Tuesday 25th June 2019

For Courage. 2017.80.

For Courage. 2017.80.

I’ve been taking my time since I retired from work to seek answers to life’s twists and turns. I’ve attended church and Sunday School as a child and an adult. I am not sure if or what I believe in these days. But I know I need  to connect with my deeper inside me and I am pretty sure that I also need to connect with others. That is what human beings need. Love and belonging and connection.

Interestingly I have found myself less resilient and even more surprising to me less confident in the past 3 years. I believe it may be connected to the ageing process but it still does not sit too well withe me, so I search for answers and ideas from others. I love the words and lessons from Pema Chodron. Another source is the works of John O’Donoue and in his book  To Bless The Space Between Us  I found this.

 

For Courage.

When the light around you lessen and your thoughts darken until

Your body feels fear turn as cold as a stone inside,

When you find yourself bereft of any belief in yourself

And all you knowingly leaned on has fallen,

When one voice commands your whole heart

And it is raven dark,

Steady yourself and see that it is your now thinking

That darkens your world,

Search and you will find a diamond-thought of light,

Know that you are not alone and that this darkness has purpose;

Gradually it will school your eyes

To find the one gift your life requires hidden within this night-corner.

Invoke the learning of every suffering you have suffered.

Close your eyes.

Gather all the kindling about your heart to create one spark.

That is all you need.

To nourish the flame that will cleanse the dark of its weight of festered fear.

A new confidence will come alive to urge you toward higher ground

Where your imagination will learn to engage difficulty

As its most rewarding threshold!

p. 107. States of the Heart section.

What kind of attributes help us be more courageous?

I’d love to hear from you about how you deal with fear.

Denyse.

Joining with Kylie Purtell here and the bloggers who blog on Tuesdays!

On Thursdays I join then Lovin’ Life Linky here with Leanne and friends.

 

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Public Holidays. #LifeThisWeek 24/52. 2017.79.

Public Holidays. #LifeThisWeek 24/52. 2017.79.

I know that we have quite a few Public Holidays in Australia but I’ve decided to keep my focus on this one….

The June Long weekend  ( Public Holiday is Monday) – for the Queen’s Birthday  in New South Wales & some other states in Australia, it has rained and rained for the past two, including this one!
As I write, it is only Friday night and the rain is pouring down.

Earlier today I ventured out as I had not been anywhere for a few days thanks to the weather. I caught sight of my first whale spouting in 2017 and also captured a bird in flight as it was escaping the rain in our backyard this afternoon.

Reminiscing about the June Long Weekend of years and years ago I recalled that it was Cracker Night.

Until the government decided that people were getting injured by the fireworks..and fires…and so, it became banned. For the 1980s though, we still had a bonfire in our backyard (in suburbia) with the bonfire constructed safely, and fireworks were set up on the fence and on the grass outside. Our kids were still very young, so the mums and kids would stay up on the verandah for the fun. It WAS noisy and we had to make sure animals were inside. A few years later, the only fireworks that were allowed were those at organised functions which became fundraisers for schools and the like. Mind you, we couldn’t even buy fireworks then but as a  kids in the 1950s and 60s we could. I was not a brave person, so throw downs and sparklers were my limit. Oh and you can still buy sparklers at the supermarket.

https://crackernight.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/

 

https://asampler.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/

Did you have fun with fireworks when you were a kid?

What are your memories of public holidays?

Denyse. Joining with Alicia here for Open Slather and here with Kell for Mummy Mondays.

I hope you link up here for Life This Week 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! Do come back next week. Next week’s prompt is “First Concert”.

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Sydney Harbour Bridge. 2017.78.

Sydney Harbour Bridge. 2017.78.

Ever since the first time I crossed the Sydney Harbour Bridge as a ten year old in my parents’ Holden I have been in love with it!

Living in Sydney Northern Beaches  from 1959-69 I often went across the Sydney Harbour Bridge on my way to Teachers’ College at Balmain sitting in the front seat of Dad’s car (he worked at Circular Quay). I sometimes caught the double decker bus into the city too. Many at time, I caught the Manly Ferry to Circular Quay and that view from the Harbour of the Bridge was amazing!

As a learner driver I drove across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and over the years it has never phased me at all to drive across the Bridge. Mind you, there have been several changes to the traffic patterns over the years. I still recall handing the coins into the man’s hand at the toll booths and then later, we got to chuck them into the receptacle and wait for the ‘bing’ to proceed.

Now, there are no toll booths but somehow our car’s toll thingy gets read (and debited from our account) and we keep on moving.

Recently we went across the Sydney Harbour Bridge on our way to The Lifehouse for my first but not last appointment to treat my cancer.

Even though I was incredibly worried about the consultation ahead, as my husband was driving, I whipped out the iPhone and captured my Sydney Harbour Bridge.

In the very early part of this century I was fortunate to be invited to do Bridge Climb with my brother, niece, nephew and my dad. It was a very special time and I did not have to pay for the privilege. It is costly that is for sure but well-worth it. I believe there are Bridge Climbs at night especially for the Vivid Festival which is a premier Sydney Winter event. Bridge climb info is here 

Do you like the Sydney Harbour Bridge?

Have you walked/run across the Bridge? I confess I have not!

Have you climbed the Harbour Bridge via Bridge Climb?

Denyse.

Joining Kylie Purtell and Blogging Friends here for I Blog On Tuesdays. There are some new #teamIBOT members on board today, welcome!

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

View From Here. #LifeThisWeek 23/52. 2017.77.

View From Here. #LifeThisWeek 23/52. 2017.77.

I love to get out and about with my iphone for photo opps that come my way and sometimes I like to add one of the cameras too.

Knowing that I won’t be able to get ‘out and about’ soon following my forthcoming surgery (still no date) I went to my favourite local beach on the last day of Autumn. That beach is Soldier’s Beach located at Norah Head on the N.S.W. Central Coast about 90 minutes drive from Sydney.

Sure it was windy and much colder than my last visit but it did my heart and soul good to be there, in the elements, admiring the:

View From Here:

The steps from the surf club down to the sand…and the beach.

Look to the left (north) ….to the rock platform.

Half-way point down the steps looking east. Did not see any whales but the migration north has already commenced!

The view to my right and to the south. The wind and clouds made exceptional patterns.

This view…a more distant one south, showing the rugged beauty of this beach.

Yes, I did beach writing: Cancer Sucks.

Looking back up to where the carpark is…the west. The dunes get a workout in the extremes of tides at times.

Yep. A selfie..while I still have the top (fake) teeth. Wind coming from the south!!

Have you been out and about in your local area recently?

What’s the view from where you are?

Denyse.

Joining in with Alicia here for Open Slather and with Kell here for Mummy Mondays.

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


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

What Is #CelebratingWomen? 2017.76.

What is #CelebratingWomen? 2017.76.

I recently read about Celebrating Women when a friend’s profile was on social media and then I read more about how this project came about. Here is the information about the person who began Celebrating Women, Dr Kirstin Ferguson:

Dr Kirstin Ferguson is a leading businesswoman and company director, international authority in health and safety leadership and corporate governance, and sought after commentator on gender diversity. Dr Ferguson is also the creator of the widely acclaimed global #CelebratingWomen campaign.

An experienced company director and Chairman, Dr Ferguson has experience on ASX100 and ASX200 boards, private company, government-owned corporations and not-for-profit boards. She also sits on the Advisory Panel of a tech start-up incubator, and is the Chairman of the judging panel for a prestigious women’s leadership award.

Dr Ferguson began her career after joining the military aged 17 and went on to become the Dux of her Air Force graduating class at the Australian Defence Force Academy. After being posted to an F-111 Squadron, she studied law and spent almost a decade in leadership roles in a corporate law firm. Dr Ferguson then went on to become CEO of a global consulting organisation providing health and safety services in the mining and resources industry before commencing her professional company director career.

Dr Ferguson is one of the world’s foremost experts in safety governance and leadership having completed a PhD in the field for which she has received numerous awards. As well as a PhD in leadership and governance, Kirstin also has Honours degrees in both Law as well as History. She is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a graduate of both the Company Director Course and International Company Director Course. Dr Ferguson was also admitted as a solicitor in Queensland and New South Wales.

Dr Ferguson created the viral, global campaign called #CelebratingWomen in 2017. Using social media platforms to see more celebration and less denigration online, Dr Ferguson committed to celebrating two women, from all walks of life and from anywhere in the world, every single day in 2017. The response to the campaign was overwhelming with women from more than 25 countries around the world participating in the project. The #CelebratingWomen campaign has been widely recognised for demonstrating the positive power of social media while making visible women as role models who may not otherwise have been seen.

An advocate for gender diversity and equality in the workplace, Dr Ferguson is a member of national and international women’s organisations including Chief Executive Women, Women Corporate Directors and the Women’s Leadership Institute of Australia.

 

One day I thought I would investigate further and on a whim, found the site on-line and answered the prompts, added 4 photos of mine and almost forgot I had done this. After I saw some other women’s profiles I went down that path of self-doubt and not worthy. Anyone else know what I mean? But then I was told I had cancer. What a game changer that ended up being, in so many ways.

This week, after a few on-line convos with Kirstin we decided it was up to me to continue to be part of it and I decided ‘YES’ because my story WAS important and that I would add the newest info about me: cancer.

How about joining in and sharing your story with #CelebratingWomen.

Look for @celebratingwomen or @kirstinferguson to see how!

I highly recommend it. There are 4 questions and you supply 4 photos. 3 of these below were ones I sent in. Here’s what appeared via social media on Wednesday 31 May about me:

This is Denyse #CelebratingWomen (Profile 298)

Denyse is a retiree, who now blogs, and is learning to navigate life after 40 yrs in education. Denyse has been married for more than 46yrs, is a mother and grandmother but has recently been diagnosed with cancer.

Since the age of 11 Denyse knew she would be a kindergarten to year 2 teacher. Her career path in education let her to become a Primary School Principal.

Using three words to describe her life to date, Denyse says it has been challenging, interesting and successful.

Denyse hopes to inspire women to know there is a life to be made past the roles of working, caring and parenting. After her cancer diagnosis, Denyse says she is inspired by the love & best wishes for her recovery she has received online & in person.

Denyse Whelan Blogs.

Have a great First Day of Winter those readers who are in the Southern Hemisphere!

Denyse.

Joining with Leanne here and friends who blog when it’s the link up called Lovin’ Life.

On the weekend I celebrate life with Sammie and blogging friends here for The Ultimate Rabbithole.

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

My Cancer Journey Begins. 2017.75.

My Cancer Journey Begins. 2017.75.

A while back I decided that to best describe the life stage we were at was to use the word ‘journey.’ For some people and their reasons, journey is not liked. I happen to like it and will be using it for what is now being added to this life stage!

Thank you to the many people who commented here last week and on Facebook when I made my news public. Sharing has helped me!

Whilst I do not intend to blog every week about the cancer that is here within…I will for now as it helps me!

The cancer journey continued with a trip to Westmead Oral Health on Wednesday 24 May for a consultation, examination and measurement session with the Dental specialist who will be part of the surgical team when I get my cancer cut out. I admit I was stressed. I still am. It is such an unknown and my mind needs to be more calmed. However, as my GP said when I saw him after this big session on the Friday “Denyse, you are doing very well indeed!”. Today we are back to Westmead for a follow-up with the Dental Specialist and scans on my neck and head to ascertain all is well for the major surgery and on my leg where the bone and skin will be taken for the reconstruction and skin graft.

Sigh.

Still mentally criticising myself for the meltdowns, the tears in front of the professionals and more….yet it is a situation of such immense emotions and I was already struggling somewhat. I am still going about my days at home with as much normality as possible.

In the meantime, I am making art, taking photos, blogging, chatting on-line, reading, walking, tending the garden and talking to my lovely husband and being mindful to eat as well as I can even with my sensitive gut.

On Thursday I made a trip to Budgewoi to take some photos and these help remind me of the journey and that it is, like everything in life, one step at a time.

I am not sure as I am writing this when  I will be making the journey across this bridge again on the way to Chris O’Brien’s Lifehouse. I shall update.

Thank you for reading thus far! I am encouraged along the way via the comments and support.

Denyse.

Joining Kylie Purtell, celebrating her blog’s 8th Birthday, here and with my friends who also Blog on Tuesdays.

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Hobbies. #LifeThisWeek 22/52. 2017.74.

Hobbies. #LifeThisWeek 22/52. 2017.74.

I wasn’t a kid who had hobbies. I didn’t collect things. I didn’t stick things in albums.

I just liked to READ. Sometimes my  mother would think I read too much and say “Denyse, you can’t borrow any books from the library in term time”. Mum was so not a reader. But I don’t think she ever carried out the threat.

I liked to go to the beach – Manly or North Steyne when I was a teen. But was that a hobby or was I just there to meet up with the girls and the BOYS….mmmm (shhh don’t tell Mum!). This is my shadow just after sunrise on Manly Beach around 50 years later!! Once I was an adult, had kids and was teaching (and often doing admin or study) I really did not have much time for hobbies but for a while, when it was trendy, I did scrapbooking (see the albums that are in the linen press) and the woollen embroidery that made pictures. What were they called? Anyway. That’s it. Oh, one hobby I just remembered. When we knew Sydney was going to host the 2000 Olympics I became a BADGE collector and obsessed by it. I remember taking a morning off school (I was principal!) to line up at K-Mart in Blacktown for a particular set of badges. What did I do with them? I wore ones I was prepared to part with or swap to the Olympics and then after the Olympics my husband made two frames for me to mount the badges. Now they are part of a school’s memorabilia about the Sydney Olympics.

http://www.theimport.co.uk/upload-images/olympic-mascots-sydney.jpg

Now I am all grown up AND retired my hobbies would be the photography and art of some kind. I am very visual and with kinaesthetic being my second preferred learning style, as in last week’s post here, then that makes sense.

So do you have a hobby or more than one?

A blogger has called my kind of blog a ‘hobby blog’ but I prefer to say it’s just my blog.

I love making connections here and thank those who join in on Mondays especially for #LifeThisWeek.

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

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

I Have Cancer. 2017.72.

I Have Cancer. 2017.72.

Some news I need to share and it’s not great. I have cancer. I remember people telling me I had a nice smile.

It’s bye-bye smile for a while

My dentist has been treating me for some small overgrowth of the front top  teeth since January 2017.  It has grown. More than ever.

Over time it was my choice to eradicate the gum overgrowth by having  my front 6 teeth and  bridge removed, replaced by a temporary denture,  and

the hope was the gums which were irritated would settle. Some 5 weeks later they had not. When I saw him on Thursday 11 May, we agreed I needed a biopsy of the gums. Fortunately the oral surgeon, next door, could fit me in the next day. I also had CT scans and x-rays of my mouth as my GP was getting concerned. The CT scans and X-rays were fine.

On Friday 12th May I had a biopsy and  the good news from the pathology on the following Monday 15th May was unfortunately premature as on Wednesday  17th May I was called by the oral surgeon to say that the top gums where the overgrowth lies are cancerous with squamous cancer cells.

To say it was a shock was an understatement and I am still a little bit that way. I was alone at home but after a quick phone call to my husband counselling at Lifeline meant  he was home within the hour.

The oral surgeon was fantastic because she rushed a referral to the Lifehouse in Sydney, where the specialist head and neck clinic is, and that afternoon the practice manager rang to say I could see Associate Professor  Aradalan Ebrahimi at 3 p.m. in Sydney Thursday 18th May at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in Camperdown Sydney. My original referral was for Professor  Jonathan Clark but as the two doctors work together I was fine with that.

http://ad009cdnb.archdaily.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/54406d61c07a801fe7000441_chris-o-brien-lifehouse-hdr-rice-daubney_image1_brettboardman-530×353.jpg

 

It might sound weird but I have had huge issues with worrying about travelling distances in the car on the M1  because of IBS. I was stressed anyway, let alone having IBS come along at any time. But, with some kind words from our local and new GP about ‘take the valium, take the immodium, you will be ok’ I was. My lovely husband drove and stopped at any toilet where we could find one. I was one nervous lady. We got to Sydney (haven’t been for over 2 years!) within 2 hours, found a park under the Lifehouse…and waited only 10 minutes. We left home at 12.30 pm and were back by 7.30 pm. That day the Motorway played nice. Thanks M1. Back to the story. 

A/Prof Ebrahimi was incredibly kind and professional and we are all on first name terms. Mind you he is around our daughter’s age. I had a full exam of the mouth, a light on a cable went down through the nose to my throat and I had a  physical examination of the neck and lymph glands. It is hoped that the cancer is all in the one place. The top gums at the front and there is some spread inside my top lip. Sigh.

As he started to explain what would be involved in the 10-12 hours surgery,  in my mouth where they will take the tissue out and  surrounding areas. I became more and more overwhelmed. There was this too: they will be replacing the inner part of my palate, my jaw at the top and gums with skin/muscle tissue and bone from my left leg. The bone will have implants put in for future teeth to be added. As  I was told that I had quite a melt down at the thought of the hours ‘under the anaesthetic’ most of all…and that is meant this was a BIG operation.

The associate A/Professor kindly gave me a few minutes to go for a little walk with my husband and check out the view from the building’s windows overlooking Sydney Uni, then I was calmed with the help of a half valium before moving on to the details of the surgery itself. By this stage, his ‘boss’, Professor Jonathan Clark came in and together they came up with more details of the plan for the operation.

Mouth (oral cavity) My Cancer area. 

The mouth includes the lips, gums and tongue. The tongue is the largest organ in the mouth and is made of muscular tissue.
The roof of the mouth is formed by the hard palate. Behind the hard palate is the soft palate, which is an arch of muscle behind the hard palate, going into the throat. The soft palate lifts to close off the passageways to the nose so food does not go through the nose on swallowing.  Source:Lifehouse.

 

Prof Jonathan Clarke. http://www.mylifehouse.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Jonathan-Clark-e1461566255963.png

However, the thoughts are as of now – before I have further CT scans to rule out anything unseen by my previous clear CT of my sinuses – that there is no spread but that recovery from this will mean 10-14 days in hospital. I will have ‘two’ areas in my body to recover from: my left leg and my mouth. I may be in intensive care for a while too.

About the Head and Neck Service

The Head and Neck Service at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse brings together over 40 highly skilled medical and allied health professionals including surgeons, radiation and medical oncologists, dental specialists, speech therapists, specialist nurses and dieticians, along with research scientists and data managers.
The Service has a national and international reputation for excellence. More than 450 new patients (200 with cancer) are seen annually and the computerised database of the department is the largest in Australasia.
The Sydney Head and Neck Cancer Institute (SHNCI), founded in 2002 by the late Professor Christopher O’Brien AO to provide comprehensive, state-of-the-art treatment to patients with cancers and diseases of the head and neck, is also an important part of the Head and Neck Service providing funding for two head and neck clinical fellows each year. Source: Lifehouse

After telling our close family, I reached out to share my news with some lovely on-line and IRL friends. Their support was amazing. Now I am making it public here, on Facebook and Twitter because I need the love and support to surround me as I go into something I had not predicted. Ever. Yet, so many of us affected by cancer. I have not once thought ‘why me?’ more like ‘why not me?’

I have the best people in the profession looking after me at the Lifehouse in the Head and Neck Clinic started by the wonderful, but late, Professor Dr Chris O’Brien. He became one of the ‘stars’ of the TV  show RPA (Royal Prince Alfred Hospital).  The Lifehouse built in his name is part of RPA and accepts both public and private patients. I am being treated as a private patient. Professor Clark was trained by Chris O’Brien in this speciality of Head and  Neck Surgery. Chris O’Brien’s vision was that he always wanted cancer patients to be in one place and this is it.

Professor Dr Chris O’Brien. http://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=zJK%2btLzW&id=BC8CED97E14A6AD24D66DE0C67BD5E7B467E25AB&thid=OIP.zJK-tLzW3gePAyHJjObiDAEnEs&q=lifehouse+chris+o%27brien&simid=608053618380309990&selectedIndex=21&ajaxhist=0

 

My operation will be there, I stay there and have my tests and any follow-treatment there too. Mind you  we don’t live in Sydney anymore and  it’s 2 hours from here but that is the price we pay for living in regional NSW.

Tomorrow we will travel to Westmead (Sydney) Dental Clinic where the specialist in oral reconstruction will examine my mouth for the first time to come up with a ‘template’ for reconstruction. I will have a further visit to him for a final measurement, and a big series of CT scans prior to the team involved in my surgery coming together and then sending the details overseas where a software program will plan my surgery. Apparently there will be two teams working in conjunction  with me. No, we haven’t asked for a quote (yet) but we do have top private health insurance and we have asked for a discount where possible as we are on a relatively low income as part-pensioners.

All good vibes, thoughts, prayers and wishes are accepted with appreciation!

Thank you.

Denyse.

Joining with my friends who blog on Tuesday here with Kylie Purtell.

Already lots of  love comes from here…the Lovin’ Life linky with Leanne and friends.

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest