and train tickets to send me around like a manic board game in such of a new flavour of truth and reality >> Salt Lake City to Las Vegas to Pacifica to Chaing Mai and now to this rather-anonymous-work-a-day city Phitsanulok where I’m practically the only foreigner in a city mourning the death of their beloved King. I’m finding comfort and solace and healing.

In scant days, I will leave again into (for me) un-charted territory beyond what science and reason says it’s capable of this haggard body, but I refuse to accept anything but finding some sense of joy.

I can live with pain, i accept this (i suppose, begrudgingly but practically), but i cannot accept living without my brain and without my heart and soul. I am born to give, i exist to share and i am empty without these.

Without a safety net, without an emergency escape route, without language skills, without the strength to punch my way out of a wet paper bag, i built a tiny universe and painted the walls just the colour i chose.

So, who will return to the West Coast on December 6th? Will i return? What will i look like? Who will i be? I am indifferent to all of these questions as the destination is simply a byproduct of the journey.

The journey is me and I am the journey, brick by brick, stride by stumble, i will gently apply the mortar to rebuild, to renew, to replenish and regenerate from the very mitochondrial cells outward.

Whatever the results, it will be me.”

all the colours are possible, sometimes, i suppose, beyond the black… “let’s imagine” i suggest

See also: Thunderstorm in the Crash Years & Story of a bath and more to come… next stop: India, come along

Healing: Story of Pitsanuvej Hospital ~ Phitsanulok, Thailand

Rolling around Pitsanuvej Hospital, Phitsanulok, Thailand. I felt very cared for there, thanks to my “handlers”

What follows comes from my erstwhile “Healing Journal” – written/compiled on a foggy meandering journey to various countries (Pacifica, Phitsanulok, Cochin, Pokhara, Dikwella/Galle…) visiting all manner of hospitals, clinics and exploring various healing modalities and techniques.

Shared here more-or-less unedited for posterity (whatever that is) and to shed light to those struggling who might come across this riff. Please watch the “Healing Ramble, introduction” video for context on this series.

This entry, from Phitsanulok, Thailand, late 2016 was written in the weeks following – hence possible tense shifting. (Finally) organized and published May-June 2021 – i now live in Japan, am stable if far from “normal”.  No comments, sympathy requested or accepted. Carry on. 

Phitsanulok, Thailand, Oct. 2016~

[visited this hospital 4 times 2016-18, these notes are from the first 2 visits]

Intro: My various medical diagnoses (central sensitivity syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome / M.E.) are generally diagnoses of elimination meaning, (in brief): finding out what it *isn’t*, and if every other possible thing can be eliminated, these are your diagnoses (given the symptoms etc. blah blah blah).

While there is extensive research for specific bio-markers for these diseases (thanks Open Medicine Foundation et al), comprehensive universal, diagnostic methods do not currently exist (and yeah i know there are loads of folks who have alternate theories, whatever, write your own spiel).

waiting for yet another bus in the rain in Vancouver – was all too much for me. holy anxiety and stress and confusion

While in my [ed note: former] home in Vancouver, Canada, these tests are certainly available, I found the process to be an extremely laborious – ergo: after waiting for specialist referral appointment and meeting, i would be sent for a couple of tests requiring a bus ride to the lab, waiting, dealing with all the commotion and pain (yes) of testing and then following up with the doctor who wouldn’t necessarily give me the “science” behind the results – just a “its fine, nothing to see here”.  The results were *evidently* available on a website, which I found impossible to utilize, and the experience overall was very draining.

As such, I compiled a list of all tests I wanted to undertake, and sought a hospital at which I could do all and “own the data.”

own your data (in a cute folder!)

My thinking is, “the sooner I can eliminate all other possibilities, the sooner I can get on with a proper healing regimen and be assured I was doing everything I could to feel better and heal my body etc.”

getting sensors on for an EEG to check my brain impacted from various injuries and concussions

Continue reading Healing: Story of Pitsanuvej Hospital ~ Phitsanulok, Thailand

Healing Ramble: #MECFS journey to Thailand, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and onwards

Kind of nervous about this project but somehow it feels like a good (or important) idea so here we go… &/or just watch :).

I deal with #MECFS a complicated complex and chronic disease (see below). 

After diagnosis eight years ago (2013), I was kinda ground-up by then-local (Vancouver, Canada) medical system through challenging and ill-advised therapies, a litany of dangerous medications and laborious uneventful tests. Plus my entire life seemed to fall apart… ugh. As such I set out on a meandering journey seeking to figure out what was up with my body and brain and try to find a way forward. Continue reading Healing Ramble: #MECFS journey to Thailand, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and onwards

Mementos: Pedicures, various

These days – what with the M.E.(cfs) and Fibro etc. – slowing me down, I find activities to get me out of the house which requires doing not much but sitting.

While pedicures may not seem like a medical therapy, and they’re certainly not, self-care is important part of my healing journey. Indeed, when feeling frustrated and early days of the illness, I made a list of things I can do which involves sitting down, but get me out of the house, and leave me with a feeling of satisfaction. These ideas include: making scrapbooks, watching matinée movies, sitting in parks under a tree, getting my beard professionally trimmed (rather than chopping at it myself), as well as enjoying pedicures.

As such, on all my healing journeys, I find pedicure places to massage and soothe my feet, trim up my nails, and leave with some colour to decorate. (Noting this predilection often elicits a strange response from the practitioners as painted toes aren’t as common for men as they are for women certainly, but I find this practice quite enjoyable nonetheless.)

In some cases, I paint my toes the colour of a local flag or other traditional local schemes (coconut trees, bamboo, waves…), otherwise I generally stick to shades of blue and green. For the record: Indonesia and Thailand definitely have the best pedicure practitioners (is that the proper term?), but I’m also eager to try pedicures in Vietnam as many manicurists in the USA, come from Vietnam.

In India especially, they thought my practice of painting toes was very strange, as such, i did myself (very poorly yet joyfully nonetheless). In Nepal, they were low on supplies but made do with some rugged polish which was moreorless impervious to removal. Once or twice, i enjoyed a pedicure whilst at sea.

I first started this practice at the advice of a remarkable lady who took me for a pedicure in Vancouver before going to Jamaica the first time at that time, I had Jamaican flags painted on my big toes (not sure i have a photo…). Sometimes i take photos of my toes, not all the time, here are some of mah big ole ugly feets. Sometimes i forget and just take snap of the old colour before replacing. No annotations since i don’t expect anyone will look or care, i mean really, its just photos of my feet – ewwww. Continue reading Mementos: Pedicures, various

Healing Journey: Update, Summer 2018

What i Want… Fully

I want to laugh so hard my face is going to fall off

I want to be hugged and squeezed so hard my ribs might break

I want to be told nice things so much that I blush

I don’t want jealousy or snideness or cynicism or snarkiness or sarcasm

I want kindness and creativity to/for me like I give to others

I want patience, like real honest patience, with no expectations that I will “do anything“ besides bathe and hydrate and rest

I want a safe place where I can spend hours fiddling with papers and pencils and scissors and glue

I want to wake up in the first thing I do is *not* feel pain

I want to lay down on the pillow and fall asleep without twitching and flipping and flopping for hours

I want a night without nightmares

I want to feel that feeling that people call optimism

I want to not think about dying (and relief it would bring) #NotSelfdestructive

I genuinely want people to enjoy the creations I make… and not just people I “know“… like strangers and people “in the wild“

I want respect for my contributions to humanity

I want to rest, like actual invigorating rest where you wake up refreshed

I want gentle adventure

I want to believe what I’m saying and telling other people

I want to cry for an actual reason – not just all the time

I want to nap where I actually fall asleep, not just laying there, staring at the ceiling

I want to be touched, gently

I want to believe in something

I want to be adored

I want to feel important (again)

I know many of these things are called actual “true things“ already… But I want to actually legit “feel” them.

Approximately 98% of my energy is sucked away by simply getting out of bed, bathing and hydrating and (sorta) pulling myself out of depression.

Ease, Desired (alt. 1)

Somebody, kindly lie to me
Tell me I am “going to be OK”
Soon, life will be like driving down Laurel Canyon in 1973
In a Galaxie 500
Top down, radio up
Nothing but possibilities

That I will rest easy… like so many humans do with ease

Someone, kindly lie to me
Whisper I’ve done enough meditating, stretching, giving, therapies, effort
That soon, I will sleep (!) and wake up (!) and every muscle, joint and nerve won’t be on fire
Please, kindly lie to me.

I promise to believe you (for now).

“Unrest” Documentary about CFS-ME

Dave gazes at Rodin's interpretation of the Gates of Hell from Dante's Inferno
Dave gazes at Rodin’s interpretation of the Gates of Hell from Dante’s Inferno

Finally up worked nerve/courage to watch @unrestfilm – Cried & laughed + noted im not alone. So much familiar: documenting, crashing, trying *everything*, endless Drs, so much confusion/suspicion/loss. 5 years along #cfsme & #fibro. Was invincible dynamite before.

Also, was funny in the movie to see her obsessing about mold and putting up a tent (I did this), making bone broth (which I did obsessively and one of my former charges now has a bone broth company), all the supplements (which I spent so much money on!), and all the “superfood“ smoothies/drinks/concoctions… Oh, and also all the Chinese herbal remedies cooked up in a big pot making the whole house smell crazy weird.

PS Unrest the film is on Netflix, iTunes and other places.

Auspicious day

9 years ago today, I presented “fuck stats make art” to a full house at SXSW, scored hash brownies and MDMA in Austin, drank whiskey backstage with the black angels. 11 years ago, signed up for Twitter. Also brother Bob’s birthday.

These days, a challenge to just get out of bed for a cup of tea… I’m really trying to “move on”, find “acceptance” and “close the book on old life” but it sure the fck ain’t easy with such wild & fulfilling actions in my past

#thanksforlistening #nosympathy #freehugs #trying