Tuesday 20th August 2019

Second Six Month Check-Up…With Myself! 3/2019.

Second Six Month Check-Up…With Myself! 3/2019.

What is this six month check-up about?

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

Oops it is already 2019 I know but I have just scraped in I believe.

Here I go, following on from the first six month check-up with myself, here.

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, and my prosthodontist is checking inside my mouth at all of my very regular visits. 

for the next 3 years: every six months. This assumes no symptoms in between checks. On Tuesday 8 January my mouth needed a check as skin was growing more than it should. I was relieved to know it is not a cancer recurrence but I did get news that more reconstructive surgery could be ahead. I am still absorbing this news. 

Let’s get started:

July –  December 2018.

My Contribution to Our “2 Person Retired” Household.

  • cooking my meals which can be eaten with little chewing, with good nutrition & taste until I could eat in a more normal way
  • cooking more meals that we can eat together as I got my upper teeth prosthesis we get to do this
  • making cakes & biscuits. As I can eat cake & now some biscuits, there is greater variety for us both. I still have a stash of small iced cakes for me and un-iced ones for my husband to which I now add (at his request) sultanas and walnuts
  • cleaning the floors that require vacuuming each fortnight – oh so necessary but thank goodness for the battery-charged stick Dyson
  • cleaning my en-suite bathroom and all surfaces of shelves, sets of drawers etc in the house
  • ensuring all plants outside are watered and cared for – watering, moving them around as need be and pruning
  • grocery shopping now my full responsibility as there is a very convenient local Woolies. My husband picks up some needs for himself at the local IGA.

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.
  • I kept the same first sentence as last time. I have made it a priority to recognise my fatigue before it really hits and I also want to be less focussed on social media for a time each day.
  • Even though I was someone who loved her busy-ness in work and then when caring for our grandkids and part-time teaching I now know I am better with stretches of time that are mine
  • I am getting better at my ‘going to sleep’ times and continue listening to some ‘sleep stories’ via my Calm meditation app
  • I know for sure I am not in a race for self-care or self-improvement and I do think marathon rather than sprint much more than I did 6 months ago.

Love sent to me by a friend. A beautiful mandala crocheted blanket: perfect in the cooler months.

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
  • I now know the value of caring for and about others does not mean I have to fix anything 
  • I have stepped much further away from my “must fix everything for everyone” self.
  • I need reminders from myself about this and usually I ask myself the question “who am I doing this for?” If the answer is to make me feel better I no longer do it.
  • It is essential though, to know each of us is connected to the rest of the humans in one way or another and to share what we can for the common good
  • I believe this means my people pleasing has diminished even more in the past 6 months by setting boundaries
  • I know the boundaries for me and that how others are behaving might relate to their boundaries. This is big learning life lesson for me.

With Naomi, our property manager, on the Tenants Awards’ night where we won Tenants of the Year “Gratitude”.

My Physical Appearance Each Day.

  • In  2018 over time my physical appearance has taken on a new dimension with new & colourful clothes which suit me and fit well as I continued to #dresswithpurpose each day
  • It is also something I look forward to as it is part of the way in which I self-care to take myself out for a coffee.
  • I continued having my photo taken and into 2019 it will continue
  • I am keeping myself honest about my appearance too as I know my weight has increased as I can eat not only more easily but from a greater range of foods
  • As someone who was very overweight for decades  – read about it here – I can still become a little concerned about the weight creeping on but am now seeing myself as being healthier as I do eat better than I ever did.
  • 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.

With this man by my side “we” can do and be all we need. Love is our relationship that will celebrate 48 years of marriage in late January 2019.

Summary.

  • I am happy with many aspects of my six month review as I know I feel better emotionally and physically
  • I have taken on board some disappointments relating to my cancer surgery and the on-going work inside my mouth and I trust my professional team wholeheartedly
  • I am glad to have found a support group for Head and Neck Cancer patients on Facebook and it is making a difference to have a kind and safe place to share stories.
  • My confidence about myself and my ability to re-join the world more widely was proven many times as I drove myself to functions where I knew no-one and socialised, and met up with friends for coffee and cake
  • I also was finally recognised for my service to students of N.S.W. Public Schools in December and that closed a gap in the circle that had been messy in terms of my almost 40 year career.

Met fellow blogger and Central Coastie Sanch for morning tea.

 

I believe I have allowed myself, even writing this, to be vulnerable. I am taking braver steps each day as I not only recover from cancer but learn to live well as a woman who will be 70 this year!

 

Have you ever considered a ‘check-up’ with yourself?

It could be a good thing for you to ask yourself “how am I going?”

Thanks for reading.

Denyse.

Joining with Sue here & Leanne for MidLife Share The Love Linky on Wednesday – the first one for 2019.

Joining in with Leanne here  on Thursdays for Lovin Life linky.

Hello everyone!

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Comments

  1. Hi Denyse Great to read again of your progress. You are very well organised in relation to your health care and wellness. I wish I could say the same, but you have inspired me to give it some thought. By the way I love your #dresswithpurpose challenge.

    • Thanks Jennifer, I appreciate your kind words. I have had to work hard(er) today to remind myself of how well I am actually doing for someone who has been through this cancer thing. The dress with purpose helps me focus on at least that thing every single day and it makes me accountable to me!

      Hapoy New Year,

      Denyse x

  2. ” less focussed on social media for a time each day”

    I want it to NOT be the place I go when I need a distraction. Because it’s not really interesting or entertaining, and leaves me more bored than I was before. I’ve recognised this, but changing the habit is what I need to do now.

    • It is a goal. I find I go into either a comparison trap or a medical vortex of fear unless I can go in and out.

      I understand when it is so boring at work, it would be tempting.

      Good luck!

      Denyse x

  3. I’ve enjoyed your journey through 2018, Denyse and despite the cancer you have still grown as a person and I believe your confidence has soared. Thank you for sharing your 6 month check up and reminding us all that it is a good idea to check in with how our life is going on a regular basis. Thanks for linking up at #MLSTL, the first for 2019!

    • Happy New Year and yes, welcome back and how good it actually is to be more in a routine. I admit I was a bit over everything just before Christmas and I was tired physically and emotionally. Fortunately some quieter times with few deadlines and appointments helped and I feel better for that.

      The check up on myself was something I realised I had not followed up on since the first back in July 2018 so it was best I did it.

      Thanks for the link up you and Leanne host.

      Denyse x

  4. Denyse, your 6 month review was a really good overview of all the good stuff that’s been happening in your life. It’s great to see that you can recognize where you have more (or less) that needs to be done and that you have plans in place for where you want to head. I think I could benefit from doing a review now and then too – it might make me more aware of areas I need to make changes in!
    MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

    • Thanks so much Leanne. Maybe I need to make it as a template! I would also need to remember to actually do it. It was only because I was checking our topics I had written about in 2018 that I saw the first one. Ooops. I am not someone who can leave something not completed. So I did.

      Thanks too to both you and Sue for this link up each week.

      Denyse x

  5. I love how you’re embracing the textures of life – and all the ups and downs. As an aside, I’m with you re the Dyson stick vacuum – #lifechanger

    • Thank you Jo, it has taken me quite some time as you may imagine. Less self-critical inner voice and more one of acceptance and encouragement.

      Denyse x

  6. Such a good check-in with yourself Denyse. I’m particularly interested in how you set boundaries for yourself with regards to wanting to help others. This is something I am trying to do too, as I find it is a need within me to help and fix everyone and in doing so I can really drain myself. However, I will never stop being a caring person and I do agree that ultimately all humans are connected and we should all care about each other. BTW my mother has one of those Dyson stick vacuums and it’s great. I want one too! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Min thank you.

      I have to set and re-set those boundaries almost every day.

      I have to say to myself what I am responsible for and what I am not. I no longer think I can keep everyone safe. Reading (actually listening in my case) to Leigh Sales narrate her words she found exactly the same in her recent book “Any Ordinary Day”. The more I tried to keep everyone happy and everyone safe was my downfall.

      I really did have to accept I can only do this for me. It helps that I have done a lot of self-development here and that I am married to someone who practises this every day. I do think though, as mothers we like to “thin” we can do this but once those little people become teens and adults we can only hope they can care for themselves.

      Boundaries was such a new concept for me and if you want to know more and are curious I first heard about them via Brene Brown. She was like me the typical eldest child and people pleaser until she realised what a drain it was and where she was going wrong for her health was not setting boundaries and keeping to them.

      If this kind of learning fits in with your new #ZTT let me know and I can do a post for you.

      Denyse x

  7. Denyse,
    As I ran through your ‘check up’ list, points were raised that I can relate to especially surrounding busyness. Like you, I need it in my life but I also realize, like you, that I need that down time as well.

    SSG xxx

    • Finding that elusive balance for those of us who like to be involved in work, decision-making and more is hard.

      I understand how that would be for you too.

      Taking ‘down time’ is becoming easier as I reduce the impact of words I heard often as a teen “you are lazy”.

      Denyse x

  8. I think I unconsciously do the ‘check-in’ quite often Denyse but I like the way you’ve broken everything up into categories and acknowledged the importance to not only self-care, but kindness to others, responsibility for and to others as well.

    I can easily get entrenched in my own little world but am reminded every so often that I try to always be there for my friends when they need me and especially my mum. (Having helped her write a eulogy last night and dropped her at the train today to head away for a funeral… AND spent a long time trying to help her stop sending text messages to home phone numbers and emails to mobile phones). *Sigh*

    • Oh I am glad it resonated for you too.

      I am considering adding a couple more sections and making it a more regular self-check (3 months or stay at 6 months) because it is quite different to Taking Stock so I will think further on that.

      That is lovely that you can help your mum and I feel for you on the frustration!

      I was buying (yet) another bag at Strand bags today and deliberately do not carry store loyalty cards (too much bulk!) so they had to look me up by email. The younger of the two ladies said “at least you have an email address and know what it is as so many older people (looking at me!) don’t”. She was a bit rude but I set her straight about both my age and the fact I have had a blog for over 8 years. OH.

      I hope your ideas for books and more are coming together for you. Sometimes it is in the time taken that ideas push themselves out.

      Denyse x

  9. What a good idea to be so aware of checking in with yourself, you are full of sensible ways of coping. I love your openness and honesty in your posts and can understand how this could make you feel vulnerable. You should be very proud of yourself and the helpful information you share impacts on so many others. Thanks for everything. #mlstl

    • Thanks so much Debbie. Over time I guess learning to self-appraise (and not too much with an over critical eye!) is helping me emotionally to be well.

      Denyse x

  10. Its just lovely to see you moving forward so well. I hope 2019 is very kind to you! xx

  11. Great check in! I’m struggling with the “My contribution to the household” bit now. I am wondering who I am now that my kids have grown and they require less hands on care (although the education assistance is still needed for both) and our Chelsea no longer needs me for medical stuff. I felt I contributed a lot in-kind even if the money wasn’t flowing in. But now I’m thinking I should perhaps contribute more financially. A lot of contemplation about that right now …

    • Oh Leanne, do not be so hard on yourself. I don’t have anything come in financially any more other than a part-pension payment. I found it somewhat hard way back but now accept that my contributions are in kind.

      I would say that if anyone needed a ‘sabbatical’ to self-care it would be you.

      You have given and given so much of yourself physically and emotionally some time out from pressure is warranted. Then, over time, when your mind is more at ease, ideas for contributions that you see you may make will come from a “WANT” to rather that a “SHOULD”…

      Thinking of you. It’s been one VERY BIG life you have had to lead for a long time…

      Denyse x

  12. I just bought a Dyson – how good is it?! I’m glad to see you’re getting better at self-care and that you are trying not to please everyone all the time. It’s hard work. It was so good to meet you finally last year; we should try and catch up again soon {maybe when school holidays are done!} I like the check-ins Denyse!

    • Yes the portable Dysons are good even though they are expensive. We also have the plugged in one but it hurt me to keep lugging it around so in some ways it is redundant!

      Taking myself off the please everyone journey is interesting. I can actually say NO or YES for reasons others than pleasing..unless it’s me!

      Yes, school hols done and the local shops will be quieter. Will be in touch for that catch up & coffee.

      Denyse x

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