Today the 5th of May was Liberation Day in The Netherlands. And yesterday I watched television with my mother at Remembrance Day on the Dam Square in Amsterdam. We had done the same the previous year, and both times it was a virtually empty Dam because of the alleged pandemic that is rife worldwide. Hence it gave a strange feeling, because many of us in The Netherlands don’t feel that free anymore, compared to, let’s say, just over a year ago.

Yet again, it was a special event, registered with beautiful camera footage, with an overview of part of the center around the Dam, filmed from a high point. And even a rainbow broke through the dark clouds and gave its edges a beautiful multiple coloured ‘silver-lining’. Had never seen it before this way! It felt as special, almost as a sign from above, as far as I am concerned: for the whole of the Netherlands, and perhaps even for the whole world…

However, for my mother and me it was doubly special, because we remember her father and my grandfather in particular. Sadly neither of us have known him.

A few days before, on April 29th, my mother had found his photo and farewell letter on the internet. This was already special itself, because that is also his birthday. And so we discovered that even though it is 80 years later, the loss is still there. Especially for my mother (and her brother). Because well, on December 29th, 1942, their father was executed in the Veluwe (a national park), after he had been in prison in Scheveningen for a year. Because he was in the resistance. And the farewell letter he was allowed to write that day for his wife and children, well it is truly heartbreaking!

And so I discovered for the first time today that this prison where he was located is called the ‘Oranjehotel’. Because that’s what it was called at the time, although it was far from being a hotel. You can read more about this here:

What is special to me, is that I dreamed about him 10 to 15 years ago. He appeared in my dream, I didn’t recognize him (because I have not known him), but I knew he was my grandfather. And he showed me how he was persecuted. About five or seven men stood side by side against a wall. And opposite them was just as many soldiers, so it was one on one. I saw the scenery from behind the soldiers, so I looked at the wall. And when the command was issued, all the soldiers fired at the same time, and I saw the men collapse in front of the wall. After that, my grandfather said that he had not been scared at all, and that it was over very quickly.

What I find special is that I can deduce from his farewell letter, which I only saw for the first time last week, that he was indeed not afraid! He was more concerned about my grandmother and his children, than he was about himself. However, you can see his sad look from the photo.
I can imagine though that he was not afraid. Because perhaps he was even relieved at his forced surrender to the inescapable, after a year of imprisonment in horrible conditions. And also: for nothing! He had done nothing but defend his freedom and that of his loved ones.

After he was shot, the letter was delivered to my grandmother along with his bloody clothing. What a drama. And what a mentality to hand it over to her like that. And to shoot people like that in cold blood. How would those soldiers feel who simply obeyed orders? Did they feel just a little bit of conscience? Did they realize that they were not only taking the life of my grandfather -then 28 years old-, but also the father of his children, and the husband of his wife, and the grandfather of his four grandchildren? Probably not. But it has such a long term impact.

At the bottom of this article the (now yellowed) letter (front and back), and directly below the letter typed in text. Reading that over, I thought, he was murdered 80 years ago, but in fact freed as well. Freed from imprisonment which was a spiritual torture. And who knows, maybe his execution at the time went pretty much as in my dream. Dreams are false, but still!! And perhaps my grandmother joined him many years later when her time had come too. That is why I am posting this article on Liberation Day.
Free at last!

Letter from Gerardus Wilschut:

                    Tuesday 12/29/’42
My darling
my dear guys (children),
It is Tuesday ± ten o’clock and I
just heard our verdict will be carried
out this afternoon at two o’clock.
My dearest darlings! My final thoughts

are with you.
I almost don’t know what to write,
but I hope Lida, that you
will overcome this major setback soon.
Darling, take good care of the children.
Search over time a good father for them.
Say, Lida, make sure to not have false hope
that I still may be alive, because
child (darling), that is not true, though!
When you receive this note, I’m no longer there!
For me this is not so bad but for you

(other side of letter)

it is worse. Yes my darling
1942 has been a bad year for you,
but I hope the new year will be better
for you and the children. (Gerard wrote this on the 29th of December, 2 days prior to the new year)
Be strong! Do well in the rest of your life.
Bye my darling, bye dear Patie, bye dear Bjoukje.
Lida greet all of mine. Your sisters and brothers
and also your mother, my mother,
my Sisters and Brothers,
All brothers-in-law and cousins.
Lida my darling!! In my thoughts I give you
a very last hug, from your loving husband Gerard.
I hope you will be able to read this,
for myhand trembles a little.
Now byebye Lida, bye sweetheart,
             bye dear Patie and Bjoukje




Margreet Wilschut

Back to MENU free-at-last/




It was a lovely day for my grandchildren to seek the chocolate easter eggs!

I’m not sure who had more fun, if it was me or them!
The easterbunny had put them in my fruit trees as well.
My 3 year old grandson was very quick to find them!
And my granddaughter (just one year) also!
She already walks herself… But mum & dad help sometimes!





Family Tree…

In the Dutch translation of the bookseries ‘The Ringing Cedars Of Russia’ the words ‘family tree’ are introduced with the meaning of a real tree, a physical tree so to speak, or in proper English I guess, ‘a tree of the family’. This tree is planted by members of the family on their family-ground. It is in honor of all generations of the family who have lived and live there and the future generations. While translating this article from Dutch to English, I got a bit puzzled about translation issues (as usual).

This is because the Dutch language hasn’t the same meaning for ‘family tree’ as it is in Russian language, nor in English language. In English, ‘family tree’ refers to ‘pedigree’, but in Dutch the words do literally mean ‘tree of the family’ but which is written with the words ‘family tree’.

The word for pedigree in Dutch is ‘stam-tree’, where ‘stam’ stands for both ‘trunk’ of a tree and a ‘tribe’ of people. Now I understand both refer to the lineage of a family, but I have to confess this translaton issue got me puzzled!

Tree of Life

My intent however is to continue this article about the physical family-tree, or to write it in proper English that special ‘tree of the family’, which I will refer to from now onwards as such. In the Dutch version of this article the word-combination ‘family-tree’ is still used.

For variation we might want to call such tree also a ‘tree of life’, if we feel like it? I’m not sure if people use this terminology for the tree of the family that has been planted in honour to their ancestors, descendants, current habitants and future newborns, but it sounds nice for the time being!

‘stam’ is ‘stem’ or ‘trunk’ of a tree

Related to this, I have to say one more thing about the Dutch translation of ‘Family Tree’. As stated earlier, instead of  ‘family’ we use the word ‘stam’. But the second word of this terminology ‘family tree’, has the same meaning in Dutch. Our word for ‘tree’ however is… ‘boom’.
Yes, it’s true! But don’t you worry, we pronounce the two ‘oo’s differently.

Such as how you would pronounce the first ‘o’ of ‘motivation’. Just make the Dutch two ‘oo’s sound as the first ‘o’ in this example. ‘Boom’! There you have it. Anyhow, that’s enough Dutch for today I guess!

Double Meaning

But the meaning of ‘pedigree’ for which we use our own Dutch word, made me contemplate about the double meaning of family-tree. Lets define them for a while as ‘pedigree’ and ‘tree of life’.
For instance, can we see the physical family-tree, also ‘the tree of life’, as a symbol for the connection with our ‘roots’, of our heritage? That is in fact again a concept that refers to it, compare the tree’s ‘roots’, and our roots to the ‘trunk’ as a ‘stam’ or ‘tribe’ of the tree! (stam stands also for ‘stemming from’).

Thus could we also metaphorically view the root system of the tree as our ancestors? And the fanning out branches of the tree, can they symbolise the future generations? After all, two children from just one family will branch out in adult life in different directions, because they have partners from other families with which they get children theirselves.

Ambience Image

Above this article is a picture of a number of tall Conifers. I could not see from a distance exactly what kind it is. It could be a Thuja Cedar. These are widely cultivated in the Netherlands. It is the only conifer and pine species that has fanning leaves that are spread over the entire branch.

But I found the scenery pleasant as it shows how an evergreen tree remains beautiful and green in the midst of winter. And the picturesque bridge with white railing, for example over a ditch or brook, I also find a welcome addition on my family ground. I can imagine that my tree of the family will look something like this on my estate in the distant future.

Ode to Evergreens, Fruit & Flowers!

But as you can see on the same picture, there are plenty of bare branches from the other trees, the right one being a pear. There was still one pear hanging in there (mid-November). But I have depicted here a pear tree from my own yard though, which I have planted four years back, as a witness of love.

But I don’t like to look at these naked branches for 6 months of the year! Thus those trees will not be my main view in wintertime. Therefore I’ll put them at the back of my house. In spring and summer time, when all my fruittrees will bloom with vigor and splendance, I’ll spend my time there on a terrace with surrounding rose arbors. There I’ve said it. This bush is even flowering in a heart shape. Can you see it?



And for those who want to know, a great part of my family ground is reserved for a tree nursery (basically fruit & nut trees and conifers), flowering crops such as sunflowers and other flowers, but also hemp for the building of houses, or any other crops of my choice (which might alter every year) such as pumpkins or grains. But I’m wandering off topic.


There are now millions of people who have read the above mentioned book series (translated into more than 23 languages). So they have undoubtedly also thought about which tree of the family they want to plant in their family domain! And many have already been able to realize this. When I started to think about it myself, I came to the conclusion that I would prefer to have a tree of the family that also remains green in the winter.

So I started to think about Conifers because I wanted to know which tree of those evergreens would be suitable for that. But that appeared to be a comprehensive task. And so I even came to write an online article series about it. However, as an introduction to newcomers, I will place below a number of reasons why I might choose this tree species as the literal family-tree.

Next, other tree species are named below that I think could also be suitable as a tree of the family, or the tree of life if you will. Pondering about this, I might even pick one or more family trees as I would love other types of trees as well. Also my descendants consist of international lineage, thus might deserve more trees for this special purpose.

Long Lifespan

One of the properties that people like to see in a tree of the family, is that it can grow old and can therefore last for several generations. Conifers are certainly eligible for this. These have a very long lifespan, with some claiming that under the right conditions the trees can live up to 1,000 years. Even among the Conifers, there are forest giants in America that are estimated to be about 2,000 to 2,800 years old, and perhaps even older?



Primeval Trees

Another reason to choose Conifers is because the original varieties are hardly available in the Netherlands anymore. This also includes Pines. During excavations in the vicinity of Utrecht, tree remains of pine species that are estimated to be 1.2 million years old have been found. These were found in soil layers of the ‘Tertiary Upper Pliocene’ or ‘Quaternary Lower Pleistocene’.

However, there are still primeval forests in other parts of the world which trees can also thrive in our climate zone. One of these is the Siberian Pine, or ‘Kedr’, as they call it in Russian language. My choice in terms of the special tree of the family might therefore be a pine, the more this was also the source of inspiration for the aforementioned book series!

Life Force

Also, pine seeds taste great, and people enjoy walking in a pine forest. Could the latter be because of the blissfully scented air from the trees? Is this due to the tree resin that spreads through the “breathing” wood, the trunk, the branches and its elegant longleaves?

The pine cones also have a special geometric shape. Can that actually contribute to the liveliness of such a forest? And if these trees are on your estate, they undoubtedly also contribute to the dynamics of nature on site. To me they resonate with the wonderful life force of nature that we are all connected to.

Pine Cones

For example, I wondered if pine cones affect the gusts and eddies of the wind because of their geometric spinning shape? Perhaps an unusual thought, but according to the ‘Jain 108 Academy’, pine cones have a golden ratio code of 8:13. That is the Living Mathematics of Nature.

And according to others, the geometric shape of a pine cone vibrates at an oscillating frequency of 33Hz. (see picture above). Well, I can’t check if it’s all true, because I don’t have much knowledge in that area. But it is interesting, isn’t it?

Thus besides the wind picking up on these pine-cones frequencies, as we may call them, rainwater might also be structured by it, as it flows through the wooden cone blades. Interesting thought right? The activated rain then drips onto the soft mossy forest floor, and this may also activate certain energies and exchange nutrients.

Nature’s Memory

Can these primeval trees also bring back memories of the land of times gone by? Or about how nature functions? This can be enhanced, for example, by seeds from trees that have been growing in the same area or land for centuries. After all, these are still genetically intact and have been formed as reproduction information carriers for centuries. Perhaps they have also absorbed the interstellar configurations of our firmament. Well, these thoughts would make you lyrical, wouldn’t it?

beautiful blossoming tree in spring

Order of Magnitude

But oftentimes people are only interested in the conifer around Christmas time, more in particular as a Christmas tree. And these are usually spruces (the ‘norway spruce’ and the ‘silver fir’), which are cut down after their first twenty years of life. And then there is usually no cone growth to be seen.

That is why people do not always make the link between the Christmas tree and the different types of pines that exist in nature.
But the 6-foot Christmas tree (or smaller) is pretty much the tip or peak of the giant trees they can grow into if given the chance. An order of magnitude that used to be seen in our forests.

ginko biloba

Various Tree Species

Thankfully, people have different preferences for trees as their ‘tree of the family’. It is good to embrace biodiversity as well! Here in the northern hemisphere with a moderate climate one can choose from a number of nut trees and several fruit tree species. Also, the characteristic shape of a tree or leaf may be preferred (such as that of the ginko biloba tree in the photo above).

decorative willow

Many also opt for the longer life of such a tree, sometimes several hundreds of years. Some of these trees have beautiful green foliage in the spring and summer, with lovely ocher and reddish brown hues in the fall. Examples are the oak, the walnut tree, sweet chestnut and the birch and beech. A number of these can also provide us with a rich harvest stock and long-lasting winter food, such as walnuts and chestnuts.

Many people will also choose to plant multiple varieties. And the choice of a physical family tree for one or the other can therefore always be made at a later stage.

young oak,
probably 20 to 30 years old

Emotional and Practical Value

Sometimes people also prefer a tree as a family-tree because it has a certain history. The tree could, for example, have been planted by a beloved grandparent. Or there is already a beautiful mature solitary tree on the estate, such as an Oak. The family may not even know who planted it. That can also be nature itself, for example a squirrel planted an acorn!

ages old oak
probably 200 to 300 years or older

However, due to its imposing size, such an Oak can be suitable, for example, to place a terrace with some chairs underneath or to set up a few benches for recreation. The large canopy of such a tree then provides shelter from the hot summer sun. But any grazing cattle can also stay underneath.

What also sometimes happens is that if such a tree comes to the end, due to age or if it is blown over by a storm, the family then places a new tree on or near the same place where the old tree was. And this tree sapling may have come from the nuts or seeds that the old tree has produced.

It is also possible that young seedlings have sprung up around the tree spontaneously, which the family can then further nurture until full growth, sometimes by moving them to a suitable piece of soil.

walnut tree

Tree of Life for Humanity?

Pondering about the idea of the Earth Hectare Grid, wouldn’t it be nice to have a ‘tree of life’ dedicated to humanity? I do not know how and where such tree should be planted though. It might be even in the form of an art project.

I came to this thought because my successors have quite an extended family worldwide (both in Asia and more countries in Europe, while we have lived in America as well). But we weren’t all born on the same land and haven’t lived on the same land, the latter only temporarily. Does that make one family branch less or more worthy than another? No! All heritages should be honored and acknowledged on one’s Family Domain.

Surprising Outcome

Because once we’ll start following the branching roots and the branching branches of every human being, the outcome is surprising. We’re all intertwined, like we all breathe the same air! Does this mean that all peoples must move across the planet and that the sovereignty of individuals and nations must be abandoned? I guess that’s a no also!

What I’m saying is that we can embrace our differences in landscapes, climate zones, peoples, tribes, languages, food, histories, cultures, etcetera. Because how boring would it be if every human being and every country would be the same? The world is a place where life can be celebrated because there is enough room and wealth available to all of us, with great splendor in diversity. We’ve got to make it work, right? But how?

I suppose what really unites us is our innate nature of being human, and our innate design to live in nature. Can we consider ourselves as a one human family in this way? Who knows, once we realise this, Peace on Earth might appear on the horizon. Thus let us wish each other the very best. After all, it is up to all of us to remember who we are.

Yours sincerely,

Margreet Otto, Wilschut, van Egmond, de Goede.

Margreet, with my maiden name Otto, my mothers last name Wilschut,
followed by the surname of my father’s mother ‘van Egmond’, and the surname of my mother’s mother ‘de Goede’.

Because since this is an article about the ‘Tree Of The Family’, I would love to elaborate on the historical meanings of my names. These are insights I got when doing the ‘name practise’, of which I’m planning to share more about later. But for now and brief:
Margreet is ‘Pearl of the Sea’, Otto is both ‘eight’ and ‘essence of the rose’, and Wilschut is ‘protecting of wildlife’.

Then ‘from Egmond’, this is a village on the north-west coast of the Netherlands, close to where I live, and ‘the Goede’ stands for ‘the Good One’.

Blessings to you all!



Early october I harvested some fruit from my fruit trees that I had planted 2 years ago at a very young stage. I had planted them with my grandchildren in mind. I did so in the hope that one day, in a far away future, they would be able to pick the apples and pears from it.

I planted grapes too and different berry bushes. Till my amazement I could harvest together with my son and grandson a few apples from the appletree the same year! It was nothing but a miracle. Not knowing that another year later, this year, I was able to harvest an apple for my 2nd grandchild as well! That is the apple I’m holding here. What a blessing to have a wish come true so fast twice!

Family Estate
Another wish is to have the fruit trees replanted on a hectare of land, which will be then my ‘kin-domain’. In Dutch language the word for kin is family. For us, family is both regarded as a so called ‘household family’ (gezin), and as the extended version of everything related to it, such as relatives (verwanten en aanverwanten), and also our ancestors (voorouders en stamboom) and future generations.

But kin in Dutch means chin. Thus we call such hectare of land a ‘family domain’, or family ‘estate’ as I call it also (In Dutch: familie ‘landgoed’ = land + good). Because it is for my children and grandchildren to live happily on such land, when them and God willing. Who knows, there might be even more generations to come.

The Painting
The picture you see above this article, is me with an apple in front of a painting in my livingroom. The painting has been there for almost two decades. I made the picture the same day that I had harvested the apple together with some pears. All of a sudden I saw a striking resemblance with the apples and pears on the painting. They looked exactly the same! And this brought back memories as well. I herited this painting from my grandmother, who had it in her livingroom for many years also.


Apple Sauce
Two weeks after I harvested the apple in particular, I made apple sauce from it at my son’s house. Then my son fed his son and daughter the apple sause, and I made a picture of them eating it. For future reference, heheheh.

For your information: my granddaughter at the age of 7 months ate the whole plate, and my 2 ½ year old grandson fed part of it to a great dinosaurus in some sort of teddybear style, a toy almost as tall as himself. The innocent look in my granddaughters and grandson’s eyes, oh my! And what a cutiepies both my grandchildren are. It was all good.

Back to the painting. I vividly remember how I as a child would look at the painting, and actually like it a lot. It hang above the sofa, and I remember a niche in the corner of the wall which was colored a bright orange. There were also aimed a few nice spots on it, I’m not sure if there was another painting in it, or if it had been removed later.

Obviously I remember this because it was quite unusual to have such colors in the house back in the days. But my grandma’s boyfriend was an interior architect and loved bold color combinations and modern design. In fact, he was way ahead of his time!

The Painter
My grandma told me how her second husband made the painting. They had very little budget to do so (a few years after the 2nd worldwar there was still a lot of austerity). So he portrayed the fruit that was with them on the fruit bowl. And he also chose the pink and purple flowers my grandma used to have in her window sills for many years.

Last Dollars
They spend literally their last dollars* on the paint and the canvas. (*Dutch valuta back then: ‘Guldens’, now Euros). They had no money left for a fancy frame, which still has a gray base paint today. (I hope one day to put it in a beautiful mother-of-pearl frame, which would suit the painting well). My 2nd granddad made more paintings of which a few are still in the family, and a bit of poetry. But I wasn’t very close to him, because we lived two hours drive away and in that episode I didn’t visit them often.

More Details
If the bottle on the painting is filled with water or wine, I can’t remember, although I remember asking my grandma about it. But the curtains behind them he just made them up, she told me. And interestingly, the violets flowers depicted were of a different quality compared to how we see them today. I think they were called African violets and had thick leaves with a velvet texture. She took care of them for many years. Watered them every day. My grandma loved flowers a lot, just like I do.

And if their apples and pears tasted as good? I think yes. Many of those were still organically grown on the country side in those times. But mine were homegrown from my yard and tasted absolutely fabulous!

My grandma wasn’t actually very fortunate in life, because she lost her first husband during 2nd worldwar while he was 28 years young. He was assassinated by German soldiers at the time. They arrested him I think two weeks after my mum was born. OMG, at least he has kept her in his arms! But after his arrest, they put him in prison for one year (in Scheveningen) and then shot him somehwere in a national park and forest (called the ‘Veluwe’).

It was because he and also my grandma were in the resistance. A huge movement against the german invasion and occupation. Well, we know now what happend to millions of people in this war! And as we all know, at the time, nobody knew it was going to be so bad.

By the way, my grandma never ever spoke one single bad word about the Germans. I asked her about that. ‘How come you’re never upset with them?’. She told me there were many good ones too.

My mum was born in Schiedam (the Netherlands) while they were bombarding the nearby city Rotterdam in 1941. My grandma told me that was quite an experience, going through labor while she heard the extreme loud noise of the bombs and missiles being dropped on the city which was close to were they lived. Just to depict some of the scenery here.

My grandma’s 2nd husband (the painter) had a carwreck. He accidentally went up the highway in the wrong direction. He died on the spot or in hospital shortly after. He had negative memories of the war, and had difficulty coping with them. But after the war he had a good position in a company as a cardealer.

My grandma told me she cried for two years after his accident non stop, and smoked two packages of cigarettes a day, lighting one cigarette in the living room, while another cigarette was still in the kitchen burning on an ashtray.

Thankfully she quit smoking (from one day to the other) after she realised it wasn’t helping her much. And she no longer wanted to feel pity for herself. (Quite a challenge though).

My grandma’s third partner in life (the architect) to which she wasn’t married, died due to cancer. It was kind of tragic to see him suffer, but also to watch her going through all this sadness again.

Sweetest Grandma Ever
Nevertheless, despite it all, my grandma was the most sweet and loving person on the planet. She would help everybody. For instance, as a single mum of her son (my uncle) and her daughter (my mother), she secretly housed three Jewish people in the war.

I remember her also being very hospitable whenever she received guests for coffee or meals. Her last name was called ‘De Goede’ and this means The Good One. And she truly was. I’ve never met anyone as sweet as her for the rest of my life. Or it should be my mum.

My Grandma’s Answer
One day, when I asked my grandma about it, she told me how she had handled everything. She said she was grateful to have known LOVE. She watched my mother struggle with new relationships after her divorce (I was 4 years old at the divorce). After this we had moved several times, sometimes because of a new relationship, or the ending of it. However, since I always witnessed the demise, I felt so sorry for my mother. I decided to consult my grandmother. She then answered for encouragement: “Margreet, it is better to have been loved and lost, than to have never been loved at all.”

With this my grandmother acknowledged that my mother was not loved as much as she deserved. Because at the same time, my grandmother recognized how she was truly loved herself by her three partners in life, although she had tragically lost them all. And I felt very touched by her acknowlegement.

As a child, not having witnessed a good relationship of my parents, and having lived with my mum through other failing relationships (my eldest brother and I lived with her), I felt encouraged by it. Thankfully my mum and dad found their true partners later in life. My dad a year after their divorce -I’m blessed with a great 2nd mom and three halfbrothers as well-, and my mum later on at the age of 70. I now have a new stephdad as well.

Strong Women
I’m sharing this with you also because I’m very proud of the women in my familiy. They have all played a great but yet unseen role in life’s history. A role of lovers, heroines, mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers. They loved and were loved, suffered, and sacrificed, but they gave everything to their men, children and grandchildren.

Great Spirits
So yes my dear son, daughter in law (to be), and grandchildren, please remember what my grandma told me, because her great spirit has lived in our family and you are a descendant from her, and from your great grandfather and great great grandfather!

Yes, lets remember my courageous granddad as well, a grandfather I have never known myself (but surely missed), who was the father my mother also never knew (except for the first 2 weeks of her life).

By the way, later on in life, a (small) street was named after my grandfather, for being a hero and victim of 2nd worldwar. If it had been up to me, I would have chosen a large boulevard for them, both for my grandfather and grandmother. On the other hand, many heroes have died unprecedented. Thus to be honored doesn’t say everything. Great spirits never get lost I guess.

I only met my paternal grandparents a few times. The grandfather and grandmother on my father’s side saw me as a baby, but after that I hardly had any contact with them. My grandfather died relatively young and I saw my grandmother again at a later age. We were happy to meet.

My Mum’s Names
Oh and yes, because I have a strong bond with my mother, I also want to tell my descendants that she is named after her three grandmothers.

Her first name is ‘Bieuwkjen’. This is an old Dutch name. It stems from a language area of a northern part in Holland called ‘Drenthe’, where my grandma was born on the countryside.

And my mother inherited that name from her mother’s mother, who had inherited it from her mother and grandmother too! So the great-great-grandmother of my grandchildren also had that name! However, we called my mother by her callsign throughout her life.

The husband of that great-grandmother or the great great one, I can’t remember which one, was a peat farmer. He split through the Drenthe waters on a low barge with loads of peat for fuel. He moved it around with a long pole stick (my grandmother once told me).

And then my mum’s middle name. It belongs to her father’s mother. And unfortunately that mother died at a young age (even before my grandfather was assasinated at the age of 28). Her husband then remarried and that’s how my mother got her third name. This name belonged to her father’s stepmother (so my grandfather’s stepmother). By the way, my grandmother also lost a parent at a very young age. But her mother remarried with a neighbouring farmer and my grandma had many siblings.

Anyway, maybe I will go on with all those names later in bookform, also about my own, because there is much more to tell about them and I also have lots more to share. But for now, it is enough. Otherwise you will still be reading here tomorrow. In any case, there are enough offspring on both sides of te family from my side.

My Answer
That’s why I’m passing it on to you now. Also based on my own experiences. LOVE is the answer. It always has been and always will be. ALWAYS. Please don’t ever forget it.

To have loved and to be loved, to hold children and grandchildren in your arms, these are the most precious gifts there is.

Lover, Beloved, Mother and Grandma, Margreet.





This is part 1 of a series entitled ‘RAI’, which is short for R.A.I. as ‘Radio Active Iodine’. It entails my story about the medical treatment with RAI. It is about why I got this treatment, and its consequences. All parts of the articles together could very well fit as a chapter in a book. The follow-up articles are about other conclusions that I have been able to draw from my experience with RAI.

Disclaimer: No medical diagnosis or form of treatment can be made with the help of this article. If you have complaints as described, use your common sense at all times and consult a conscious doctor. Nor do I provide medical advice. In a lecture I can share more about my own experiences and opinion.

Alas, the time has come to publish my experience with RAI in a more extensive form. Previously I have written this story for myself several times over the course of two decades. This was due to the structure of the story telling, which has been subject to constant change. It was due to me not fully comprehending the complexity of all matters involved.

Reflective Episode

My experience with RAI had to be seen from many perspectives, thus it was also a quest to define and formulate all related matters correctly. Simultanously I had to live through quite some challenges for such a prolongued time.

After this reflective episode (of around 20 years basically) the time has come to bring my story out in the open, and that moment is now.

My Medical Story

In July 1997 I was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid gland. This is a small organ at the bottom of the neck that lies over the trachea in the form of a mini shield. The doctor called the rapid action of my thyroid ‘hyper-thyroidism’. This word comes from the Ancient Greek word ‘hupér’ which means ‘over’ (in the sense of ‘overflowing’, or ‘too much’), and ‘thyroidism’ from ‘thyreoiedes’, meaning ‘shield shape’. Obviously the Greeks used to compare it with their armor at the time.

The medical term in Latin is ‘Glandula Thyreoidea’, and ‘glandula’ stands for ‘gland’. Since the thyroid gland also resembles a butterfly in shape, the organ is often referred to as butterfly-shaped in appearance.

The Doctor’s Diagnosis

According to the doctor, it turned out to be an auto-immune reaction. Due to certain antibodies present in the blood, the thyroid gland starts to work too quickly. This can make you feel really bad, including too fast of a heartbeat, weight loss, feeling rushed, being agitated quickly, trembling hands (which I only had a little bit in a later stage), and also pain behind the eyes and swelling of the eyelids (due to inflammatory reactions of the eye muscles behind the eye ball). I was prescribed thyroid inhibitor medicines. However, the thyroid gland started working too fast again as soon as I stopped taking the drugs.

Thyroid Ablation

After using this medication for a year and a half, doctors persuaded me to a definitive treatment. This is called ‘thyroid ablation’, a bit of a bizarre name for a medical treatment where the thyroid gets nuked basically. As the matter of fact, the word ablation is not in two of my English dictionaries. Most likely it is a designed fashion word derived from ‘ablaze’ which means burning strongly and uncontrollably, and ‘ablution’ the washing of the hands or body as part of a religious ceremony. It has been mainly used in medicine for the removal of biological tissue, usually by surgery but also by cutting with a laser or electrocautery.

In my case it included the intended destruction of the functioning of an otherwise perfect healthy thyroid gland. In order to do so I had to take a capsule with Radio Active Iodine (RAI) for thyroid ablation. The treatment proposal was completely against my feeling and intuition, and I was not in favor of it at all. However, it was said that continuing with the thyroid inhibitor medication was dangerous because it could alter the blood count. Since there was still limited internet around the year 2000, and I was also unfamiliar with patient associations in America, where I lived at the time (I’m Dutch from the Netherlands), I had no information to consider any other options.


So there I was, I sat somewhat timid on a stool in a small room in a large American hospital in Boston. The Asian MD handed the capsule on a small plate on a tray. This was the capsule with the radio active iodine in it, which I was supposed to swallow. She made sure her arms were stretched, as to stay away from the radiating capsule as far as she could. I’m not sure if she was wearing a white doctors coat, or if she had a lead apron to protect herself, as I can’t remember her appearance anymore, except she was nice looking and kind.

The capsule looked like a vitamin pill, oblong in shape and if I remember well it was two-tone colored. She suggested I should take the capsule, which I had to pick up with my bare hand from the dish and put in my mouth. The doctor gave me a white disposable plastic cup with water to swallow the capsule.

Jokingly I raised it in the air as if to toast, and said ‘Cheers!’. I hoped to give the loaded moment an optimistic twist. I was trusting the doctor here, the promises she’d made for me to get healed, based on the many similar treated patients she or the medical field had experience with succesfully for many years. I felt extremely odd and also scared with an alerted awareness, because I felt something was wrong, but I didn’t know what I was getting lured into, so I proceded.

The Sip

I took the capsule in my mouth and swallowed it with a large gulp of water as the capsule was kind of big. In Dutch language, the oral intake of the capsule with RAI is called ‘The Sip’, because in the past the radio active iodine was given in liquid form. I took a few small sips of water afterwards, as the plastic cup was only filled for 1/3th with water. And that was it.

Next, my then husband, our son and my radiant self went home by T. I felt it burn in my stomach. We were standing in a crowded subway heading towards Cambridge and I didn’t have something to drink with me to further flush the capsule. Later the doctor told me it wasn’t possible to feel anything from the radiation. But I did! And the capsule turned out to be a very bitter pill.

Six To Eight Weeks

The first 6 weeks I felt better than ever, which in retrospect was due to the pleasant side effect of a high dose of a prednisone course that I had to take during that time. The prednisone medication was needed to suppress inflammatory responses from the radiation. Prednisone often makes you feel very good, which I didn’t know then. So I thought, ‘Yes, that RAI treatment works perfectly!’ Doctor happy too. The form and dosage of radiation that I had been given lasts for 6 to 8 weeks, decreasing by half every eight days in effect.

Gained a Bit

But then it started. I felt increasingly sick and gained 20 pounds in two months. At first I thought this was because of the high prednisone cure, because an increase in appetite is a side-effect of it. It also increased cortisol level and thus increased fat deposits. Unfortunately, however, the increased weight after stopping prednisone wouldn’t budge in the months and years afterwards, no matter what diet I followed, or how little I ate.

60 Complaints

But the Medical Doctor had not promised me that. After all, I would feel good again and lead a normal life? Well, nothing could be further from the truth. In the years that followed, I adjusted my dose of thyroid hormone replacement every now and then, but that didn’t help much. I spent days, weeks, and months desperately searching the internet and patient forums for information about what could be the matter with me. The months turned into years.

To get an overview, I had written all my symptoms down: I now had more than 60 complaints, several of which alternated, and no doctor could help me. I had an allergy to cow’s milk proteins and soy since birth, accompanied by bronchial asthma and eczema, for which I once lived in an asthma center in Davos for a year, aged 17, after being seriously ill and bedridden for six months. But now, I felt miserable again, but in a completely different way.

Puzzle Pieces

Depicted below is a scinti-scan from someone who received RAI intravenously. The scan is made by Dr. G Boni from the university of Pisa. I found it on the internet ten years after I got ‘treated’ with RAI myself. Here you can see how the thyroid is irradiated, but hey, wait…. other organs as well!

What Organs Are Affected?

The organs that have absorbed the radioactive iodine here, are mostly glands with internal secretion, that assimilate iodine during metabolism. These are: the thyroid gland, the parathyroid glands (are very small), the pituitary gland, the adrenal glands, and organs which produce hormones and/or are covered with a functional layer such as the mucosa layer of the stomach, the esophagus and gallbladder, the epithelium of the duodenum, the pancreas which creates insulin and enzymes for digestion, the intestinal system, the bladder, the sex hormone-producing organs.

Could it End Up Somewhere Else?

I remember very clearly that I had asked my MD if the radiation could end up somewhere else in the body. ‘No,’ she said, ‘It will go through your blood for a moment, but it will all accumulate in your thyroid until it’s destroyed.’
But when I saw that image of the scinti-scan, and the explanation with it, many puzzle pieces suddenly fell into place. The RAI wasn’t certainly flowing through my body ‘for a moment’. The type of radiation I-131 I got, stayed there for around six weeks, slowly waning over time, the way the scinti scan shows.

Enough Indications

You can imagine that if several glands and organs have slightly diminished function, problems can quickly arise. And that was the case with me, which is why I had anything and everything tested over the years after ‘The Sip’. Hereby test results often deviated from the norm, but were not very worrying for the doctors.

For me, however, those were enough indications, time and time again, that there was more going on. And so they were puzzle pieces that I had discovered myself with the help of several online experts and specialists. Those were mainly fellow patients who themselves had a lack of thyroid- and/or other hormones, such as pituitary- and adrenal hormones. So I learned to analyse through symptoms, and also through having some of the related hormones tested, and other substances (such as B12, vit D etc.).

Personal Injury

Typically, labwork and some measurements were just below the reference value, or close to the lower limit of the reference values. However, one thing I was sure of: thyroid function was completely destroyed.

Hormonal Axes

But the thyroid gland and other glands with internal secretion are part of several ‘hormonal axes’. These are the glands that deliver hormones to the blood that respond to each other through registration and feedback or ‘feedback loops’ from the hypothalamus to the pituitary in the brain to several organs in the body.

They do this by reducing or increasing the release of hormones according to the needs of the body. Radiation can damage this feedback mechanism of all feedback loops of a hormonal axis, or more hormonal axes, as the tissues of glands and organs work less well.

This can be classified as ‘Injury due to radiation to glands with internal secretion, and to digestive organs that use iodine in their metabolic processes, such as the stomach, galbladder, intestines and pancreas.’

In a sense, you could describe the injury as internal burns, which, however, has not only partly burned the surface of glands and organs, but the radiation has also penetrated the tissues deeper because iodine is assimilated by red bloodcells and will go anywhere it is are needed.

And then it depends on how high the radiation dose has been, and how the condition of the body was at the time of administration, e.g. how much natural iodine was in the tissues present already, because this influences the effect of RAI. In hindsight I must have been deficient in iodine, as I had reduced my salt intake at the time.

More Symptoms

So after my ‘Sip’ -in this case me swallowing the radio active capsule with a gulp of water-, I got lots of symptoms, more than sixty. Among those were gaining weight (as described before), but also symptoms like mild hair loss, joint- and muscle pains and muscle weakness, and more. I will name a few.

Cartilage and Bones

For example, I got problems with my knees, back and neck (cartilage and bone building). I’ve developed a light but noticeable scoliosis over time and sometimes I experience backpain. This might have to do with low growth hormone (= a pituitary hormone), which labwork showed a few years after the radiation treatment.

It can also have to do with me not having sufficient calcitonin (a hormone the thyroid produces as well) and parathormone (a hormone produced by the parathyroid glands) which were also affected by the radiation. It can also be a hereditary factor, as my tall father had a light scolioses, but I don’t think so as I always had a very straight posture (at a young age I used to dance classical ballet a lot, and jazz and pantomime). It might also have to do with all factors together.

Heavy Periods

I also had heavy periods every month, from which I could thankfully conclude that my pituitary gland was still working properly, because this tiny organ also regulates the menstrual cycle. But my pituitary is probably partly functioning, because I was diagnosed with a low growth hormone later on, which is a hormone constructed in another part of the pituitary, which has a different type of tissue than the part that produces the sexhormones, probably more vulnerable to radiation.

Due to the severe bleeding with my periods (which as a side effect can also damage the pituitary), I had low Iron Hemoglobin blood count for a long time. My Ferritin values, which is storage Iron, were far too low (around 14). Once it was so low that the GP called me for a blood transfusion because of a ferritin level of less than <2.

I remember crawling over the floor from my living room to the kitchen that week. My son who was a toddler at the time had asked for a glass of lemonade. But for a moment I no longer had the strength to walk! My son who saw me crawling said, ‘Mum, you are acting weird.’ So I thought (with brainfog and all): ‘I’ve got to call my doctor again.’ (I didn’t take the blood transfusion though).

Other Complaints

Then, according to the gyneacologist, there was nothing wrong with the uterus. But the MD could not explain the cause of the long and heavy blood loss during menstruation either. I found out many years later it was due to low progesterone and probably other factors.

Anemia and Iron

For all those 24 years of testing (from 1999 to 2023), I always had low iron, low MCV (Mean Corpuscular Volume = the size or volume of the red blood cells = erytrocytes), low MCH = Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin, Hematocrit (volume of red blood cells), etcetera.

I took iron bisglycinate tablets for years, self-financed, because the iron tablets that the doctor prescribed gave too many side effects, those aren’t good for the liver either.

After years of misery due to anemia, both caused by the RAI treatment and heavy menstruating which was also caused by RAI, a low amount of progesterone released in the uterus through an IUD turned out to be a solution. Unfortunately, I couldn’t handle other forms of oral synthetic hormonal treatment such as taking the daily ordinary birthcontrol pills as medication, to reduce menstrual bleeding (thus not for its actual purpose). No matter how small the amount of hormones in it, it would make me depressed.

Synthetic Progesterone, Estrogen and fillers

Tried them all, been there, done that. I feel much better on natural hormones! Must add though that I can’t handle synthetic chemicals as fillers in natural hormone supplements either. Too bad I spend so much money on it.  But taking medication was all trial and error anyway, sometimes something worked, and then I would stick to that.

Heart Complaints

Another complaint that arose over time after treatment with RAI is a troubled heart that has had a lot to endure: fast beating (90 to 120 p/m, but sometimes also on the slow side (60 to 65), or irregular, regardless of whether my thyroid values ​​are ‘hypo’ (too low), ‘euthyroid’ (balanced) or ‘hyper’ (too high). Over time I found out it was due to low potassium and sodium. Suppletion with these helps a lot, but of course I need to be optimally treated with thyroid hormones, otherwise nothing works.

Buddha Belly

My belly was also swollen due to an increase in belly fat and to this day it still feels slightly painful and tense. The tissue on my stomach and thighs and breasts (2nd half of the cycle ‘Masteopathy’) could hurt a little when touched and slightly pressed, but there have been a few episodes where it was really very painful.

Eye Complaints

I also suffered from pressure behind my eyes. That is an eye condition that can occur with both an underactive- but more often an overactive thyroid gland. And it occurs quite often after treatment with radioactive iodine, due to the sudden release of all stored thyroid hormones at once in the bloodstream. This can result in severe bulging of the eyes, a very difficult and challenging condition to deal with, for which multiple surgeries are needed. (thankfully I didn’t have them).

Two Booklets

I even wrote two brochure booklets about this thyroid condition and the thyroid eye disease, in collaboration with a professor endocrinologist and specialist ophthalmologist, which was published by a thyroid patient association. I was a board member of this organization with the portfolio PR and Information. I did this for almost four years. From this position I met and spoke to several people who unfortunately developed severe hypothyroidism after RAI, of which some also had these serious eye complaints, most of them especially after treatment with radiation. This meant that they had to undergo several major surgical operations afterwards. This Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) is a very serious condition with deep suffering involved.

So Miserable

I was also sensitive to bright light and shrill noises, and my skin became very dry, often with chapping in my fingers and heels (occasionally bleeding), which hurts when walking. Often I had disturbed nail growth with ridges or crumbling nails. I was often dizzy, light-headed, had hypoglycemias every day (and therefore had to consume sugar or carbohydrates frequently), and sometimes I still had brainfog and forgetfulness. And last but not least I suffered from a chronical total lack of energy.

Total Lack of Energy

Due to my weakening and lack of physical energy, simple activities are often tough, such as (long distances) cycling or hiking, as well as household chores or gardening. It took a long time to recover from exercise, ranging from one day to three days, oftentimes me being completely exhausted. I have then to rest on the sofa till my energy returns.

Sometimes my lack of energy also results in forgetfulness, poor concentration or memory loss, for example, forgetting an appointment once, or not being able to ‘hold’ information properly, as I call it. This is usually due to hypoglycemia, the cells aren’t getting enough fuel to function.

I have often found myself hanging in my chair e.g. behind my computer, or laying on the sofa, because I do not experience enough energy to keep me sitting or standing straight.

Muscle Strain

Since the RAI treatment, I always have muscle strains or fibromyalgia, even without exertion. It feels as if I have run a marathon for hours, or did intensive aerobics or weight lifting without any training beforehand. Walking the stairs has always been a strenuous exercise after I took the RAI-capsule, due to the muscles in my upper legs feeling very weak, sore and have a lack of strength therein. Even washing my hair in the shower has often been tiring because I had to keep my arms up, which I therefore had to let them hang in between while showering, to regain muscle strength.

Test Methods?

My low blood sugars usually suggested low cortisol and/or insulin resistance and/or low sugar uptake due to low MCV (volume of the red blood cells). If the thyroid function is too low, the adrenal function also goes down, which can also be related to those complaints. This is also stated on the package inserts of any thyroid replacement hormone, and doctors should know this.
By the way, in labwork results, my thyroid levels usually showed a ‘normal’ euthyroid state. However, the amount of thyroid hormone in the blood serum is measured, but not the absorption or action of it in the cells. (very important this).

Not Sufficient

Tests and labwork are often not sufficient, which has also been internationally confirmed by many thyroid patients. It has been scientifically substantiated for a long time by all kinds of doctors, patient groups and individuals, internationally for more than two decades now.

This has not yet led to better forms of treatment internationally, and unfortunately, not even through the writing of scientifically substantiated books and the signing of petitions by many patients (I estimate hundreds of thousands, probably even up to a million), and the conduct of legal proceedings by a few. Now, who or what will help for this vast suffering group then? Say it.

All Time Low

An absolute low point for me was when an MD called it ‘circumstantial evidence’ when my ‘free cortisol’ was way below the reference values. (With this my aldosterone was too high). These were previous test results from a private doctor’s office with international standards, and for whatever reason not taken seriously by another MD in a hospital when asking for a 2nd opinion to get my untreated complex condition officially acknowledged.

Alternative Lifesaver

However, if one walks around like this undiagnosed, and the cortisol (corticosteroid) would even go lower, there is a big chance that one will end up under the green sods within 24 hours. Thus my complaints were simply denied by medical doctors in hospitals (I’ve dealt with quite a lot of them), even though some of the labwork results were skewed, and often turned out differently, sometimes far below the reference range, but usually just slightly below the norm. So it turned out afterwards, that my adrenal glands were functioning less (including low cortisol, low aldosterone, low testosterone -which women have too!- and low DHEA, etcetera)

Two Different Causes

The explanation I have myself, is that very little is known about reduced functioning of the adrenals and other glands and organs due to injury from radio active iodine. There is also little known about the reduced functions of the several replacement thyroid hormones that are out there in the field, both the synthetic and natural versions.

These are two different causes for non succesful treatments, and for me it works double, because I have both. But measurements for this are simply not included as standard in the diagnostic protocols, nor in the treatment protocols post RAI. Hard to believe, but true. There is no medical protocol for RAI induced damage to glands and organs.

Throat Complaints

Unfortunately, the last 12 years or so, I can no longer sing well, while I liked to sing for hobby as a soprano and mezzo-soprano in a choir. It is as if my vocal cords now scratch when I want to get higher tones. But I also no longer sound tonal. I miss it enormously that I can no longer sing. I also sometimes have swallowing problems, or I quickly choke on eating or drinking, sometimes in my own saliva. My tongue often hurt when I was eating (especially after citrus fruits) and looked like the so-called red ‘beefy tongue’ which is a result of too low B12. (but eating red meat did not help).

I also had slight notches with a white border on the sides of my tongue, the so-called ‘tooth indents’, which according to a hormone specialist had to do with too low aldosterone, which, like cortisol, is also an adrenal hormone.

Tinnitus Ears

A high pitch tone tinnitus in my right ear is another of those debilitating symptoms, which I’ve now had for the past 11 years (editing this article once more in 2023). My ear drum was damaged as a result of medication for my ears which I got for inflammation after the infected liquid was succesfully removed by another MD (ENT specialist). I had to put a few drops of this medication in my affected ear and it burned like hell. Something wrong with that, but I continued with it for a while because the doctor had prescribed it. Blimey.

The inflammation was caused by being temporarily under-dosed with thyroid hormone, which resulted in edema. Edema is swelling of tissues due to increased fluids. It was also in my ears, like I had dived in a swimming pool and my ears filled up with water.

Mild Tinnitus

Sometimes it also feels like I have mild tinnitus in my left ear. This might be because tinnitus can also be caused by other various factors, including low iron, low thyroid hormone and low potassium, which I have all. Sometimes the tinnitus was really bad, while that was going on I have also had episodes with poor sleep. Once I didn’t sleep for three nights in a row, which was also due to a prolonged accompanying high heart rate (the latter I went through for months). This can occur with being severely underdosed on thyroid hormone (which many patients and some doctors do not know). Then Potassium and Magnesium will run down and oral suppletion can give relief with that. However, the underlying hypo thyroid and hypo adrenal function need to be addressed.

New Fillers

In time, I managed to find out by intensively searching online, that it was because of new fillers in the medication for me back then. These fillers absorb the thyroid hormone when they get moisturized (by the saliva). But not being able to distract the hormones from the filler was due to me having less gastrointestinal juices, I concluded afterwards.

Here’s the reason why: The stomac is the second organ after the thyroid, to radiate the longest after RAI has been administered. So my body has less capacity to disconnect the thyroid hormone from the fillers in the tablets. Bizarre, but true. And then the hypothyroidism becomes a dangerously sliding downward scale. It is dangerous, because initially one notices the hypothyroid symptoms, but since I had so many while the labwork was still fine, I assumed it was because of the weather, or low iron or low cortisol or whatever.

Hypo or Hyper?

In a sense I had a hypo- and hyper condition at the same time. And sometimes one hormonal deficiency was masked by another hormonal deficiency, so that diagnosis based on symptoms is only for an extremely skilled doctor, who uses special diagnostic methods of the functioning of hormones and the hormonal axes, and has made this his or her life’s work.

Summary of Complaints

Above is just a selection from a long list of complaints that I did not have before taking RAI. I could really fill a book with it. Basically, I felt much sicker than before the RAI treatment in my hyper-thyroid phase, although that was certainly no fun either. In fact, I was so hyper that my doctor advised against an international flight at the time.

For years in my hypo phase after RAI, I experimented with various replacement hormones and substances for the thyroid gland and other organs. I visited four different hospitals and four alternative doctors and a dietician (the alternative doctors and dietician do not reimburse all). I received supplementation for the other organs, such as for my adrenal glands, years of B12 injections (which did not help, because in retrospect my body was unable to convert that form of B12), many dietary supplements such as enzymes, B vitamins, zinc, selenium, etc. etc.

Legal Advice

And oh well, I had also obtained legal advice, but to no avail, because ten years after the date of a medical treatment it is no longer legally valid if you sue a doctor or authority for that. In my case that would have been very difficult anyway, because I had medical treatments on two different continents. But I don’t think that legal rule is correct. In this case, it requires an intensive study to understand the effects of RAI. And there was no proper informed consent given whatsoever.

And although I had a suspicion for those ten years, that besides my thyroid also other organs were affected, I had no evidence for the true cause of my complaints, besides slightly deviating labwork, sometimes far below the norm. But they were usually conveniently written off by all doctors as symptoms of an auto-immune disease. Well, try to convince a cat! Me no more!!!

Is There Proof?

By the way, to actually be able to prove personal injury by RAI, I reckon in hindsight, one has to get a scintiscan every week for 6 weeks after oral intake or intravenous injection, and the first 10 days every day. This is how you can prove how the radiation has distributed throughout your body, and for what strength and length of time. Another way is to closely monitor symptoms prior and after the treatment for many months and years, which would be great for empirical evidence and research as well.

Fillers in Medication

Incidentally, I got sick several times because of altered fillers in thyroid medications, and supplements (such as microcrystalline cellulose – E640. This is woodpulp, micronized in a laboratiorium, which I’ve read online can also enter the bloodcells. Once in they might not get out that easily, which leads to swelling of upper tighs and other tissues).

But only in hindsight did I learn to recognize the dangerous slowly downward sliding scale of the hypothyroidism, which can lead to death when not treated. I did take 8 different variants and combinations of thyroid medications over the years, because I didn’t know what the cause of them not properly working was.

Was it me, was it the quality of the medication, such as the freshness (e.g. how long have they been on the shelves?), or the quality of the fillers, or a combination of it all? I’ve spend weeks and months and years online searching! It has happened that the manufacturer suddenly changed the fillers without notice, which again gave me an adrenal crisis. By the way, multiple E-numbers that end up in our food nowadays, and in many supplements, can also cause such complaints. Know what you eat so to speak.

B12, enzymes, conversion, low pH etc.

Anyway, because my stomach was also injured, I have a B12 deficiency for the rest of my life. When tested, I also found myself frequently having a low pH in blood and urine, having seriously low vit D levels, low magnesium, calcium, enzymatic function, etc, etc. And, as stated previously: my stomac produces lesser gastric juices to properly digest the cellulose filler in the thyroid hormone medication and other supplementation tablets.

Uptake and Conversion

Thus I can’t detach it from the thyroid hormone, causing the effect of the drug to decrease. Nevertheless, labwork shows perfect or even high values! (By the way, this microcrystalline cellulose is designed in laboratories). And another filler based on calcium is also very bad since it absorbs the thyroidhormone as well. Most doctors and pharmacists KNOW thyroid medication has to be taken seperatly from calcium supplements. Then why do they use it as a filler? I also had problems converting the thyroid medication, which can be related to many other factors as well (selenium, iron, low enzymatic functioning, no T3, low cortisol, etc.).

Low Finances

Because I was no longer able to work 40 hours a week, and had no partner with an income, nor savings, I was in a low financial status. And unfortunately most of the medication and supplements that made me feel better were not reimbursed by my health insurance fund. These include a good quality Magnesium, Calcium, Vitamin B12 tablets in easily absorbable form (methyl, adenosyl), Vitamin D3, Potassium, Enzymes, natural Progesterone, Estrogen, and so on. I have to take these for the rest of my life probably, because my body isn’t obviously generating or processing enough of it.

Several Sizes Wardrobes

In the attic there have been 30 bags for years with nice clothes in all sizes ranging from size 36 to 52! (The latter 50 sizes only when I was on a high dosage of prednisolone). Every time another size came in, I was forced to replace the entire wardrobe. This turned out to be very expensive, especially because we have four different seasons in the Netherlands (which can vary from cold winters to hot summers and everything in between).

It includes: New jackets (summer jacket, winter jacket and rain jacket), also for: new pants, blouses, sweaters, t-shirts, underwear and bras and even new boots in the last sizes. In short, my wardrobe had to be renewed time and time again. Added to this was spending extra money to purchase life-saving medicines and supplements that were not prescribed because of a refusing doctor and/or were not reimbursed by the health insurance fund. (other means, such as asthma medication did).

Damage Claim?

All that severely limited me financially. I once made a calculation and think that I have certainly suffered €100.000,- of damage in the 21 years after this medical treatment with RAI. Not sure if this includes the emotional damage it has caused me! (I’ve lost the list with the calculation on it). However, in this way I have lived below the poverty line for 21 years, without anyone having any idea (except for my immediate family and friends).

Thanks to my mother’s two decades of help, I managed to survive. I have often been able to borrow money from her to pay my fixed costs. And I am extremely thankful for having food, a wonderful house with yard, heating, and decent clothing all those years, something that used to be a guarantee if one lives in the Netherlands (the small country that I’m born), but not so in many other parts of the world.

Natural Beauty

True beauty is on the inside, the expression says, but it’s certainly no fun when one’s own natural beauty, including posture and facial expression (for instance weight gain, eyes slightly bulging, puffy face, brittle hair), changes to the detriment. That is perhaps what I worried about most all these years, and every day, because if you are not feeling well, and you also look that way, it does not really promote self-confidence.

Also physically from the inside, organs might be more fat as well, which is not a healthy thing. But I could not help it, the fat burning just didn’t work properly!

The Outside World

My illness, or post radiation sickness as we may call it, is usually not visible to the outside world, because I can still cycle (on an e-bike now), and walk. But often I have to recover on the couch for a few hours after exercise, and that’s all the lost hours, days, weeks, months, and years that outsiders have never seen, just those who lived in my house. I can come across as cheerful, happy and energetic, which I am at that moment, and even do physical work such as gardening on good days, and then collapse completely when I return home. Sometimes I have to recover two or three days after heavier physical exercise.

Incomplete Metabolism

This also happens after eating heavier food (large proteïns, processed fats, starchy starches), that I can no longer digest on a microscopic level. Apparently my body is unable to regenerate the consumed substances for energy production as quickly as is the case under normal conditions. It seems to be less able to break the food down to phytonutrients or something like that. All this leads to poor processing and reduced absorption of nutrients. Last year I also had eight gallstone colics and that is no fun! Hence I appear to have a slightly decreased bile function (only small gallstones), which also leads to a less strong digestion.

Mental and Psychological Impact

The years of struggle in dealing with the consequenes of RAI, has certainly had an impact on me. I had to learn mentally and psychologically to take time for myself to deal with this injury and the lack of medical and financial help. It has also been a process of mourning for the loss of my health and the quality of my life for the past 24 years, a period that is supposed to be the best years of an adult life, where you can experience 100% power of your life. Well, oftentimes it felt like 60%, and there were many episodes where it was even lower.

In addition, I also had to deal with a lot of adversity in the social emotional field, due to certain events in my life, such as a divorce. When you are already sick, it requires even more strength than usual.

It was also usually painful when I expressed my sadness about my condition (when I couldn’t pretend to be okay), or informed others about my health status. I often came across as a complaining person, or like a hypochondriac, even more so when they saw me cycling or gardening afterwards. They couldn’t see the muscle pain and total weakness I was going through while performing a bit of physical labor.


Interestingly, due to my illness I also had several ‘Near Death Experiences’ (NDE’s), which of course also had an impact. The first one I had was not RAI related. This was when I was 16 years of age, and suffered from prolongued astma and a shortage of breath. I was bedridden for more than half a year and almost died, my spirit left my body and I knew myself laying in the bed while I was with my back against the ceiling. When realising this, with a shock I came back to my body. The next week or so someone rang our door to collect money for an Asthma association. This lady was a boardmember of at the time. Because of her I was finally sent to Davos in Switserland to recover in an asthma sanatorium. At the same time I was diagnosed with an allergy for dairy and soy by a naturopath and got a special diet. Those two events, the Naturopath and the prestine air in Davos  helped me to recover within a year.

The Skippy Ball

The 2nd and 3th NDE’s were RAI related. The 2nd were several experiences which are a bit complex to describe, so I won’t for now. The night of my 3th NDE I visited the hospital at the nightly doctor’s office. My mum and brother had brought me by my brothers car.
I had several serious complaints, and had received labwork in the emergency room, but they couldn’t find anything, my thyroid levels were fine. I asked them to test my cortisol and aldosterone levels, as I told them I also had adrenal issues, but they didn’t want to, neither when I begged them to test me. I was sent home after weeks of rapid heartbeat (90 to 120 beats per minute) and being completely exhausted. I had to drink sugary drinks to keep my bloodglucose up which I told them too.

Then at home again early in the morning, went back to bed and got the 3th NDE.
I floated over the ocean. My body was draped over a skippy ball, with my belly on the ball and around the ball my face, arms and legs hanging downwards. This was because I had no more strength to lift them up. All energy had left me, as with complete exhaustion.

Shimmering Diamonds

The ocean looked like it was lighting up, as if every drop was a shimmering diamond, and I felt releived of all pain and exhaustion. I was told it is the ‘life’s ocean’. But I was also told that if I would continue, I couldn’t come back. I had to decide. When I looked back over my shoulder I saw the shore line, and there were two men sitting on a terrace, on some kind of a seafront promenade so to speak, beckoning me back. I didn’t know these men.

Then I thought of my beloved ones. All of them I could leave behind, even my mum although that would be very tough for her. But I’ve had so many ailments for such prolongued time, that enough was enough for me!
However, I couldn’t leave my 15 year old son, a child at that age certainly needs his parents, and for more than 10 years he was raised by me as a single parent. He would be left alone without me.
So I decided to not continue further floating over the enlightend ocean -although every cel in my body wanted to-, as I knew I would soon approach the veil between the seen and unseen world. And if I would pass that veil, then there was no return for me.

Then I came back in my body, and within moments all the pain and exhaustion came back even more severe. But somehow I fell asleep for one or two hours or so. The next morning I was called from abroad by my private doctor who shared with me that some of my labwork was completely out of whack, I was in danger and he sent a prescription by fax to the nearest pharmacy the same day. This saved my life.

So said, because of my chronic illness, and all my experiences with it, on the one hand I am constantly aware of the finite nature of Earthly life, on the other hand I have been able to find comfort in those NDE experiences themselves. Now that I have decided to bring this story out, it also gives me satisfaction in a sense, because it has also given me many insights, which I would like to share with the world. Because…. is there more to it?

Is There More To It?

Yes. There is. For example, I now see much more of the danger of nuclear energy than the average person, because I myself have experienced what a little bit of nuclear waste can do to you. Because that is what the radio-active iodine is: nuclear fission waste. Hence I want to warn every patient to not get injected with it or orally absorb it, and warn doctors to stop these barbaric medical treatments, as seriously, non of them has had any clue as to what they were doing.


Which reminds me to inform you that not one single medical doctor in the last 23 years (and I’ve met many), has ever apologized to me for the failure of the medical treatment and the medical system they represent, and the serious harm it has caused, nor for the lack of a proper medical protocol for treating patients with internal injury from radiation. However, all of them have earned a good salary over the years with ‘helping’ me. Yeah, right.
I will continue with this in RAI part 2, which is technical a bit. But if you’ve already read it up to here… (hahaha).

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©2023 | Margreet Wilschut

Summer 2019, by a very curious coincidence, the sun just shone on my camera, or watch strap, at the time of taking this photo, reflecting it on the area in my neck at the site of the thyroid gland. You would almost think that this is still radio active … But that is not possible 21 years later. Maybe such a phenomenon is just a little miracle?