I am determined, courageous and I follow my heart and soul’s desires. I am also gentle, kind and have a huge heart. I speak my truth without fear (mostly), and I like to live outside the box and challenge the ‘rules’.
I am also in a beautifully authentic partnership with my fiancé, Harlan, and mother of a growing number of fur babies: Millie, our brown and white border collie, Tino, or brindle bitzer pound pup, two yin yang bunny sisters, Olive and Snowy, and a number of other rescue bunnies. We also have millions of honeybees in our care, and I run my own natural skincare business – Bee Sensual Honey and Skincare.
Things that make me tick.
I’m a lover of nature and all things creature-like. I was brought up on a 1000ha farm spanning between mountains and coast at the southern most tip of Africa. I was always surrounded by the magic of Mother Earth and all her sweet creatures. I love hard, very hard, maybe too hard. But I can spend many moments engrossed in the magic of nature.
- I’m a perfectionist out of training…
- I’m learning to leave the bed unmade for more than an hour and I’m getting better at having a messy kitchen all day when I desire to spend my time on other projects.
- I love pretty things.
- I love waking up in the morning and seeing my alter with the pretty, sparkly things I’ve collected over the years.
- I love seeing my jewellery strung up as though it were on display in a shop.
- I love beeswax candles, oil burners and essential oils.
- I love colour…everywhere!
Crohn’s disease diagnosis…
I was also given a ‘Crohn’s disease’ diagnosis in October 2004 at the age of 21 (in New Zealand where I now live). It wasn’t pretty, but after 6 weeks someone forced me to see a specialist instead of the uni doctor and they sent me straight to hospital. My parents were in South Africa and I felt alone. I called them at their 2am in the morning sobbing because the nurse was struggling to get the IV into my collapsed veins. And then she made me drink 4L of this disgusting tasting liquid so that I would end up pooping only water before the colonoscopy.
I had never been good about talking bums and pooping, let alone in front of a bunch of postgrad med students!
The colonoscopy showed bleeding and ulceration in both large and small intestines. Two young male doctors walked into my hospital room, with their characteristic stethoscopes slung around their necks and told me that all of this meant that I most likely had what was called Crohn’s disease.
“You will have this for life and will have to live on pentasa (an anti-inflammatory) for the rest of your life.”
“You will have to go on and off steroids (prednisone) when required, and you will most likely have to have parts of your bowel removed.”
“But have a lovely day, and here, do start your first round of prednisone please…”
I wanted to f*#@ing kill them. I hated them in that moment and my anger boiled and raged. However, that’s another story for some blogs, or my book that I’m currently writing.
My dad had instilled in me a healthy fear of pharmaceutical drugs (maybe a little too strongly), so I was determined to get off them fast and find an alternative way through this mess. A few weeks later when the prednisone had kicked in I flew back to South Africa to spend the summer with my parents recovering. And I suppose that’s where I slowly started trying to piece myself back together, ever slowly recovering wholeness.
I can go years without any digestive troubles, but if I stress too much, my body soon lets me know and sometimes it takes me too long to click on to the fact and it turns into a ‘flare-up’. I had one such flare up mid-2012 and after 6 weeks when it all returned to normal, my intestinal walls had been weakened and a peri-anal abscess had formed. I didn’t realise for a few weeks what the deep aching throb was, but eventually after 5 days in hospital with IV anti-biotics they decided to do the tricky maneuver of draining it.
Long story short, in September 2012 I developed a peri-anal fistula.
My relationship with this fistula was extremely testing. After about 3-4 years I began to make a little more peace with it and the journey I was on and seek more and more ways to uncover my wholeness…who was I underneath it all? It took me to so many places, on so many levels, and for that I will always be thankful. In June this year I flew to India, and even though I am not 100% as I write (early October), I have been free of the fistula for 3 ½ months now. It is life-changing and I have written a longer blog post about this experience.
For now I am steeped in gratitude so deep it knows no bounds, and over-flowing respect for this incredibly strong body of mine.
And from here forward I vow to be kind and compassionate with myself. Always. Even when I forget to be that to myself!