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

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Blog entry by mafe posted 02-07-2011 03:30 PM 3677 reads 1 time favorited 27 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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, Caroline, 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 Caroline in Paris, 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.

I’m fighting on the third yearto get the public pension in place also, it’s been rejected since I’m too sick to be tested fully (I find this quite hard to understand)!!!

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 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 my girlfriend was really tired of hearing about hand planes (rabot in French), I thought she would have killed me at the end, but she was a patient woman…
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.

27 comments so far

View mafe's profile


12110 posts in 3599 days

#1 posted 02-07-2011 03:31 PM

The comments in the old one can be seen here:

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

View Sodabowski's profile


2388 posts in 3342 days

#2 posted 02-07-2011 03:40 PM

Whew, that was quite a post :)

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View Dez's profile


1167 posts in 4587 days

#3 posted 02-07-2011 03:44 PM

Thank you for sharing! Now I know why I feel like a brother? to you! Some of the same pains and causes, the same struggle with people that didn’t believe and the same good folks that helped the same relief and good feelings from some of the same sources!
My brother from a different country! LOL One more thing to smile about!

-- Folly ever comes cloaked in opportunity!

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3366 days

#4 posted 02-07-2011 03:48 PM

Thanks Mads

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Schwieb's profile


1894 posts in 3971 days

#5 posted 02-07-2011 03:50 PM

Reading about your situation again reminds me of how lucky I am and how remarkable the human spirit can be. You continue to be a motivator to the rest of us. As I said before you look remakrably like my youngest brother Jon and are about the same age.

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

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3618 days

#6 posted 02-07-2011 04:34 PM

Very intense story Mads and thank you for the courage to share. I understand your title since one cannot simply dismiss these events in your life with one simple category. You went through a horrible experience with the pain and health issues, but you also found your love and retained your passion for craft. How does one compliment the other? And if you could remove one of these negatives from your life, might it also remove a positive? All are part of your life’s journey and I commend you for finding the joys along with your sorrows.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View tdv's profile


1202 posts in 3579 days

#7 posted 02-07-2011 06:23 PM

That is a great life story Mads you have great courage. I cannot compare my situation to yours I have a collapsed disc in my back & inject myself with sumatriptan for migraine my back collapsed while working on my saw & I lost the middle two fingers of my right hand but I can still just about play my guitar though differently & that brings me joy. I have a wonderful family who bring me even greater joy yet I don’t smile as much as you I guess I haven’t thought it through as well as you have. Your philosophy on life inspires me & I will try harder to value every moment as you seem to. I have much to be thankful for & I thank you for sharing this & being the inspiration that you are
God bless my friend

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View HerbC's profile


1801 posts in 3369 days

#8 posted 02-07-2011 06:43 PM


Your courage and perserverance are inspiring. Many times we think we have real problems and then see someone who’s been burdened with a heavier load but keeps making more from less each day…

Thru it all your good heart and zest for living shine thru. It is a pleasure to read you and to comprehend the joy you have for living…

To have one friend like you is worth more than can be expressed.

I look forward to your further adventures in woodworking and in life.

In the meantime, while enjoying it all…

Be Careful!


-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3813 days

#9 posted 02-07-2011 07:16 PM

thanks for sharing ..i understand so much of what you have said…stay on top of the hill as much as you can….your not alone with how things like this effect our lives,,and you have wonderful strength….....your strenght gives me strength..thats how we all make it..we all help each other have helped me today…grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View grace123's profile


258 posts in 3272 days

#10 posted 02-07-2011 07:27 PM

I certainly wish the best for you, your daughter, and Caroline.

View Clung's profile


98 posts in 3291 days

#11 posted 02-07-2011 08:32 PM

you are a great inspiration to me, both in woodworking and in life. Thanks for the re-post.

-- Clarence

View FreddyS's profile


212 posts in 3283 days

#12 posted 02-08-2011 04:11 AM

And still, you take the time to share your great vibe with all of us mafe, thanks!
I’m glad I found you as a spark of inspiration for my adventures in woodworking, and can only wish you get the strength to keep going and going for lots of years ;)

-- Learning one thing at a time

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4384 days

#13 posted 02-08-2011 05:22 AM

You’re welcome… and thank YOU. Touching story. Hope you find what you’re looking for! I was a fan of yours from the first post.

-- Happy woodworking!

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 3278 days

#14 posted 02-08-2011 05:32 AM


You touch our hearts my friend. You are truly an inspiration to many of us. You are a man with many gifts, who has the ability to put a smile on our lips and a tear in our eye. I have grown to look forward to your posts and the wonders that you bring to our attention. I am richer for having read your many posts and getting to know you. You constantly remind me to appreciate today. Some of us, mainly me, need to be reminded occasionally to not focus on work and the pending deadlines. To simply stop, take a deep breath, and count our many blessings. To enjoy the things that truly make life worth living and to appreciate today. Thank You.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View rivergirl's profile


3201 posts in 3348 days

#15 posted 02-08-2011 04:23 PM

YOu reposted this from the closed coffee lounge????? YOU GO MADS! :) Keep on smiling my friend. And whatever you do… don’t eat the frog legs. :)

-- 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."

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