Tuesday 16th October 2018

Archives for May 2018

My Head & Neck Cancer 1st Anniversary. Pt 2. 2018.46.

My Head & Neck Cancer 1st Anniversary. Pt 2. 2018.46.

I recently wrote Part One of the Anniversary of my cancer diagnosis here.

The second part is actually a bit harder to write.

I am grateful of course for my cancer being taken via surgery but I seriously had no idea that to recover and be implant-ready would be up to and well over a 12 month period. This is because, as I understand it, bodies heal in different ways and react like that too. I also know that this mouth reconstruction of mine necessitates a lot of work by the multi-disciplinary team of medical, allied health and dental experts.

I am ever-grateful for this team.

With Prof Clark & Cate Froggat, Clinical Nurse Consultant & Surgical Assistant

I know that my Professor Jonathan Clark  leads the Head & Neck team and he is also working with the training of other doctors just as he learned as a resident with the late Professor Chris O’Brien at Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital. From the Westmead Oral Sciences comes  my Prosthodonist, Dr Suhas Deshpande and his colleagues including Dr David LeinkramDr Matthew McLachlan. Dr Deshpande’s Nurse, Ofelia has seen me through some emotional times and is a very kind person. Norma at the reception desk at Westmead Oral Sciences always has a smile for me and a welcome that’s bright.

Associate Professor Ardalan Ebrahimi was the first person I saw on May 18 2017 and who examined me and put together, along with Professor Clark what would be my BIG surgery in July 2017. A/Prof Ebrahimi was kind enough to respond to my 2 detailed emails pre-surgery and saw me post-surgery in 2017 along with  Justine Oates Head and Neck  Nurse Practitioner who re-dressed my wounds and ensured continuity of care once we were back home on the Central Coast.

In my 10 days post Surgery #1, I was cared for by a number of professional nursing staff firstly in ICU with Dr Tim  then on Level 9 North of Chris O’Brien Lifehouse where Jason was the NUM. I will single out registered nurse Roan as he cared for me most early mornings and made sure I got out of bed to get some sunrise shots!

From the Head and Neck team who were part of my first surgery was a team of doctors including Dr Laura Wang & Dr Rahaul Jayaram who saw me most days in hospital.  Allied professional staff  at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse were physiotherapist Leah ensured I could walk post July surgery after fitting my right leg with the boot, dietitian Jacqueline gave me lots of guidance for eating post mouth surgery and the speech therapist Emma made me drink a cup of water (ahh!) and speak ( not a hard task given my propensity to talking!) to ensure I was going well before leaving Chris O’Brien Lifehouse last July.

I thank the wonderful anaesthetists and anaesthetic nurses who ensured not only that I went to sleep  but that I woke up with no dramas. One was Dr Murray Stoken and another is Dr Paul Goonan. On 16 May I was cared for by Dr Stephanie McInnes. 

Of course I have the excellent and fabulous Cate Froggat, my Clinical Nurse Consultant & Surgical Assistant who is the gentle and smiling person looking out for me in the operating theatre and in post-op consultations.

How could I not mention Julie and Priscilla…a hug and smile each time I see them, those who keep all of us seeing Professor Clark organised with compassion and care.

Once I was home, as I have outlined before, I was also in the care of the Central Coast Public Health Community Nursing Team for around 2 months and Eileen was amazing with her knowledge and advice.

My dentist Dr Alistair Brown saw me for a mouth check last October and to clean the remaining ((and oh so important to me) 8 bottom teeth. He was the person who initially referred me to Dr Stef Calladine, oral surgeon,  who did the biopsy last May and broke the news to me over the phone that I had squamous cell carcinoma. I will always be grateful for her caring manner and more importantly for referring me to a place I had heard of called Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and to a specialist I had not, Prof Clark.

My GP. Dr Owen Greene. What a caring and understanding man he is. I saw him sometimes up to 4 times in a week when I was recovering from BIG surgery #1. He reassured, he checked on me and he continues to do so, letting me know you are doing really well. His office staff and pathology people ask how I am going tooIf I pop into the chemist next door, Tim the pharmacist is always asking how I am going too.

There are those that I cannot mention all by name but have been integral to my diagnosis, surgeries and recovery times:

  • staff at the various Imaging places in Sydney and on the Central Coast
  • staff at the Admissions Desk and Pre-Surgery Desk at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse
  • the nursing staff pre- and post-op in the recovery areas
  • my psychologist from the READ clinic in Erina saw me a couple of times and was most kind in her assertion that I was doing well without any more need for her services.
  • the social media account for Chris O’Brien Lifehouse @chris_obrien_lifehouse & the art programs at COBLH @arterieatlifehouse (Instagram)
  • those lovely people who welcome me to their coffee shops like Randa at Fibonacci Wyong  and ask after me, along with my fabulous hairdresser Tiffany, our great podiatrist Sean who came to the house to treat me when it was easier for me, and our Property Manager, Naomi, who was delighted to see me recently. Kyla who makes the most delicious cupcakes always asks how I am going when we catch up. In fact, I won a generous voucher recently and as cupcakes are something I CAN eat, this is just the best!
  • the Beyond Five Organisation: Nadia for her reaching out for me to help with publication of my story written by Kirsty. Check my photos here to see the fundraising ribbons. World Head and Neck Cancer Day in July 27. I wear my ribbon and blog about Head and Neck cancer because not many people know about this cancer. I do now!

Then definitely NOT last nor least are my friends and family. Those who connect on-line too. My blogging friends, my instagram friends and those from Facebook and Twitter. I love connecting!  To know of so much love, concern and care being out there for me after the diagnosis and through recovery in the year it’s been is marvellous. Thank you for reading my posts, checking out my Instagram pics and ‘liking’ the blog Facebook page.

Each day in 2018 I made a commitment to myself to do at least these three each day:

  • get dressed in an #outfitoftheday and go out – for a coffee, a browse, a shop or just to look at a view
  • go into nature or observe nature and then capture this in a photo
  • make something creative, be it a mandala or a pattern or just so art fun.

I cannot single any one person out from family and friends….other than this person:

My husband. There for everything for me. Always. Love IS what keeps us together…and has done for over 47 years.

Sending everyone my love and gratitude.

Denyse.

On Tuesday this posts links with Kylie here

On Wednesday this post links with Sue and Leanne here

On Thursday this post links with Leanne here.

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How Did My Blog Start? 22/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.45.

How Did My Blog Start? 22/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.45.

In late 2010 I started a blog called Memories By Denyse.

The purpose, back then, was two-fold. It was to chart the story of the life of my husband as his memory became affected by what we were told was early dementia. It was also to showcase my photos because I take photos for memories.

Great start! Yes AND No.

  • getting a website and domain name was easy through my internet providor and they hosted (still do) the blog.
  • I found someone on line to set up the blog and then I had NO IDEA of what to do to change anything. And it really meant me paying others!
  • I’d like to say here is that first post but no. In fact almost all of my posts from 2010-2014 are now either in draft or gone to bloggy heaven.

So, what happened?

  • never one to do things simply, I decided after the first ever Aussie Blogging conference in March 2011 that I needed to write about more.
  • of course I did. So I added education. After all I was a retired principal. I also thought I could help both parents and teachers.
  • in fact in 2012 I was a guest blogger speaker at the Digital Parents Conference in Melbourne telling ‘my story’. Oh. It’s still on YouTube somewhere and I cringe because…
  • it was found that sometime that year that my husband’s so-called medical condition was the FAULT of every darned medication two specialists served up to him based on mis-diagnoses.

Hold on, I am going too fast! 

  • when I decided to go down the three blogs route because I could write about them, I complicated my on-life with: Memories By Denyse, Ready.Set.School. and Ready.Set.Teach. Yes. I even copyrighted my names and intellectual property.
  • Hold ON!
  • OK. I am stopping to explain that I started again (still had the domain name and could add as many blogs as I liked) WITH the most patient man ever. MY computer techie guy as I call him.
  • I met him in a local cafe and with the help of MY hand drawn examples, he came up with the way to make all three blogs work for me on-line. And after all this time, if I run into a blog issue I can call him. He’s the best and most generous person and does my work pro-bono! He did HAVE to give me lessons though. The main one was: Keep the number of plugins small & reduce the file size of your photos (yes, Craig, I have!)
  • They were all wordpress models using my own hosting.
  • But I over-did it. By spreading things too thin.
  • I used my skills and talents outside blogging with parent groups and pre-service teachers and a person blog for me. I used to tell stories about our family (not naming names) and with permission I used pics of the grandkids.
  • I was also teaching at Uni, caring for grandkids on some days of the week, and spreading the word on school readiness via my education consultancy business
  • I blogged up to 4-5 times a week and linked up. Back then there was a link up for each week day and on weekends it was Weekend Rewind.

What made me stop and think?

  • Blogging certainly brought me many new friends via commenting, blog link ups and social media. That was great. I continue to be grateful for that once I had fully retired from teaching at all levels and grandchild care.
  • Blogging for money was the goal at one stage for many bloggers and not wanting to be left out, I did some sponsored posts for a company who gave me a grant to attend a conference in Melbourne. (remember the My Family Stickers??)
  • I started to consider the ramifications of advice I was giving on the two education-based blogs and as I had to take out personal indemnity insurance for my education consultancy (costly, over $1000 annually) and blogging was taking OFF ….when I read about Blogging and The Law.
  • School Principal me considered a lot that was being disseminated and over the time of 2014 two of  my three blogs shut down at my request.
  • I did not keep many posts at all. It also helped me with costs at the hosting end to delete a lot of the blogging posts and photos and I do not regret that.
  • The posts relating to the family were all deleted and trashed (sounds terrible) at the hosting end even though there were no identifiers but I felt better as time past that there would be no digital footprints as any searches sent people to 404 error message.
  • It felt a bit sad when it came time to renew the hosting and the domain names but I let them go to focus on:

Denyse Whelan Blogs.

  • I needed something familiar and connecting me to others when we moved away from all I knew. Family, Sydney and Work.
  • I made a commitment from 1 January 2015 to blog EACH and EVERY day.
  • Yes, I did that until sometime in 2016 when I eased back but for sometime I blogged via topics which I continue to use as a guide today. I had a friend I met when I was making a logo to attend a conference who helped me greatly with these graphics in 2016. Thank you Tanya!
  • By 2017 and into 2018 this blog posts on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the topics vary. See above!
  • I linked up to the link ups that I knew were still around back then, but slowly they shrivelled up too.
  • Blogging was not something everyone continued. Many focussed on jobs once kids were at school. Some became dissillusioned with the blogging promise. 
  • By 2014 there was no more Digital Parents and some groups emerged on Facebook. Problogger conferences were/are the only ones that are around. I went to one in Melbourne in 2012.
  • In 2016 I got the opportunity to host my own link up and chose Mondays as Kirsty had retired her link up. Alicia has a link up too on Mondays as does Kell.
  • In 2017 Leanne made a Thursday link up as did Sue and Leanne each Wednesday
  • Kylie hosts I Blog on Tuesdays after Jess retired her blog.
  • There are far fewer bloggers linking up these days and my view is that people are busy with life, are not blogging much and to commit to a link up would mean commenting more and some just do not have the time.

Why Are Link Ups Important?

  • On a personal level I know that I get more people reading and commenting than if I just posted.
  • I deliberately do not have an email sign up because I did and I had few people sign up.
  • I know rely on my Bloglovin’ follow on my blog and me adding my posts to facebook.
  • But I love link ups because I get to meet new bloggers and that is the joy of blogging,

Connecting is Why I Blog.

  • When I returned to full-time blogging in 2015 my blog’s name is Denyse Whelan Blogs (then I added) To Connect.
  • Humans thrive on connection and on-line is one of my daily ways to do so.
  • Moving to a new area and three house moves in that time means that many of my connections are as they say in the computer.
  • I will continue to blog as long as I enjoy it and I have people reading and adding their comments. The conversations are the best!
  • Last year my cancer diagnosis was one very big example of the connections and care in the blogging community and I am always grateful for that.

Tell Me, How Did Your Blog Start?

I know not all of my readers are bloggers but I am really looking forward to reading everyone’s stories if they have decided to follow the optional prompt.

Denyse.

On Mondays I link up with Alicia here.

Life This Week 22/52.

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: 23/52. What I Will Never See Again. 4/6/18. 


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My Head & Neck Cancer 1st Anniversary. Pt 1. 2018.44.

My Head & Neck Cancer 1st Anniversary. Pt 1. 2018.44.

Writing this post I feel a surge of gratitude for my cancer diagnosis.

Weird?

Well, for me, BEFORE I knew that there was a nasty cancer called Squamous Cell Carcinoma in my upper front gums, I was anxious, fearful and this had been building up for the 3 years since just before we left Sydney to come and live on the Central Coast. My life was reduced to managing a sense of fear any time I needed to leave the house. Whilst it was not quite crippling, because I have a very determined edge to my nature, it was not how I liked feeling. AT. ALL. Blog posts here and here tell more:

In early May 2017 after a series of medical and dental examinations, CT scans, X-rays, a biopsy for gums that were not only NOT healing after the teeth and bridge had been removed  but were growing ….the news came through about WHY. The posts about my cancer can be found here.

Words are few but pictures tell much of my story. Away we go. Oh, and I AM someone who takes lots of pics and am grateful to have this record.

Part One.

In the lead up to the first Anniversary of my diagnosis I had thought this post could be a ‘thank you’ one.

I did not realised until late March that I would need a 4th surgery. However, I accept that the mouth still needs more work ….and I am trying not to whinge too much about the fact I will be having the ‘mouthguard/stent’ in for much longer AND another skin graft….because whingeing is not cool. This post is going live AFTER my 4th surgery on 16 May 2018.

I have accepted that there is no real END time with cancer.

I will be having checks until mid 2022. Then, as with most head and neck cancer patients, there is more to come, such as management of my implants over time. See this wonderful Australian-based  support site: BeyondFive here.

So, no “thank you and farewell post” for Part Two. Just more gratitude and let me show you who those people are and why I am grateful!

Part Two is scheduled to go live on Tuesday 29 May 2018.

Denyse.

In many ways I hope, that as I am a teacher AND a learner, anyone who knows someone with Head and Neck Cancer might find my posts helpful. It is one of the reasons I blog: to share, to learn and to connect! My page above has my other posts relating to my cancer story.

On Tuesday this posts links with Kylie here

On Wednesday this post links with Sue and Leanne here

On Thursday this post links with Leanne here.

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My Biggest Fear. 21/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.43.

My Biggest Fear. 21/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.43.

It took me a while to decided WHAT it was that was my biggest fear.

I ran through a list in my head.

I talked to my husband about it too.

I decided that it was not having enough money:

then I remembered I wrote a post called: What is Enough? I recalled that ‘what is enough money’ is different things to different people and that in actual fact we most likely DID have enough …as long as I reined in my clothes’ shopping. OK.

Of course, health came next…and I talked about the fear of becoming very ill. Say, with cancer. Oh yes, I have cancer. I am going OK with that too. So not that. Mmmmm.

I decided that I could not fear homelessness, nor being abandoned by my husband and I could, at this stage, not fear getting too old I cannot do things for myself.

What, then do I fear most?

Not being in control.

Simple, right?

Not really.

We humans like to think we are IN control. But are we?

So, what I know now, as I always have but was not prepared to admit it.

I can only control me.

  • My actions.
  • My responses.
  • My decisions.

Of course, as I need to get  along with others, I must remember that not everyone has this insight.

I found this link and quote from the source. What an applicable read it was!

Courage requires practising this golden mean between being too afraid and not afraid enough.

For it is only through such practice that you can acquire a habit of moderating your fear, which is exactly what being courage is.  There is no algorithm for calculating this golden mean but there is rational judgment grounded in evidence.
So to overcome you fear of losing control, you can,

  • push yourself to act on the evidence, without demanding certainty, or in spite of your fear of the uncertainty;
  • make a habit of this-not always and perfectly, but for the most part;
  • resign yourself to live by probabilities, not by guarantees.
  • accept yourself as an imperfect being who is inherently subject to making mistakes about the future; and
  • stop worrying and ruminating now, not later.

These things really are in your control!

Look how the journey led me to here as I blogged!

I am doing a mindfulness practice with Tara Brach and Jack Kornfield each day now, as well as my Headspace meditation with Andy Puddicombe each night.

Add in my art time, some time outside in nature and I am s l o w l y learning about acceptance and taking things ONE at a time.

So, what is your biggest fear?

Oh. Of course DEATH is one. Enough said. Seriously I am trying to be light-hearted in this post …

But if you or another person is feeling sad, depressed and could possibly be suicidal, please give them the Lifeline Number here or ring it as you need to. 13 11 14.  

Thank you for sharing.

Denyse.

Joining with Alicia here for Open Slather.

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: 22/52. How Did Your Blog Start? 28/5/18. 


 

 

 

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Moving House Stories. Pt.2. 2018.42.

Moving House Stories. Pt.2. 2018.42.

A few weeks back I wrote my first part of Moving Houses stories here. Some great comments from readers were much appreciated as it seems Moving House is topic in which we can all recall our experiences. Thank you for sharing them then. This post takes off where the last one ended.

We moved to Sydney and ….here we go.

1978 – 1993. Kellyville – Northwest Sydney. N.S.W. 

Two teachers on a teaching salary could not afford to buy their first house anywhere near the coastal areas of Sydney. So, it was to the north-west of Sydney we went to search. That also made sense as both my husband’s and my teaching appointments were in the region. Many a time we made the drive from the remote country areas back down the hills of Bells Line of Road, to travel along (and past!) Windsor Road…Kellyville.  Never realised it would be home for such a long time!

Parents of one daughter, we were successful in getting a mutual society loan to purchase the NEW house and land for $44,600. My parents did put us up for some months while we travelled to schools until the house was ready to move in on 17 March 1978.

So proud to call this our first home…that we were not renting.

In the years that followed, and our family grew to include a son, we did some extensions. Above the garage became a second storey with master bedroom, ensuite. The garage was converted to a teaching space for my retired husband who tutored students after school. The backyard eventually got an in-ground pool after an above-ground one did a great job for some years. We held our daughter’s 21st here and she moved out of home that year. Our son, a teen, was living at home.

Suddenly (do not ask me why!) we wanted to do something MORE to this house but were advised that it would over-capitalise it. It was the era of “we can lend you the money if you have secure employment and a good deposit” and in 1993 we sold. For $225,000. We rented for 6 months whilst we BUILT……

1994-1997 Bella Vista. Brand New Estate (then!) Northwest Sydney. N.S.W.

My husband by now was sole trader in his business of designing, making and installing kitchens and cabinets. It was a builder he worked for who suggested we build. We engaged this builder who had an architect draw up plans for this original house of ours and as my husband was doing the cabinetry the house price was lower. We had purchased the land. And, of course, we added an in-ground pool while we were in a borrowing frame of mind…and the bank said YES.

Lovely house with beautiful fittings, a view over the park….

We moved in by January 1994 and our daughter, who was now engaged, left this house as a Bride. Parents of the Bride we were of course. We enjoyed parts of living here a lot. However, it was, unfortunately, somewhere we had to sell in 1997 due to my husband’s illness and business not being able to be carried out. Oh, there is one wonderful memory from this house: we cared for our now 21 year old granddaughter here for 6 months when I took some leave from teaching to do so. Her mum got as full-time teaching gig at a school.

1998-2015 Glenwood. An almost new estate between The Hills area and Blacktown. Northwest Sydney. N.S.W.

The move to Glenwood was bitter-sweet (for me). We had to start again as homeowners/borrowers as we were in essence, wiped out by the business losses. However, we got on with life. We had our family who cared, and we rented as we purchased a house/land package and moved in later in 1998.

This was from earlier days at Glenwood. When the house sold in 2014 it had a carport on one side, and driveway across the front of the house.

The years at Glenwood are tinged with sad times for family reasons and also many glad times. We heard the “grandchildren-to-come” news here and then welcomed them to Grandma’s and Papa’s house for play, meals. sleep-overs and many swims in…the in-ground pool! We made quite a few improvements which made the house very user-friendly for a now- teacher and a now-builder (again – for fun and family). I finally retired from teaching (again) in 2010 and with some casual work teaching at Uni and my small consultancy we were very comfortable until….

The vacant block next door was being changed to add a carpark abutting our side fence, the vast changes in the traffic around where we and our families lived was incredible, I wanted to cease all paid work, and the family told us they had new plans for daycare for the grandkids in 2015. we were OVER being Sydney-siders. We sold and were ready to begin our adventures as a fully- retired couple.

2015- present. Central Coast Region. N.S.W.

I found the move this time heart and gut wrenching even though I “knew” it was the thing to do. I had no idea that the physical move would play so much on my emotional health but it did. I was already quite stressed/anxious and tended to get IBS in 2014 but it worsened with the move. I have written many a post about it. However, I did make a promise to myself to blog every single day in 2015 and into 2016 and I carried that out.

Empire Bay. Southern end of the CC until November 2015.

This house was found before Christmas 2014 and even though it was higher in rent than we thought we would pay, we did because the house had air-con (not ducted) and it was secured. So much wrong with this place…for US. Yes it had great views but no comfort for us who should have seen we needed to be on one-level…and that ducted air was a must. We found that place and moved (again!).

Gorokan. Northern end of the CC.  Nov 2015 – April 2018.

Once we viewed this house, it was so comfy and like our Glenwood house I did all I could to secure it before it went to public viewing and we got it. Such a relief. We couldn’t wait till the end of the lease of the place above, so did the double rent thing just for the peace of mind. This house was somewhere we settled. We really did. In fact, the property managers told us a few time how happy the owners were with us as tenants. This was the house where I found out I had cancer and where I came home to after each of my surgeries. It felt like HOME.

We hoped to stay for a lot longer than the 2.5 years BUT the owners plans changed and they told us they wanted to move in by August 2018. As we were advised by the same property managers (we did not want to leave our wonderful real estate people) to go week  by week when the lease stopped in February 2018 it meant we could look at new places.

 

Hamlyn Terrace. Northern end of the CC. April 2018 –

BUT oh gosh that is tiring and I really had to think about how much I could muster the energy (even though my husband would be doing most of the physical work) to plan a move again. AGAIN. But, knowing I would be having more surgery in May 2018 it made sense to suss out a recommended house about 6 mins from where we were. And we did, and before there were any open homes, we secured it.

It’s been home for just over a month now and we have not unpacked everything deliberately this time. In the last house there was copious storage and we used it. We even set up bunks for the grandkids to come and stay but over time this happened once or twice. So now we have made…are making the house comfy for two and we are enjoying the recency of this build and the features.

That’s the story for now. One day…one day…we will be buying somewhere to live but we are not ready yet. I still need to be in Sydney frequently for my cancer checks and surgery. The area we are in means a day trip from where our adult kids and their respective children live is feasible.

Have you moved house much?

Do you like living where you are now?

If you HAD to move, what would your next place be like and where?

Tell me in the comments!

Denyse.

Joining with bloggers who link up here for I Blog On Tuesdays: here for Midlife Share the Love on Wednesdays: here for Lovin’ Life Linky on Thursdays. Thank you ladies for hosting!

 

 

 

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Share Your Snaps.4. #LifeThisWeek. 20/52. 2018.41.

Share Your Snaps.4. #LifeThisWeek. 20/52. 2018.41.

I wanted to do this post before my next surgery on 16 May but I also needed a theme.

Like many in Australia I have been waiting, waiting, waiting for Autumn to arrive and STAY for the supposedly 3 months of:

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

But no, Mother Nature had other plans so she continued with SUMMER temperatures and conditions well into April. Would WINTER just push in and leave AUTUMN out? I hoped not. On Sunday 6 May I drove along Alison Road Wyong towards Yarramalong (I’ve done this drive a few times to see the rolling green hills and country living) and I was rewarded. Thanks Mother Nature. Happy to see these, alongside the road.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this little trip in the country!

What snaps have you shared this week here?

Thanks for joining in.

Denyse.

P.S. After this little drive, later in the week,  WINTER snuck in just like that…..

 

Linking up with my friend Alicia here for Open Slather too.

Life This Week 20/52. 

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: 21/52. My Biggest Fear. 21/5/18. 


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It’s More Surgery For Me. 2018.40.

It’s More Surgery For Me. 2018.40.

In the overall scheme of things (OSOT as my husband says) this up and coming surgery is “just what it is”. My mouth has not healed the way it might have – nothing to do with my health. Apparently the previous stent, added during surgery in early February 2018 just was not on for long enough I was told last week by Professor Clark. I was also told, that some more skin will need to be harvested from my fabulously (my word!) giving right leg for that to happen. OK. Sigh.

My right leg is such a good one: here’s a collage of how much it has helped….and healed! I am one lucky lady.

But I still found the news harder to absorb because of the details. I knew the surgery was necessary after the Professor and my prosthodonist talked then let me know before Easter. What I did not know was that I would be having ‘the stent, the stinky stent’ in for MUCH longer than before. I had a little weep about that on the way home because I know how that felt in my mouth for the few weeks last time.

So…what’s a blogger to do? Write about it and add a photo or three.

On Tuesday 1 May, following that visit in the afternoon, I wrote this post on Instagram and I admit it was to write it out rather than let it sit inside my head and I received the love, support and care from many. I have always been buoyed by this because I am socially and physically isolated here on the coast, and having friends on-line helps greatly!

Of course my husband is the best listener and advisor. My extended family gets concerned about me too but I like to think I am confident about how things go for me.

Today I was here at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, Camperdown in Sydney, for my pre-4th surgery consultation with my lovely Professor. This is the view down to the ground floor from Level 2 as we were waiting. We heard the piano being played beautifully later & I got to meet the lovely art-making person & make a card. It is a most welcoming and caring place to be even though why most of us are there is not for a reason we choose.

Today I learned that I will need more surgery, the addition of a stent (mouth guard) as I had in February for only weeks …will be in my mouth for months this time. This is not a pleasant thought but without it, the gums and mouth area will not stay in place for my (future)implanted teeth. . My memories of this last time was that it is uncomfortable, gets stinky & will impede eating even more. And it hurt at times. I will need more visits to Westmead in the weeks following the surgery for the prosthodontist to take the stent off & clean around it & put it back.

Additionally I learned that my lip will need more skin. My right leg will be the source of a second skin graft from the thigh. This experience last time meant a bandage on for 2 weeks, no showering and after that time, to have a bath and over time the bandage and the healing patch will come off.

To say that I am a bit disappointed is true but…… surgeries such as mine are new, they require skills and knowledge gained each time a patient is presented. So, wondering how to manage my thoughts and feeling about this, I decided that writing it helps; as does showing appreciation for all that has been done for me so far and helped me recover from the nasty news last year that I had Squamous Cell Carcinoma in my upper gums.

The day I have my 4th surgery at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse will be Wed 16 May 2018 (day surgery)

That is one day short of the first anniversary of my cancer diagnosis on Wed 17 May 2017.

Read about that here if you are new to the blog

I was on Level 2 (where I stood today)  the very next day, 18 May 2017 to meet both the Professor and Associate Professor who would be doing my major surgery in July 2017.

That it is almost one year is both scary and amazing.

Thank you friends here and on FB for your support, kindness, messages and love.

This is what I know I will be looking like again. I guess it helps me to understand more. I am disappointed but I also trust my professional team implicitly and know what they learn each time they do this kind of complex reconstructive surgery is likely to help others.

I am dealing with this positively and with courage. I am going to wear this more, I think!

I will be spending more time batch cooking as I know I have to eat as well as I can but I also know the restrictions.

Thanks for reading thus far! I know this cancer story of mine is quite dominant at the moment which I believe is linked to The One Year Since Diagnosis coming up.

Do you remember certain days/times of year for different reasons?

I sure do.

I have always been like this.

I know there have been quite a few posts about this cancer and surgery but I am grateful to be able to blog about it and hope that you can have patience with me as I continue to get towards my goal of…..implanted teeth!

Thanks to all who read and comment. I am buoyed every time as I said in that Instagram post last week.

Denyse.

On Tuesday this posts links with Kylie here

On Wednesday this post links with Sue and Leanne here

On Thursday this post links with Leanne here.

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The A-L of Me. #LifeThisWeek. 19/52. 2018.39.

The A-L of Me. #LifeThisWeek. 19/52. 2018.39.

I’ve been doing a ‘clean-up’ of old posts. Some drafts from waaay back in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 have been trashed. I do however keep some posts in draft form to give me an idea of what things were like for me when writing here back then. I came upon a 4 year old post called: The A-Z of Me. I read it and determined, that with some additions it could be copied and pasted for this prompt.

What I found interesting is how I have not really changed much at all. Some of the updated life circumstances have been added to what makes me Denyse now, but essentially I have remained pretty much the same.

I wonder about what others might say about themselves, so I am looking forward to seeing who blogs using the optional prompt this week for A-L and for the M-Z week.

Art-lover  I really love to make art, look at art and appreciate the ART of others.

Blogger who uses this space, and Facebook,  to connect, share and communicate her passions

Caring person about people I care for, those who struggle in life from time to time and about issues which are really meaningful for me. I add for Cancer too as once diagnosed, it is ‘part of me.’

Dramatic in my moods, from highs to lows at times but often “over” them much faster than most people. I’ve added Determined in 2018 too.

Excitable with a side of tension, yet more of joy mixed with happiness, and often like a little kid!

Fat is not a word I like, but I embrace that it has been a descriptor of my outward appearance for decades. Whilst I do not diet to change it, life’s health circumstances have changed as I am a different size to my first edition. Maybe, Fabulous? Ha!

Generous to a fault — and the fault may be that I am not generous enough of time or energy for me. Sadly I add Gums: for that is where my cancer was found.

Helpful is my “middle name” not Jennifer, but again, I can ‘over do’ this and it become UNhelpful to me. A balancing act needed here.

Intelligent and so grateful for this genetic gift as it has given me opportunities in life and career, and now in retirement years to continue to learn and enjoy sharing knowledge.

Jealousy is hard to admit but yes, I am jealous. Of some opportunities I’ve missed & others have had, of having ‘enough’ money just to name a few. I am not proud to admit this one, and I am also ‘better’ at dealing with the ‘green eyed monster’ than I was. I am more prone to joy these days too.

Knowledgeable of trivia, such as my BFF birthday even though I haven’t seen her for 45 years, and of all sorts of news and family details. Oh yes, am often a walking encyclopedia of ‘stuff’.

Left-handed and proud even though the world we inhabit is made for the right-handers, it also sets me as a little bit different and for a usual-conformist in nature, this makes me ‘special’.

Interesting shots I have found from around the time of writing this original words and to now, adding just some.

I am very interested to read your A-L of Me if you completed the prompt.

Thanks for joining in or commenting.

This space here is always appreciative of readers, linking bloggers and comments!

Denyse.

Linking up with my friend Alicia here for Open Slather too.

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: 20/52. SHARE YOUR SNAPS 4. 14/5/18. Unbelievable…it’s 5 weeks since the last one!

Life This Week 19/52. The A-L of Me.


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