Sunday 21st October 2018

Archives for April 2018

Taking Stock 2. 18/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.37.

Taking Stock 2. 18/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.37.

When I do a Taking Stock post (with thanks to Pip Lincoln who made the original list here) I do not review what I wrote last time.

The post is literally my views/beliefs/thoughts at the time of writing.

Things may change between now (Thu 26 April 2018) and post publishing time on Mon 30 April 2018 but as it is a snapshot of the ‘now’ it will remain thus.

I do enjoy writing these and the inward reflections.

If you too do a Taking Stock post, I hope you share it.

Each nine weeks on the blog for #lifethisweek is a Taking Stock optional prompt.

Denyse.

Making: time for conversations with my husband each evening as we share the TV viewing on Rugby League 360 on Fox Sports.

Cooking: in the oven in the new rental house – talk about getting to know a new appliance! Took a while, made a simple packet brownie mix. The best part is that I CAN eat it in tiny pieces.

Drinking: my favourite coffee out most days: changing from time to time from a piccolo latte to a small latte with double shot.

Reading: The Way Back by Australian Author and friend, Kylie Ladd. This is the fifth book of Kylie’s I have read and she writes cleverly of modern Australia and family life.

Wanting: time to pass. Oh. This again. I am getting better at waiting because I aint got no skills in how to time travel.

Looking: out the back at the lovely lawn my husband has just mown. What a sight and smell. Freshly cut grass.

Playing: a game on the Ipad called Four Plus

Wasting: not much actually – time nor goods

Sewing: zero, zilch, nada.

Wishing: that my Dad will be able to move back to his independent retirement unit from rehab hospital where he is now because he will be more mobile after a nasty time with vertigo

Enjoying: Autumn. Enough said.

Waiting: for next Tuesday 1 May 2018.

Liking: the lovely people who I get to meet here on the blog and on FB pages.

Wondering: how long Facebook will continue without charging us for its so-called services.

Loving: my family: husband, adult children, 3 adult grandchildren, 3 school age grandchildren AND 2 pre-school aged grandchildren. 

Hoping: that our health continues to be well-monitored by our wonderful, caring G.P.

Marvelling: at the human body and its capacity for regeneration. In my mouth’s case: too much….see next prompt:

Needing: a 4th surgery on my top gums/mouth to replicate the one in February which should have been the final one because the skin has grown too much and tightly.

Smelling: the lawn

Wearing: summer clothes right now but yesterday I was back in long pants, and a cardi. That IS Autumn.

Following: the news about the Royal Family. I admit it. Monarchy-tragic. Looking forward to The Wedding on 19 May.

Noticing: that I look old in the mirror. Ha! That IS what 68 years looks like for me.

Knowing: that I have the best and most competent medical & dental team caring for me and my health.

Thinking: I remember how it felt a year ago when my mouth hurt so much and the dentist was on holidays and I had to wait another 2 weeks to see him….and

Feeling: grateful that cancer was finally diagnosed after some days because at least it was an answer!

Bookmarking: actual books! Making a project of mine to try to settle to read each day for around 20 minutes.

Opening: the front door of the new rental house to our families when they came to see us in the school holidays

Giggling: at the sweet way Princess Charlotte turned and waved to the assembled journalists when she was off to meet her new baby brother in the hospital.

Feeling: a bit anxious about the next visit on Tuesday 1 May to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and what I will hear from my Professor about the condition of my mouth and then what he has planned for surgery 2 weeks later. It is actually the recovery period at home I dread the most.

 

Join #LifeThisWeek 18/52 here:

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’s Optional Prompt: 19/52. The A-L of Me. 7/5/18


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A.N.Z.A.C. Day Memories. 2018.36.

A.N.Z.A.C. Day Memories. 2018.36.

A.N.Z.A.C. Day is always a special day of remembrance and commemoration for me.

In fact, since I was a girl in the Brownies when I took part in A.N.Z.A.C. Day Marches in Manly and onto the days of me leading an A.N.Z.A.C Day Service with students, staff and parents at my schools, I remember the solemnity, the sacrifice and the personal connections to me.

You see, if my paternal grandfather had not enlisted in Wollongong aged almost 21 and been sent to France with his Australian regiment (even though he was Scottish-born ( his allegiance was Australian and to the Crown), he would not have met his future bride, my paternal grandmother, as he was recovering.  in a British Military Hospital, from being poisoned by gas out on patrol retrieving bodies.  They married in Australia after the war and my father (b 1924) was their second child and first son.

Instead of more words…because I can go on…I am including some pictorial memories of mine.

This coming A.N.Z.A.C Day I may view the traditional march in my local area. I will honour those who have fallen and those who fought for us all at 11.00 a.m. with a minute’s silence. It is a day I respect and honour.

And a little quirk of mine is that I never write A.N.Z.A.C without the fullstops as each letter stands for a word:

Australia

New

Zealand

Army

Corps

What are your memories of A.N.Z.A.C. Day?

Do you know of a family member or friend who has served the country?

Has anyone you know or love not returned?

It is not a day to celebrate anything. It IS a day to commemorate:

LEST
WE
FORGET

Denyse.

Joining three link ups each week and I appreciate those who host them too.

Kylie  here on Tuesdays: I Blog On Tuesdays link up.

Sue from SizzlingTowardsSixty with Leanne from Cresting The Hill here on Wednesdays: Midlife Share The Love Linky Party

Leanne from Deep Fried Fruit here on Thursdays for Lovin’ Life Linky.

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School Holiday Memories. #LifeThisWeek 17/52. 2018.35.

School Holiday Memories. #LifeThisWeek 17/52. 2018.35.

As a teacher from 1970 onwards I remember many school holidays because they:

  • meant a break from the regular work of teaching
  • were often a holiday to my parents’ in Sydney or elsewhere when we lived in the ‘bush.’ See here for more!
  • provided some ‘breathing space’ to read books again, go to the shops for more than the necessary items
  • having time with our children to do family activities such as going to the city for the day or to a local shopping centre for ice-skating.

As a teacher and assistant principal back in the day I should have been able to remember when New South Wales Schools moved from 3 school holidays at the end of 3 school terms, but I cannot.

Maybe one of my younger and more clever readers will recall!

The Difference Made by Moving to 4 Terms and 4 School Holidays.

  • less teacher and student fatigue. In 3 terms a year, sometimes the terms were between 13 and 15 weeks long. Yes. They. Were.
  • greater flexibility for families to take vacations in other states of Australia as the holiday periods are/were different.
  • even though the number of days in which public schools must be open did not change significantly – around 201 per annum –  it seems easier with the 4 term year.
  • instead of a long post Summer holidays term one, ending in May (Autumn) term one would be finished generally by April.
  • then, instead of a long Autumn into Winter 2nd Term, ending in late August, a winter 2 week break with the 4 term year was welcomed.
  • of course, each term is a challenge within itself but a school holiday break every 10-11 weeks helps people – children AND staff. Parents of course, may argue, not because of child care out of school  but that is different argument not for this post.

This building will ALWAYS be the Dept of Education. However, it is now being converted to a hotel. The Dept of Ed is moving to Parramatta.

My School Holiday Memories as a Kid.

I started school in 1954 and left school in 1967.

  • sometimes school holidays, particularly the August/September ones, meant a vacation with my parents and brother. We travelled by car to the North Coast of NSW for a couple of them. In a Holden FJ. Took a few days! I remember the beaches of Yamba and Coolangatta.
  • other times, we were left to our own devices. Back then we might explore the neighbourhood. I wrote about that here too.
  • as I got to teenage years it was MUCH cooler to be hanging out with friends and this meant catching the bus to Manly and going to the beach. Sometimes I would catch the ferry to the city to see a movie or visit Dad’s office…because I also had a school holiday job there too.
  • and by age 17 I was working in a jewellery shop at the end of The Corso (beach end) in Manly for my school (and teachers’ college hols).

A last swim at Manly some years back. Far West Home in the background along with the familiar Norfolk Pines.

My School Holiday Memories as a Teacher, Principal & Parent & Uni Student.

The reasons I have almost all good memories of school holidays are these:

  • it was always great to finish work days, even though it meant bringing work home to do in the school holidays.
  • at times too, there would be days to go into school (no kids there!) and get some classroom prep done or office work too. This was before on-line anything!
  • I liked the idea (theory) of being uncontactable as a principal but it was not to be, as Dept of Education staff were NOT on school holidays so they might ring re staffing matters, the school being broken into (again) and so on. 24/7 role, really!
  • that I was on holidays at the same time as my children meant I could organise appointments at the dentist (fun, not!), and for clothing purchases along with some days out to ice-skating at Macquarie Centre ( I got coffee, they skated!) and to have friends over for catch-ups.
  • as a family we would use part of the January holidays to go away – usually to a beachside location – for a week’s holiday. It was how we became interested in the place we now call home, The Central Coast
  • as a part-time Uni Student (for 7 years) and raising a family AND holding a school executive role, some school holidays which did not match Uni breaks were a time for essay writing and in two instances, attendance at Residential School for my B.Ed and my M.Ed.

Taken recently at The Entrance NSW. We stayed for 6 January holiday breaks in the 1990s in the white unit block with balconies overlooking the pool.

As a fully retired educator, parent and grandparent, I see that school holidays hold opportunties for families if they can take them up. To re-connect. To go away. To have a variation of routine. These school holidays we have had two visits from our families who live in Sydney. I know people who do not work with child-friendly days off etc it can be a challenge in school holiday times. Some schools have Vacation Care and of course family can help out.

I would hate to think of any change to school holidays as I believe the adults AND the children all benefit for the breaks.

What about you?

What school holiday memories do you have?

Denyse.

I hope you link up a post, old or new, on or off prompt for #LifeThisWeek 17/52.

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’s Optional Prompt: 18/52. Taking Stock 2. 30/4/18


 

 

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My Moving House Stories. Pt.1. 2018.34.

My Moving House Stories. Pt.1. 2018.34.

Maybe I have some ‘moving house stories’ to share because I am 68!

Let’s go. Oh. At the beginning, of course!

All of my houses have been in New South Wales, Australia.

I was born in Wollongong, south of Sydney and lived there until the end of 1959.

This pic taken by me a few years back. Mum and Dad built this house aided by family and friends. I was brought home from hospital to this house in 1949 and my brother nearly 3 years later. I remember every room of that house!

House Move #1: Wollongong to Balgowlah Heights in Sydney (near Manly on the Sydney map). I wrote about that last week here.

Built as a one-off by the owner builders who sold it to Mum and Dad, this house is split level. Living areas as you go in, and you downstairs to bedrooms and more living space and out to…the pool Dad put in for him and the grandkids!!

As a 10 year old what I remember most about the move was the excitement of a house with stairs, starting a new school at the end of the year and how close we lived to the Harbour. It was a great place to live aged 10 to 20 and I will always be grateful for that.

House Move #2: Adult life and graduating as a teacher at 20 meant a move from home. From Sydney to Barraba. Barraba is north of Tamworth on the map. The best part was starting my career as a teacher and having my first class, being in a very social group of staff in a share house AND meeting my husband-t0-be at the end of that year. I also was totally not great at house-sharing. I was wanting to be ‘out and about’.

Share house: with 3 other teachers from Barraba Central. My bedroom at the front (awnings) was a shared one. The school is over the road so it was not far to walk!

House Move #3: Married Life begins as a 21 year old! In a house on a property outside Narrabri and within driving distance of my school and my husband’s. Also pregnant and in my 2nd year of teaching, I was glad to be married to a man who had already set up a home so at least one of us knew what we were doing! It was a lonely time once I had our daughter. My home-making skills became cooking…and eating…and then, after two more years  my husband got a new school, I did too. Our daughter was still a toddler. So another move was happening! I was 23.

Last year my husband took a trip back to where we both taught and lived. Here’s a rundown of Maules Creek:

Maules Creek

Maules Creek is a hamlet burrowed in the picturesque foothills of Mt Kaputar National Park. It is accessed from Narrabri by taking Old Gunnedah Road, crossing the Harparary Bridge and then turning onto the Maules Creek Road to head for “the hills”. The rugged and enchanting landscape hides a deep rich black soil, perfectly suited to farming. As a result, the region harbours some of the country’s leading cattle studs.
Water flows from the mountains, trickling through Melaleuca-lined creeks to arrive crystal clear. Many beautiful locations along the river provide captivating hideaways for picnics or quiet time in the presence of nature. The size and grandeur of the Nandewar Ranges viewed from the Maules Creek area is spectacular.
To the South of Maules Creek is Leard Forest, which predominantly features pine, iron bark and gum trees. Parts of the forest are being mined for high quality coal deposits.
Whitehaven Coal started building its open cut coal mine in the Leard Forest in January 2014. Whitehaven also runs the nearby Tarrawonga coal mine, and Idemitsu operates Boggabri Coal, also an open cut coal mine.

The playground of Fairfax PS where my hub taught from 1968-1969 ( a one teacher school) and then in 1972 & 1973 I taught there as it was a 2 teacher school. Our baby daughter was cared for in the house in the distance by my principal’s wife (her godmother).

Driving from Narrabri to Maules Creek, last year, my husband came to the sign leading to the property we once called ‘home’ Violet Downs. All given to crops now.

 

House Move #4: The Department of Education paid for our move and it was in the Christmas holidays. We were hanging out in the cool of my parents’ house for most of the school hols but eventually had to drive to the new school residence and school at Merriwagga (Black Stump territory) ..in the heat of Western NSW. Mum came along to help with our young daughter. Mum was a great help but we were soooo hot. Dad tried to send a cooler unit by train from Sydney but there were  none. We ‘did’ survive and Mum was glad to get back to the coast. This home was a very comfy one and we entertained a lot. We even put an above-ground pool in. I taught at Hillston and travelled each day with our daughter in the back, going to the deputy principal’s house where his wife cared for her like she was hers! We stayed there for 3 years. I was 26 when we moved on. Read about Merriwagga and its history here. 

https://www.google.com.au/search?q=images+merriwagga+school&source=lnms&tbm=isch

The school buildings are now a caravan park. We lived in the residence (not shown) alongside.

House Move #5: My husband’s teaching career was blooming, and my ability to have a second child was not. That was when we got the chance to go to one of most isolated schools in NSW as a teaching couple. He would be acting Principal and I would be his teaching staff, along with some teacher aides from the local Aboriginal community. It was again a move that the Department paid for but we still had to pack and be ready for the BIG truck making the trek of 2 days from the Riverina of NSW to almost the Queensland border, Weilmoringle. The house was elevated like a Queenslander and had some air-conditioners to fight the sometimes 50deg heat outside. I learned about how to cater lunch for visiting Specialists like the late Dr Fred Hollows, as well as how to teach co-operatively with my husband!! Living there was pioneer stuff and as we arrived in late January 1976, with a laden station wagon with us and supplies…so did the flood and we were ‘stuck’ for 10 weeks.

https://www.google.com.au/search?biw=1542&bih=868&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=yPPSWvjgKYGR0QSBn4vwDQ

The school building has not changed much. Upstairs: classrooms and office. Downstairs: library, craft spaces. Building in background is a cottage used for visitors to the school and where I taught some cooking lessons. The school residence, not shown, is no longer occupied as our now adult daughter found when she did a trip down memory lane some years ago. Good to see the school is still operating!

This was a most challenging but awesome place to teach but not to live comfortably. Unfortunately this was when my husband’s physical ills became more evident. Clearly we needed to be closer to medical facilities, our daughter needed to go to school where her parents were not her teachers AND it was time for us to BUY a house in Sydney. That all happened by the time I was 28.

q=image+map+of+nsw&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi_ybeUs7naAhXGlJQKHa3vAnAQ_AUICigB

Next time I will write about the house moves within Sydney…and of course, the house moves OUT of Sydney!

Just re-reading this I see I moved house 4 times from age 20 to age 28.

Have you moved house much?

What were those moves about?

Tell me more!

Denyse.

Gratefully linking here each week:

Tuesdays with Kylie Purtell for I Blog On Tuesdays here.

Wednesdays with Sue and Leanne for MidLife Share The Love here.

Thursdays with Leanne for Lovin’ Life Linky here.

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What Is Friendship? #LifeThisWeek 16/52. 2018.33.

What Is Friendship? #LifeThisWeek 16/52. 2018.33.

When I selected this topic I already knew it may be a challenge to write about.

The challenge though was from my inner meaning of friendship.

I admit that having and keeping friends in the world of teaching has been hard. Why?

It’s because we move around from role to role and school to school. I know as I left work in schools to retire fully, I had hoped to keep connecting with some of the people but over time, the friendship drifted into nothingness. It was also one-sided I found.

Instead of berating myself about this, I looked at my life and why. It WAS about the moving on and about. It WAS also about interests changing too. We had a lot of couple friends as young teachers and enjoyed the company and camraderie, even keeping in touch once we were all back in Sydney. However, family changes and priorities, along with our health and moving away Sydney saw a decline in friendships.

But that was OK. That is life.

Luckily for me, I am social in my outlook and can arrange to meet with people who are on Facebook and that is fun. The friends on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have made many a lonely time better and I have met so many of these people via blogging I am very grateful.

And, despite the somewhat dated graphic above, when I put out the call on Facebook asking ‘what is friendship?’ I received some lovely and most helpful quotes! Thank you so much, Friends-in-the-Computer!

 

Friendship is surrounding yourself with people who celebrate you, not people who tolerate you. (E.)

Friendship is seeing each other after 18 months and everything is exactly as it was the last time you hung out. (L)

Friendship is comfort and ease, no judgement, just open hearts. (J

 Friendship is never having to be anyone other than yourself. (E)

(And never expecting your friend to be anyone other than themselves!) (E)

Friendship is always having each other’s backs, being each other’s greatest champion and greatest support. (A)

Friendship is everything that’s already been said and also being there through the good and bad, not just a “fair weather friend” if that makes sense. (V.)

Friendship is having the same sense of humour, good discussions (the flippant, the intense, the nonsensical and the hard), reciprocal gestures of support/acceptance of help (if these are imbalanced, the friendship is too), and being the rock of support in there with you without being the rescuer (and again, vice versa!) – give as generously as you receive! (K.)

Friendship is your friend arriving for dinner, and needing a little weep, and that just being part of a great evening together. Ease, love, acceptance, and solidarity. (A)

Friendship is a safe haven for kindred spirits. (V)

I liked these two quotes as well.

What I did love, and miss quite a bit, about friendships back in my working life and semi-retired life was getting together for a lunch, or a coffee date and having a good old catch up. This was fun.

However, I regard myself as fortunate to have married a man I love and who IS my best friend. He and I have seen each other through 47 years of love, triumphs, tragedies, child-rearing, illnesses, house buying and selling, and arguing! Yes, we are opposites in many ways but we are always there for each other!

Having a photo taken is NOT his favourite thing..so this pic is very much about being my best friend AND he has learned so much about photography being my ‘insta husband’ each morning! Thank you, B.

So what are your views on friendships?

Love to hear from you!

Denyse.

Joining with Alicia here – if she is having her link up this week.

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’s Optional Prompt: 17/52. School Holidays Memories. 23/4/18


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Memories of Sydney I Knew. 2018.32.

UPDATE: Recently I was contacted by a writer for Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to share my story about my cancer as my professional team had let the organisation know I was blogging my way through this! It was published last week and it helped me to remember that I CAN do this…as the next surgery, on May 16 was something I was dreading. Now I realised, I have to do what I have to do to get well and use this mouth of mine as intended! Here is the link and whilst I was wanting to be more light-hearted this week, it is timely that it has been published. Denyse x

Memories of Sydney I Knew. 2018.32.

Aged 10, I  moved to Sydney’s Balgowlah Heights with my parents and brother when Dad received a work promotion.

Memories of coming to Sydney then, involved “NOT” finding a place to live on the southern side of the city as Mum and Dad had hoped because it would be closer to friends and family in their home towns of Wollongong and Dapto. It was getting pretty close to when we literally had to move from Gwynneville in Wollongong as people had bought our house and Dad was already commuting to Sydney.

Then one day, Dad was told of the somewhat newly developed area called Balgowlah Heights. Near Manly. Over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Over we went in our Holden and I will never forget seeing the spans and patterns of the Bridge for the first time AND how we could pay the toll (which was per head in the car) to the man with our shillings or sixpences.

 

 

By December 1959 we had moved to what would be Mum and Dad’s house until Mum’s death in 2007, and Dad’s alone until he sold in 2011.

Dad & Mum – Around the late 1990s.

Driving up the old street recently. Cannot see ‘our house’ for the trees! I barely recognise the ‘old neighbourhood’ as most dwellings have been renovated.

But not ‘our old house’. Bought by architects in 2011 and with a young family then we know there are renovations coming but not sure when or what! The house (but not the garden) looks the same as when Mum and Dad lived there.

I lived there through my last 2 primary school years where I attended Balgowlah Heights P.S. and then to Manly Girls High School for my SIX years of schooling under the new Wyndham Scheme. Then in 1968 and 1969 I lived at home and commuted by Dad’s car, borrowing Mum’s or going by bus to the city and onto Balmain Teachers’ College.

I lived in Sydney’s northern beaches area from 10 to 20. Golden years for this teen and young woman!

The view from Arabanoo Lookout Balgowlah Heights down to Manly and beyond is Manly Beach.

Dobroyd Point where many of us played as kids, learned to drive around its one-way road, played sport on the newly made Tania Oval…and just look at this view of the harbour and North Head & South Head.

Manly Beach. Iconic. My Dad used to walk here while he still could drive his car. We tended to swim further up at Queenscliff as a family and for me as a teen, it was to the ‘middle’ one between Manly and Queensie, North Steyne where I surfed and met friends…

From the walkway leading to Shelley Beach and Fairy Bower, this is the view looking back to Manly. Magical day!

Do you know Sydney?

What memories do you have of Sydney?

What places in Sydney do you enjoy visiting?

Denyse.

Joining with Kylie Purtell here for I Blog On Tuesdays.

On Wednesday I link here with Sue and Leanne for Midlife Share the Love Party.

Thursdays it’s time for the Lovin’ Life Linky with Leanne here.

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Share Your Snaps 3. #LifeThisWeek 15/52. 2018.31.

Share Your Snaps 3. #LifeThisWeek 15/52. 2018.31.

What a year to date.

How have the first three months of 2018 been for you?

I am preparing this post in advance of our house move in the first week of April.

It did come quickly but as we could no longer extend the rental period here from August and we had a very specific brief for the next rental place, when one came up we saw it, applied for it and got it within 24 hours.

Fortunately we are continuing to rent through the same agency. Their property management team is brilliant and have always helped us with any issues. In fact, we are regarded according to what the senior Property Manager tells the team, ‘gold standard tenants’. This went in our favour as usually it is an initial 6 months lease here on the Central Coast  but the owners of our next place, said “12 months is fine.”

Here’s my snaps – only a selection of course – from March 2018.

I hope you have shared your snaps here this week and linked up.

It does not have to be on prompt of course, so if you have another post, do join in, as it is a very friendly space.

Thank you,

Denyse.

I join in with Alicia for her Monday link too here.

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 is the optional prompt’: 16/52.  “What Is Friendship?” 16.4.18.


 

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Changes To ‘MY’* Cancer Recovery Plan. 2018.30.

Changes To ‘MY’* Cancer Recovery Plan. 2018.30.

Are you a planner?

Are you someone who is pretty well organised ahead of time for: birthday cards to be sent, lists for shopping to be made, appointments made and kept…and attended…should I go on?

Well, I am.

It is part of my DNA I reckon!

Yet, as I wrote here only last week, there I was saying I was becoming used to uncertainty.

That was Tuesday.

On Wednesday  28 March 2018 I got an inkling things with my cancer recovery were not going according to MY* plan. That is, what I reasonably anticipated given the information I had prior to each surgery and after it. OK, I admit it: once I hear a time frame I tend to believe it and stick to it.

Do Read on.

What Plan Did I Have?

Not for the year I mention..but you get what I mean!

A linear, calendar one of course! That’s how I have been used to life moseying along. I know, I am supposed to have embraced uncertainty but I admit, like 99% of us humans, I am digging the certain …the plan….the ‘being sure’.

  • 17 May 2017: Cancer Diagnosis Received by a telephone call from the Oral Surgeon who took the biopsy the previous week.
  • 18 May 2017: Meet With Head & Neck Surgeons at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse* Camperdown in Sydney for Overall Diagnosis and Plan For Radical Surgery.
  • 24 May 2017: Meet with Prosthodontist at Westmead Oral Services who will oversee and make all to do with my ‘newly reconstructed mouth’ during and post surgery.
  • 30 May 2017: Second Visit to Prosthodontist and CT scans readying my Professional team to make decisions about parts of my leg to be used for reconstructive surgery in my mouth.
  • 6 July 2017: Big Surgery: #1. 11 hours.
  • 6 July-15 July 2017: Recovery in Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.
  • 15 July – 27 July 2017: Recovery at Home, Treatment of Leg Wounds by Community Nurse, Visit to Surgical Team, A/Prof Ebrahimi and Justine Oates – Head & Neck Cancer Nurse Specialist.
  • 28 July 2017 – 21 September 2017: Recovery at home, visits by Community Nurse decreasing and in mid August I began driving again as ‘boot’ on leg was off. Independence increased.
  • 21 September 2017 – 9 October 2017: Continued wellness returning, eating always a challenge but doing what I can to prepare meals for me, seeing our GP for support (from July actually!) for any concerns I had inside my mouth. If he had any concerns, I could contact Prof Clark.
  • 10 October 2017: Visit to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to see Prof Clark. Told 2nd Surgery would likely be before Christmas.
  • 11 October 2017 – 5 November 2017: continued independence and back into life as best I could. Started my Outfit of the Day pics!
  • 6 November 2017: Visit to Westmead for planning for next surgery. I admit, I often do not exactly understand the ins and outs of my surgeries… even though it is well-explained. I sometimes have to ask my husband about it. I blame being spatially-challenged and that it is all happening inside my mouth! 
  • 8 November 2017: Phone call from Prof Clark’s Practice Manager, Julie who is awesomely patient with ME that my 2nd surgery is next week! OKayyyy. And it is a day surgery only.
  • 15 November 2017. Leave the Central Coast at 6.00 a.m. to get to COBLH* by 9.00 a.m. We made it. But I confess my anxiety was high and tears on the Harbour Bridge in peak hour traffic were evidence of that. Surgery around 2 hours at 11.30 and we were on our way home by 3.
  • 15 November 2017 – 20 November 2017: Recovery at home. More stitches and re-arrangements in my upper mouth was OK. Pretty painful as nerves seem to have been affected by it did recede. But, a skin graft was taken from my right thigh to add extra skin inside my flap to grow to help my upper lip reconstruction. Visited Prof Clark at St George Hospital. I was going OK but one side of the opened then stitched ‘flap’ was showing some silicon (should not have) so “keep an eye on it”. We did.
  • 29 November 2017: weird but wonderful event. I could have a LONG bath…previously I could not get my leg wet…and over time in that bath, undo the bandage and let the wound covering get wet. It did, and I did this over the next few nights. Until, it eventually came away leaving pink new skin.
  • 5 December 2017: To Prof Clark at COBLH. The flap area did keep retreating somewhat and the silicone was showing. Prof Clark cut a bit off. Then he asked my husband to take pics inside my mouth and send them to him from time to time.
  • 6 December 2017 – end of December 2017. I admit I was worried about the flap and what that might mean but Prof Clark eventually said, things are OK and you can stop sending the pics. Phew. It is VERY hard to get pics inside the upper mouth!
  • January 2018: Just the usual at home activities and going out for a coffee & buying clothes (shh).I knew a 3rd surgery was ahead but unsure when. However, it was to my surprise that I found it would be on 7 February 2018.
  • 6 February – 7 February 2018: No drive down on the day of surgery this time, meant after an overnight stay in the same street as COBLH I could walk with my husband up to Day Surgery admissions by 6.30 a.m. and was in theatre by 7.30 a.m. having said hello to Dr Deshpande (my Prosthodontist) and being blown a sweet kiss from Cate Froggatt who is the Chief Nurse working alongside Prof Clark.
  • 7 February 2018: Back in Day surgery by mid morning and got dressed to go home. Was sporting two foam pieces with stitches attached out of my nose, above my lip…that WAS a surprise. Mouth was its usual uncomfy place but with added hardware. More abutments had been added to my ‘new jaw’ and a stent (mouth guard) covered it all. OK. Hard to get used to. It was uncomfy and eating even more of a challenge.
  • 14 February 2018: a hot and long drive to see Prof Clark, and the helpful Priscilla looking after my IPTAAS forms, and then chatting with Cate about my blog. She had read it and was recommending Nadia at Beyond Five check it out. My foam pieces and stitches came out. Yay. Sent home knowing then I would not see Prof Clark again till a cancer check on 22 May 2018 but would see a LOT of Dr Deshpande.
  • 23 February 2018: to Westmead where Dr Deshpande’s colleague (who had also attended my surgeries) Dr McLachlan removed the very stinky stent. Dr D had a broken hand so my mouth was observed by him and anything that needed to be done was by Dr McL. They were so pleased with the health of the gums, they said I could have the stent off. Cue smiling and hallelujah!
  • 26 February 2018. Disappointment but Prof Clark deemed that the stent go back on. For the reasons of keeping the gums in check. I needed to remember this is about getting my mouth right!
  • 1 March 2018. To Westmead and both Dr D and Dr McL observed and cleaned the area and put the stent back with gel only. NO gauze.
  • 1 March – 6 March 2018. In pain. A lot. Where the stent met my inner cheeks. I rang Dr D and he told me to return the next day.
  • 7 March 2018. Dr D reduced the edge of the stent and it was back on and I was in much less pain. Phew.
  • 15 March 2018. To Westmead where stent was removed for impressions to be made for the ‘false teeth’ to be made in wax to get an idea of how my smile and position of upper teeth will appear. At this visit, Dr D reiterated his concern that my mouth is too tight to take the implants.
  • 28 March 2018. To Westmead where the fruits of Dr D’s labours in the time since last visit had me happy (after some initial reservation) to see my smile again.

So what has happened since last week is that on Thursday before Easter, I was told by Dr D (after my phone call from Prof Clark’s Priscilla booking me in to see him early May) that in consultation with Prof C, the fact that my mouth was too tight would mean a 4th Surgery on 16 May.

I was sad. I was a bit over it all but I also knew deep down this was probably going to happen.

What now?

12 April 2018. To Westmead to have my upper false teeth fitted to the abutments for me to get used to the teeth in my mouth for the next month. I am unsure that they will help me with eating but we shall see. I am certainly pleased that Dr D wants me to try these teeth as he believes there is a social benefit too.

1 May 2018.  To COBLH to see Prof Clark, wearing my ‘new but temporary teeth” and for him to check out the area ready for vestibulplasty #3 and surgery #4.

16 May 2018. Planned Day surgery. We will come down and stay the night before. From what I am told by Dr D the plan will be for me to recover for 10 days at home (with the potentially stinky gauze under the new stent. Sigh.

22 May 2018. Post- op Check up at COBLH with Prof Clark. Hopefully all is well and any stitches that need removing are. Unsure if I will be wearing the foam blocks again.

Late May 2018: Westmead for stent to be removed, gauze taken out, area cleaned and impressions made for …the implants. Eventually I will have the implants but it will depend on the healing.

May into June 2018: Keeping the stent in all the time with visits at intervals to Westmead.

June into July 2018. As above, with a view to impressions and so on for implants.

What have I learned about planning and cancer?

  • That each person’s body heals at its own pace and it may not always be what the optimum is.
  • When I learned about the surgery I would be having, in May 2017, it was set out that from surgery (it ended up being in early July) to implanted teeth, is usually around 8-9 months.
  • What is my forecast now that a 4th surgery is planned?
  • It is close to 12 months from the first surgery.
  • In fact, this 4th surgery will be one day short of the anniversary of the day I was diagnosed.
  • I accept that I have the best people caring for me who have my best interests at heart.
  • I accept too, that despite my planning and the fact “I do all I can to heal well” sometimes bodies do what they do.

Last Wednesday was a highlight of HOPE. I think every cancer patient wants HOPE.

Mine came unexpectedly when I saw myself SMILE again. It was better than I ever imagined.

In light of my selfies and all the record-keeping I have been doing in processing who is this Denyse now…I made a small video of my face…and smiles and more from my 65th Birthday to last Wednesday. It is good for me to see the progress. I hope you can check it out too.

I know this was a long post and if you read all the way, thank you!

It was helpful for me to write it and to make the little vid.

Denyse.

Joining with Kylie Purtell for I Blog on Tuesdays here.

Joining with the linky called Midlife Share the Love with Sue and Leanne here on Wednesday.

And lastly but never least is Leanne’s Lovin’ Life link up on Thursdays here.

 

 

 

 

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