Results Neuro-Psychological tests

Yesterday I got the test result from the neuro pshycological examination. Which wasn’t all that good. My ability to remember, process and react to information has been sharply reduced.
This is the short version of what has come out of these tests. I will receive the full report later on and reflect on it some more then.

What does this mean ? It mostly confirms what I already knew, I am very slow with all tasks that require fast processing and reacting. And it takes a lot of energy. You’re just hoping it would be a bit better. The changes of a full recovery are somewhat diminished now. Or it will take longer I am not sure about that part as of yet. It was a lot of information to take in at once.
The Psychologist said this in the beginning and we can come back as often as we want if we have questions or just want to talk about it. The people at the revalidation centre are all very nice, professional and knowledgeable people and give you all the time and space which is great.

How does it affect me ? Well I need some time too digest this, It’s very good to have a base camp of sorts and being able to climb the mountain with a better route. Up until now I didn’t have a measured set of problem areas, rather I was just experiencing them. This is a good thing as we can now focus on these areas and try and improve them. It had been easier to further recover if the results were better. I have too start and taking even more care of planning my energy, cutting up activities in smaller tasks and make sure I prepare more. In retrospect I was chewing off bigger chunks of cookie than I should have. Shifting the gears back.

One important thing is that I keep exercising, running is great for the brain and being in a good condition helps your overall energy level and ability to cope with this. For now I am off for a run !

Graffiti until July

Last few months I have been walking a lot , and most of the time I walk under an overpass. It’s been made a legal wall some time ago and people can take their time creating cool pieces.
And they do 🙂 , I love this art form. Most date from early February until last month or so.

So a few pieces for you to enjoy. And many thanks to the artists for putting them up.

Portfolio news – June 2016 additions

June has seen 2 additions to existing positions. First I added to the position of K+S AG , simply to balance the position in line with the rest of the portfolio. It is still a very solid investment in my opinion. Second I added to my position General Electric , pretty much for the same reasons as my initial purchase. Solid earnings, good dividend and a back to basics strategy.

For the most part I am happy with my portfolio at the moment. In the coming months I will add new company’s to the portfolio the last months were pretty much about balancing things out and buying at lower share prices. Which is always good.

Recovery, progress and life in general

Well, last few months have been eye opening. The post encephalitis effects are still very much present in my daily life. In this post I will try and shed some light on my experience this far and share some thoughts on recovery, the future and life in general.

After 6 months of recovery I must admit I underestimated the impact and consequences, I was focussed on a speedy recovery and aimed at getting back to work as fast as possible. While the team at the revalidation centre told me to focus on the little things first and take it slow. I just decided , maybe unconsciously, instead of doing baby steps simply fight it. Just as I did my whole life. A simple and trusted method. When a problem arises simply fight harder , work harder until it’s solved.

It’s not that I didn’t notice a difference, reading became a lot harder and still is hard. And my ability to solve problems and analyse problems and situations in every day life has had a blow since the encephalitis happened. What I didn’t realize is that it had a hold on everything else as well. For example, if I went to a meeting with a doctor, I couldn’t really remember what he had said and certainly couldn’t comprehend what that meant for me. Which is not so bad when being in a trusted environment like the revalidation centre but very bad if it’s about big decisions like the amount of time you spent at work.

Overtime , and maybe a little late, it started to sink in. And I started applying the techniques I was handed by the revalidation experts. The most important thing I learned is to manage your energy instead of your time. My former self would cram as much as possible in 24 hours. By planning ‘efficient’ , smart and all the other time management tools that are out there. This proved to be my biggest personal pitfall. I read the documents provided , did the exercises once or applied them for a week or two. After that I simply stopped and tried to do everything the way I was used to.

This led to a nice spiral downward. And I was convinced everything was going better. After a while I was getting more tired after being at work and travelling and couldn’t focus any more.
Sleeping it off would help temporarily and I tried again. Failed, slept , tried again. Recovery became battle , with me trying to beat me.

At one point my girlfriend, family and the people at the centre noticed and manoeuvred me back to the principles. So I started applying the proceedings, processes and tricks they explained.
Well that is hard, very hard. Not that these are theoretically hard. Not at all. Things like , plan your week and days before they start. What kind of activities are there, which of these activities will cost you the most energy (not time!). Slowly I started to realize I needed these structures not to get overly tired at the end of a day week or even an activity.

I had done these things before, but didn’t stuck with it, thinking I could do without after a few good days or weeks. Lucky for me I did keep lists in the beginning of all the things I did and how much energy they cost me. So I now plan rest before an energy sucking activity like travelling, especially during rush hour. figuring out lesser busy times and keeping that schedule. Or making sure that I don’t meet people in too crowded places so I can focus better. Avoid busy times in public spaces. Don’t plan strenuous activities two days in a row. And rest or do activities to relax beforehand.

And that’s just planning. Nowadays when I have an important meeting, my girlfriend comes with me to make sure I don’t get overrun with info, and to make sure I don’t make decisions on the spot.
I have to have at least a couple of days to think things over and get an idea. She is a real life saver and helps me with everything.

I also make lists , which provide me with all the things I need to take with me, tasks I need to do. And I am wearing a watch again, and have a nice old school (yes paper) agenda.

Last month my contract at work was not prolonged and I now have to find another place to work at my recovery. Which is a bit unfortunate, but hopefully brings new opportunities.
It also released me from my inner pressure to perform at my best (whatever that may be) and gets me to focus on recovery instead of trying to get back into full swing asap.

It also brings an uncertain time as I now have to explain everything all over again to someone who is going to asses my situation all over. Hopefully it will be someone with a bit of knowledge on the matter.

Next week will bring a few results as well as I have done a combination of tests to see which skills I still posses and in which areas there are problems. A neuro psychological set of tests which looks like a set of easy tasks but proved to be very hard. Hopefully it will bring some much needed insight in the problems I have with taking in information , processing it and reacting to it.

One big advantage I had, I was en a fairly good condition when it happened and didn’t suffer from any physical problems. So I can still run, which helps me a great deal in relaxing and letting go.
Last week I had a few days of real rest, not having to go into work and travelling twice 3 days a week made me feel how tired I was, I also for the first time realized that my old self is no more. Really realizing what the experts had already told me and I mostly ignored, that there are no guarantees you will fully recover, and you really have to take baby steps.

I have formulated 4 goals to work on in the next 6 months. Focussing on recovery and instilling all the procedures , tools and tricks that help me in daily life. Step by step.

June 2016 – Dividend

A new month new dividends. It is starting to get a bit more every time. Last few months have been good, it’s not that I can retire but it is slowly but surely growing.
So these are the figures from June.

Dividends without the tax:

1-jun Dividend (UNILEVER DR) EUR 3,20
10-jun Dividend (EMERSON ELECTRIC COMPA) EUR 4,32
16-jun Dividend (ICAHN ENTERPRISES L.P.) EUR 1,36
27-jun Dividend (RDSA dvd reinvestment plan) EUR 41,72
27-jun Dividend (VANGUARD DIV APPRECIAT) EUR 1,22

Total EUR 55.09

Running and recovery

Since my encephalitis I have been suffering from concentration problems, analytical and problem solving issues, among other things. My recovery has gone fairly steadily upwards in the beginning but now is stalling a bit. One thing that is helping me a lot is exercising. Especially running. It helps me regaining my energy and makes me feel very happy. As my Paris marathon got cancelled I have now selected a new Marathon as a nice goal to work towards. It’s not going to be an attempt on my PR, the aim is to get across the finish line in one piece.

My recovery experts told me I have to select a goal to work towards and that there should be no pressure. So this is what I selected. I will keep a log of my training activity and share my thoughts on how it’s affecting me in general and towards the recovery.

Time and life

Time is a unknown factor in life, while planning ahead for retirement and saving some money for later sometimes your time can be cut short. So why not try to invest to get a bit more free time now.

The main goal for me to pursue financial independence, is time. This became even more evident when I got sick in February.

While I maintain a healthy lifestyle and mostly watch my health closely, you can’t control it. I have some stuff I want to do before I am too old to do it, such as running a few more marathons and a few Ultra trails. While some people run them at age 70 , changes might be I am not in a shape to do that after I am retired. Also there are a few travel experiences I cannot fit in the 24 days off I get every year.

So I am now even more determined to become largely financially independent and have the options of taking months of to train and travel. I have been on this path for some time now, while it is easier with a full time yob which pays well, fast is nice , but a bit slower and doing what I really love doing might be more important.

I will keep you posted on the progress.

A new start with music

After a lot of years of on and off music making and never really finishing anything I sold most of my music gear and only kept a few software bits. The software never really inspired me, I simply like knobs and things, also the never ending possibility’s in software made me go nuts. As in I simply got lost in making sounds and not tracks. So I decided to get a few bits of hardware and use the computer as a recorder. So just jamming and I will see what happens.

Got a old boss effects processor, an Emu ESI 4000 sampler an Elektron machinedrum and I already had a small and incomplete (as if it will ever be complete) Eurorack. I will start with those.
And although I fear this, will put it on the website.

Hopefully I will find the energy to get very active again. It will also help me focus on one thing and this will be good for my recovery.