Monday 24th June 2019

Share Your Snaps #5. #LTW25/51. My Head & Neck Cancer Photos 2017-2019. 71/2019.

Share Your Snaps #5. #LTW25/51. My Head & Neck Cancer Photos 2017-2019. 71/2019.

I am choosing to celebrate my two years + since head and neck cancer diagnosis in images that mean much to me as a patient who is using this medium to show:

Surgeries,

Healing,

Gratitude,

Waiting, 

Becoming Well.

Some images may be confronting to you. The nature of having a head and neck cancer is that it is brutal in its ways of eradicating it. Be it surgery (my sole treatments), radiation, chemotherapy or a combination of all. Please consider using my experience to get your mouth checked and to follow up any pain, lumps & bumps in the head, neck, under ear areas….And please think about a donation to my Virtual Fundraiser for BeyondFive where I am a volunteer Ambassador. Link at the end. Thank you. 

 

1. Where recovery began. Chris O’Brien Lifehouse in July 2017 and realities of being home and what my body was doing to heal.

2. My ‘mouth’ reconstructed…and lots of waiting for more surgeries and needing to adapt to changes in my mouth. Surgery in Feb 2018 too.

3. And a 4th surgery…gets me closer to upper teeth but such a long wait with a stent attached inside. Getting my #HNC awareness happening & supporting the first Soup for the Soul event telling my local MP about it.

 

4. Many trips to Westmead as my mouth needed measurements, cleaning of abutments area and so on. I had 2 more surgeries to make my mouth ‘teeth ready.’ My first meeting with Central Coast HNC patients. I had not met another HNC patient till almost a year after my first surgery. And....S M I L E.

 

5. So many reasons to smile, show appreciation & help support the works of HNC groups, meet with Beyond Five, smile at my surgeon and see the realities of inside my mouth, with my prosthodontist telling me all about how this is screwed into the cheekbone and more. Yikes. No wonder it hurts at times.

6. With my recovery continuing my confidence improved.It was great to have some special occasions including a belated retirement medal presentation, meet-ups in December & Christmas at our place & to celebrate my 69th birthday at the the end of November.

7. In early Jan 2019 a quick trip to COBLH to see my surgeon where he confirmed ‘extra skin’ was just that, not cancer…and that threw me for a bit (cancer as a possibility). It was good to think about it and consider gratitude and we celebrated an 18th Bday & our Feb meeting of CC HNC support group had a special guest.

 

8. And the memories of the 2 years before were strong but I gave myself credit for getting through tough times then and now. Meeting up with friends AND authors who are friends was fab! My mouth reality is here too. Bit graphic: Before Cancer diagnosed.

 

9. Celebrated my 2 years since diagnosis with my husband on 17 May and he said ” time for the Apple Watch you’ve wanted”. Recently I’ve helped share another HNC patient’s story for Beyond Five, met my daughter for Mother’s Day, had another CC HNC group meeting at the Cancer Council, saw my prosthodontist, my dentist too…and at the special celebration of Chris O’Brien’s legacy for Head and Neck cancer in early June at COBLH loved seeing my surgeon, Prof Jonathan Clark (who became AM from Queen’s Bday honours the next weekend!) and my HNC Nurse Practitioner Justine. I am so fortunate!!

 

10. My friend updated my image for the blog after it had been showing my way before cancer image for 4 years. Now, that feels more like me!

 

Denyse Whelan Head and Neck Cancer Patient now Ambassador.

Consider a donation of $5 or more to my Virtual Event

For Head and Neck cancer patients, family and friends. This is a website and offers lots to help. It continues to grow and change but with no government funding, some donations by companies in related fields and one part-time business manager, a fund-raiser was initiated in 2018 called Soup for the Soul. Soup is often a food that patients with head and neck cancer can manage and it is comforting.

Soup for the Soul is already live and I have a Virtual Soup for the Soul page here.  World Head and Neck Cancer Day is on 27 July.

Have you shared your snaps today?

Denyse.

Kell also has a Monday linkup here. Join in!

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!

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Share Your Snaps 4. 20/51 #LifeThisWeek. 53/2019.

Share Your Snaps 4. 20/51 #LifeThisWeek. 53/2019.

Every 4th week for #lifethisweek the optional prompt is about sharing your photos. Less wordy….more visual is the intent. See how I go this time!

It was a momentous week in Australian politics.

The new prime minister of Australia is the one who was there before the election. Nothing else to add.

Australia’s legendary PM from 1983 and for 4 terms was Bob Hawke and he died 2 days out from the 2019 election. I honour Bob here for the good he did (and I know some remember differently) and that he took time to answer my then 7 year old son’s letter when he wrote to him about ‘not wanting a war to happen’. I have since found more people got letters back from Bob Hawke, written in his own time and signed. No PM has done that since I have heard. Thank you!

But it has been a pretty big week for me…actually an anniversary of 2 years since my cancer was diagnosed. I am very grateful to be as well as I am. I have a visit to my head and neck cancer surgeon tomorrow and “hope” all being well, the next visit will be in 6 months.

Marking the occasion was by making a HUGE mandala which I started a month or so ago to literally remember by a space on this and a photo of me from every month.

I also made these photo collages. I find it really helpful and motivating for me to “look back and see how far I have come”. Here they are:

Before May 2017 diagnosis, I was ‘trying’ to be smiling and well but something was lurking….from 2016 onwards

 

Recovery & surgery times: July 2017 onto Nov then into Feb 2018

 

Surgeries x 2 recovery and then…many trips to Westmead for upper prosthesis. Teeth added: 21 Aug 2018

 

Smiles for day…months and more!

 

Taking this up to recent weeks. Of course, I still have to be wary of eating and it takes a LONG time to eat small amounts requiring chewing but very happy indeed.

For about 6 months I toyed with the idea of getting an Apple Watch. Those who have read some of my Instagram posts know I now have this but I shall share more. I wanted to have “something” to mark the 2 years of cancer done but it seemed extravagant for us on a tight budget to get one. I had this idea I would sell some books and CDs towards a saving plan and actually that brought in $100 net! Thanks friends here. Then on Friday, 17 May 2019, I was taken on our morning tea date and when it was over, asked did I want to go get this Apple Watch now!? Apparently my face showed it all. SURPRISED! So, it is never “that” easy because one shop did not have the colour and size in stock but another did and off I drove happily that afternoon. And what I totally love about an Apple Product is…unwrapping. One day with the watch already and I will be, at some stage, changing the band. No blue tooth earbuds yet either. I shall wait and see.

Denyse.

Kell also has a Monday linkup here. Join in!

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 Weeks’ Optional Prompt: 21/51 Self-Care: Share Your Story #3 27/5/19

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My Zen Is Found In The Garden. Part Two. 42/2019.

My Zen Is Found In The Garden. Part Two. 42/2019.

Recently I wrote about how I find having a garden is good for my mental (and physical!) health.

However, I must now add, that looking at flowers en masse, individually and observing their colours and textures takes me on an artist’s journey.

I see:

  • patterns
  • tones
  • colours
  • shapes
  • textures

I have tried to replicate some via my drawings and mandalas but nothing quite tops Mother Nature.

I am glad to recognise the peaceful, relaxing and health-filled responses I have when I visit not only my meagre garden but in parks and others’ gardens.

Here’s my collection of favourites. Some were grown where we live now and in pots, others were at the last house. The sweet peas at the bottom were from the last time I grew them. Two years ago. I love sweet peas so I have given them another go this year. Fingers crossed!

Do you find going into the garden relaxing?

Do you notice your breathing slows when you are immersed in nature?

I believe that nature is a healing space and place and I love that!

It cetainly is a place I can re-capture my ‘zen’.

Thanks to Min for her Tuesday link up #zentipstuesday here.

Denyse.

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Share Your Snaps 3. 15/51. #LifeThisWeek. 38/2019.

Share Your Snaps 3. 15/51. #LifeThisWeek. 38/2019.

Manly: New South Wales. Australia.

When we moved to live in Sydney in 1959, we were pleased, in retrospect, that Mum and Dad chose to live on the Northern Beaches where Manly was the nearest beach, shopping centre, and starting place for the Manly Ferry to take us to the city. However, this “is” meant to be a sharing the snaps post, so here are many of mine….and I hope you enjoy the selection.

The family home. Not looking like this any more

Manly lies on the land of the Guringai people, the traditional owners of the land. It was given its name by Captain Arthur Phillip in 1788 when he travelled north of Botany Bay after finding it ‘unsuitable for settlement’.

He initially named the area to the north of the harbor Manly Cove after spotting a group of Aborigines in the area, about who he stated, “their confidence and manly behaviour made me give the name of Manly Cove to this place”.

The men he encountered were from the Kay-ye-my clan – of the Guringai people. As he scouted for fresh water in the area, Phillip met members of this clan and, following a misunderstanding, he was speared in the shoulder. He ordered his men not to retaliate preventing further bloodshed.

People gradually began settling in the Manly area around 1820 and by the 1850s Henry Gilbert Smith, the founder and developer of Manly, had the vision of Manly as a seaside resort.

https://www.coveredsummer.com.au/history-of-manly

This information is of interest in terms of Manly’s place in the white settlement of Australia. Always remembering the Aboriginal people who own this land.

Some smaller versions of these pavilions remain at the South Steyne end of Manly Beach.

 

One of the ferries on its way back from Manly

There was a ditty a long time ago, “7 miles from Sydney and 100 1000 miles from Care” or words to that effect, about a ferry trip to Manly!

Manly itself is a suburb of Sydney and the beach’s long stretch is made up of South Steyne – southern end and on the walkway to Shelly Beach and Fairy Bower, North Steyne is in the middle (where I used to go as a teen) and Queenscliff is at the northern end and where a certain ex Australian prime minister appears in his budgie smugglers far too often for my liking!!

Recently I re-visited Manly itself after being to see my 95 year old Dad in his unit at Dee Why. When I went the next time to Dad’s I showed him the photos and he lingered over them. He told me “in retirement, any morning I was not at golf, I’d come down here. Walk in the surf and the sand from South Steyne to Queenscliff and back. Some days it would be around to Fairy Bower”. I know he would always finish with a coffee!

I will always have a place for Manly in my heart. I now know, of course, how fortunate I was to live near here aged 10 to 20. We had access to it all as day visitors and holiday makers staying at my parents’ house as did our children. Many great memories of Manly.

 

Have you been to Manly?

I loved sharing these snaps here this week.

Denyse.

Linking here on Mondays 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!

Next week’s optional prompt: 16/51 Easter Time Means This. 22/4/19.

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My Zen Is Found In The Garden. Part One. 37/2019.

My Zen Is Found In The Garden. Part One. 37/2019.

I really did not ever enjoy gardening. I think it was the labour of it and also I liked the ‘look’ of a garden but not so much the hard work. This changed for me once I was well and truly retired from all work.

We still lived in Sydney then and had a lovely pool area which incorporated garden beds around the perimeter. Over time, we (ok, my husband) laboured more intensively and made some delightful screening areas as well as adding plants and shrubs.

The pool area in its early stages, but the time the house was sold late 2014 it was more filled with greenery and colour.

I liked tending to some of the new plants, helped with cutting back the fast-growing vines and also put some plants in seasonally e.g. sweet peas. They went against the pool fence far left and it was something I enjoyed doing with my little grandkids who we cared for 3 days a week. Oh, and for anyone worried, the pool gates were always locked and an adult would accompany a child into the pool area at all times.  Very strict on that!

Then we sold our family home and moved to the Central Coast to rent. The first house we rented was a waterfront and, by the way, we would not choose waterfront again because the salty air does affect computers and other appliances. This place had some native trees but not much else.

After wanting to get away to an easier house to live in and be more comfortable, we chose an established home that had one owner and was in the northern area of the Central Coast N.S.W. And those people planted a LOT…..of palm trees, and tropical plants….and I sure got some frustrations out chopping them back. The HUGE frangipani in the back yard needed some cutting back but the beauty each Spring to Summer was worth the mess of the fallen petals!

Now where was I?

Zen in the garden.

As I really needed to become more mindful and calm down my  nervous system (IBS and anxiety) my plants and flowers helped me manage myself and emotions on some days. Mind you, I sometimes needed some digging help, but generally I could manage with potting mix, barrel-type planters and a range of colourful flowers in season.

These gave me joy as I tended them, photographed them and sometimes tried to capture their beauty by a sketch or a painting.

These colourful plants and flowers were a joy to tend, to water and to care for as they were almost all located on the back verandah and I could reach them easily. Over time, some would die back and others would take their place.

As I became more unwell into 2017 – before I knew I had cancer – being outside, in this garden was one place where I could:

  • meditate via my app then which was Headspace
  • take notice of the changing skies above
  • listen to the birdsong of the local native birds and those who are just nuisance value
  • water the flowers and clean up the frangipani debris
  • cut back the palms: they can be quite dangerous and these, according to those who know, should never have been planted. They were overwhelming in size but….the new owners (our landlords) did not give approval for culling…so we did it. And the local council took the big and fallen fronds away at green pick up times.

Next time, more about the ways in which being in a garden is good for my heart and soul!

Do you find zen in the garden?

Denyse.

Linking up with Min on Tuesdays for Zen Tips Tuesday here. 

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Memories I’d Like To Re-Capture. 12/51 #LifeThisWeek. 29/2019.

Memories I’d Like To Re-Capture. 12/51 #LifeThisWeek. 29/2019.

I have just been talking to my husband about some of my memories and have realised that re-visiting can be harmful to my emotional health.

With that in mind, I have decided to be light-hearted as I think about these memories and the why I’d like to re-capture them.

 

How are you with memories? Can some be triggering too?

I know I like having a good memory but in some instances it is not a good thing!

Denyse.

Linking here on Mondays 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!

Next week’s optional prompt: 13/51 April Is About 1/4/19

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Share Your Snaps #2. 10/51.#LifeThisWeek. 24/2019.

Share Your Snaps #2. 10/51.#LifeThisWeek.  24/2019.

A week of being out and near water……from the past 10 days…here on N.S.W. Central Coast and a bit further north. Hairstyles on me courtesy of the wind conditions. I love being by the water and when it can capture my full attention like this!

Saturday at Canton Beach: Tuggerah Lake.

 

Tuesday after a stressful morning…..ahhhhh a Beach Walk at Lakes Beach! 

Wednesday at The Entrance. Look carefully at the little shapes…fishies! 

Thursday a big change swept through…but it did not stop me. Love the beach to myself.

Friday I drove about 45 minutes up the coast to a part of Lake Macquarie: Toronto. Magical spot.

My face when I am near the water! Oh and the seagull who was NOT camera-shy!

The water and its surrounds is a healing space for me. Is it for you?

Denyse.

Looking forward to seeing your snaps if you are joining in and to read your posts.

Kell is running her link up here on Mondays.

Alicia has moved hers here to Fridays.

Do join in!

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: 11/51 It’s MY Favourite….18/3/19

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Share Your Snaps #1. 5/51. #LifeThisWeek 12/2019.

Share Your Snaps #1. 5/51. #LifeThisWeek 12/2019.

Welcome to the fifth optional prompt for #LifeThisWeek:

Share Your Snaps

Every 5th week is is photo-centred post. Not wordless for me, however, because….just because!

Let’s meander down January’s memories:

Oh MY goodness it is great to eat real food again. This took a LOT longer to eat than before I had cancer but it was wonderful.

 

My 6th grandchild & 4th granddaughter at ‘her’ dressing table which was mine as a teen, then stayed at home for Mum to use till 2007 and then given to my daughter’s family. It “still” has the Sydney Uni transfer on mirror I put there in 1969. because that was where my boyfriend at the time went.

 

And Pennant Hills Road Sydney…I missed you (not)…on my way to M2 to get to Westmead for a January mouth check.

 

Blogger, Author and Appearance Activist Carly Findlay’s book is here. Launches are occurring all around Australia. I first heard and met Carly at the Inaugural Aussie Bloggers’ Conference in 2011. My copy, on pre-order, is being read by me now. An excellent memoir.

 

On our way to see the family for our grandson’s 18th we drove through roads and streets not seen before: with buildings and shops and houses and apartments and this: a new school! Wow we thought.

 

And a week later we got some pleasing news. Our daughter, teacher-librarian, has been appointed to this brand new school and her youngest has started there too now. Here is the library (only one part!).

 

What an amazing courtyard, and space! It’s a brand new Public School at North Kellyville. We once lived in Kellyville and the land on which the school is built was grazing and acre blocks. So much has happened development-wise since we left north-west Sydney 4 years ago.

 

I miss the white/ pale pink frangipanis we had at the previous rental house but am definitely attracted to the colourful ones these days so when I saw these on a drive through The Entrance I HAD to stop and capture their beauty.

 

This map of Australia caught my attention and that of many when it was re-published by me on Australia Day. Each coloured section represents a country for the original custodians of the land. The Aboriginal people we lived with and taught helped us to learn far more than we might have any other way.

 

Toothless again. It was temporary and of course, on a break from the prosthodontist chair I took a selfie. Just goes to show how much upper teeth make my smile.

 

An unusual spot for me on this trip to Sydney for our grandson’s 18th Birthday lunch. I am in the passenger seat and got to film crossing the Hawkesbury River bridge. It is a marker of sorts for me of leaving the coast and heading to the big smoke.

 

Dad: I came to share some food goodies and meals for his freezer just a few days after his 95th birthday. He is on his balcony pointing to the BIG complex that Dee Why RSL is building on the border of the Independent Retirement Complex where he has lived contentedly for almost 8 years.

 

After buying Dad’s house in 2011 we knew the architect owners would eventually renovate it. It still has come to a shock to all of the family how different it looks already. That is progress of course. Dad is not keen on seeing the updates.

 

Early January I had an unexpected visit to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse (image of the late Prof here) to have some extra skin growth check by my Professor. It is all OK but that day was a wake-up to reality for me. Anytime something “is” different it will be checked to see if it is “cancer”.

Today, Monday 4 February 2019, is World Cancer Day.

Catch up on more here. 

I hope that if  you or anyone you know  does have a cancer diagnosis you would be aware of the many more successful treatments and prognoses these days. It does, of course, depend on the type and stage of cancer when diagnosed. It doesn’t detract from the seriousness of course but to someone who has been through my recent cancer experiences I have found out more than I ever thought possible about a cancer diagnosis.

Best wishes to you all this coming month.

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!

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

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 6/51. My Worst Purchase. 11/2/19.


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