No sad song, but a song some times out of tune!

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Forum topic by mafe posted 10-12-2010 12:31 PM 1897 views 2 times favorited 35 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11061 posts in 2513 days

10-12-2010 12:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: i smile

This is a re post!!!
Since I have made many new friends here, and some are asking me kindly why I have these pains, I have decided to re post this post that I made in the now gone coffee lounge before it was closed.

No sad song, but a song some times out of tune!
Just a little perspective to those who might want to know the story about my health, and me.

It’s not that I want to put this on any one else than me, but I realized, that I told about it sometimes in my posts, and with about 120 posts I can see I have been read probably about 100.000 times in total (what completely amaze me by the way, I thought I found a hobby in private…), so I thought it was fair to explain my situation, so no one felt something they are not supposed to.

Architect project, me and water color, daughters bed at three years, my first day at school, origami, at the work shop when daughter was three.

My story of work:
I have a long interesting carrier behind me even I’m only 42; an education as a building technician, and after five years where I made commercials, PR, graphics, web pages, and all kinds of print, as self taught, and with my own business while I studied architecture at the royal Danish academy of fine arts. I also worked in the Danish ‘Film byen’ (movie city), on an internet project for Aalebæk and Lars Von Trier. I have been the director of a production company of design products. Working as a leading architect, designing and building office buildings, for five years. Teaching in drawing and materials of buildings, leader of a creative department, and before I had to stop working I was the principal of the Constructing architects school in Copenhagen, so yes I have never been wasting my time…
Oh yes I was also married and divorced once, and this brought me my wonderful daughter Mathilde of 11..

My first house, Vespa, principals office, summer house, first car.

What happened?
About 10 years ago, I was working as a architect in a architects office, where I had a job I had dreamt of all my life, I was leading architect running my own cases, and was always involved in the creative part of the projects on the office, but slowly during some years I started to get heavy pains in my arms, I was able to draw with left and right hand in CAD, but nothing really helped… At the end I had so much pain I was crying in the sofa at night, and so I had to give up, and was fired due to health.
After several examinations, the hospital gave up, and said it was ‘probably’ some sort of mouse related damage of the nerves, they explained that the nerve ends were dead, and that they would probably not be restored… So the advice was find another job, if you can!
How do you find another job when you have two arms that don’t work, and a neck that are stiff, and always in pain?
The solution was a call from a friend, he knew my situation and had a contact at the Constructing architects school in Copenhagen, and they were looking for a creative guy that wanted to teach materials.
So I was teaching one year, became leader of the creative department in two, and then I was asked to take the job as principal of the school, and I said yes, well knowing my health was really bad at that time, and that I ate painkillers as candy, and tried all kinds of alternative treatment for my neck and arm pains.

My: boat, a Lumber Jerk fishing, x, other boat, kayak.

Nature has its ways!
So with a ulcer, and a constant pain, deep stress and weeks of no sleep I took the decision to say stop before my body did, and quit this dream job as principal.

What’s wrong?
Then two years passed before I was being operated, the specialist gave me vitamin D, the public doctor send me to a psychologist, and said it was probably all in my mind, since no one could set a diagnose… My symptoms was not linear! The psychologist send me back with the message, that this guy might need a psychologist, but his pains are for real.
So I paid myself for a scan of the neck, and bingo! A disc prolapsed in the neck.
They said the reason they did not discover, was that it had prolapsed into the spine and not out as usually – and yes I had so many strange symptoms – after having this problem for about eight years, the symptoms had become many and ‘strange’ (when you use your body wrong for so long, many follow problems come).
But finally a operation, and at that time I had so much pain I could not get out of bed, without holding my head with my hands, so I pushed it away from the body, not to have the nerves in between!

My: prolaps, scar and smile, back, head, leg after a motorcycle accident 20 years ago…

Success or?
Yes the operation was a success, but I grew scar tissue (a lot…), so now I’m without the constant pain, but need almost no pressure or overdoing, before I get pain. Also I have posttraumatic stress, so I get stressed from very little pressure, and this leads to tension in the neck, that then make pressure on the nerves, and bingo I’m retired…

Off line!
A good example was when I made dovetails for two hours, the next day I was in bed, with migraine, burning in the arms, tensions in the neck and back, and a headache that makes me unable to even move in the bed. So all I could do was throw up, when the pain was too strong, and then stay in bed with the lights of all day (light seems to disturb me).
And another day I was scraping and sanding for app. one hour, so then I was burning so much in my arms and had so strong pain, that I had to stay all away from the workshop for some days.
(To write is another stupidity, since it makes my nerves and or muscles in the arms hurt a lot, but it makes me feel alive, so I can’t stop).

So back to the story…
I was sacked, had to sell my summerhouse, then my house and this in the middle of the crises, so I came out with a debt, that I’m now fighting the bank about (app. 50.000 US $) not a lot, but when you are on a pension a Babel tower…
When I realized I would not get better after the operation, I finally gave in, and had a depression also, yes why not take the full pack while we are there!

Changes and release!
But life smiled slowly back to me, in the middle of the chaos, I met a wonderful woman in Paris that I dated for some years, I got a apartment from the commune in Copenhagen, with my own little garden – yes it is not a house and a 185 m2 summerhouse with two little boats, it’s a two room apartment, but I love it and feel so lucky to be here, sleeping on my sofa.
After a long fight I got my private pension, for that I’m so grateful I do not even know how to express it (thank you to the pension fund, and the people who helped me there) – this means that I can live, and feed my wonderful daughter, even buy her a preset, and once a month visit my Caroline.
So a big rock fell from my heart that I had carried for about ten years, while I got worse and worse, but ran faster and faster.
In November 2011 I also got the public pension in place so I can now lean back and relax, my situation is finally calm.

Sisse my girlfriend, peace love and harmony, what more can I say!!! And what eles do I need? Ok I think projects might sneak in, perhaps some books who knows…

Me: going under, see a light, depression, self portrait, future…

I smile!
But I smile, my friends I smile, I have come out of this as a better man, a more hole person, I live I breathe, I see colors, I smell, I am. I meet people I have never thought existed, and I realize I had to get to where I am, to be able to see all this, and to be open enough to receive. I grew up, learning now to say stop.
And when I have one or two, or even tree of those bad days, I think of the days that passed, and the days that will come, and then I find my way out, and wait until it’s over.

So where do LJ fit in?
You can imagine a guy like me who lost his carrier, his identity, his life’s work – he has to be lost!
So after my depression I bought a ton of watercolor (aquarelle) stuff, this has always been a passion for me, or more a fascination. But I realized it was a thing of freedom for me, I could not find my intellectual satisfaction there, it was a hidden treasure for my heart.
At the time I reached this realization, my girlfriend at that time was almost ready to kill me! Since I have investigated all about aquarelle, read all the books, tried all the brushes, and colors and was now the owner of a wonderful little collection of vintage aquarelle boxes… (yes, you may laugh, I deserve my name!).
So I asked myself, what else that had brought me joy in life?
Garden, yes but my new garden is only six by tree meters… So this can’t keep me going up stream.
Architecture, when I can’t really do it, no I retired?
Design, this might be a possibility in the future for pleasure and a extra income perhaps, we will see, but my body and nerves need peace now.
My God! Wake up Mads. Your dream as a child, and as young to be a carpenter! To explore the world of wood, to use good tools, to invent, to smell the saw dust! Have you forgotten how much you always loved this, your days at Viggos uncles carpentry! Hello!
So it was clear, and my little work shop was a reality.
And in the middle of this search, I found LJ, a place where I could share my thoughts, get response, and leave response! Learn more than I had ever dreamt of learning, and meet such big hearted wonderful people full of passion! Yes I smile – thank you all.
And now you know why I might post a lot! I love to be able to use my brain, to share, spread and get knowledge. And when some of you write me back that you like what I do, or that you will use it, I do not reply thank you to be a grease ball, it comes from my heart – THANK YOU! And yes all constructive critiques are welcome; I love to learn, also by mistakes and others.

My sketchbook, travel in New Yourk, passion, more passion, order and color.

Thank you again!
I hope this will make you get a picture of this vintage architect, Mad F Mafe, Mads or whatever my name is – and why I can be a river of excitement sometimes and perhaps gone at other times…
But most of all I hope you realize I have been blessed in life in so many ways, and that I still see no reason not to smile, so you need not to feel sorry for me, just bare with me when I’m not on top of the hill.

Best thoughts, - A thank you and all the warmth from my heart to you who spend time to read all this,
I smile,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

35 replies so far

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 2262 days

#1 posted 10-12-2010 12:56 PM

It is true Mads, the life has a way of throwing curve balls and often in order to chose life we have to remove ourselves from painful situations. Many of us here on L/J have experienced some sort of life altering trauma, (and for those who haven’t I say hold on to your hats) and have opted for a simpler lifestyle, often minus the accourtrements of our former life. Though now it often requires hair raising effort to stay ahead of the “taxman” I say hooray! But I agree, sometimes it is a bit more for the spouse/significant other to endure. I would say to you, don’t give up on alternative medicine- it’s better than the alternative. My sister is an accupuncturist who studied in China and she assists in miracles every day- often helping people that traditional practioners gave up as hopeless cases. Also, as for the public pension fight- here in the US people who apply for Social Security disability pension are generally rejected THREE times before they are approved. Their condition hasn’t changed- but the delay keeps the money in the coffers longer. So keep at it- the number three seems to be the ticket. :) Be happy. Live well. :)

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View littlecope's profile


3052 posts in 2926 days

#2 posted 10-12-2010 01:16 PM

I’m sorry to hear of your pain and discomforts, my Friend…
But I’m also overjoyed to hear of your positive attitude!! Living for Today is the answer!! The past is passed, and the future is uncertain… but we can always make the best out of this moment… Best Thoughts... and Smiles... for You, Mads!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 2482 days

#3 posted 10-12-2010 02:05 PM

What I get from your story Mads is, I see a man with a zest for life. Congrats to you in not sitting and just allowing your physical issues to completely shut you down and prevent you from finding joy in your life. Unfortunately, life does not always go the way we would like. That is, forgive me, “LIFE.” In the Bible, it says, “it is not what comes into a man that defiles him, but what comes out of him.” In translation, that means, you can’t control your circumstances. Things happen to us, that we simply cannot control. However, we always can control how we react to the circumstances that come our way. Congrats to you, Sir, for responding by seeking love and joy instead of sinking into self pity.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Flemming's profile


417 posts in 2320 days

#4 posted 10-12-2010 02:11 PM

A story of TRIUMPH!
you are a master of finding the bright side of life Mads, and you lift my spirits with your positive attitude!
some times we also need a hand to support us and lucky you have two wonderful patient girls in your life :) and a couple of bonus boys now as well :)
I am truly glad to have met you because you give me so much inspiration (which is a little frustrating at the moment because i dont have time to keep up with you! ;)).
you are a wonderful person mads, and I’m very happy that you overcame the challenges of your injury and come out of it with a smlie. you have the last laugh in this case!
thank you as well mads :D

-- Flemming. It's only a mistake if you can't fix it.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3642 days

#5 posted 10-12-2010 02:48 PM

I have always been impressed with your posts, but am even much more so after reading of all your trials and tribulations. To see someone who has endured so much and yet still maintained a love of life and a positive attitude is an inspiration to all of us.

Now if you have any psychological problems, I am sure it is all because the little girl chose the other boy when you dropped your pants in kindergarten, right? :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10850 posts in 2539 days

#6 posted 10-12-2010 02:53 PM

I´m realy sorry about your paines in that thing the lives can bee a bitch ,but I´m glad you have the positive
natur you have and have easey to the smile :-)and I´m glad I have come to know you you bring me smiles as well from your positive attitude and humor beside you are a great inspirator , thank you so much for that
(don´t take this wrong) somehow I think L J shuold be glad that you ain´t on the top of the life
with all those genius things you throw at us , and with that speed , to inspire and make us think twice
over things and how we can improve them even before the first cut :-) you wuold be scary man if you was on the top it is hard enoff just to read up on you as it is ….LOL

hang in there my freind L J has been richer with you and you are one of them that makes me want to get
out of bed in the morning thank you
have a great day


View patron's profile


13524 posts in 2765 days

#7 posted 10-12-2010 03:01 PM

first prayer
“thank you for my life today”

first choice
happy or sad today
(sometimes i forget to make this choice)
have learned it can be made
at any moment

well ‘gota go
have to push my grease ball
up the hill again

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Radu's profile


324 posts in 2467 days

#8 posted 10-12-2010 03:51 PM

Thank you for sharing your story. I really appreciate your positive attitude. I enjoy reading your posts, though I don’t always have time to answer or comment to them (what a lousy excuse). On your fight with the pension office (or whatever it’s called) just keep pounding them. If they kick you out the door, then go back through the window (this is a saying from the place where I grew up). I am glad you, and I for that matter, found this site. It’s a wonderful group of people you can share thoughts, skills, ask and answer questions. And it’s addictive as well. I wish you all, all my best and just don’t give up.

View JimF's profile


143 posts in 2716 days

#9 posted 10-12-2010 04:17 PM

An inspiration to all.

-- Insert clever tag line here

View Schwieb's profile


1792 posts in 2885 days

#10 posted 10-12-2010 04:33 PM

Mads, I appreciate very much your taking time to tell your cyber friends out in the world more about you. I for one can say that you have added much to my woodworking experience over the past months. You led me to think…......... and that is a good thing. I feel like it was a blessing for us to cross paths through LJs. I have always felt pretty much alone in my woodworking world. I never had the good fortune to be actually shown how to do something, I just expected to figure it out and do it wrong a few times. I never really learned about hand tools, although I always had an appreciation for good vintage tools, you have led me to take a new look at all my old tools, (and those of my Father’s) and actually tune them up and use them again.

I really,truly appreciate your positive, optomistic, upbeat, humorous, insightful take on things and a love how you care for your daughter and of course Caroline. To say nothing about your fascination with solving problems, making things and your love for wood.

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View SPalm's profile


5249 posts in 3305 days

#11 posted 10-12-2010 04:38 PM

Man ‘O man. You have touched my heart.
A great big internet virtual hug from me to you.

Thanks for being a friend,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4607 posts in 2460 days

#12 posted 10-12-2010 05:00 PM

Mads, I empathise with you on depression. I have had an on and off battle with this for most of my life. Woodwork and design help me keep fighting as well and of course where would I be without LJ’s and the people here. I’m glad you could get all of this off your chest. Thanks for being a friend. Keep on posting.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View swirt's profile


2107 posts in 2395 days

#13 posted 10-12-2010 05:38 PM

Wow. An inspirational story. Thank you.

-- Galootish log blog,

View terrilynne's profile


834 posts in 2317 days

#14 posted 10-12-2010 05:47 PM


-- Terri, Rocky Mountain High Colorado!

View NBeener's profile


4808 posts in 2597 days

#15 posted 10-12-2010 05:48 PM


Your story …. is painfully familiar to me. Sincerely.

My problem is different (it’s my eyes), but you and I have really traveled very similar paths.

In fact, I spent four months in Europe because I needed to be seen by a world-famous ophthalmologist (Christophe BAUDOIN), at Quinze-Vingt, in Paris. He needed to see me several times. Luckily, I WAS able to travel, while I was in Europe :-)

What you have gone through will tear the body apart, tear the mind apart, tear the spirit apart, tear the soul apart, and tear most relationships apart. It will take you (or a person in similar circumstances) to very deep and dark places, from which we MUST exit.

As my mother has often told me:

The contract has changed.” [le contrat a changé]

And it has … in profound ways.

I am not at the “light at the end of the tunnel” stage yet, but ….. your story has so much sadness, so much pain, so much happiness, so much hope, and so much meaning for me.

It brought tears to my eyes—something I desperately need :-)

I’m so very glad, for you, that you have Caroline and Mathilde in your life. The influence of loving, caring people, AND the reminder that there are people who NEED us and DEPEND on us (Mathilde) can be a powerful motivation to stay engaged in the fight.

May the trend of your journey continue in a positive direction, and may your health continue to improve.

There’s a word that comes to my mind:

In German: geistige verwandten
In French ?: âmes sœurs ? [Maybe that’s a little stronger than the English or German words ;-)]
In English: kindred spirits

-- -- Neil

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