Monday 18th December 2017

Archives for November 2017

My Cancer & Surgery #2. 2017.128.

My Cancer & Surgery #2. 2017.128.

I know I have written about the cancer I was diagnosed with on quite a few occasions. It still mystifies me, as it does the medical and surgical teams, how I got cancer at all. However, through the reading I have done – little via Dr Google – mostly from this site as recommended by my team from the Head and Neck Clinic at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse it appears that I have a rare cancer or at least it is most unusual one for me to get. I like don’t like that I am that special. 

The condition I was diagnosed with was squamous cell carcinoma in the upper gingiva. I have also seen it on the operation report as verrucous carcinoma upper alveolus. Whatever is the difference..and they are all contained within my upper part of my mouth it has meant a long surgery written about here and even longer recovery in hospital here and at home here.

WHY IS HEAD AND NECK CANCER DIFFERENT?
Head and neck cancer is incredibly complex and diverse. It includes more than 10 different cancers that can affect a person’s mouth, tongue, salivary glands, skin or voice box.

In the past, smoking was the most common cause of head and neck cancer typically affecting areas like the mouth, throat and voice box. However, today in Australia, many head and neck cancers are due to other causes. For example, the human papilloma virus is the most common cause of tonsil cancer, which is rapidly increasing in incidence.

Skin cancers on the face are mainly due to sun exposure and may extend to the eyes, ears, nose and salivary glands. For many other head and neck cancers, such as thyroid cancer, the cause is unknown. Source: Beyond Five.

I had been told following my first surgery that there would be two more surgeries to come. I was not happy about that but needed to accept that to get a ‘working mouth’ back it would be necessary.

I had a check up with Professor Jonathan Clark at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse on 10 October 2017 where he found all my recovery going well and no new issues with lymph glands  – there never had been any cancer found there but this was my first 3 month post-op cancer check. He said my next appointment would be to have a CT scan of my mouth to see how the bone (from the leg) with the added implant bases were settling, to see the specialist dentist at Westmead and then to wait to see when the second surgery might be.

The CT scan went well. The visit back to Westmead was fine now I knew the dentist so well and he is extremely kind and comforting. He explained how my future 2nd surgery would go and what would be achieved. OK. Done.

But when would it be? Before I had a chance to even think about getting mentally prepared for surgery in the coming days a phone call came from the Prof’s practice manager that it was to be DAY ONLY (what?!) surgery on Wednesday 15 November. So, that was something different. To go home on the same day!

We (ok, I) had a nervous drive to Sydney that morning, in peak hour traffic, leaving here at 6.00 am and arriving in time for the pre-admission of 9.00 am. Then my prep was fine and I was wheeled to surgery (same theatre as last time as it is where the Prof prefers to work) ready for 10.30 and there was a delay. I am not good with waiting. However, a trip to the loo, a chat to the anaesthetist and then to Prof and I was wheeled in at 11.30. I do not remember waking in recovery but I know I went OK and was back in the day surgery area feeling well (as you can after 2 hours surgery!) and by 3.50 pm ready to leave with my husband for the drive home. I was a good recoverer.

It might seem strange but for me the surgery in my mouth has never been well-understood by me. I say it is because I am spatially challenged AND that the changes are within me. So I have some troubles feeling what is going on in my mouth because using the tongue is always something that tends to magnify. I have also been in MUCH more pain than I recalled from my first surgery. So, on Day 5 post surgery the Prof wanted to see me and down to St George Private Hospital we went. It was a longer drive and on a not great day but I dealt with it pretty well and hardly did any front seat driving. My husband is a saint putting up with me.

A ten minute consultation (on time!) and we were back on our way home. 5 hours driving in one day. However, the Prof did not seem perturbed by my levels of pain and discomfort most of the time. I also cannot eat as well as I could (and that was limited then too!) after my first surgery some weeks down the track. So, I have been a relatively unhappy recoverer this time. Parts of the stitches on one side have come away, and some of the places where he put stitches feel strange. The purpose of this surgery was to open up part of the flap (the roof of my mouth taken from my leg) and inspect the condition of the 5 implants…which are WELL- EMBEDDED! Good news.

Then he and the specialist dentist put the abutments (screws) on the implants and added some skin from my right thigh to help the implants become adapted to my mouth. I am not explaining it well. Sorry. However, the added pain including nerve shooting types through my lip are driving me cray cray. I was so concerned I even sent the Prof a photo of the inside of my mouth. Can you imagine how hard that was for my poor hub to take?

I am sparing you these photos.

As I write this I have not heard back from him (yet) but I have sent more recent pictures today after his practice manager rang me. The thing I am finding (and have found since I first found out about the cancer in May) is that things are not well-explained AND unless I am ready with questions I get a very short appointment. We have been around surgeons a few times and know they tend to go in, do what they do, and go out again. I am hoping what I am feeling is normal. But it remains somewhat stressful for me. I see him again on 5 December and then the third surgery (I am not sure of its details) is scheduled for early February. But that could change I suppose.

UPDATE  1: The Prof sent me a brief email late Monday saying the photos of inside my mouth looked OK but to keep an eye on things and he will see me next Tuesday. My husband, who ‘gets what is going on in my mouth more than me’ is reassured that it is OK. Sigh.

I was feeling pretty low about it all on Saturday and it is hard. However as I write it is Sunday and I have managed to have a better day thanks to a regular intake of some food and medication for pain. I am somewhat better mentally now, Monday and have managed to eat something at meal times.

UPDATE 2: The nerve pain is likely to be coming from one of the implants my GP tells me and should settle. It is already somewhat (phew!) and yesterday I soaked in a bath for 20 minutes to allow the top covering of my donor site wound to come off and for the skin underneath to continue to re-generate and so far that is going well!

 

Have you had surgery?

Have you had cancer?

It can be so hard once you are home and there is no-one to ask. At least that’s what it is like for me.

Thanks for reading. It has been a LONG post.

Denyse.

Joining with Kylie for I Blog on Tuesdays and with Leanne for Lovin’ Life Linky on Thursdays.

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Best Birthday Ever. #LifeThisWeek 46/52. 2017.127.

Best Birthday Ever. #LifeThisWeek 46/52. 2017.127.

I chose this prompt in one of the ways I select prompts…via the calendar.

This coming Thursday, 30 November is my 68th birthday. I look at those numbers….and remember how ‘concerned’ I was about turning:

40

50

60

and look what’s ahead…all things staying well. This:

70

So I shall re-group. Ahem. I am very grateful to have been born and that I continue to have birthdays, memorable or not. Because that is the way of life these days. Some great memories of birthdays is how I am interpreting this prompt. But there was ONE birthday which stands out: When I turned ONE. My dad tells me that the best and worst year of his life was 1950. I was born in late 1949. He was sent by his company (alone) to do work and training in Melbourne while Mum and I (young baby) stayed in our Wollongong home. Mum had great next door neighbours for love and support but it was not the same as having Dad home. He made a vow to be home for my first birthday and to never travel away like that again. And he kept his word. In fact he left that company and joined a new one…and he did travel again but never for as long a time as that first year of my life. I wrote about this here last year. I wish I had more photos to share of birthdays but it turns out, like many of us, I was the photographer at family events…and as contrary as it may seem, I may not have wanted my birthday to be a great celebration with me at the centre…but if I was forgotten then I was upset. But I do recall a few of the more memorable birthdays and here they are:

  • turning 4. A family and friends from the neighbourhood party.
  • my 16th. Mum and Dad organised some of my friends to surprise me at home and that was fun. My present from them was the LP Album of The Sound of Music.
  • my 21st. I have written about THAT extravaganza that went for days here.
  • my 30th was a bit of fun as we had a young child not yet 1 and a daughter who was 8 and teacher friends with a similar age gap between their kids so we had a celebration at Maccas. I know, cool! It was 1979!!
  • my 50th was interesting! I was in my first year as principal at RPS and unbelievably one of my executive team shared exactly the same birthDATE. She and I had a double celebration with a cake each from the staff.
  • in 2015 I went back to see the family for my birthday and caught up with my Dad and brother here.
  • last year I was determined not to focus on how sad I was away from our family (our second year of living on the coast) so I made myself ‘dress well’ and my husband and I celebrated afternoon tea (with cupcakes I made!) when he got home from Lifeline work.

My 66th Birthday.

My 67th Birthday.

My mouth is still very sore from recent surgery (eating is a challenge anyway since the first surgery) that my birthday treat this coming Thursday will be a coffee and cupcake shared with my husband for morning tea.

Do you find birthdays (your own) somewhat less than wonderful yet you celebrate those of others?

No? Just me then.

Yes? Do share!

Denyse. Joining with blogging friends who also have Monday Link Ups: Alicia here for Open Slather and Kell here for Mummy Mondays. You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week: My View From Here…. it’s a busy time of year, so make this a visual prompt with few words! Practising for next year’s Share Your Snaps!

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

About November 2017. 2017.126.

About November 2017. 2017.126.

Some of my activities in November 2017 in words and pics. A snapshot I guess!

It’s about sharing the dignity which is now an Australia-wide program helping women who have been made suddenly homeless or who are already in a refuge. Women of all ages. I collected some items from here and then bought a lot more and added them to a practical carry-on type bag in good condition.

As I wrote last week here, I made a change to become more interested in my personal appearance and to have some photos taken each day to mark what I have worn. I was quite reluctant initially because I thought “too old” and “no-one is interested” but then I said to myself “YOU are doing this for you!” And once I adopted that stance, I have really begun to enjoy it…and, here’s the thing I am buying new clothes. Well, ones on special as much as possible and the variety in my wardrobe now means I have clothes which fit this much smaller body and look good too.

Realising that art continues to play a part in my healing AND it is a great mindful activity I have been filling both an A4 blank book and an A3 blank book with patterns, mandalas and words. Sometimes in paint, other times in markers and also in black pen. I often listen to music and I have decided it’s close enough to Christmas to get out those CDs and join in! I love singing Christmas songs and I so miss doing it with the kids at school and my grandkids in the car. But nothing is going to stop me doing it for me either!

I love my grandchildren. I miss them very much but I also accept their lives are now caught up with University, work, school and pre-school. We used to mind some of our grandchildren every week at our house and it was such a pleasure to have this experience in our lives. Because I am mindful of privacy for them and their parents I do not have any photos on my Facebook or Instagram unless the older grandchildren have agreed. So, recently I wanted to show just how proud I am of them…and let this second photo into a post. In the background is display with a photograph of the 8 grandchildren as wee babies. One is about to turn 21 and the youngest is under 3. Being Grandma is the BEST! And of course, my husband loves being Papa and when the grandchildren come to visit us here it is a joy.

I admit I wanted to share a photo of me taken almost a year ago with my darling husband ….because I have teeth!! OK..I probably also had cancer starting in the gums but I wasn’t to know that for another 5 months. I like this loving photo of us taken by a granddaughter.

Proud Grandparents of 8. Six girls and two boys. This pic is almost a year old. Sigh. I have teeth.

The little house in the background with the pics and I wear my Uberkate circles proudly with the largest having each grandchild’s initials and the year of their birth on the back.

Back to my happy place is back to the beach. In the last week it finally became warm enough for me to contemplate going for my first beach walk of the season. As I knew I was going to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse for my second surgery last Wednesday, I chose the Tuesday afternoon to walk along the sand and take in the sights, the smells and the sounds. Bliss! I also went on Sunday and the water was even warmer. Love my beach walks and I am beginning to use my fitbit again but not obsessing about it or letting it give me reminders to move! That is TOO bossy!

This post is being published on Tuesday 21 November and I will have already been back to Sydney on Monday 20 November to see my surgeon, the Prof, for a post-op check up. I intended to blog about last Wednesday for this post but realised it would be better to wait until I hear more about what is next and how things went. In terms of recovery on the day I went very well and Emily Hawker confirmed I can say I am a ‘good recoverer’ because that is a word! Recoverer! Love it.

Surprise Arrival at Our House the Day After My Surgery!

It was lovely to receive the flowers above last Thursday after my surgery. Sent by a wonderful friend I am yet to meet. I have lots of friends ‘in the computer’ as people say. I am so very fortunate that I do as they make my day many a time in our on-line and blogging conversations!

Last but oh so not least:

There is one very special blogging friend who has the Thursday link up I add to each week and she has been an amazing supporter of my blog too. This is Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit. On Thursday of this week her step-daughter who is far too young to have anything wrong with her…but she does…is having major surgery this week. I send all my healing wishes to her and am thinking of her family, including a little girl, her daughter.

 

How has your November 2017 been so far?

Anything special happening?

Tell me more in the comments!

Denyse.

Joining Kylie for I Blog on Tuesdays here and Leanne for Lovin’ Life Linky here on Thursday.

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Last ‘Taking Stock’ in 2017. #LifeThisWeek. 45/52. 2017.125.

Last ‘Taking Stock’ in 2017. #LifeThisWeek. 45/52. 2017.125.

Making plans for be more mindful every day especially when I am facing experiences that I find challenging.

Cooking not a lot recently as the freezer is pretty full from recent ‘batch-cooking’. 

Drinking more cups of tea each day so..I can dip my biscuits!

Reading social media, the daily newspapers, blog posts, some books even though I am still unable to become absorbed in them.

Wanting good health news for anyone who is unwell.

Looking up at the sky every day and noticing the clouds which change every minute.

The Lake Views Near Our Place.

Playing a word game on the Ipad which keeps my brain active and my frustration levels high when I cannot make a word from the letters.

Wasting more time on the above game than maybe I should.

Creating art of every kind I love, every day. Paint is my favourite medium at present.

Wishing that the world stays safe. 

Enjoying the times at home in between hospital stays and doctors’ & dentist visits in Sydney.

Surprise Delivery this week from a friend.

Waiting as patiently as I can for my long recovery and reconstruction of my mouth to be finished sometime in 2018.

Liking that I am learning, from my cancer experience, to be more patient than I was.

Wondering from how much my grandchildren have special memories of us, their grandparents. 

Loving the blogging community I am part of and follow. 

Hoping that I can continue my newly-embedded acceptance of “going with what the present is offering”.

Marvelling at my improvement in my thinking and emotional health to the point it is no longer keeping me scared and fearful.

What I Noticed on the walkway to the Beach last week.

Needing reminders that it is nearly Christmas but to be honest, we don’t ‘do Christmas’ much anymore but we will do a tree with lights.

Smelling my husband’s after shave and enjoying the aroma.

Wearing a different outfit every day because I have decided doing that makes me care for and about myself more and it is fun.

Following the increasingly annoying news from the Australian political arena.

Noticing that the jacarandas are nearly finished and the frangipanis are blooming.

Knowing that by the time this post is live I will be at home recovering from my 2nd surgery inside my mouth.

Daily Outfit post..but fewer smiles as mouth is swollen from recent 2nd surgery.

Thinking that the surgical team who care for me are very competent in their roles.

Feeling a lot more confident than I used to be about getting out and about up here and even taking myself to Hornsby recently.

Bookmarking all the wonderful comments that people make to buoy me up when I am feeling a bit down.

Opening cans, bottles and jars with much more difficulty these days

Giggling at some very cute kids of blogging friends who post their pics and vids on Instagram.

Feeling lucky to be receiving the best health care and having the support of my family and friends as I do.

Very relieved Me…about to head home after 2nd surgery. Less than 3 hours since the operation! I am a good recoverer!!

Do you like the taking stock prompts?

They can be changed or adapted of course. I use the ones from Pip Lincoln’s blog Meet Me At Mikes with acknowledgment here.

There are five weeks until Christmas Day which falls on a Monday. No #LifeThisWeek that week!

#LifeThisWeek returns on Monday 1 January 2018 with this prompt: Bye to 2017.

I promise to put the prompts for first 9 weeks of #LifeThisWeek 2018 up on the Home Page before then!

Denyse.

Linking with Alicia for Open Slather here and Kell for Mummy Mondays here. Thank you ladies!

Thank you for linking up.

 

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today! Next Week: Best Birthday Ever!


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

What Are You Doing This Week? 2017.124.

What Are You Doing This Week? 2017.124.

Let me know in the comments what you are doing this week!!

It’s mid-November 2017 and for us we do not need to Christmas shop any more because the families are wide-spread and we give our 8 grandkids some cash to spend in the after-Christmas sales, or to save…or in some cases, to pay their parents back!!

I am noticing that the Jacarandas are starting to turn green and there is not as much of the ‘purple carpet’ around the place.

The garden, for me, is always a great guide to the calendar. Well, most of the time. We all know how excessive dry patches (we had them) and over average rainfall (last year) can affect growth and blooming times. The frangipani in the back garden appears to be right on time.

I took these photos over the weekend and hope by the end of the week the tree will be awash with pretty pink blooms. They are also white on this tree so I suspect the previous owners who planted the tree may have added another.

In my working life I would be writing end of year school reports, then as a Deputy Principal and Principal be organising the classes for next year and hosting Kindergarten Orientation. I would also, as a Principal, be supervising, commenting and signing all of the students’ reports before they went home.

When I was teaching at Uni and studying myself via distance education this was always a hectic time. Submitting my assignments as a student back in the 1990s then as a Uni Tutor in 2000s, marking others’ assignments.

So, this week for me holds one event with significance and that is I am having day surgery at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse as the first of two stages to help my mouth be ready to receive implants and for my inside lip to get some more skin. I did write last week about my visit to the Oral Reconstructive dentist on Monday and I got the phone call from the Professor’s office that my surgery is on!

It’s Wednesday 15 November, and all going well with my recovery I will come home that day. We will have a very long day, to Sydney in the a.m. and home in the p.m. I will be lucky I guess to have a sleep in the middle. My husband says he is right for things to do, so I am leaving him to it.

Next week, as long as I am up to it after 2 hours of anaesthetic, I will let you know how things went. I am fine with some memory issues but that is expected. I will blog next Tuesday for sure as my IBOT contribution.

So, my week is somewhat daunting but I am remaining confident it will go well and if the travel bothers me, I have my drugs and headphones for the phone!

UPDATE on Thursday morning: the trip down was the longest in time for us thanks to 2 M1 breakdowns but we still made to the hospital before the 9.00 admission by leaving here at 6.00 am! So much traffic even at 7.00 in Sydney you have to wonder how people do this every.single.day. My recovery went very well and I was able to leave the hospital only 2 hours after going to recovery. I am a good ‘recoverer’ – it could be a made-up word, I am seeking my personal wordsmith’s advice on this. Emily Hawker! And I was up at 7.00 am responding to people’s comments here!

Something else I mentioned is I am doing a personal style challenge and a guest post has winged its way to one of my blogging friends. In the meantime here are two three (not a memory issue, added a 3rd  pic but did not change the text!) photos from recent days. I am liking the self-motivation this is bringing to me.

I hope your week ahead is a good one!

Denyse.

Linking with Kylie for I Blog On Tuesdays and with Leanne for Lovin’ Life Linky on Thursdays.

 

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

My Last Year of High School. #LifeThisWeek.44/52. 2017.123.

My Last Year of High School. #LifeThisWeek.44/52. 2017.123.

Regular readers know I decided to become a K-6 school teacher way back in Year 5!

But what no-one really knows till this post is how that may not have even happened!

Oh!

I graduated from primary school and went to the recently opened Manly Girls High School in 1962. I was part of the cohort who would do the first School Certificate (end of Year 10) and Higher School Certificate (end of Year 12). This meant those who started in 1962 as I did would be at High School for 4 years minimum (for those who wanted to leave to train or do a course or had a job waiting) and 6 years if tertiary study at University or Teachers’ College was the plan.

Who actually knows in Year 7 what they want to do or be? Well, for me, I had a plan to teach in the back of my mind but I thought of a few other jobs but, let’s just set the scene for how much of a student I was.

Year 11. In the new senior uniform.

I started really well. I was put in the top Year 7 class and that continued for Year 8. I was studying: English (compulsory) Maths (compulsory) Science (compulsory) Modern History, French and German (all my electives) and we also had Music, Cooking and Sewing, Physical Education.

My life as a scholar is that I really am quite lazy  unmotivated more likely and much preferred the times at school and out of it to be talking to my friends about: boys, music, surfing, boys, dancing classes with boys, reading (a lot) and caring for little kids as a neighbourhood baby sitter.

I went down a grade for Years 9 and 10 and did not get maths or science much at all. Nothing has changed. Still. 50+years later. Sigh.

But I got through the School Certificate and then it was onto: the last 2 years of school! Where I was…down another grade to the classes which ended with C. But hey, I was having a good social life. Writing for the school magazine, being in school musicals with the local boys’ school and socialising at fellowship on Sunday nights (the place where you pretended to be part of the church but actually went to socialise afterwards). Legit I say. My second boyfriend came from fellowship whereas my first boyfriend was from dancing classes after school.

Typical report #1 for me.

Typical report for me #2

Into senior school. OK.

They did give us a new uniform and it was a bit different but like us, the teachers were winging it all a bit too. For my last two years of school I was able to drop science. Thank goodness. My subjects for Years 11 and 12 were English, Maths, Modern History, French and German. I did well in Modern History because the teacher was very engaging and I survived the Maths and English classes. French was OK and German was boring. But then again, it could have been the young teacher who was, now I think about it, only 3 years older than us. She actually sent me out of class for talking in Year 12. Imagine. Ha!

Musical in Year 11.

Around the early Year 12 time I realised, with great shock and surprise, that my life to now, pretending to study ( I was nagged but I got away with not studying by having a room on a different level to my parents), and getting a new boyfriend who was in his first year at Uni. was NOT going to get me into teachers college if I still wanted to be a teacher.

I DID.

The motivation of having a study competition between me and the bf helped as did the realisation that I actually had to do more than write notes to my friends and pretend I was studying at home. I also liked the social side of school and kept up some of my fun by helping organise the Year 12 formal and edit the school magazine. My friendship group of 3 were not interested in tertiary study and I had to move away from them at times just to ensure I was beginning to learn how to catch up and pass the Higher School Certificate.

The girlfriends. We went to each others’ weddings but lost contact after we went to the country teaching.

Once it was over, I got pretty good marks – even though they were not marks then they were levels like 1, 2 and 3. I got 2 Level 2s and 3 Level 3s. By January the next year I had matriculated and earned a Commonwealth scholarship to the new Macquarie University to do a BA Dip Ed. but I did not want to do that. Sadly when the first round of offers came for teachers’ college scholarships my name was not there. But, later I did score what I wanted. My scholarship to Balmain Teachers College to train as a K-2 Teacher (later K-6). I was one very relieved new teacher-t0-be!

Mrs Whelan. K-6 Principal.

I will let you into a secret. I know what kids get up to in class…and whilst I was not ‘bad’ bad…I could be over-talkative and bit naughty. It is said that those who are like this make good teachers…and look where I ended up. School Principal!

So, how was your last year(s) at High School?

When did you leave?

Did you have any idea what you wanted to do after school?

Tell me more in the comments.

Denyse.

Linking every Monday with Alicia here and Kell here.

Thank you for linking up today.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today! Next Week: Final Taking Stock in 2017.


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

This Blogging Community Rocks! 2017.122.

This Blogging Community Rocks! 2017.122.

Last week I wrote about being an over 65 (i.e. Baby Boomer!) blogger here and was asking for some ideas about growing my audience here and over on the blog’s Facebook page.

What a helpful and kind bunch this blogging community is!

Thanks to you all, and along with some reflection of my own a few slight changes have been made.

This may not be all, but for now, as I contemplate what may be ahead for me surgery-wise, it will be enough.

As you read this for I Blog On Tuesdays and for Lovin’ Life On Thursday I have been back to Westmead Oral Health Services to have a check-up of how the bone (new jaw) and posts for implants in said jaw are going. This person assessed  my mouth as he has not seen it since the day of surgery and he and his colleague (who was part of my operation team but I had never met!) are reporting back to the Professor about what will be next for me. I know I have two more surgeries – much shorter and less invasive than the first. I do not know dates yet. I am going to get more of a handle on what’s next by chatting with my husband who was also with me and will probably post about it soon.

Now, where was I?

I am grateful to you all who commented and who also responded privately with your ideas for my ‘venturing into blogging to make connections with Over 65s.’

Here is what I have taken from your ideas AND my thinking about what it is I really want.

  • guest posts on blogs where the readers are mature and could engage with topics I am asked to write about, or ones I suggest. I have already guest-posted here on Sizzling Towards Sixty with Sue and today there is another post of mine. I am currently formulating one for Jan at Retirement Info.
  • others I would love to hear from, should they think a guest post from me would be a good idea, are many friends I have already made through this blogging community so shoot me a message on FB or ask me in the comments!
  • I have updated my Facebook page and am posting there every day now. I have more ‘likes’ and comments and I have been busy engaging with those there. I did pay a small fee for some sponsored posts over a couple of days.
  • I belong to some Facebook groups (don’t we all?) and one that is new to me, even though I have known about it for some time is Nikki Parkinson-Hubbard’s Styling You.
  • Why I was not a member before related to my issues of low self-confidence and my appearance. However, over the past weeks I have looked at myself with kinder and compassionate eyes and decided I can belong to a group no matter how old I am.
  • To improve my self-confidence and to take a greater (much!) interest in my physical appearance – even with my poor old mouth not right – I set myself a personal challenge to post photos of me every day until I turn 68 on 30 November.
  • I am writing more about that in a guest post but if you follow me on Instagram (request to follow as I have a private account) or my Facebook page you will see what I am up to.

On the ideas of getting into retirement communities and writing for others who have websites relating to ageing and issues affecting those of us who are retired some lovely friends gave me food for thought. Then as I examined what I think I can handle right now I decided not to go down those paths. I have also reduced the categories I am writing under (they were determined by me back in January 2016) and these can be seen on my refreshed home-page where I also have updated images of me to reflect the ages and stages of THIS ‘Baby Boomer’ born in 1949!

You see, I have written for websites and for pages over the years, particularly related to my experience and expertise in schooling and education matters and I saw little or no benefit in terms of what I really wanted:

to connect with others.

Thank you all in the blogging  community either as bloggers or readers. I appreciate every person who reads and takes the time to comment.

Denyse.

Joining as always on a Tuesday with Kylie here for I Blog on Tuesdays and on Thursdays with the lovely Leanne & Lovin’ Life linky.

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Meditation. Yay or Nay. #LifeThisWeek.43/52. 2017.121.

Meditation. Yay or Nay. #LifeThisWeek.43/52. 2017.121.

Yay for Meditation from me.

But, over time meditation has changed (me) for the better and I will outline why.

Before we go there, I want to clear up some misconceptions about meditation.

It is not:

  • where you turn off all your thoughts (impossible)
  • a session where you ‘chant’ or repeat a mantra (unless you choose to)
  • something you need a special time and place for (although you might find that helps you)
  • a magical panacea to life’s stressors ( if only!)
  • something to be done occasionally if you want to gain from it (i.e. missing days/weeks/months) 
  • is not always a cost to you (there are some programs I have used at the end of the post)

My brief history as a meditator.

I began formal (i.e. making myself sit in one place, with my eyes closed for 10 minutes) meditations shortly after enjoying and noting the benefits from a half-day course here at the local Buddhist Centre. I wrote about it here too on the blog back in 2015. I think I confused the two words: mindfulness and meditation as being one. They can be joined for sure but mindfulness can be practised in all kinds of settings whereas meditation tends to be in a quieter space often alone. Some meditations occur in  group setting such as the course I went to and on-line but for me, I have only ever meditated alone. More about what I got up to in the early days here.

I started with headspace via their app and did the first 10 sessions for free. I was IN. I then paid for the next stages and that has gone on now for a continuous time. I pay around $75 USD for annual membership.

This gives me the access to so many different topics all based on coming back to the breath and letting your brain note and let get has been worth it. I often repeat a group of sessions. Some are 30 sessions, others 10. I pick my time I want to meditate from 10mins, 15 mins to 20 mins. Right now, I am doing a work-based session called Productivity and it is 10 sessions for my choice of 10 minutes.

“But Denyse, you don’t work anymore says you”….true but I sure know I am liable to be distracted and wander off to do tasks and then get somewhat overwhelmed if I do not have them more organised. So, it is helping me with gentle guidance in a life skill.

So far here are the stats of my meditations history. I am not sure it is entirely accurate as I did have an account double and my date may not have transferred…but what the heck, it gives me a bit of a boost to see how I am going.

Total time meditated
191 hours

Sessions completed
924 sessions

Current run streak
35 days

Last time meditated
17 hours ago

This is reminding me that I have yet to meditate today (Saturday afternoon as I write, so I will be back!) I am back.

Where I meditate and why.

My default behaviour is rule-keeper. That means for me, starting as a meditator I made a special place within my bedroom where I had some items like a candle I would light, a high backed chair with cushion making sure my feet could touch the ground and of course, no interruptions. I also had a special time for it and reminder via my phone. I relaxed that somewhat this year and just have it as a general reminder. My iphone as the app for Headspace and each day it would be ready with the next session I had chosen.

As time went on, and we moved house, I did not have a set place or space devoted to meditation anymore other than not to be disturbed. I now meditate (often) outside in a comfy chair with my back supported and feet up on a seat. I sometimes meditate lying on a bed in my art room. I have meditated in bed at night if I have not done so in the day and I have meditated in my car (parked!) on some occasions.

It has made no difference to me how or where I meditate even though I did think in 2015 I had to do it ‘right’ to get the benefitsWhat I now know is the only doing it right is to actually do it! I have missed a day here and there (and I did not meditate in hospital because of the constant interruptions) and I feel the difference not doing it. I thought it would cure me of my anxiety and IBS and it hasn’t. But what it has done is made me more aware of not getting too carried away with my thoughts and to bring myself back to the breath. Not only via meditation but anywhere. My husband does a walking meditation too.

My breath is my anchor.

But what about mindfulness? 

For me, mindfulness is something I need to attend to more each day. And generally I do. I am more mindful because I notice things and look around me often. I feel the touch of where I am sitting and when driving the car. I smell the smells and inhale the good and pleasant ones as great memories. Of course I eat mindfully MORE now as I literally have to take great care eating and do not want to choke! I also listen more attentively to nature. The bird song here is just wonderful.

So, mindfulness + meditation is about attending to the session I guess. However, in my case, the founder of Headspace, Andy Puddicombe really just asks that we pay attention to the breath, and to let passing thoughts come and go..noting them but not getting caught up in them.

I have tried and still check out three other meditation apps/sites. Here is Smiling Mind which is Australian-based and used in schools now too. This one is called Calm. This is one on my phone too and is free. It’s Insight Timer.  Sometimes I do a meditation from my favourites Pema Chodron, Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield on their CDs. I have one more to add. Comedian and writer, Ruby Wax has had many episodes of depression and it was only through meditation and mindfulness practices with some of the best Dr Mark Williams at Oxford that her health improved. She has now done a Masters there and produced a great book called Frazzled. I have listened to the audio version and she does a great job helping guide people as first time meditators.

I hope that you have found some of this helpful. Please ask me any questions in the comments. I am always happy to share and help.

How about you, are you for Meditation or not?

Denyse.

I link up here for Open Slather with Alicia and here with Kell for Mummy Mondays.

Thank you for linking up today.
You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!


 

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest