Red, cast iron, small, mechanical = squee!

This is a bottle jack, to jack up our car. It can take up to 2 tonnes (200.000 kilo).

It is fire truck red. All mechanical. Cast iron. Small. Costs about 25 euro. I LOVE IT.

I never saw one before. I cannot believe there’s an industry making these small, functional, robust things. It’s perfect for women!


I want one in every colour.


On the Way.

The past ten days I started feeling better. I am now confident to say: this thing is working. The Copper shedding is getting less, the symptoms are getting less. I have more energy but less of the high-pitched maniacal sort.

pic by David Ritter

I am hoping the robust health I’ve already achieved underneath the CFS-like symtoms the Copper induces will start shining trough now.

I can have larger doses of the Zinc now, up to 15 mg per day. Essential is that I have some Methyl-B12 and folinic acid with every meal. And vit.D3 to get the day started. And Progesteron cream to aid the Methylation Cycle, not just to balance my hormones.

With the folinic acid I noticed my body has an active craving for it, as soon as I hold the pill in my hand. It took a while for me to decide if this is the legitimate feeling of “want that! need that!” or the more addictional craving like “want that! WANT that!“.
The last one should not be fed. Each and every food or substance that induces that feeling inside me is bad for the system: sugar, rancid oils in chips/crisps, E261, fast food, food additives, drugs and nicotine (I presume)

pic by Alison Taylor

It is a wonderous feeling, to have your body actively indicating it wants something badly. I had it with the food supplement Lithium, years ago. I have it with Demeter products such as full cream butter versus commercial foods. I have it with unpasteurized cheese (“Boerenkaas”) versus most cheeses available at the shops. I have it with the one sunsoaked blackberry in the hedge versus the little waterballoons sold at the shops. But that last one is probably dictated by my mind, with me being in the field with the bees and the dragon flies and all that.
The other ones can be checked with a double blind experiment. And they have.

pic by Enrica Bressan

Other substances that my body needs do not give that reaction. The progesteron cream for example. As soon as I apply it my body relaxed. But up front, without touching it, there’s no indication it benefits from it. Weird.

Anyway. The Folinic acid.
I checked online what other people take as doses. I checked only with people who have the same DNA mutations as I do.
They vary from 800 mcg to 3,2 mg to temporarily doses of 7,5 mcg.
Up untill now I was careful not to exceed 1,2 mg but now I will up the doses to (not more than) 3,2 mg. In small nibbles through the day, whenever my body needs it to process food. It’s half time is six hours so that’s breakfast, brunch, late lunch and (small) supper at 16 hour. Brunch being the main meal and meals getting smaller after that. No meal bigger in volume than one fist. To stop insuline from happening.

A volume bigger than this will trigger insuline, even if it’s just a sugarfree salade.

My research was on the forums of and on the forums of ME site of
Here are the people who find their way through the same wild lands of pioneering medicine as I am.

As I felt a bit better I did two things: I took a week long holiday in Ireland and I drove 500 km in my own car on a Summersday.

pic by Alan Witikoski awitikoski

The holiday was nice but an attack on the system. My bile stopped flowing (I have no idea why) so I had minimal uptake of nutriënts and minimal shedding of toxins for ten days. Only four days after returning to the cabin my bowelmovements started to look nice and dark again and my body felt better.
During the holiday, my hydrocortison kept me going. Which is a risky means to an end.

There were lovely moments in Ireland, staying with my aunt in a cabin of her own. Us having meals together at the table, with real crockery, the lovely chatting,  us laughing at her chickens. It was great!

pic by Michael & Christa Richert

Once home I was on my own again at my cabin, still on a high from the travelling. It is evigorating, don’t you find? Being part of the global community. Looking at other parts of the world, renewing your eyes for your own part.

That’s in part why I grabbed my car and made a big tour through the Netherlands. I went to all the provinces in the North. I had my car equipped with supplies: salted water; gingerbuttercake; a few grapes; lavendel oil; a lazy chair and crochet projects and a book and a sketch book to have rests whenever I felt like it.
It felt great! Being on the road, going wherever I wanted to go, seeing landscapes change, see other people driving and being free. Wasting petrol because sometimes you can just go and waste petrol because you LIVE.

I saw a stork on a lamp post. I felt such freedom and independence. I still do.



Now I am back home again, in the cabin. And, with my somewhat clearer mind, I have started working again, on one of my five jobs: designer. Or illustrator, to be more precise. I’ll show you if I got some actual things. Right now it’s in that precious state of nursing and not talking too much about it lest it withers before it came alive.

pic by Jean-Paul Brouard

Settling Dust.

I’ve settled down a bit.

10 days ago was the first day that I found peace with -once again- being able to only do one thing per day. I was “a good little patient” once again. Resigned to spend my day keeping my priorities in check:

  1. safety (check gas, check locks, check where you walk, no multi-tasking)
  2. food (enough, healthy, easily digestable)
  3. hormonal balance (progesteron, cortisol, no stress, managing weird brain chemistry)
  4. everything else

I was plenty busy keeping the first three in check. Anything else (a hobby, a blog post, social meeting, working, keeping the house tidy, being presentable to the rest of the world) only came about if there was time and energy left. There were not many days with either.

But 10 days ago things changed. I had settled. My body had grown accustumed to the new regime and had -hopefully- shed some of the worst heavy metals. Especially the Zinc that brought about Copper detoxification (which looks remarkably like ME or Chronical Fatigue with a big side of PMS)was doing its job.

Which was when I decided to up my dosage of Zinc to speed up the Copper shedding….  The day I did that was awful! I was ridiculously tired, ridiculously wired and totally hormonal. To which no progesteron cream helped. Which is a sign that this was pure brain chemistry running wild. I cried and cried about stupid things and silly things. I was desperate. All the while knowing it must be Copper excess. But knowing something doesn’t make you feel different. Not with chemicals doing pinball in the brain.

In the end all I could do was cry on my husbands shoulder, drink lots of water and go to bed early to leave this day behind me.
Saturday I was still a bit shaky. Sunday I was at peace again.

It is a very tricky process. But I feel lucky that each time it is confirmed: as soon as my body manages to get rid of the waste, I feel good again. I feel very fortunate that my recuperation time has sped up too. One, two days. No longer weeks or months like it was the last few years.

This Methyl-B12, Folinic Acid, Zinc, vit D, Lithium etc. are really working.

Then last week a little miracle happened. I was back in the cabin after a few tiresome days in the city. I drove myself (and the cat) to and from the city which was a victory all by itself. The plan was to rest hard because there was a birthday party I was looking forward too and after that another busy week in the city with a wedding party as its finale.

But something was bugging me: in the fields near me they are planning to build a manure-factory. A big installation that converts all kinds of manure into some usable gas. It’s one of the biggest plants in Europe that they are planning. 50 trucks of manure will come by my house every day, the stuff has to be transferred into the plant, has to be treated. It’s A Big Thing. With lots of noise and odour emission.

The process is in the planning stages. The first stage has been concluded: the permission has already been granted. Now is the final stage where people can object in court and that stage is nearly finished. The last day to file any claim was Wednesday.

I didn’t know they were planning this thing as I don’t follow the news because it stresses my system too much. And none of the neighbours had thought to inform me. It’s a strange dynamic when something like this happened. Everybody feels alone, on their own. And inadequate to battle something this big.

I only found out about the plant the week before. Of course I was stressed by this but I too had resigned to fate, I had chosen to be a supportive neighbour. Farmers would be able to get rid of their manure. It’s a piece of technologie. I could learn to appreciate it. Especially when given no choice.

pic by Nino Satria

That Wednesday I woke up with a dilemma. Today was the last day for an objection to be filed. I have a background in both planning and engineering and I could study the technical and policy reports and see if there was something there to object to. Even though I had never done such it thing. But it would mean a busy day, without the rest. I could get ill. Jeopardy the birthday, the week in the city, the wedding. There was no garantee for succes.

My husband advised me to stay out of it. “Choose your health.” This was the responsible thing to do and my inclination. Although I find it very difficult to let a chance pass I have learned to do so. It only stings until you say the word. Once you’ve made the decision there’s disappointment to deal with but no longer the strain of coulda-shoulda-woulda.

Just to get a little extra confirmation I posted the situation on where my fellow knitters reside. They know me. They have seen me crawl my way back to better health, they know how fragile it still is.

To my utter surprise they said: “Go for it.” Unanimously. “Don’t hold back, go do your research and file a claim. You are the one that can do this.”

I didn’t do as they said per se but their views did open up the possibility in my head to spend one or two hours on the material. See if something’s there. If there is, proceed. If there is not, rest. (strangely enough I had not thought of this approach before. I was all GO/NO GO)

Anyway, that’s what I did. I ploughed through the county policies. Devoured the technical noise reports. Chewed on the technical odour testings. And nearly choked. There was something verrrrry weird there!

I checked and checked and could not believe it but it was 100% true: the technical research that had facilitated the county to stretch the legal odour limits which was necessary for the plant to be allowed to operate and douche 1km2 with its stench was solely based on ….. four people….. sniffing three odour samples. Resulting in one number (10,9) that was used in all the legal documents and policies as prove that the plant would not smell that bad at all. Research had proven it!


Research had indeed proven it.

10,9 was the mean in a range from 2,2 to 22,5. Anything under 5 means people cannot stand the smell and no one should be subjected to it. Let alone to use this number in areas where people live. By taking the mean all those values under 5 had been conveniently disregarded.

4 people. One of them must have had a stuffed nose because there were some weird results in the spread of their findings.

They each sniffed 3 samples. Two smelled terrible, as all four people seemed to agree, even the one person with the stuffed nose. Numbers ran from 2,2 to 8,6. The third sample was odourless so it seemed because it got much higher numbers and that one person even gave it 22,5.

This was the sample that dragged the mean from below 5 up to 10,9 and gave the council and the county a political stick to force this plant upon us with. This was not a sound use of either math or the sniffing results.

I was thrilled! And exhausted. By now it was midday. I had not rested. I still had hours of work to mold this knowledge into a legal document. I took a little lie down. After that I called one of the neighbours whose number I found on a document from the previous stage. He was so friendly! He encouraged me and I found a second wind.

I wrote the paper. It’s not 100% clear, it has spelling mistakes, it has some internet-generation language in it. Frivolity even. I lost valuable time and health trying to find my way through the administrative process (where do I file, how do I file).

In the end I had a few minutes left, no time to proofread anymore, I pressed SEND. I was exhilarated!

I called more neighbours. I emailed the action committee of whose existence I had just learned. I wrote my knitter friends. Called my husband. Everybody was cheering. It was such a rush! I had found a gem, deeply hidden in the technical reports, and now there’s a serious change the judge will revoke the planning permission. Who would have thought that in that little patch of woodland, there was a little engineer that could?

pic Mateusz Stachowski

It took another two hours for my heart to stop pounding and me settling for the night.

The next day I drove myself to the birthdayparty and had a lovely day. I had my priorities for the day all checked: safety, food, balance. One hour into the party I did discover I was wearing my dress inside out but that’s a thing that is firmly placed in priority bullet number four: everything else. My friends didn’t mind. Neither should I. (of course I do! I felt stupid. And well on my way to becoming that weird little old lady…)

pic by Alan Eno

All in all this has given me an appetite. I really had fun, studying those reports. Writing their conclusions in my own words. I never told you, did I? That my Master thesis was a design with a Philosophical treaty about how planning engineers should approach the different parties ethically. And which language they should use (the language the other party understands, not the jargon one is used to use oneself)

It was a bad thesis anyway, filled with young cockiness. But it does illustrate my love for understanding something technical and rewording it in a language the reader understands.

I’m sure this experience and the joy I got from it will lead me somewhere and you will recognize it in my future and can say: “I knew it!”  :)

All in all I did a full days work. And I LOVED it.

Now I’ve even started dreaming about having a real job for real. One of the first warnings that comes to mind is that I should do what I want, not what I can. So making cat illustrations should be a more likely choice of direction than consulting for people who want to take on planning permissions. Please try and remember, Anna.

Well, isn’t that a miracle week?

pic by C. Graat

here now a few tidbits I’ve been meaning to share:

– I’ve bought a car. For me. It has brought me out of my isolation. I’m no longer trapped in that piece of woodland. I’m no longer dependent on the weekly trips to and from the city my husband makes. I can go when I want to. driving itself it still very tiresome but the idea that I can really lifts my spirits. I put an emergency knitting project into the glove box.

– driving the car in the Summer makes me think of my mother’s mother a lot. I admire her.

– I still mourn my grandmother very much. I am annoyed by how this surprises me. And how familiar these feelings are. And so unfamiliar too. I am deeply sad by losing this connection to the women who make up my family.

– each day is a struggle healthwise. But it’s no longer an uphill battle.

– my GP was delighted by the results and course I presented to him. I got warm handshakes and a request for help for one of his other patients. I was so relieved he understood everything I said. To him, biochemical talk is normal.

– Only last week I thought about the french numbers for 7,8,9 and 10: sept, huit, neuve, dice. They align with the months: Septembre, Ottobre, Novembre and Decembre. Too much similarity to be a co-incidence! Which would mean they are meant to be month nr. 7,8,9 and 10. Not 9,10,11 and 12.

A little googlygoogly affirms this. Roman years started with March. There you go. I thought I had an interesting thought but it was nowhere unique.

– Should I tell you about my thought about penstrokes and numbers or would that be too obvious too? See, Japanese numbers 1,2 and 3 are made out of one, two, three penstrokes. I think our Western numbers are too. One is a vertical stroke. Two is two horizontal strokes but someone forgot to lift their pen/stift from the paper/clay. Three is three horizontal strokes, again dragging your pen/stift.

I could go on, I’ve thought it through for quite a lot of numbers. Four is supposed to be a little square box. It’s botched.  Five could be a box too (or two vertical strokes). Six is a circle. Zeven is a long vertical stroke with a strike through. And on.

– I’ve found a way to write and not get stuck: do it in blog form. Perhaps I shall start a blog about the bacteria. I have all the information and the fascination. Weirdly enough I might have to wait until Novembre again. It seems my interests follow the seasons too. Just like my preference of colours.

– I am sewing couture dresses for myself. I’m teaching myself and have now finished two (practise) dresses. They are acceptable. And their fit is amazing. Having a nice dress, handmade and customfit, is a very pleasant luxury! I wear it with glee in the city. I wear it in the house, sitting up straight and feeling good.

– I’m really bored with how long everything takes and how little I can do. In my mind I have sewn five dresses already, in reality I have to wait for the day that I can sit up one hour at a time and have my first priority-ducks in a row before I can get anything fun done.

back seat, sitting back

I’ve been through a couple of tiring weeks. I’ll need at least a few more to recover from them. So not much news or progress. It’s mainly regaining and maintaining an acceptable level of energy.

in between: I bought a car. A new used one. This will break the isolation I live in when I’m in the cabin. In my head I am now free to go and visit knitter friends. It is a knitters car!

and I am sewing a dress! With real couture techniques. But it’s something I can only do in the city. Somehow I’ve got to wear my smart lady shoes for it. Good thing I like the city!

I like learning to sew and doing this. And it yields a usable, flattering result to bet! Did you know there’s a whole sewing community online? With a lót of women who like to sew vintage patterns, with lots of couture techniques. There are a lot that approach this engineer style too.

I am documenting my progress in another blog: BumbleSews. I have nearly finished my first ever dress. It only needs a hem, a pressing and some magic.

The third piece of news I’ve got is this: I got my genome checked. I send some spit to a lab in the USA and they send back a bunch of letters and numbers that basically is a recipe for me. A pattern. A DIY menu.

Very interesting! Seams Seems my vit. D receptor is broken…. as is my B12 converter. I also should avoid heroïne and lepra as I am extra vulnerable to those. Oh. OK.


these are my results for genes that code for the Methylation Cycle. This table was generated by Genetic Genie, a wonderful initiative.

These are just some of the thousands of genes. But very important ones. Because the Methylation Cycle is VERY IMPORTANT. Unfortunately I am too tired to understand the full impact very quickly. This is a nuisance because I am used to understanding things quickly. Especially new fields.

All I’m doing these days is freaking myself out, reading about the interpretations of those few genes that are not perfectly good. Estrogen dominance, lithium depletion, heavy metal toxidity, autism, vit D shortage…. it’s all there, written down in my genes.

There are solutions: ingest the things you cannot make yourself. But you have to do this carefully. Too much too soon will release too much toxins at one. But I am too tired to draw up a good plan for this.

I keep reminding myself I got this old, with these genes, and I will live with them for a few more weeks at least so there’s no need to try and understand and fix it all today. *tongue in cheek, I expect to live longer than a few weeks with these genes*

I also find it difficult to match the different scales of things.

I was at ease with working on the big scale: mental, spiritual, amygdala, nervous system, relaxing each day, meditation/yoga (if these were my cups of tea), happiness, living life.

The smaller scale I handled too: food, supplements, hormones, muscles, specific organs, skin.

But this new scale: cells, amino acids, methylation cycle, molecules. It’s all new. Well, I read about it when I first fell ill and I took supplements that work for cells in petri dishes. But it was all theoretical.

Now that I have practical knowledge of what is going on inside my cells and what is nót going on, I am freaking myself out.

And I have difficulty connecting these three scales with each other.

I shouldn’t even try. I should focus on resting and recuperating from the weeks behind me. I have no brain cells left for this intellectual work. I should sit back and smell something.