Wednesday 18th July 2018

WHNCDay, Beyond Five, Soup For The Soul & Emma McBride MP. 2018.62.

WHNCDayBeyond Five, Soup for the Soul & Emma McBride MP. 2018.62.

Let me start with this.

I was diagnosed with a head and neck cancer in May 2017.

I had no idea that a cancer could be in my mouth.

Many posts here have charted my journey and it has been ever so helpful for me to post, learn and help others too.

What is WHNC Day?

It is World Head and Neck Cancer Day and is on 27 July each year. Last year, on this date I attended my first post-surgical appointment at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and there was nothing anywhere to indicate it WAS WHNC Day.

This year IS different. For me, and for more people who are coming on board to spread the word which is AWARENESS.

You see, as I was ignorant of mouth cancer, many who may eventually be diagnosed with a head and neck cancer (not brain cancer, it is a different group and speciality) and sometimes too late for life-saving treatment.

I’ve been wearing a ribbon from Beyond Five for the past weeks and having my photo taken to raise awareness. The ribbons are $3 each and available from Beyond Five (address is below)

Around the world there are organisations of professionals, patients and carers gearing up for this date with meetings, a conference is being held in Melbourne where I know my surgeon, Professor Jonathan Clark is attending along with my Specialist Prosthodontist, Dr Suhas Deshpande and an event, in Australia for the very first time called Soup for The Soul.

Beyond Five 

I first heard about Beyond Five in June 2017 as I was approaching my BIG (as I still call it, because it was!) surgery when A/Professor Ardalan Ebrahimi answered my long email very helpfully and suggested I check out Beyond Five as it was an organisation he and the Professor had started. At the stage I did glance at areas on-line but my mind was not able to take in much.

As I have moved well into recovery mode, my story was added to Beyond Five’s patient experiences in April 2018. As an educator AND blogger as well as head and neck cancer patient I became better acquainted with the organisation. Here is part of their mission.

Beyond Five is Australia’s First Head and Neck Charity supporting patients with head and neck cancer, as well as their families, carers and the healthcare professionals who care for them.

Their Story:

In 2014 a team of passionate people working within the field of head and neck cancer care had a common desire to provide access to information about head and neck cancer to people all over Australia.

Head and neck cancer is incredibly complex and diverese. It includes more than 10 different cancers that can affect a person’s:

  • mouth
  • tongue
  • salivary glands
  • skin
  • voice box

Each type comes with its own causes, symptoms, characteristics, complexities and treatment options.

There was a real need to provide comprehensive information in one place that was easy-to-access.

We spent 24 months gathering the content with the input of:

  • surgeons
  • radiation oncologists
  • medical oncologists
  • nurses
  • speech pathologists
  • dietitians
  • dentists
  • plastic surgeons
  • psychologists
  • health literacy experts
  • patients
  • carers

We included information for all of the stages of the cancer care journey from diagnosis through treatment to life after cancer. This means that patients and carers can easily find the information they need at the right time.

Beyond Five launched in September 2016.

(side note: my diagnosis date, May 2017)

Why Beyond Five?

When we talk of curing cancer, we talk in terms of  five-year survival. However, in patients with head and neck cancer the effects of the cancer and their treatment stay with the patient forever. These effects may be seen as scars on the face that cannot be hidden by clothing or may be difficulties with speech and swallowing.

The name ‘Beyond Five’ refers to the long-term need of patients which they often need more beyond five years after diagnosis. Find Beyond Five here: 

Soup For The Soul.

The sotry above indicates that Beyond Five is a charity that is new to the scene to help patients with cancer. In fact, this year is only their 2nd year in full operation. So, the FIRST every fund-raiser is happening and it is called Soup For The Soul.

Why that name? It IS winter, so it is a great idea to have some soup with friends and ask for a donation towards Beyond Five and their messages needing to get out to more. Another, and even more important reason is the symbol of what soup means for people with head and neck cancer. It is often the life-line food of nourishment and care. I had a lot of soup last winter and more this winter even though I can get some less liquidy foods down now.

For the week 20 July to 27 July (WHNC Day) there are events and meals and gatherings planned around Australia. I am off to one at Gosford on 24 July with a head and neck support group. I am hosting a “virtual” event for my blogging, facebook and other friends and I have opened a fund-raising page here.

Please donate what you can afford. I suggest $5 as that’s a bowl or a cup of soup!

Here is the link to my page, where the donations are sent directly to Beyond Five after the organisation looking after the funds takes a certain amount for their costs. This varies according to the amount donated.

Emma McBride M.P.

Emma is our local Federal Member and I wrote to her asking if she would accept a fund-raising ribbon from Beyond Five from me. A very busy lady as you can imagine, I was surprised and delighted to receive a call from her office in Canberra to say Emma wanted to come to our place, if that was convenient, to find out more and to accept the ribbon. So on Monday 9 July we did have a very pleasant chat and took some photos which went on social media and I am told there may be something happening on 27 July to raise some awareness for head and neck cancer and some funds via Soup For the Soul. I am very grateful!

I know there was a lot to read and get through today but this post has been getting ready to be published in advance of World Head And Neck Cancer Day and I wanted to cover all the information.

Thank you for reading…and I hope, commenting!

Denyse.

Joining with Kylie on Tuesdays here

Joining with Sue and Leanne here on Wednesdays.

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What Is Courage? 29/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.61.

What Is Courage? 29/52. #LIfeThisWeek. 2018.61.

To answer this question I sought responses from various people and the internet sure does pop up some good ones. Yes, I have read some before. Yes I understand them…now.

No I did not always get why courage was so important.

Surely staying safe and small was best. Then, over the last few years I needed guidance and knowledge to help me gain skills that I am sure became dormant in a body rattled by far too many changes in my life at one.

These photos explain more. I recall taking each of them…and the last one  I had started to feel the courage I needed.

 

From these quotes I can see there are a number of views on courage. I leave them here for you and after you have scrolled, read or skipped them…my responses, via examples, to What is courage will be below.

https://www.tes.com/lessons/ZP0RzEjUkL554Q/what-is-courage

https://www.pinterest.com.au/33rdchance/courage/

http://acelebrationofwomen.org/2013/02/courage-is-not-the-absence-of-fear-women-in-recovery/

https://randyfrazier.com/brene-brown-quote-on-courage/

 

http://www.azquotes.com/quote/1343701

I recently saw this quote and it had to be here: It’s from Dr Danny Penman who has written a book called: The Art of Breathing, which I have found very helpful.

What are some personal examples of courage? 

  • Moving away from our family, friends and the known to the unknown to live here on the Central Coast. I paid for this courage with resulting fear and anxiety yet, on reflection, 3 years afterwards it was worth it.

 

  • Deciding that I could apply for and get a principal’s role in 1998. Before then, I wanted to stay “safe” because that felt best. Yet as I considered my life as it continued, I knew UNLESS I got up the courage to go for roles, I would always regret it. I did get a principal’s position. I did really well in the first three years and then, the fourth year I was brought down by over-work and I had the courage to leave to help me save my mental health.

 

  • Starting a blog. I know that might not seem courageous to some but for me, a lonely retired educator I was prepared “to put myself out there”. It’s been hard to see some of the external measures of success in blogging by-pass me but look now, a lovely community thanks to this link up has joined in and that has made it worthwhile.

 

  • Speaking up and telling my father that some of his comments to me over the years have hurt me and I would prefer to have his support, no matter what, than advice that is not sought. I did wait till my mid-60s but I have done it and as a result, there is an adult to adult relationship now. I took the risk and it worked.

 

  • Insisting, after many sessions of conservative treatment,  that my dentist removed the bridge and attached teeth from my upper gums because of the pain and trouble the area had caused me for the past many months. Getting it done, despite my anxiety being sky-high at the time because I knew the only way was to find what was causing the problem underneath.

 

  • Being prepared to let go of any real or perceived attempts that I can control other people and their behaviours and this was especially true for my family relationships. I risked not knowing what I thought I needed to know and can accept this as a reality.

 

  • Determining, after taking some time to convince myself, that my cancer diagnosis, surgeries and treatments were not to harm nor scare me but to help and heal me and once I did that I was/am a more responsive and healing patient.

This list is not the end but an example of some instances that came to mind as I was preparing the post. Each of them starts with a verb. Yes, action is required in courage.

I found this example of my artwork which helped (and continues to help) me move through the often slow, boring and painful times of recovery from the BIG surgery in July 2017. I concur with past me!

A very influential person to help me learn aspects of the courage I could tap into in my latter years is my husband and along with him, my reading and listening to the works of Brene Brown. Her statements on vulnerability hit home!

So, what is courage for you?

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: 30/52. Share Your Snaps 6.  23/7/18.



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Just For July #2. 2018.60.

Just For July #2. 2018.60.

Thank you so much for the generous response to my new post series for July. I hope to continue these into the remainder of the year…when I come up some names for the series! Denyse x

Noticing.

Do you do a lot of noticing? I am a visual person first and foremost and whilst I do not notice “some things” I notice more than some. Here’s what I noticed recently.

Pansies: Can there be a more beautiful dainty flower than this? Such colour, lines and textures. Growing in a pot on our back deck. Giving me a smile each day, could there be a more beautiful dainty flower than this? Such colour, lines and textures.

Generosity: My lips have been so dry since last year’s surgery. I have at least 8 creams, ointments etc and none have been as good as the large tube here. Lanolips saw a plea from me and sent me these to try. I use this one overnight and my lips are better in the morning.

Really? OK, this is in the toilets of the public hospital where I see my prosthodontist and it seems necessary I admit, the loos there do need a firm flush! The hospital is 40+ years old.

Black: What colour density and texture does this crow have! I am awe of its beauty.

STOP: I stop every time I ascend or descend steps or walkways to the beach. I just have to watch and try to take in the beauty and symmetry.

Texture: I see the bases of the decorative palms at the local super centre and have to capture their ruggedness.

Ever-changing: The waves, the patterns on the water, the colours of the ocean are never the same. I am fascinated by this and reflect on it as a metaphor for my life.

Humour: My sense of humour is one I share with my husband but this might have gone too far. MY new ‘teeth’ from the lolly bag. Girl has to dream!!

Teaching: Angela nailed this. She gets it. So do the teachers. Parents we think do too but there is a minority who take entitlement too far. Oh, and if the administration of teachers and education could reduce,  then kids will have the best opportunities. Record-keeping is taking over.

Surprise: I do always notice mandalas in nature but this one, a tree stump at my rest stop on my way home from Westmead was photographed and shared with a mandala friend. She screen shot it and sent it to me saying “do you see the face?” I do now. Do you? It is weirdly creepy.

Teamwork: My prosthodontist is adjusting my stent with a fine scalpel to reduce its bulk for comfort in my mouth and his nurse is holding the ‘sucker’ to take away the debris. These two, who I see as my friends now, have been working together for 13 years and it shows.

Look: I fail to notice time moving on, at times, when I am into social media, but I decided to go outside recently close to sunset and captured this over the neighbours’ houses.

Do you notice the world around you?

What is your dominant sense?

Denyse.

Thanks for having this Thursday linky, Leanne. Join in here everyone.

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One Year After My Major Cancer Surgery. 2018.59.

One Year After My Major Cancer Surgery. 2018.59.

This space, Denyse Whelan Blogs, has been a life raft to the outside world and a connection from me to you, the readers and fellow bloggers. I am aware that since my first May post “I have Cancer” there have been a significant number of posts about this cancer and me.

In reaching the 1st year anniversary of the major mouth surgery on 6 July 2017 last Friday, 6th July, I decided that whilst there will be occasional updates, there will be a general easing away from the focus as I get to look forward to a broader life view.

However, I cannot predict when that will be, as a year ago I might have been given the impression that my recovery, i.e. surgeries and healing to gum and jaw readiness for implanted teeth might be 8-9 months. I am in my 13th month now. My mouth has needed a 4th surgery and a second skin graft taken to enable the lip the be more prominent and for there to be enough space for teeth to go in. THIS is why I am on a drive every.single.week until mid August so that my excellent prosthodontist can do the best first stage of teeth for me. Implants remain much further away.

I wanted to do a snapshot of how it has been for me as I have recovered and some of the ways in which I have been able to adapt and adjust to life with no teeth on top, 8 on the bottom, and a skin graft inside my mouth, along with a bone made into a jaw.

Life went on…after hospital but I needed to adjust significantly to home life as I was restricted with movement: a boot on the leg where the surgeons had removed my fibula and skin/flesh for my mouth. I also could eat with difficulty and there were some tears via trial and error. Over time I learned how to better cater for myself after sending my husband on early day missions for soft foods like jellies and mousse. I admit I still find the eating restrictions hard but do what I can to keep up nourishment as I need protein each day and some iron-rich foods. Since late last year I started cooking mini-meals and freezing them.

I am not someone to sit around for long and once I could drive, 6 weeks after surgery, I set out for small drives to be used to both managing the car, and that I was stable on my feet when I got out. I soon re-engaged with shopping. Even though I had not enjoyed shopping before the surgery (I was anxious and I was not interested in clothes or books or even browsing) I found my shopping mojo again when I knew I needed a focus for each day. Along with the enjoyment I have always had for being near the beach or finding places to photograph, going out every day became must-do for my emotional health. I dressed well, had a photo taken and went out to chat with people I met and have a coffee and do some art.

For the first part of 2018, being holidays everywhere, I waited out the time before planned third surgery in February by distraction, activity and going to the beach as well as out for coffee. I had also had a second surgery in November 2017. It was always hoped that the February one would be my last or maybe that was just me??

The February surgery saw my mouth healing well and the prosthodontists took my stent off. This was short-lived (darn it) because my surgeon wanted it back on. Alas, the reason it was needed was the area between my upper lip and jaw was very tight and in fact left no room at all for the addition of teeth. I found out, much to my disappointment that a 4th surgery, and skin graft to make the inside of the mouth even roomier would be on in mid May.

This is where I am at now, almost 8 weeks from that time. The stent is doing the job. It has been mighty sore and uncomfortable at time but my fortnightly, now weekly visits to the prosthodontist at Westmead sees this being removed, trimmed and re-fitted. It can take over 2 hours. Nevertheless I am a very co-operative patient and I want it to work too. Over the coming month and more I will be at Westmead for longer visits and with luck on our side, the first fitting of a set of false teeth for the upper gums.

Thank you if you have read this far.

I was of two minds about posting this. I said to my husband “I am sick of my posts about cancer and recovery” and his comment was “then other people might be too.” However, I also decided that it was IMPORTANT to me to keep the update and to mark this occasion of ONE YEAR since the first surgery and that’s why this post is here. So much of my recovery has been, and still is, mental. It is about attitude, some courage and a willingness to see this through. I have been, at various times angry, impatient, teary, frustrated and downright “over it”.

However, I am MUCH better at picking myself up, dusting myself off and starting all over again…

Denyse.

 

On Tuesday this posts links with Kylie here

On Wednesday this post links with Sue and Leanne here

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My Home Country. 28/52. #LifeThisWeek 2018.58.

My Home Country. 28/52. #LifeThisWeek 2018.58.

I do ask myself when a particular prompt comes up ” why did I choose this?”

I have no real answer except I thought it may be interesting to see what others write.

In my case I was stumped! Then I delved a bit deeper to realise that even though my home country is Australia there are more countries than this one in my history.

Let’s get started!

I was born in Wollongong, New South Wales (N.S.W. for short), Australia to a father who had also been born there and a mother who was born in Dapto N.S.W., Australia.

An oldie: Mum and Dad with me: 1999 becomes 2000

 

Easy? Not quite.

I did some history searching after knowing some of parents’ heritage and found this out.

Aboriginal Australia.

My mum’s family was a rural one from various places in southern N.S.W. and I could see her heritage was from generations born in Australia too. What is not noted but has long been suspected is that there is Aboriginal heritage from Mum’s side of the family and that includes me. In the 1800s not all births were registered and if there had been a liaison with a ‘white’ Australian for example, with a person of Aboriginal descent, then it was unlikely to be recorded.

I feel proud to know this may be some of my heritage and it makes sense to me over the years why. Teaching and living in remote and Western Sydney communities I have felt an affinity with the original Australians.

The symbolic meaning of the flag colours (as stated by Harold Thomas) is: Black – represents theAboriginal people of Australia. Yellow circle – represents the Sun, the giver of life and protector. Red – represents the red earth, the red ochre used in ceremonies and Aboriginal peoples’ spiritual relation to the land. source: Wikipedia

English Heritage.

My Dad’s mother was English-born and came to Australia to marry her Aussie groom following World War I. My grandmother and her mother (she followed her daughter to buy the family a house and live in it with them till her death in 1957) remained “very English”. Gran always talked about going “home” and I am sad to say it never happened. She was a sad lady because she missed her home country and the marriage was a hard one as she ended up as a mother to four in the Depression of the 1930s. In fact, her sadness turned to anger when her husband was killed in a workplace accident and she raised those children alone. Not quite, but she held a grudge about her life’s lot till she died in 1985.

All that aside, I loved seeing places on television where Gran may have been and I know my parents got to visit her home town, Warminster, on one of their trips. I feel an affinity to much of the areas I see from her part of England. I also follow and love the Royal Family which is another part of England I like. I think watching Downton Abbey helped fuel my interest as did a special on the landscapes of England made by Capability Brown.

St George’s cross. England’s flag.

The flag of England is derived from St George’s Cross (heraldic blazon: Argent, a cross gules). The association of the red cross as an emblem of England can be traced back to the Middle Ages, and it was used as a component in the design of the Union Flag in 1606. source: Wikipedia

Scottish Heritage.

So the Aussie soldier who fell in love with the English rose was actually Scottish by birth and his family migrated from Scotland to Wollongong. He fought for “the King and Country” under the Australian flag in World War I. I never met him as he died when my Dad was 11.

However, again, I feel a great deal of affinity with all things and places Scottish. Two years ago I went to a Highland Games held locally and I was stoked. I got to see my family’s tartan and learn much more about the Clans. Of course, I see a documentary about Scotland and I want to visit! Yes I do. I once learned highland dancing as a little girl and it was fun. Not sure why it did not continue. Suspect not made to be a dancer.

I love the Scottish flag as it is based on St Andrew’s cross and what is my Dad’s and his Dad’s name? Andrew. I was actually born on 30 November, St Andrew’s Day.

St Andrew’s cross & the Scottish Flag

What does this mean about my home country?

It is that like most of us, other than the original Australians, we are all here in Australia but there is another country or countries’ heritage on our past!

About our current Australian flag…I like it but would like it to have something representative of the Aboriginal people on it too.

The present Australian flag can be considered to consist of three main elements:

  • The Union Jack in the upper hoist quadrant or first quarter (also know as the Canton), denoting Australia’s historical links with Great Britain. The Union Jack itself is composed of red and white intersecting and overlayed vertical and diagonal crosses on a blue background,
  • The Southern Cross in the second quarter (also known as the top or head) and fourth quarter. Consists of five stars in a more or less kite-like pattern – Alpha Crucis (7-point), Beta Crucis (7-point), Gamma Crucis (7-point), Delta Crucis (7-point) and the smaller Epsilon Crucis (5-point). The outer diameter of each of the 4 major stars is 1/7 the width of the fly and the inner diameter is 4/9 outer diameter; the diameter of Epsilon Crucisis 1/12 the width of the fly and the inner diameter is 4/9 the outer diameter. The constellation of the Southern Cross is a significant navigational feature of the southern hemisphere, strongly places Australia geographically and has been associated with the continent since its earliest days,
  • The Commonwealth Star or Star of Federation, central in the third quarter or lower hoist, has seven points to denote the six states and the combined territories of the Commonwealth. The seventh point was added in 1909. The outer diameter is 3/5 the width of the Union Jack (3/10 the width of the fly) and the inner diameter is 4/9 the outer diameter. source: http://www.anbg.gov.au/oz/flag.html

https://www.countryflags.com/en/australia-flag-image.html

That seems to be a post on flags..not really…but they are symbols of the countries and people I identify with most, so that was how I decided to address this prompt! These are some historical buildings in Sydney which relate to our colonial past.

What is your Home Country?

Or is your answer a bit complicated too?

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: 29/52. What Is Courage? 16/7/18.

#LifeThisWeek 28/52 What Is Your Home Country?


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Just For July #1. 2018.57

Just For July #1. 2018.57

What is “Just for July?”

I was reviewing my blog posts recently and there have been some pretty heavy and detailed posts written.

I know they are helpful for me to do and some of the loveliest people in the blogging world comment when I link up with a post I wrote on the Tuesday to cover my linking up for the next two link ups …on Wednesday here and Thursday here.

So, shaking things up a bit and to help me just chat and share about whatever comes up I am going to do this for Leanne’s Lovin’ Life Link Up for the 4 Thursdays in July!

Mandalas. 

They attract me and I am drawn in when I see some in nature and in the man-made world. I cannot help but notice them.

Do you notice mandalas?

I am going to post more about the why sometime later this year but for now, here’s one in my back yard:

I cannot love this flower more. Mandala!

Social Media and Food Posts.

In my quest to be whinge-free (works some days, others not!) I now scroll right through. I used to be envious of those who could eat that food and make a comment of how wonderful that looked but that I could not eat that (yet). Then I realised I do not need to tell anyone that and in fact, that might even make them a bit sad. So, scrolling on….

Do you post food pics or are you someone who looks at food pics…and drools (such a weird word). This meal did not go on Instagram.

I cooked cutlets and the way I could kind of eat the meal, was cut meat added to mash & insides of a tomato over it. Sadly I could not even chew on the bones.

The Beach.

I wish I had better words to describe why I love the beach. In fact I rarely swim anymore (OK, tell the truth, have not been in the surf for over 2 years) but I remain captivated by it. I walk on the sand, I collect shells and pebbles (sometimes) and I dip my feet in the water.

It makes me feel better when I am sad. It helps me focus on a wider world when mine appears to be closing in.

I do know that the smells, the sights and the sounds along with the sensory experiences do something magical to my soul.

Is that what the beach is like for you?

No better place…and this day I was alone. Even better

Driving My Car.

I love my car. It is red. I chose red very happily for this car – the Nissan X-Trail – and I smile when I return to it in the carpark. I want to hug my car because it carries me safely to where I need to go and it is like an extension of my personality.

Is that something that makes me strange? What do you feel about cars?

Off to coffee somewhere!

Blog Roll is BACK.

Recently two bloggers began a facebook group called “Old School Bloggers”. Many of us who started back in the early to mid 2000s and onward had slowly let their blogs go or put in a resting space. My blog, as regular readers know, has had a few changes of direction. So, from this initiative of Caz who blogs here and Jacqui who blogs here, quite a few people linked up on Monday for #lifethisweek which made me a happy linky host! Check out the right hand side of my blog to see “Blog Roll is Back” and if your blog is not (yet) listed, do add your URL and blog name to the comments!

Thank you!

 

That is it for Thursday 5th July.

I am off to the Podiatrist this morning at Budgewoi and we will chat about his newborn daughter while he cares for my feet. After that I will go to a great coffee shop there for my daily fix. I may even take some photos as well.

Thanks for reading …and maybe even commenting with responses to my questions!

Denyse.

Joining with Leanne and crew here for Lovin Life Linky on Thursdays.

 

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Six Month Check-Up…With Myself! 2018.56.

Six Month Check-Up…With Myself! 2018.56.

What is this six month check-up about?

It is about my assessment of my physical and emotional health for the first 6 months of 2018.

Subjective? Yes.

Tougher on myself than most? I hope not. But I can be more self-critical than I probably need to be! I suspect we are all like that.

It’s no secret that when you have a cancer diagnosis that check-ups are both regular and scary. Regular ones are like this protocol for my head and neck cancer:

for the first 2 years: every 3 months. I have completed one year and really only had ONE formal check up because…I have been for surgery with my Professor 3 times post initial big surgery.

for the next 3 years: every six months. This assumes no symptoms in between checks. My cancer was a very slow growing one which was contained in one area. All fingers crossed that stays like that.

Let’s get started:

January  –  June 2018.

My Contribution to Our “2 Person Retired” Household.

  • cooking my meals which can be eaten with little chewing and are nurtitious and tasty
  • cooking and freezing meals that are adapted for me and suit my husband as well e.g. spag bol
  • cooking some add-ons for my husband’s meals e.g. my fried rice
  • making cakes. Lots of little cakes. Since discovering I “can” eat cake – with a teaspoon – this household always has freezer space for “little cakes”. I like ones with lots of icing – helps get the cake down, my husband likes no icing
  • cleaning the floors that require vacuuming each fortnight
  • cleaning my en-suite bathroom and all surfaces of shelves, sets of drawers etc in the house
  • ensuring the plants outside are watered and cared for – watering, moving them around as need be and pruning
  • grocery shopping that is specifically for me and some catch-up items as my husband does the main & bigger shop

My Self-Care Routine.

  • I would like to think I have this down pat. I do not. I sometimes do too much and wonder why I am tired or tetchy.
  • Balance of some kind is ideal. I am still learning and I can imagine many of us are too in our retirement years.
  • As someone who loved her busy-ness in work and then when caring for our grandkids and part-time teaching…but also had it affect her emotionally I KNOW this is something I need to do better.
  • What is self-care anyway….for me it is this: enough to ‘do’ each day for nothing to feel stressful and enough to ‘be’ each day to feel calm and in control of my emotions
  • I could improve my ‘going to sleep’ times and am already listening to some ‘sleep stories’ via my Calm meditation app which is helping somewhat
  • I need to remember I am not in a race for self-care or self-improvement
  • I am aware I need to think ‘marathon’ rather than ‘sprint.’

My Care For Others.

  • I am getting better at this one!
  • When I was recovering from cancer surgery in those months from July to November 2017 my physical restrictions and mental tiredness meant I could not do much at all
  • However, I now know the value of caring for and about others (without trying to be the FIXER or the PEOPLE PLEASER) and this, my readers, is a BIG step for me
  • I continue to learn about this – am I doing or saying this to ‘fix’ this person or something that can be fixed or am I doing this to show my love and support for the person as he or she fixes things themselves. A BIG one for sure.
  • And in saying that, I know my people pleasing has taken a back seat…even in the ‘boot’ of ‘my car’ as I continue to know the value of pleasing myself (not indulgently) by setting BOUNDARIES.
  • Who knew? Boundaries for me and noticing that may be my interactions with others are not exactly as I might have anticipated because of THEIR boundaries! Great learning this one!

My Physical Appearance Each Day.

  • If you have followed by blog since late last year and into 2018 you will know that, over time my physical appearance has taken on a new dimension
  • Before late October 2017 I was in survival mode as well as under life stressors including IBS and anxiety and a cancer diagnosis. This meant I cared less for my outward appearance as I was concentrating on trying to figure out how to help myself inwardly.
  • This, as it turned out, was not helpful.
  • Instead, I took a challenge to dress well each day quite seriously. It was a self-created challenge. I am not going to stop it as I know it helps me each day.

Summary.

  • I am happy with many aspects of my ‘progress’ as I know I feel better emotionally and physically.
  • I also know there are more challenges to me on the horizon but I have learned that I can and do meet challenges much better than I did.
  • All in all, I am going well.

I believe I have allowed myself, even writing this, to be vulnerable. I know I take more brave steps these days than ever before.  And yes, I have read and listened to all of Brene Brown’s work. She tells it as it is. Bravely. Words matching actions.

Have you ever considered a ‘check-up’ of this nature?

I thought it was a good way for me to review how things are really instead of giving myself a hard time about not making progress because that is clearly a bit of a fib.

I will be interested in your comments! Not about me, per se, but about the notion of a self-check.

Denyse.

On Tuesday this posts links with Kylie here

On Wednesday this post links with Sue and Leanne here

 

 

 

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Taking Stock 3. #LifeThisWeek 27/52. 2018.55.

Taking Stock 3. #LifeThisWeek 27/52. 2018.55.

When each 9th week comes around I sit for a bit before completing Taking Stock. I like to do the prompts all at once.

This snapshot was completed on Friday 29 June 2018.

I never look at previous ones before completing the current one as I do not want to be reminded.

I will do that perhaps after this is published as I do like to see my changes and also what stays the same.

Thanks again to Pip for her prompts. She blogs here.

 

 

Making: plans for creating 100 mandalas in one book by the end of 2018.

Cooking: fried rice – a family favourite by itself or as a meal accompaniment.

Drinking: coffee – double shot 3/4 small latte has taken over from the piccolo

Reading: Kylie Ladd’s The Way Back. Kylie is an Australia author who I support 100% and have met twice.

Wanting: cancer treatments to be D.O.N.E. but understanding not for quite a while yet.

Looking: outside and up…to the sky. I love clouds

Playing: Four plus – on the Ipad. My husband has a record of over 1300…me, just under 700. We are NOT competitive. Much.

Wasting: time on the phone to News Ltd and Fairfax to let them know their new delivery system by a private contractor is NOTHING like the one from the Newsagency.

Sewing: I actually did some sewing when a woollen thread on my new cardi got caught in my purse. My husband snipped it free, which then unravelled that section. Found the sewing basket and some thread and pulled it together but it’s now a ‘wear at home cardi’. A before-shot.

Wishing: that everyone with cancer is cured and the cancer is long gone as a disease. Doing my bit to contribute to those patients who are gifted a Big Hug Box by making bookmarks. Want to know more? Here’s the link.

Enjoying: my drives to wherever when I get to play my music, my podcasts or audible books

Waiting: for a parcel to arrive. If I dared go out, it would arrive, right?

Liking: this time in our lives

Wondering: how my 19 yo granddaughter will go surviving a full Winter seasons where she is working and living now with her boyfriend

Loving: life. It’s alright isn’t it?


Hoping: that more people are kinder to everyone they meet because as it is said “you never know what battle they may be waging.”

Learning

Marvelling: the resilience of my plants and flowers. Just a bit of water and some sunshine, along with some pruning and away they go again to delight me.

Needing: to remember how much I am loved and cared for, always.

Smelling: betadine, under my nose, where the teensy tiny hole is still there in a minor way (after 4th surgery, a stitch was placed there with the skin graft, and the first change of stent back in May, pushed the stitch out and small fissure appeared. We are hoping it closes by itself or it means… 5th surgery.

Wearing: my faves of jeans, navy striped top and navy lace ups.

Following: Hannah Gadsby’s story. I saw her Netflix performance and was “blown away”. Links here.

Noticing: that I can have the most wonderful and generous friend in Linda who sent this to me…overwhelmed by her generosity and thoughtfulness, let alone the hard work to get this to completion.

Knowing: I have lots of people who care about me and for me and it is just great.

Thinking: I need to get some more freckles (see coffee pic if unfamiliar with this Aussie choccie) today as they have become my latest comfort food

Feeling: That the anniversary of my 1st Surgery coming up on Friday will be a great reminder to me of how far I have come.

Bookmarking: Chris O’Brien’s book “Never Say Die”. I read it ages ago and gave it away, now as a patient in the hospital he dreamed of but his wife, Gail saw it come true I want to read it again so have it as a library copy.

Opening: mail. I still love opening mail.

Giggling: more smiling broadly (without top teeth) at our sweet granddaughter who face timed us with her Dad on her fifth birthday. We will celebrate with some cake in the school hols.

Have you taken stock recently or this week for the link up?

It’s always fine here to add an old post or new, on or off prompt too.

All are welcome!

Denyse.

Joining with Alicia here for Open Slather on Mondays 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: 28/52. My Home Country 9/7/18.


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