It’s a difficult question to answer, but I’ll try. I’ll do my best. Since many people keep asking the question “What have you been doing lately?” Especially because it’s so quiet on social media.

2020

First of all, I need to go back to 2020. Don’t worry, I won’t analyze the past two years in depth. If I were to do this, I would be busy for quite some time!

At the beginning of 2020, I became ill. It turned out to be cluster headache. If you want to know more about this medical condition, you can read more about this on this website. There is also a chronic variant. That’s what I’ve been dealing with for the past two years. I jokingly called it “just” a headache. There were no clusters. So the headache was always there.

If you had Corona and especially Omicron, you know one of the symptoms is a headache. So you can imagine that getting the virus wasn’t easy. It was pretty tough.

Topamax

After trying various options and medicines, I was prescribed the medicine Topamax (active stop topiramate) in July 2022. Not an ideal situation, because the drug has side effects (eg fatigue). It does make for a huge improvement. The alternative would be lithium. Based on the experiences of those who have been prescribed this medicine for cluster headaches, I have decided not to use that medicine. I have my reasons for that. Others may have good experiences with this. Based on the experiences that others shared with me, I have decided not to use this medicine.

The summer vacation of 2022 was tough. At the same time, have a nice summer vacation. That is of course contradictory. Tough because of the weather which greatly affected my headache attacks. Nice because it was just wonderful to go on holiday with the family for three weeks. This year – unlike last year – we were able to finish the holiday. Last year we had to cancel the holiday after four days. The youngest got sick (corona) after four days.

It was only after the summer holidays that there was any improvement. Very slowly. The summer vacation is now a memory. A nice one, by the way. It allowed me to think about the future with my other half. To think about what was possible and what was not possible.

Decision

That got me thinking about the future and making a difficult decision. That decision brought me back to 2020. The start of the corona pandemic. In that year I would go back to work fully as a self-employed person. In the two years before that, I was still employed in addition to being self-employed and a family man. The business idea I had in mind at the end of 2019 was thrown into disarray by the pandemic. It was a difficult year because I could not claim support from the government. Because of my illness, I couldn’t just start working for a new employer. Luckily my other half had an income.

I decided to focus on new things in 2021. Offering something I had done before. Making websites for others. Then a solution followed where I started managing websites for others. So that they had their hands free to focus on other things. The economic situation was sometimes difficult enough. Then you didn’t feel like performing an update or worrying about the possible security of your website.

Possible?

Still, I wanted to know if photography would work again. Would it be possible again? Taking a lockdown photo every day was slightly different from being professionally busy as a photographer. I enjoyed working with the kids. Although they were fed up by the end of that project. Even the labrador didn’t feel like having to pose every time.

Could I still do it? Was it still a possibility? The equipment I used was due for renewal. It’s not that it doesn’t function anymore because it’s faulty or it’s broken. There are probably smarter and better solutions. Those solutions require an investment. An investment requires an income and an income require assignments. That was a problem in 2020 and 2021. I wasn’t able to make guarantees. My availability was a problem.

Developing or managing a website could take place at other times. A photography assignment should take place at a specific time. A moment that you meet with your client. Just think about the moment when someone calls you to inform you that your appointment is cancelled for whatever reason. Even if there’s a good reason for it.

Suddenly

Unlike a migraine attack, cluster headache comes suddenly. There are no signals. Just compare it with the moment you accelerate when you drive away from a traffic light. Better: the moment you drive away from a traffic light and the road merges directly into a motorway. From zero to fast speeds in just seconds. Even with special injections, it sometimes takes a long time for the attack to stop. Oxygen doesn’t help anymore. That used to help. Not anymore.

There’s also the possibility that the attack can occur when I’m on my way to or anywhere else but home. For example, I experienced an attack during a stage performance at the school of my youngest child. I inserted an injection in the toilet. I was there but also wasn’t there to see her perform.

In a way, this medical condition makes your world a little bit ‘smaller.’ I know fear is a bad counsellor. At some point, there’s this “What if…” You don’t want that to happen, but it does. Fortunately, it’s getting better now. Small steps.

So, what about photography then? This summer, I tried it. It could have been the heat or the subjects I wanted to capture. These were insects. It could also have been the desire. Whatever it was, it wasn’t a success.

Does that make my life less complete? I have chosen other things to do. I mentioned developing websites for others. In addition, helping my clients manage their websites. Something else has also been added, which I am very busy with. A new project. I’m not going to give out much information about that yet. Mostly because I think it brings bad luck to talk about unfinished things.

I thought it was a good moment to continue with De Goede Huisvader. Yes, I didn’t quite stop with that over the past two years, I know. But, this is the first personal contribution I made in a long time. More than 1,000 words! This answers the question “What have you been doing lately?”, I think.

If you want to know: I also vacuumed!

Wait! That’s not all!

No, it’s not! I can’t end like this! The past two years have been particularly tough. Knowing that I could fall back on my better half and my two children were so incredibly important. In addition, the support of family was of great importance. During that period, not only I but also my better half could fall back on everyone who offered to help, when things didn’t go well. It still is. That’s so valuable!

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