Friday 18th October 2019

Archives for September 2019

My ‘Head & Neck Cancer’ Spring Story. 39/51 #LifeThisWeek. 99/2019.

My ‘Head & Neck Cancer’ Spring Story. 39/51 #LifeThisWeek. 99/2019.

Spring is here.

In Australia and the rest of the Southern Hemisphere. I am glad to have cool-ish evenings and lovely days but, I know from experience, the lengthening of days will bring more heat and then I will be complaining a bit as I can when the heat is on!

True to my word of needing AND wanting to get out and about I ventured to the local beach nearest to us on Friday only to find it closed off due to sand erosion (climate change, anyone??) so I took another way, up the hill then  down to arrive at the sand and gentle waves. Cold water but worth it for the paddle.

Head and Neck Cancer Check.

When head and neck cancer arrives in your life, you are taken into new and different worlds. Fortunately my ventures have been to improve my life’s quality, living with a rare cancer, and meeting many professionals who have contributed to my well-being since my diagnosis on 17 May 2017.

On Tuesday 17 September, a very rainy day, I drove to Westmead Oral Sciences for my 38th treatment with my prosthodontist and he could not have been more pleased with how well I am maintaining the skin (grafted) around the abutments (added implants to my ‘jaw from my leg’) and we both cheered when I told him I am for the most part pain free in the area that had been bothering me for months. Yay.

On Tuesday 24 September, this time on a sunny day, I arrived at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse carrying cards of appreciation and little cupcake packs for my professional team. These people have cared for and about me for over 2 years now and my relationship is close and warm as they are when they note my progress. I enjoyed a catch-up with Nadia from Beyond Five with a coffee as well, and then to Clinic on 2nd level for my cancer check. First seen by Cate, and then Jonathan and the consensus was I am doing so well, no return till early March 2020. As I finished up, I asked Jonathan how I was going in recovery and his words made me smile:  “Denyse, you are our poster girl in recovery”. I left feeling very well indeed. And the cupcakes and cards were appreciated.

There’s More To Life Than Cancer.

I could not be more appreciative of how well my cancer recovery is going and as a result, I am expanding my world and re-connecting where I could not before as recovery, treatments, resting, driving to and from Sydney took their toll.

On Tuesday, after being to my head and neck check up, I drove out to North Kellyville P.S. to see the granddaughter’s school’s inaugural Art Exhibition. What a joy it was to be there and I couldn’t resist this photo. It actually summed up just how well I felt that day!

Gratitude – for my connections found through having head and neck cancer.

And then this happened.

Those of you who have been reading my head and neck cancer posts (see here for access) will know I have NEVER found another person with cancer “like mine”. My professor had told me I was “rare of rare” in terms of risk factors and so I kind of learned to understand that was it. Until I was contacted, firstly by a mother, then by her son. This man is another head and neck cancer patient. They had found my story on the Beyond Five site after his diagnosis in 2018. It turned out, once I was contacted, he was not only living in Sydney but we shared the same professional surgical team, the same comprehensive cancer hospital and he also attended Westmead Oral Sciences.

This person, who is quite happy to be found on instagram here, has a more complex and serious version of head and neck cancer than mine. He and I connected via social media and then personally when we got together for a coffee at a place a bit up the coast for him, and down the coast for me.

Our talking and sharing was so good. I know for me, re-telling some of my story was good but I think, for him listening to the ways in which recovery occurred for me may have helped. Nevertheless he has a way to go right now and I am full of admiration for his attitude and his patience. We are both very keen to continue to spread the head and neck cancer message.

Thank you Fergus!

Time for change. Transitions. 

I’ve written before about the transitions in my life (retirement, leaving Sydney, family etc) before and I am now, 2 years 4 months post head and neck cancer diagnosis recognising a shift in my emotions, signalling change. Even good change has its downside. I am a little more emotional as I consider how far I have come. I am also feeling the feels about ageing…and turning 70 in 2 months. Our twosome relationship in our marriage continues to be strong as we navigate life at ‘this end’ together. Family is less connected to us now as caring is no longer required and they are all just about grown up.

It’s of great interest to me to know how quickly the changes occur. Sometimes we may blink and miss them. On the weekend, our daughter and 3 of her children came for Saturday lunch. We even managed some fun games outside. I admit “we” the oldies got tired very quickly. We also did a a bit of a nostalgic look at one’s growing up years. She will be 23 later this year Yikes! Where is that time thing going? Nevertheless, my afternoon’s phone call from my 96-next-January-Dad reminded me we are all going OK.

How is Spring going for you?

Had you heard about head and neck cancer before my diagnosis?

Denyse.

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 is: 40/51 Share Your Snaps #8. 7/10/19

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Women Of Courage Series. #19. Jan Wild. 98/2019.

Women Of Courage Series. #19. Jan Wild. 98/2019.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid May 2019: Wednesdays: each week.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

Today I welcome Jan to the series. Jan and I connected via blogging and, I admit, to us both being in our retirement years. Jan at 65 is an amazing role model to many, including me, in her ‘get up and go’ attitude to what life brings. Jan is currently on a wonderful holiday overseas and is staying in touch via social media. I hope the vacation is going splendidly!  

 

 

 What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

As Denyse says we tend to downplay our own courage and I admit that in answering this question I didn’t feel very entitled to the description of courageous. So I had a look at some definitions and liked this one for courage; “strength in the face of pain or grief”.

I realised then that I had been courageous in my life on more than one occasion. No not big saving someone’s life courage, more personal decisions related to my own life.

The thing that comes most to mind is leaving my job and taking 12 months time out to improve my health. This was due to my having suffered two grand mal epileptic fits. I don’t know about courage, I felt I had no choice than to address my health as my top priority. But of course it was courageous as I was not in a relationship where I could depend on someone else bringing in income and I needed to sell a property and dip into my savings to fund my living expenses for the year.

 

How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

Making that decision really did cause me to rest on my own resources and my resilience. I moved to Hawks Nest in NSW and ate simple healthy food, walked on the beach, swam in warm weather and spent plenty of time resting. I also took up hand painting ceramics, something I had not done previously, it was a great creative outlet.

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

I learned that taking a risk doesn’t have to be a disaster. Health wise there really was no choice, financially it was challenging. But I took the time to readjust my expectations and indeed my expenditure. I would shop to a tight budget and there would only be a treat if there was money left over. There were no new clothes or overseas trips but I knew my health was improving (and I have not had any further fits).

I learned to really enjoy my own company and to move in accordance with my own rhythm of life. I recommend anyone who can to try that for themselves (and I know it isn’t always possible).

 

Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

I’m not sure that it has made me more courageous, on reflection I have made several decisions which others may consider courageous. But I have no desire to do any extreme sports and I am very cautious in many parts of my life so I think my answer is no. Although I do know that I am resilient and able to cope well in many situations (not all though).

 

Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

Yes, if possible, consider the alternatives, do your homework and make a well-considered and well-planned  decision. Ask yourself  ‘What is the worst thing that could happen?” For me (other than deteriorating health), that was running out of money, and I realised that in the worst case scenario I could land on a family member or take a less taxing job than the one I had left (or both of those things).

 

I like reading the ways in which “we” can find ourselves going down the ‘worst case scenario’ route may not even happen. I so need to remember this too!

Thank you Jan.

Denyse.

 

 

Blog/Website: https://www.retiringnotshy.com.au

Twitter: @RetiringNotShy

Facebook Page : https://www.facebook.com/retiringnotshy/

Instagram: retiring_not_shy

 

Joining  with Sue and Leanne each Wednesday  here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

Copyright © 2019 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

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My Go-To Easy Meal. 38/51#LifeThisWeek. 97/2019.

Celebration time…and I forgot!

Last week marked 3 years of this link up. Three years, on Mondays, for over 150 of them, you and I have connected and communicated here. Thank you all so very much! Onward into 2020 for sure. I “do” have some thinking to do to find the optional prompts but it’s part of what I love about our community sharing our posts, on or off prompts on Mondays! Denyse xx

 

My Go-To Easy Meal. 38/51#LifeThisWeek. 97/2019.

My go-to easy meal is: Toast.

OK, it’s cereal. Alright.

It’s neither for a ‘main meal’ which we have in the evening but there is still a bit of a chore even to decide on a meal isn’t there?

But first: we both eat well at Breakfast time:

His always includes my non-fave fruit. Mine often includes yoghurt, fruit and more.

Eating after mouth cancer and surgeries.

It is HARD even now, some 12+ months to eat anything like a real meal. Why? It’s about chewing ability (my mouth tires) and having the capacity to chew it well enough to swallow. I admit, I do love the look of some meals I see on others’ blogs and on-line but the truth is none of them are ones I can even countenance eating. In taking the time it does to eat even a small bowl of food, it often goes cold as I try to finish and that make it unappealing. But I am doing this eating thing MUCH better than before the upper prosthesis of teeth went in.

Meals made to go along with my husband’s limited capacity to eat.

His is based on stomach surgeries quite some time back and he has, at times, some swallowing troubles.

BUT…this is not a post about “How Old People Eat” per se but it may give insight into both our changing appetites and capacity to eat as we did back in our 20s to say 50s. And my Dad in his 90s, who as my Mum used to say “lived to eat, not eat to live” finds smaller meals the only ones he can manage.

Not actually go-to meals but actually go-to the freezer and take out a meal. Some of these meals USED to include rice bases and spaghetti too but for me, 14 months of eating those has required a re-think and I have done it. I will come back to some of those meals again, but not for a while.

I do batch cooking. That means less fuss everything and not having to think ‘what’s for dinner?’ It also means that each of us two has a choice of a meal that we feel like that night.

Mid-week we dine together on a freshly made meal and one that can be also eaten the next night.

What do our batch-cooked meals comprise?

At the moment:

  • Beef Casserole
  • Savoury Mince
  • Sausage and Veg Dish
  • Sweet & Sour Chicken
  • Vegetable Soup with Ham
  • Pumpkin and Carrot Soup.
  • Meat Pies: my savoury mince inside. KMart Piemaker is a good size. Not as big as Sunbeam.

Both of us need ‘easy to swallow meals’ hence all above have some kind of sauce or fluid.

Eggs.

Such a standby for many I know.

However, I can barely look at an egg that’s been poached (I scroll by everyone’s brunch/breakkie pics on IG) but I can, at times eat scrambled egg and a family heirloom dish called Egg and Cheese.

My Dad’s mum made this in 1930s and he passed it on. My daughter likes it too. In a pan, quickly add an egg and also some grated tasty cheese, with a fork keep the ingredients together (no egg white to be seen for me) and as it comes together in the pan, it will brown on the bottom making it very tasty. I can eat this on small pieces of buttered toast.

That’s the go-to-meals for me.

However, somewhere along the line “I” have to go-to the shops and buy the ingredients and bring them home. Neither of us can handle take-away foods anymore: portions and high fat. So what we eat, is in most cases, what I cook!

What’s your go-to meal(s) story?

Denyse.

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 is: 39/51 Spring Stories. 30/9/19

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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Women of Courage Series. #18. Margaret Jolly. 96/2019.

Women of Courage Series. #18. Margaret Jolly. 96/2019.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid May 2019: Wednesdays: each week.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

There are some people who come into our lives you do not have to ‘meet in real life’ to know you would enjoy having a conversation and getting to know them. Margaret Jolly who is 57 is one such person to me. We may live states apart but Margaret took time during the early days of my cancer diagnosis to call me and to regularly see how I was faring. I too have taken a great interest in Margaret’s “story” around aged care as she has outlines in her words below. I totally love her photos particularly when they are of her dad and his brother and those from her travels in the UK. 

 

What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

Oftentimes the most courageous thing to have to do is to have a difficult conversation. I’ve been fortunate not to have suffered significant trauma, other than the death of my mother, but being brave, and vulnerable, in having courageous conversations, is a skill that is continually honed.  Most recently, I had to have the courage to tell my Dear Old Dad that it was time for him to go into permanent aged care – the toughest conversation I have ever had to have.  As an HR executive,  I had to have many difficult and courageous conversations which had to be rehearsed to some extent and this was no different.

 

How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

It didn’t change me as such, but changed my life considerably.  You don’t know the burden of the weight you carry until it is no longer there

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

We put off difficult conversations for fear of hurting others, or of getting a negative response.  The longer you put it off, the more damage you do to yourself, and the harder it becomes.  There is a skill in raising difficult matters; much more difficult with someone to whom you are close, for fear that the relationship will suffer.  But not having the conversation is much more damaging.

 

Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

Yes – honesty is always the best policy

 

Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

It sounds trite, but honestly, in a situation which calls for a difficult discussion, you are often in no worse a position afterwards, and in most cases better.  When you find yourself running through hypothetical conversations in your head, it is time to have an actual conversation.

In the words of Dumbledore, Principal of Hogwarts – “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”

Thank you so much for your story which is told with honesty and candour. It “is” indeed one very very hard conversation that you had. I know you are not alone in this matter of future care for family members either.

Denyse.

 

Blog/Website: https://lookingafteredad.blog

Instagram: @meggsie62  @66theesplanade @imperious_george  @dogsofwoodgate

Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

Copyright © 2019 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

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What Is Love? 37/51 #LifeThisWeek. 95/2019.

What Is Love? 37/51 #LifeThisWeek. 95/2019.

This is about love.

Not all lovey-dovey love.

But love when it matters, how it lasts and the constant re-calibrating a long, long relationship thanks to:

L O V E

Whilst I grew up in a family which went to church on occasion, and I heard this verse a few times at weddings, I am quoting it today from the bible as I have always felt an affinity to these words:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13 (New International Version)

Here’s what love is and looks like, in more recent times in our life together. 49 years in October since we met. Been together ever since!

Keeping our love for each other bright…is quite the journey.

Fortunately we enjoy very similar senses of humour, a love of kids, teaching and a zest for learning more. Always learning.

Whilst my husband endured more than anyone’s fair share of illness and medical conditions which saw him having to medically retire young, he got on with life. Changing his work, over time, to be a kitchen and cabinet maker as well as an educational tutor. In his latter years he too studied at tertiary level and used his qualifications to counsel others. Always a fantastic support to me during my career, his wisdom helped me through some challenging years.

We have parented two children: a girl and a boy. We are so blessed (yes we are) to have eight loving grandchildren, 6 girls and 2 boys. But more than anything…we have each other.

We are loving this post working, post child-rearing, post grandchild-caring life of ours very much. It will be more enhance with a house of our own again one day but for now, we love each other’ company but also do quite a bit separately based on our interests.

Here’s to love…and what it’s been more recently: Recently is from my cancer diagnosis in May 2017 (see here for first time readers)  until now. The amount of time he has given to take me to appointments in Sydney (I now do them alone and have since April 2018) and elsewhere, to ‘find’ a chocolate paddlepop if he could when I was first home from hospital, to be as patient as he could with ‘this patient’ and then to let me know (if I hadn’t already) it was time to get outside, go out and stop whingeing…. I do/did. Mostly. But he also understands I need to get the words out.

And here’s what some recent examples of love look like for us.

And I may not have photos for these but lastly:

  • He surprised me with my new apple watch to ‘celebrate’ two years since cancer
  • He got a new banjo. Just because. Not really, he loves playing his piano and guitars and regretted selling his old banjo, so now he has one!
  • He likes Bunnings. I don’t but I understand shopping!
  • I like arts and crafts. I kind of know how to spend a little less…even though he is very understanding
  • We have date morning tea once a week
  • We watch a session of recorded tv (The Block for now) each afternoon together. We have very different tastes in viewing. He is a Netflix fan, and a sports fan but I tend to just use social media.
  • We disagree. A lot. But we accept, generally, our differences.
  • We annoy each other. A bit. But we move on.
  • We are good for each other. I reckon ‘opposites’ attract. He is tall, I am not. He is ‘big picture’ I am ‘details’. He is…a bloke. I am not.

AND… one thing we always say we remember …even at our worst…is seeing each other for the first time on 17 October 1970, sitting at the opposite ends of a table, and we

S M I L E D…and that dear readers, was that!

I am grateful to have a long-lasting loving relationship.

Denyse.

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 is: 38/51 Your Go-To Easy Meal. 23/9/19

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


 

 

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Women of Courage Series. #17. Lydia C. Lee. 94/2019.

Women of Courage Series. #17. Lydia C. Lee. 94/2019.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid May 2019: Wednesdays: each week.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

I have ‘known’ Lydia for more years than I can recall. She remains, however, a woman of some mystery, as this image is the only one I have seen. I am guessing it is Lydia. I also know though, that she is one very caring and helpful individual in my on-line world of friendships. She has offered me some good advice and in fact, some it relates to the person she references in her post. Thanks Lydia for sharing your words. One day, we WILL catch up in person!

 

While I was flattered Denyse asked me to be part of this series, I feel a little bit of a fraud, as I’m not sure I’ve done much with courage. However, as it would be a lack of courage not to accept, I will try my best to offer something useful. Courage is not just bravery, it also has the definition below:

Courage: Strength in the face of pain or grief.

When my father was dying, it was a long and drawn out painful affair. I had to drive two and a half hours every second day to visit him in the hospital. I was working myself into a tired and emotional state on the drive over there, and finding the visits understandably distressing. By chance, to quash my irritability in the traffic, I started listening to audio books. This found me at least on arrival, refreshed and in a good mood, as all my stream of consciousness had been hushed with the external focus.

By chance I listened to This is How by Augusten Burroughs.

This book was a life changer for me. He has a chapter on how to let someone die, and it really altered my understanding of what I could give my family at this most devastating time. The tips I express are his but they worked 100% for me and the by product from doing the small things is the courage defined above.

The first thing he called out is that you will want to find ways to avoid visiting. And it’s true. I kept thinking ‘I need to do this for the kids’ or ‘I have to get this work done’ and so on. The minute I heard his words, I realised it was all unimportant for now, and the visits were the only thing I would really regret not doing.

Secondly, he points out what matters. The special moments you will share that seem insignificant or even mildly unpleasant at the time become something you treasure. One of my favourite memories with Dad was when I took cake for my birthday and we ate it on his hospital bed and laughed at our gluttony and how much better it was than the hospital food. There was such a strong connection that day. In our shared lifetime, this was not one of the ‘big moments’ but it is something I often think about fondly now, and it brings me much comfort.

Thirdly, I’m the youngest in my family. My mother and sister were dealing with it differently to me, and that’s okay – I honestly believe there is not ‘right way’, only what is right for you, and most importantly, for the dying person. It gave me the job of making sure Mum was coping, and would not grieve the difficult decisions she had to make over the myriad of medical options and how to process the conflicting information from the many specialists involved. That job made me busy and feel productive and helpful in a situation where we were really all helpless to ultimately fix anything.

 

In a very strange turn of events, I had a number of concerts already booked, and I kept going to them, even if I didn’t feel like it or as happened one time, I cried in the taxi on the way to the venue. What I discovered was the dancing and energy of the audience was transformative. The endorphins from the exercise and joyous high I’d get would reset my emotions for the next day, so I was recharged to visit again and bring the little gifts of being truly present to share with him.

Our natural instinct is to shut down when facing grief but it’s actually the worst thing in my opinion. I became an expert at compartmentalising my emotions. It’s important to grieve and feel that loss and sadness, but it’s equally important to energise yourself so you’re ready for the next day’s emotional battle.  If worse comes to worse, just leave and go home early if it’s all too hard. I told myself that a few times but it never did pan out that way.

 

One of the benefits of this compartmentalisation was that I became very good at focusing on one step at a time. I could encourage Mum to stop the ‘what if’s’ and just make decisions on the information we had at hand, and make one decision at a time, not trying to second guess ahead. It reduces the enormity of what is happening and the overwhelming responsibility.

 “We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it as not as dreadful as it appears, discovering that we have the strength to stare it down.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

In all things medical, one step at a time is all you can cope with.

Eat well. I ate my emotions – usually in the car on the way home from the hospital. It was not good for my weight or my energy. But long time readers will know I’m far from perfect so this one is a ‘do as I say, not as I do’. Had I not eaten junk daily, I might have felt better about things in those down moments. But as Augusten Burroughs says “Eat the brownie”. Sometimes food is the only happiness you’ll have that day. I’d probably do the same again so I’m not going to judge anyone on this.

If you can, during this time, exercise instead of drinking. Both will take the edge off, but one is better for the next day (and your waistline if you are eating a junkfest to feel good).

It is never a good time, but you can make it better for all involved, and for yourself so you don’t regret choices you made when it’s too late to change anything. Most of all, you are making it as best you can for that loved one who is finding their own courage when you aren’t there.

“Life is what you make it. Always has been, always will be.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

This is not medical advice, it is just what worked for me. If you are under stress and feeling it is too much, please see a doctor. Grief causes stress and disorientation and can lead to anxiety. Always seek medical help if you feel overwhelmed.

Wow, Thank you so much Lydia. Your recommendation of Augusten Burrough’s book was just what I needed to listen to last year. I am sure there will be readers here who will be nodding along with some of your insights gained personally and learning of others.

Denyse.

 

Social Media: https://www.instagram.com/lydiaclee/

Blog/Website: https://pandoraandmax.blogspot.com/

And Travel Blog https://holidazeandhellidaze.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @LydiaCLee

Facebook Page (not personal account): https://www.facebook.com/lydiac.lee.9

Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

Copyright © 2019 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

 

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Taking Stock #4. 36/51 #LifeThisWeek. 93/2019.

Taking Stock #4. 36/51 #LifeThisWeek. 93/2019.

It’s a great idea to ‘take stock’ in life and so it is here in the world of blogging too. Many of those who follow my blog already have established ‘taking stock’ practices and we have Pip Lincoln to thank for this notion for her original taking stock here.

Every 9 weeks is the practice to keep me ‘accountable’ and it’s part of my optional prompt menu. Noting this will be the second last for 2019. Gosh, where has that time gone.

 

Making: time for myself to just ‘be’ is a goal at the moment. I have always been a ‘do’ person.

Cooking: batch meals. Some for my husband (with a few for Dad). Always appreciated and oh so glad not have to answer the question “what’s for dinner” every night as a result.

Drinking: as I type, soda water. Feel the need to a refresh. Nice cold.

Reading: daily newspaper…which is no longer home delivered but I am happy to drive to our local friendly newsagent as she puts the paper away for us.

Wanting: MORE art supplies but not actually NEEDING them.

Looking: at so many art supply places on-line. I look for ‘free shipping’ but also notice, that is a bit of a furphy as the price of items is a bit higher than those where you pay for shipping.

Playing: mahjong on the ipad which I listen to Audible books

Wasting: not much at all

Wishing: for all of us who need better health or to stay well…get that wish

 

Enjoying: life

Waiting: for Monday….

Liking: this blogging community

Wondering: If what happens on Monday will work

Loving: my husband and my family. 

Meeting the youngest grandchild on her birthday in 2015.

Hoping: that we never have to wait so long again for another event like Monday’s

Marvelling: that I can ‘string’ out what is happening on Monday.

Needing: to tell you: we live in a rented house. It’s 4 years old. The dishwasher broke down 9 weeks ago and WE are waiting for MONDAY’S supposed repair of same.

Smelling: freshly made cupcakes which I need to ice now they are cool.

Wearing: the cute little slippers my friend sent me in 2017.

in 2017 I had bandages. Not anymore,

Following: the news of any relief from the drought in Australia

Noticing: that we are yet to see forecasts of much needed decent rainfall.

Knowing: soon there will be water restrictions here on the Central Coast as there should be.

Thinking: that unless everyone gets a greater appreciation of what the drought means for our country, then there will continue to be water wastage, especially when the government is prepared to “sell” the rivers’ water. Enough said.

Feeling: well.

Bookmarking: a real book. Trouble is, the bookmark falls out. Trying to finish “Never Say Die” by Chris O’Brien.

Opening: a new packet of art supplies. NB: I already had them, not ordered as I wrote the post!!

Smiling: at how much I love these pretty, bright and colourful items and getting to use them.

My art….

 

How are you at waiting for repairs?

This has tested us quite a bit as we would never have allowed (if we were landlords) this ridiculously LONG drawn-out process to occur. It was recommended by the first person who checked it …”replace” but…landlord thinks “no, I will source the part”. THAT has taken 6 weeks. THEN a repairer with the part still needs to turn up on Monday AND, if after putting part in machine, we sure hope it works…or….back to the hand-washing up. Over it!

UPDATE: the dishwasher is fixed. It was a broken switch. 9 weeks ago we reported it. The first serviceman said “electrical board” gone, replace machine recommended. Owners said no. Today: a simple fix. But this serviceman left the control panel unstable so…can be used …so will need a return visit. Sigh!

 

Right, now where was I?

Hope you enjoyed the Taking Stock…and understood my little add-on and the reason for it.

Thanks everyone!

Denyse.

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Women of Courage Series. #16. Sarah. 92/2019.

Women of Courage Series. #16. Sarah. 92/2019.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid May 2019: Wednesdays: each week.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

Sarah, who is 42,  and I go way back. To blogging days but also via photography. We’d already been to a blogging function in the city and Sarah offered to help me with my then new Camera. I spent an afternoon at her place with her then pre-schooler learning about how to use the various focus points and I still use that help today. I am so glad we did meet and even though we are no longer in Sydney, we connect on-line from time to time. Thank you Sarah for your willingness to share here today!

 

 

What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

The breakdown of my marriage was a slow and sad journey. Looking back I am grateful that neither of us broke it dramatically but with reflection, sometimes I think the gradual descent into unloving each other did more damage to us in the long run. Our differences, which had pulled us together when we were younger and in the trenches of parenting small children, were the same differences that were causing us such frustration in our personal relationship. By the time my husband was finally able to agree that our marriage was no longer something worth fighting for, the relief was immense for me. I could direct my attention towards something active, a collaborative separation rather than pushing emotional energy into a relationship that had lost its heart. At the time I thought that was the bravest I had ever been, but the courage I had to conjure up at the time of the separation was nothing in comparison to the courage I have needed in the eighteen months since. Navigating a huge life change is complicated, deeply traumatic and takes resilience and bravery and the support of everyone around you.

 

How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

I was changed in every way by the ending of my marriage. The positives have been amazing, I have learnt that I can do everything I need to do, on my own, and that the support of people around me is a gift and should never be taken for granted. But the negatives have weighed heavily on me. I have two incredible daughters who have had their perfect childhoods turned upside down and there are days where the responsibility for that causes me almost physical pain. I have learnt that when bad things happen, the world doesn’t stop turning around you and that a positive attitude can lift you and those around you out of a trough of despair. I laugh more now, I am more present and I am a better mother, friend and ex-wife. I have learnt to let go of the small things and focus on the bigger picture and I am more positive and less pessimistic which has been a really fun and rewarding change.

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

I cannot express strongly enough that I believe courage is something that is compounded by sharing with others, like happiness, courage grows in the presence of people. I found it really hard to express how I was feeling after we agreed the separation. People were shocked that I was relieved, but I had to remember this was often the first time they had heard about the finality of our decision where we had been living the reality for years by this stage. For a while I retreated into my own headspace and found it easier to not talk about what I was going through but this was isolating and left me feeling lonely and misunderstood.

So I started opening up to the people around me and found that sharing my experience made it more real and people responded to my openness with their own stories. Hearing about how other people have dealt with tough situations made me feel stronger and better equipped to cope with the difficulties I was dealing with. I also felt better able to help other people around me and this has planted a seed in me.

Navigating the breakdown of a family unit and a separation is incredibly difficult even when we were doing it amicably under the same roof. There are so many ways of approaching the legalities of a separation and if I was finding it difficult, I knew that there would be so many people out there who felt completely out of their depth trying to work out how to proceed. I am hoping that in some capacity I might be able to help other people facing the same difficulties, maybe by volunteering, possibly by writing, definitely by talking to people.

 

Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

I genuinely feel that I could face most things now. My vision and perspective has changed during this process and instead of being a confirmed pessimist, I see the future as containing possibilities that are beyond my comprehension. Being courageous for me looks a lot like not worrying about things I cannot control and the best bit about this is having heaps more emotional time to do things I love like hang out with my children, spend time with friends, read books and plan adventures!

 

Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

Don’t be afraid to share your story. I know it can be hard to be honest about how you are feeling, but I have found that being as authentic as I can be about my situation has genuinely helped others going through similar experiences. The other really important lesson I have learned about courage is that asking for help is one of the bravest things someone can do. Fear of rejection or facing our own insignificance can hold us back from being honest about what our needs are but once I started to admit how hard I was finding things, people seemed eager to help. I learnt that even the smallest gesture carries great weight when you are struggling and through my own experience of receiving help and compassion, I am in turn more compassionate and empathetic and less judgmental!

 

Thank you so much Sarah for your frankness and lessons learned. I am sure that by sharing your story, others may take courage and comfort too.

Denyse.

 

Joining  with Sue and Leanne each Wednesday  here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

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