Tuesday 22nd January 2019

Observations in October #2. 2018.104.

Observations in October #2. 2018.104.

Are we humans ever truly content with ourselves?

I am asking the hard questions today as I know personally, I find this tricky.

My husband/guru tells me “life it about living in the present”. OK. Not just him, but everyone who preaches mindfulness seems to have this view.

I can do this on some occasions now. I can bring my thoughts back to where I am (not so good ones too) and let them go of their own accord.

What made me observe this today?

My appearance. My weight. My changes.

For many decades I used food for calming and soothing and hid from much of my emotions this way. I often ate secretly. I have written about it here. I was performing well academically and professionally but not within my care of myself. The only, easy way was eating what soothed me. 

Back to the present.

I’ve had four years of over-arching anxiety related to life changes and transitions which actually resulted in not only Irritable Bowel Syndrome (diarrhoea) but a reduced appetite and a simple meal regime. I did not go out much at all. I was ‘at home’ in 2016-mid 2017 because of the increased symptoms.

I lost weight. It had started slowly in the year before we left Sydney but continued gradually until I found out I had cancer in May 2017. WOAH. Here is the page with the cancer stories if you are a first time reader.

From the time I was diagnosed with cancer in my gums until I came home from hospital it was inevitable I lost weight. I did. I was focussed on getting past the surgery stage for more than 7 weeks and if that is not an appetite suppressant, I do not have any other ideas. I wore clothes that were baggy but were not my fattest clothes as almost all of them were consigned to charity bins in the previous year. I did not think I would wear them again yet I was very reluctant to buy clothes which fitted me well.

I managed to convince myself to get some nighties and other items of a smaller size for hospital and recovering at home but it held no joy in me to need to do this. Cancer was my upper most thought. Then, once surgery was over, and I was able to finally sip water, and try a clear fluids diet in the 2 days before I came home, the dietitian visited me.

I was bombarded   given the message over and over that I needed to EAT what and when I could and that it needed to be foods of full-fat, high protein and smooth enough for a mouth with only a few teeth to get down. I had never, in all my life, been told NOT to lose any more weight.

I was weighed in hospital and then once I was home, because of the addition of an anti-biotic that played havoc with my gut I did LOSE weight. I got to the lowest I can remember. Ever. And it did not feel good. I knew I was not well.

Once the diarrheoa disappeared and my GP said ‘eat what you like and what you can keep in’ rather than the high protein/milky drinks on offer via the dietitian, I got back to a weight where i felt comfortable and well.

This lasted for a very long time.

Sharing My Image with The On-Line World.

Just under a year ago, my wellness was a great feeling. I began to think about going out by myself for a coffee. It took me until November to do that, and I decided to account for my day by entering a photo each day on Instagram under the various hashtags including:

#everydaystyle

#dresswithpurpose

#outfitoftheday

Many of my on-line friends, family and friends found my daily posts and supported my photos with ‘likes’ and comments’. I found a love of shopping for bargains again. It was fun and I was rewarded by the feeling and knowledge that I was doing this for myself and finally I seemed to understand it was good to feel great on the outside.

Cancer meant more surgeries, and more messing about in my mouth. Food intake became protein items such as mince based meals which I could easily eat with a few teeth and a tongue and treats became staples: little cakes, small donuts, icecream. Each day had something like that in it. I did not gain weight much at all over the time from October until my last surgery in May 2018.

Photos of the day became something others with cancer discovered and they liked the idea of dressing with prpose. With head and neck cancer, because our cancer is usually visible to others, eating and drinking out is seldom done even just going out. So, I was flattered to be followed and asked more about it.

Then, a day came I had longed for…and it had been delayed so it was even more special.

I had the upper prosthesis of teeth added to my mouth. It was in late August. It felt very strange and initially I could not eat much at all. Over time, I could as I became confident of my ability to bite and chew and now…..

I began to gain weight.

Boo. It is not much at all, and I really need to put it in context. 

I have gone from very restricted eating and feeling deprived but I knew I had an end in sight. 

What has been interesting to observe in me is my behaviour changes.

  • I am not hiding my eating like I did.
  • I am limiting my treat food.
  • I am realising that I cannot use food to deal with emotions any more.
  • I am also needing to come to terms with what life is like for me now.
  • I am considering no longer doing the “outfits of the day” posts because they are almost a year old.
  • I may replace them with a “self-care” theme.
  • I am having a small internal battle but less so as I chat with my husband about it, and also follow a mindfulness eating guide.
  • I am wearing my fitbit and aim to move more than 6K steps in a day. I am a work-in-progress!

I thought getting teeth would be the best and it is…but I can eat a very wide range of foods again…but I no longer want to end up very wide again!

It has helped me to share this so thank you for reading! I hope you made it this far.

Back to where I started. Are we ever really content with ourselves?

Denyse.

Joining the lovely Leanne and friends here for Lovin Life Linky and for the record, I am here with Leanne when we finally caught up for a coffee…and something to eat recently!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 30/52. Share Your Snaps 6.  23/7/18.



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