Friday 10th April 2020

Will You Share Your Woman of Courage Story? 29/2020.

Will You Share Your Woman of Courage Story? 29/2020.

 

 

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid-May 2019: Wednesdays: most weeks.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda.

 

The ‘why’ behind my decision to begin inviting women to share their stories of courage.

In April 2019 I attended Newcastle Writers’ Festival and got to hear, amongst others, Author and Public Education Advocate, Jane Caro speak. Jane’s been known to me for a long time via social media, her other books and her involvement in promoting public education. She spoke at length of the roles we women have played and often at great loss or expense to our health, welfare and future financial security in her book Accidental Feminists.

Her written and spoken words really made me think.

Women do so much unsung, not necessarily because of not wanting people to know, but because we “just do get on.” I know that my life has taken some not great twists and turns and I realised I drew on resources of courage to do so.

This led me to finding out more about courage from others.

I did get some instant responses after my initial invitations went out to women I knew personally or on-line:

  • Almost everyone said, “Thank you for asking, yes I will share.” “Not everyone” did return the responses because “life” it gets in the way and of course I get that.
  • Some surprised me with a flat “no, I am not a woman of courage” and yes, even though I may have seen something of courage in them, no remained as was that person’s wish.
  • Some took a middle road. Maybe…can I get back to you? Sure I would say. I admit, I never wanted anyone to miss out if they wanted to share but sometimes it took a few more communications from me to get the definitive Yes or No…or another date to be determined.

The first person asked was the lovely Sam, The Annoyed Thyroid , her post can be found here. I admit I wrote one about an instance of courage of mine as well but Sam was #1 in the series.

I also know that perhaps my dates of publication did not work well for those who had shared their stories. This meant the interactivity I may have envisioned by comments to readers did not occur. But, as always, I understood the why. Life. Again.

Not everyone shared their name and that was for a reason. I also understand though, from comments returned to me privately, that those people found the writing of the story helpful AND the comments and support from readers gave them quite a life.

Thank you all for sharing!

Now, who is up for sharing their story now? Many who read and link up already have but there are plenty I see who may like to conribute but have been a bit shy. Here are the questions that I ask….there are 5.

Questions from Denyse:

  • What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?
  • How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.
  • Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?
  • Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?
  • Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

Do add anything else that you think would help others who read your post.

I also ask, if you wish to share, for any social media you would like to promote that is a link to you and a photo if you are prepared to share one.

That is it. I have received short and to the point responses, some which are prose set by the person not actually answering the questions directly and others are long. And for a good reason.

Please consider sending me an email here: denyse@ozemail.com.au and tell me you would like to share your story. Thank you in advance!

And, to the over 45 women who have shared already: not all are live till later in the next few months..I am very thankful for you too. Just some of the women here who have shared their stories. Catch up here for more.

In this awful period around the world as COVID19 pandemic continues, I send you all my healing thoughts and that you all stay well and connected on-line while we are all self-isolating.

Easter will be different of course. However, it is still happening. May yours be peaceful and may the Easter bunny find you.

Denyse.

Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends.

Copyright © 2020 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

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Self-Care Stories #2 14/51 #LifeThisWeek. 28/2020.

Self-Care Stories #2 14/51 #LifeThisWeek. 28/2020.

What a time! It’s been not “that long” since the first post of Self-Care stories yet, the world as we (I) knew it has changed irrevocably. Thanks to a C-word that can be said and written about but I prefer to leave that to the media. Corona virus. COVID-19.

Self-Care Stories #2 is likely to be the first of more in #covid time and I know for me, whilst it bring changes to what I thought was helpful in my self-care emotionally and physically I have to counter that with:

  • am I able to do this now i.e. go out for a stroll at the shops….NO
  • can I go out where I please…NO
  • can I see my family and friends in person….NO
  • do I need to change how I think about what I need to do with my self-care…YES
  •  is this becoming easier over time…YES(ish)

In words and pictures here’s how I am self-caring…in the way I know how. This suits me. It may not for you. I know I am feeling better for a plan.

My plan, so far,

  • is experiencing slower days
  • not ‘having’ to be anywhere
  • taking the chance to explore some art/craft I haven’t for a while
  • actually reading a magazine- I have bought the Women’s Weekly twice!
  • limiting news items on social media to reputable sources
  • contributing to some groups I belong to on Facebook but not staying on “scrolling and scrolling”
  • making sure I have my instagram feed ready as it is from the Ipad now
  • having not only enough food in the house  but more so we can eat from a variety of sources
  • taking time outside, even if it is the backyard, and looking up, and down
  • limiting car trips to every second day and minimising these just to local supermarket
  • ensuring that I do get some steps up each day but no longer being self-critical if I don’t. In fact, I adjusted the goal to allow for it.
  • installing Netflix and Stan on my bedroom TV and actually watching an episode of something from the past. Currently Pride and Prejudice
  • swapping my daily coffee from a shop to one at home, and even having a cup of tea these days as well
  • taking a drive, while it is still OK, to a local beach or waterway and walking beside the water
  • recognising when my fear becomes heightened. It has and I know what it means and can deal with it better these days
  • adding a Daily Calm to my meditation practice before I get out of bed, and finishing my day with another practice session from Calm.

Now, this is just what I, as a retiree, who has recovered well from cancer can do and be…and I am fully aware there is a whole lot of deprivation and job losses, threatened security of home and more, along with worries and fears if you and/or loved ones work in essential services and maybe you are unwell or you cannot be the carer you might want to be….so I say…

I hope, that with support of words here, those from friends and family you may find some peace right now. Yes, it is a very strange place we are all finding ourselves. Author and all-round good egg, Pip Lincolne for example is one. She has  released her new book “When Life Is Not Peachy” ..see the photo above, and just into the excitement of this, she (and her family) all lost their jobs. Gob-smacked, like so many. Queueing on-line or in real life at Centrelink. Not fun. But, as she has reached out to others to help, she has been supported too. That is the best part.

Help others if  you can..but put on your own lifejacket first!

I am listening to a brand-new podcast from Brene Brown: and here is the info. The fact we are all, world-wide, “in this together” seems to help me.

Three learnings that have been life-shifting for me:

1. Anxiety is one of the most contagious emotions – that’s why it always takes down groups of people, not just individuals.

2. Calm is also contagious, but it’s a daily intention and practice.

3. We all have patterned ways of dealing with anxiety that are often set up in our first families. Understanding how and why can set us free.

Listen to the entire episode on Unlocking Us at https://bit.ly/3aBJrDH

And if you miss contact with friends and family and can get into face time and zoom (and all the others) do so. We have had chats with our daughter and grandkids this way and I had my first zoom with 2 friendly and lovely bloggers. Yay for technology for friendships..not just for work

Share o self-care tip that works best for you right now in the comments.
Take care everyone.

Denyse.

Link Up #183.

Life This Week. Link Up #183.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* 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: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive  in nature.

* THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week’s weekly optional prompt is: 15/51 Share Your Snaps #3 13.4.2020

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Women Of Courage Series. #34. Rebecca Bowyer. 27/2020.

Women of Courage Series. #34. Rebecca Bowyer. 27/2020.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid-May 2019: Wednesdays: each week until the series concludes in 2020.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda.

 

Rebecca Bowyer and I have never met ‘in real life’ but we have connected via our blogs way back as part of “I Blog on Tuesdays” a regular link up for a very long time that many Australian bloggers would remember with affection. Rebecca who is 39, offered me some advice way back in 2016 when I first had the idea it was time to document my life story. Initially feeling daunted by the notion of writing a whole book (with me at the centre of it) Rebecca offered me this piece of wisdom. “Write a chapter at a time as if it is a blog post”. She mentioned our friend Mrs Woog did that for her book “Primary School Confidential” and then it all seems do-able. So, I am always grateful for this advice….and to know this woman, a determined and published author! Congratulations on your book.

 

What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

I published my first novel, Maternal Instinct, in 2019. The lead up to this single event comprised dozens of smaller moments of courage. If my courage had failed at any of these moments, I would not be a published author now.

First, I had to give myself permission to be creative. Finding the sustained creativity required to write an 80,000-word novel meant stepping aside from family responsibilities for periods of time over the course of more than a year. It meant taking a chance on a project that might amount to absolutely nothing but hours of ‘wasted time’ if it didn’t find a publisher.

Next, I had to find the courage to send my completed manuscript out into the world. I was very fortunate to find a literary agent all the way across the world in New York. I then held my breath and kept going through more than a year of rejections and a couple of almost-acceptances from publishers.

By early 2019 I wanted to sweep the whole thing under the floor and forget I’d ever tried to be an author. My agent was still positive about finding a publishing home for the manuscript, but I’d decided to draw a line under this chapter of my life. First, however, I decided to publish the novel myself. I couldn’t stand the thought of all those ‘wasted hours’ if I just let it go.

So, I took another deep breath – more courage required!

You need capital to publish a book. I had none, so I raised the funds via a Kickstarter campaign. Most start-ups have investors, but knowing that didn’t make it any easier to go out, cap in hand, and ask people to believe in my project enough to back it financially.

After the funds were raised, the book was professionally edited, designed and printed, and I sent it to reviewers. This was the point at which I nearly fainted dead away from fright. But a book needs reviews and recommendations to succeed, so out it went.

I was relieved and very excited when comments came back such as “Amazing debut” (Emily-Jane Clark, best-selling author of Sleep Is For The Weak) and “Fans of The Handmaid’s Tale will be instantly hooked” (Virginia Franken, author of Life After Coffee).

On 7 October 2019 Maternal Instinct was published in Australia, the U.K., U.S.A. and Canada. For a natural introvert like me, book promotion is a rather horrifying prospect. I spoke at the book launch, did podcast and written interviews, spoke on three panels at Conflux 15 in Canberra and did book signings at festivals such as Bendi-Con and Mornington Peninsula & Frankston Writers & Book Festival.

Before every single event I had to make a deliberate decision to either show up or hide under my desk. I’m pleased to say that I managed to show up, though I was exhausted by the end of it all.

 

How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

I feel much more confident about carving out time for creativity, without feeling the need to justify it by making money or becoming the next Margaret Atwood. The best thing about writing and publishing a book is the community of writers and readers. It’s such an incredible exchange of creativity, ideas and stories and I’m so thrilled to be a part of it.

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

The most important thing I learned about courage is that it’s not a finite resource. A series of small courageous acts can give you the confidence to try for bigger courageous acts.

The second thing is learned was to focus on the positives but also embrace the negatives enough that I can sit comfortably with them.

My successes and my failures have taught me so much. Over the past few years I’ve felt like a failure because my book didn’t find a traditional publisher; because I didn’t sell a million copies; because it’s not available in bricks and mortar bookshops. All of those things still sting a little, but I’m comfortable with owning them now.

I’m comfortable because I’m learning not to focus on the failures, even though it goes against all of those niggling anti-courage voices in my head. (“Don’t be so arrogant, why should you publish a book? See? You sold less than a million copies. You failed. I told you so. You should have just stayed home and folded washing.”). The main thing is that I wrote and published a novel. That’s huge! That’s a very brave thing to do. (Take that anti-courage voices.)

 

Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

Writing and publishing my first novel has given me the confidence to write and publish more stories. In 2020 I’ve got a short story, ‘Practice Child’, coming out in Deadset Press’s Stories of Hope anthology to raise money for bushfire charities. I’m also putting the finishing touches on my second novel and am itching to start writing my third.

I’ve faced all my fears about putting my creative writing out there – rejection, ridicule, failure – and I’ve lived to tell the tale.

Publishing a novel has helped me understand why I want to keep writing. It’s got nothing to do with ‘success’ or ‘achievement’, or even fame or fortune.

I love to write, and there are readers out there who love to read what I write. All the bits in between – finding an agent, finding a publisher (or publishing it myself) and book promotion – are simply the journey I have to go on to get the story from my head to readers’ heads.

 

Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

Finding courage can be hard. Something which helped me was careful planning and risk assessment. I wanted to make sure that, if I failed, my failure wouldn’t cause the rest of my life to implode. I didn’t quit my day job and I didn’t go into massive debt.

In the end, what I was really risking was my creative self-esteem and hundreds of hours of my time.

If you’re still finding it hard to press the ‘Go’ button, even after you’ve put in the hard work and planning, try channelling Drew Barrymore and her glorious silver wings from Ever After: “Just breathe.”

Heartiest of congratulations to you. Check out Rebecca’s social media links too.

Thank you for sharing.

Denyse.

 

 

Social Media: 

Blog/Website: www.storyaddict.com.au

Twitter: @RebeccaBowyerAu

Facebook Page : www.facebook.com/rebeccabowyerwriter

Instagram: @RebeccaBowyerWriter

 

Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends.

Copyright © 2020 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

 

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Chocolate. 13/51. Life This Week. 26/2020.

Chocolate. 13/51. Life This Week. 26/2020.

Life This Week is at the quarter-way mark of the year. 2020. What a ride. None of us saw what was coming, I guess, in terms of a pandemic called COVID-19. Many around Australia, the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada and New Zealand along with Other Countries are at various stages of this “new to all of us” virus. The world changed. We have had to change many of our routines and habits and some (even many) have lost their livelihoods as citizens in each country are asked to “stay at home” to reduce the spread. By the time this post goes live, things will have changed again. However, without wanting to centre the post today “on” COVID-19, I did want to send my best wellness wishes to all.

Stay Safe

Stay Home

Look After Each Other

Practise Physical Distancing

Continue Social Contacts in new ways. Blogging is one!

Denyse.

Sending my congratulations and appreciation to teachers last Friday. And getting myself used to photos with “no specs”.

 

C H O C O L A T E.

I am confessing something now. I am not a fan of Easter Chocolate. I know many, including my own adult children, are. They LOVE their Red Tulip Easter Rabbits and used to enjoy the Humpty Dumpty eggs from Coles as kids and I believe Caramello Easter Eggs are a fave.

Way back in 2014 at Easter we must have had an inkling it was to be our last in Sydney with the family so true to form, my husband (Papa) and I put on an Easter Egg Eggstravaganza in our back yard. A few memories here: They took a little bag outside and then collected plastic eggs (I think) and came back and selected a ‘prize’ from here…

There may be shortages of toilet paper, self-raising flour and other ‘staples’ but at my local Coles there was definitely NO shortage of chocolate: Easter or not.

At the store entrance:

Then I perused the chocolate aisle. I love some  plain Cadbury’s chocolate. I cannot eat any now with additions such as nuts. I used to love Lindt blocks but now find them too rich. I also find them far too expensive…but yes, I do eat “some” chocolate. At the moment I enjoy a few smarties and freckles. I know. Why? Actually it is the texture.

For all those months without top teeth I really missed crunching. So, they are a current fave and I have some at night.

Not many. Just enough.

I don’t know who I am these days but whatever has happened to my previous habits of having much more comforting chocolate than I do now I am glad I have overcome it. Feeling a bit sick afterwards is a good one to restrain my old ways. Happy to have that now as a limiter.

What is your favourite chocolate?

Do you have many?

I believe white chocolate is not chocolate at all. I hear that some people disagree. You?

Oh, and before I say goodbye, it has “only” been 3 weeks since my right eye had its cataract removed (on Wednesday, 3 weeks for the left eye) and how about this…I am now out and about driving with NO spectacles needed (licence changed after I saw my opthalmologist) and I am getting used to the face (more wrinkled than I knew) in the mirror that does not need specs!

Happy One Quarter of the Year 2020 to you…and

Daylight Saving In Australia finishes NEXT Sunday morning: 5 April.

Let the clocks time FALL back by 1 hour…unless you are in Queensland and now we will all be on the same time. Sigh.

Denyse.

Link Up #182.

Life This Week. Link Up #182.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* 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: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive  in nature.

* THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week’s weekly optional prompt is: 14/51 Self-Care Stories #2. 6.4.2020

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Click here to enter


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Women of Courage Series. #33 Sanch. 25/2020.

Women of Courage Series. #33 Sanch. 25/2020.

 

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid-May 2019: Wednesdays: each week until the series concludes in 2020.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda.

In the world of blogs and social media we often think how good it would be to “meet I.R.L.” ….meet up in real life. I have been following Sanch as a blogger for some time, and one day, we DID just that. We met up. We did that a few more times too. Coffee and a treat..and chatted away for ages. You see, I was fortunate that Sanch came to live for a while in the area where we live so meet ups could happen. Now, even though she has moved back to “the big city” we know well, I am sure it won’t stop us getting together again soon. Sanch is a 36 year old with a vibrant smile and energy to bottle. She loves time at the beach I know that too.

 

 

What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

It’s interesting, there have been so many situations in my life that people have defined as being courageous but I never thought of it that way especially while going through it. But I think when I look back in hindsight, it certainly was the case. Coming to Australia as a 21-year-old with no family or friends here was a big deal but it was something I wanted so again, I didn’t see it as being brave even though it’s what everyone told me.

 

I think though, one of the bravest things for me was leaving a couple of long-term relationships; one in 2012 and the other in 2017. The 2012 in particular required a lot of courage not because of anything to do with my partner necessarily but because I was unhappy and not fulfilled but probably stayed because it was more comfortable than the unknown. We’d been together for a long time and I was genuinely scared what it would be like without him. It was similar in 2017 – a shorter relationship – but I also had an added bout of depression for 18 months which made me stay longer than I should have. For most people, this might not seem like something brave or courageous but for me, when in those long-term relationships, it was the only ‘family’ I had here and therefore leaving it meant being alone.

In 2012, I also only had about 4 friends from uni, three of whom were in long-term relationships themselves. It was one of the scariest things to do – to leave the comfort of something stable albeit unhappy.

 

How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

The first break up in 2012 taught me a lot about myself. It pushed me to decide to get out of my comfort zone, to change my life. I started by losing weight and getting healthier physically, and slowly and steadily, decided I needed to expand my friendship group. In that relationship, we’d both been socially anxious and in hindsight, I think my social anxiety was maintained by his. If you know me now, you’d never believe I was someone who was anxious in social situations and even now I wonder how much of it was just contagion as opposed to it being me.

I decided after the break-up, I had two choices – to sit at home alone on the weekends or to push myself and meet new people. I still don’t know how, but I chose the latter. I still remember how nervous I was when I went to my first hiking Meetup – a group of 20-odd people and I knew no one. I can still remember the anxiety, the fear of meeting people, the fear of being judged, of not knowing what to say. And then, I surprised myself. I kept doing this weekend after weekend and today, 6 years later, I do have a good group of friends I’ve made from those hiking days.

It has also made me much more social and when I moved up to the Central Coast two years ago, I made the effort to meet new people and build networks. I also find that now, I’m more open to new experiences and doing things on my own or with others. I can push myself out of my comfort zone a lot more easily. It’s not that I don’t feel nervous – it’s that I’ll do things despite the nerves. And that in itself, is courage.

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

I learnt I am a lot more capable than I realised. Back in that long-term relationship, I always thought of myself as socially anxious and boring {quite obviously, it wasn’t helping me grow!} but once I left, once I faced fears, it made me realise maybe I’m not who I thought I was. More than that, I also realised that in order to courageous, one doesn’t have to not feel afraid. Courage is doing something even when you are scared. It’s making a choice to do something regardless of the outcome. It’s feeling the fear and doing it anyway. In fact, ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ has become a mantra of sorts for me.

 

Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

Oh definitely! I think now, every time I’m faced with something new, something unknown and I feel scared, I remind myself of all the times I’ve done things before and survived. Of course, sometimes things haven’t always worked out, but I have still learnt from experiences, still grown in ways and yes, survived. So, if I could do it before, I can definitely do it again.

 

Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

I can’t stress enough that courage is not the absence of fear. It is feeling the fear and doing it anyway. It is embracing the discomfort and doing what needs to be done. I think if you remember that, you are more likely to allow yourself to be okay with the uncomfortable feelings and unhelpful thoughts and still give things a go. The fact is, when we are anxious about something, it is human nature to avoid it. But by being courageous, we learn either one of two things: we learn that things are either not as bad as they seem or that we are so much stronger and capable than we realised even if things are as bad as we imagined. By avoiding, we never really learn our true capabilities.

Thank you so much Sanch. Wisdom gleaned from experience as well as learning is so good as it often  remains embedded in us.

Denyse.

 

 

 

Blog/Website: http://www.sanchwrites.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sanchwrites

Facebook Page (not personal account): https://www.facebook.com/sanchwrites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sanchwrites

Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends.

Copyright © 2020 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

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Out & About: Head & Neck Charity Ball 12/51 #LifeThisWeek. 24/2020.

Out & About: Head & Neck Charity Ball 12/51 #LifeThisWeek. 24/2020.

Regular readers and followers know I was diagnosed with a head and neck cancer in May 2017. Posts are here.

Then, in 2018 I was invited to become a Community Ambassador for Beyond Five. More about that here.

In my role helping share awareness of head and neck cancer facts and more via social media, this blog and in person, I really find it satisfying to give back:

  • to offer my skills and experience as an educator
  • and to feel and stay connected with other patients and their families/carers with a head and neck cancer,
  • attending meetings on-line and off relating to head and neck cancer support
  • to be part of social network head and neck cancer groups
  • to assist professional teams including my professor, speciality nursing staff and allied health professionals by sharing my experience on-line and in person
  • a recent interview for a Beyond Five project on nutrition
  • and then this……

Attending The Head and Neck Charity Ball at Avoca Hosted by Four Amazing Junior Doctors on Saturday evening 7 March 2020.

 

Here is the post from Beyond Five: the organisation to benefit from all the fund raising from attendance and silent auctions:

Beyond Five

Last Saturday night Caitlin Frede, Grace Swain, James Shannon and Catherine Zil, a dedicated team of junior doctors working within Central Coast Health hosted a #HNC Charity Ball https://buff.ly/37Aiejn at the Avoca Surf House in NSW to help raise awareness of #HNC and funds to support Beyond Five.

Over 100 people attended including Caitlin’s family, who lost her father Peter Frede to #HNC in 2015, and healthcare professionals from the Central Coast Cancer Centre.

Caitlin shares the stark and moving story of her father here. Thank you Caitlin for sharing your perspective in this cancer which has cost your family the presence of a husband and father…and a wonderful human being….

Dinner guests listened to powerful speeches from Caitlyn and former patient, Central Coast resident and Beyond Five Community Ambassador, Denyse Whelan who talked about her treatment for #HNC. Dr Puma Sundaresan, Radiation Oncologist at Western Sydney Health and Beyond Five Director also spoke about the need to raise awareness of #HNC and the importance of early detection.

Thank you to everyone who supported this fabulous event, helping to raise over $4,000 for Beyond Five. We are incredibly grateful!

My social media recount of the evening. 

A glorious evening at Avoca beach hosted by a group of junior doctors currently working on Central Coast to raise funds for @beyondfiveorg

As a head and neck cancer patient I know information shared helped me.

This is why I am privileged to be a Community Ambassador for @beyondfiveorg

Tonight I shared part of my story with over hundred guests many of whom were in

health medical dental allied health fields.

My thoughts during and after this event.

  • How fortunate we were as a group to be able to come together as this preceded the coronavirus restrictions, even though at this time, everyone was become familiar with what would be our future without handshakes and hugs. I was so honoured to be asked to speak about my head and neck cancer experience and meeting with Caitlin for coffee as part of her planning I was even more impressed with her initiative of that of her colleagues. They are working on the NSW Central Coast as part of their medical training.

 

  • Lisa Shailer, pictured above, is the Head and Neck (and Lung) Cancer Nurse who oversees new and on-going patients at Central Coast Cancer Centre at Gosford Hospital. She, along withe some head and neck cancer patients, started the Central Coast Head and Neck Cancer Support Group. Lisa is the person who ‘found me’ via my article on-line with local MP Emma McBride and invited me to attend the inaugural Soup for the Soul event at Gosford in July 2018. Since then I have been an active member of the group, in my role as an Ambassador for Beyond Five.

 

  • Dr Puma Sundaresan and her husband attended the event and whilst Puma represented the board of Beyond Five, she was there for sentimental reasons as she was a radiation oncologist on the Central Coast before taking up her current roles in Sydney. She spoke about the fact that the rise of head and neck cancers in younger people is becoming greater and there is a connection with HPV. She outlined too, that the Central Coast has a high rate of head and neck cancer cases relating in many cases to smoking and drinking.

 

  • For me it was an evening where I felt privileged to be amongst people who cared about head and neck cancer and getting the messages out there. One person came up to me and told me she is a dentist in the practice where I attend and where, along with my dentist, I first was told we were looking for cancer. What is was we did not know, but I am very grateful she showed support as does her workplace.

 

The future is bright. 

Yes I said that! We are, at the time of writing, in a pandemic state thanks to coronavirus or COVID-19 of course. I know there are going to be more restrictions imposed on many of us soon, For some, travellers and others, some cannot even get home. But I know, with the air of care, professionalism, hope and generosity I witnessed on this evening with the focus on helping others with head and neck cancer support, we have excellent people in our health professions. These times ahead are going to test them. However, if they can remain true to themselves using the skills, talents and more I was privileged to witness the future will be bright.

Notes on the fundraising experience.

These next months are going to see no gatherings for meetings and fundraisers for any cause.

Head and Neck cancer charity Beyond Five usually hosts a Soup for the Soul Fundraiser in July.

Whilst we do not know what that month will bring for getting together we may assume, like the Head and Neck Patient and Family Forum now moved from June to October, there may be flexibility in fundraising.

Maybe like my last two years, a virtual Soup For the Soul!

Recent update from the Head and Neck Charity Ball is that $4.400 was deposited into Beyond Five’s account. Yay.

Lastly….

What a beautiful scene from this event place at Avoca Beach N.S.W.

Take time to notice nature is always calming…and for  many of us in uncertain times, this can help.

Go gently and stay well everyone.

Denyse.

Link Up #181.

Life This Week. Link Up #181.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* 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: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive  in nature.

* THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week’s weekly optional prompt is: 13/51 . Chocolate.  30.3.2020.

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Women of Courage Series. #32. Sue Loncaric. 23/2020.

Women of Courage Series. #32. Sue Loncaric. 23/2020.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid-May 2019: Wednesdays: each week until the series concludes in 2020.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda.

I have never met Sue Loncaric who is a 62 year old woman now living in Queensland. That does not matter of course when we are bloggers…because fellow bloggers always feel like we have known people from their sharing on the blog, facebook and other social media. I do know Sue is a kind-hearted and helpful person who wants to ensure to care of others in her life. I also know how devoted she is to her family. More than that, I got to experience Sue’s care first hand when she sent me a beautiful journal with inspirational cards when I was first diagnosed with head and neck cancer. I will now send you to read on to see why I asked Sue to consider sharing her story as a Woman of Courage.

 

 

What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

Denyse has asked me several times to contribute to her Women of Courage series and I’ve declined each time.  I don’t believe I’ve been courageous in life at all, especially compared to other Women who have featured in her series.

Yet I underestimated Denyse’s inability to accept ‘No’ for an answer.

Denyse’s persistence made me actually stop and look back at my life and revisit times when I had to dig deep for strength.  My courage has been coping with the loss of loved ones, walking way from a marriage, supporting and loving my husband and his parents and later in life pushing myself to achieve my goals.

 

  • I suppose the first time I really needed courage was to face the idea of losing my Mum.  At the age of 53 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and back in the 70s research was still in its infancy so we had no idea what to expect.  I was 18 at the time and I couldn’t imagine a life without my Mum.  Neither could Mum!  She battled on for 10 years, showing courage, determination and never complaining.  Losing my Mum was devastating as she was the most beautiful soul I had ever known and she certainly left a huge gap in my life.

 

  • The next test was losing my Dad when I was 24.  He had just retired and was looking forward to spending time and caring for Mum and her cancer battle.  However, 6 months later he was gone.  Bowel cancer had claimed him.  My strength was tested this time because he died a month before my first child was born.  I remember him wanting to see the baby but he was in so much pain I told him not to hold on and he died that night.

 

  • Walking away from a marriage wasn’t easy but I found the strength to do this.  It wasn’t anyone’s fault but I still feel guilty although I know the decision was right.  This was a time when I also walked away from family and friends so again experienced loss.  Fortunately, I was able to reconnect many years later and cherish those close to me.

 

  • My courage and strength were tested again in 2000 when my husband had a heart attack resulting in emergency triple by-pass surgery.  The doctor had advised me to go to work as they wouldn’t be operating for a few days.  However, a few hours later I was called back as a clot was blocking his artery and a nurse actually told me to ‘prepare myself’. You certainly take for granted that loved ones are always going to be there and fortunately 19 years later my darling is still with me.

 

  • Losing my brother 3 years ago to cancer at the age of 65 was a time that taught me it is never too late to make amends. For some reason we had not spoken for over 30 years and he lived in another country.  I am so grateful that his daughter arranged for us to speak before he died.

 

  • I’ve supported my darling husband through his PTSD issues and likewise he has been my biggest cheerleader.  Together we put our lives on hold to care for his parents.  What was supposed to be short term, became our lives for 11 years. We now have our lives back but I wonder sometimes if there is enough time to do all we want to do together.

 

  • In recent times I’ve needed the courage to achieve my personal goals – running two full marathons at 55 and 61, starting my blog when I retired almost 5 years ago (who would really want to read what I had to say), continuing to try to motivate and aspire others to achieve their goals when I’m not feeling great myself some days.

It can be so easy to give up when the ‘going gets tough’ but pushing through brings satisfaction.  Being a driven person can sometimes be a curse as well as a good quality to have.

 

How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

I think that going through all of these experiences has given me resilience to cope with what life throws my way.  I still don’t feel that I’ve done anything more than others would have done in similar situations but perhaps we sometimes downplay the situation.

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

We all have an inner strength that we don’t know exists until we are tested. The other learning is that there are always people willing to support you if you are open to accepting their help.

 

Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

Yes, I believe I am more courageous mainly because I am older and have experienced many different situations in my life.  Once you prove to yourself you have the strength then you really can cope with anything.

At the time of writing this I am at the crossroads again and need to make some difficult decisions on my future direction.  This will take courage and strength to actually do what I tell others to do and that is letting go of what I don’t want in my life and moving forward without guilt or regret.

 

Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

I wondered how to answer this question and then thought about What does it mean to be courageous? I found this quote which I think sums it up perfectly.

“Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing.”
― Emma Donoghue, Room

 

What a story Sue has shared. I was right in pursuing Sue to contribute was I not? Thank you Sue. For sharing and for helping others along the way. I am also grateful to you and fellow blogger Leanne at Cresting the Hill for having a Wednesday weekly Link Up for Midlife Share The Love Bloggers. Today, this post will be shared there by me.

Denyse.

 

Social Media

Your Blog: https://www.sizzlingtowardssixty.com.au

Your facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sizzlingtowards60/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sizzling60

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sizzlingtowards60andbeyond/

 

 

Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends.

Copyright © 2020 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

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My Neighbourhood. 11/51. #LifeThisWeek. 22/2020.

My Neighbourhood. 11/51. #LifeThisWeek. 22/2020.

My observations are personal. They are about my thoughts and experiences of living where we do now. I have used some photos but because  I try not to give out too much personal information on the blog they have few identifiers. Nevertheless I am mentioning areas that may be familiar to some readers.

We first thought of moving to the Central Coast in 2014. As the need to change how and where we were living in Sydney became evident through my uneasy health status (sad and a bit anxious) and my husband’s disenchantment with Sydney’s traffic, we sold up and with thoughts of Central Coast holidays here we went to find a place to rent. We moved to and lived at the southern end of the Central Coast. January 2015 – November 2015.

I Live Here.

 

This is a quiet and relatively new part of suburban blocks and community developments in the northern part of the N.S.W. Central Coast region. On a map, it is around here. Just north of Wyong and about 10 minutes drive from the M1 at Sparks Road exit.

When we moved to what I describe as the quieter end of the coast, at the end of 2015, it was for a few reasons.

  • Our first choice, post-Sydney life, was the southern end of the Central Coast.
  • We thought we knew the area better.
  • Turns out we knew some physical aspects but not some of the in-built social ones.
  • In short, we were relatively poorer (i.e. paying far too much in rent) and more disappointed by the closed-off community which often wrote about ‘Western Sydney refugees’ arriving to spoil their places. Hmmmm. Not great attitude is it?

We settled easily into our next rental house that it felt like one we had sold. It was a  bit older but we made it home. From November 2015 until April 2018. Here’s some of the story from living in THIS neighbourhood. We were made very welcome by the property management too. It makes such a difference.

We would have stayed at this house but the owners wanted to move into it. Turned out sometime things work out well. Our real estate property management did all they could to help us secure a new rental place. Our two priorities: on one level and ducted air. They found it. Yes it was more expensive to rent but still way under the atrocious rent in 2015.

Here we still are: from early April 2018….and have already got another year till 2021 sorted as tenants here.

Some of the reasons we like living here.

  • not far from a big shopping centre
  • less than an hour from Newcastle where I have attended some recent events
  • close to a Westfield Shopping Centre
  • about one hour’s drive to Wahroonga…end of the M1. Then if it is a visit to my dad on the northern beaches, it’s another 45 minutes, similarly to the city for head and neck cancer checks and also to Westmead for my prosthodontist checks, and around the same to see family where we used to live.

Our medical needs are catered for very well. We both like our GP and find the service at the centre is excellent. Wyong hospital is literally up the road and less than 5 minutes away. We are bulk-billed and can make appointments. I have a local dentist (many stories about him in the head and neck sections) who has seen me before head and neck cancer in my mouth and since. Bunnings is about 10 minutes up the road for my husband. And I have found more than twenty places where I enjoy my daily coffee.

Our street is a bit busy but we have excellent neighbours and even though the yard is small, the only time it is really noticeable is when the grandkids come up and a soccer ball easily flies over the fence.

BUT…whilst we do love being here, the sad news is that whenever we do get to buy a place of our own, this area is already out of our league. Many people here commute to Sydney. And houses in our estate are selling for well over $600K up to $900K. We will, as they say, cross that bridge when we come to it.

So, that’s my neighbourhood story in words and pics!

Did you write about that today too?

Tell me if your neighbourhood is where you want to stay forever…

Denyse.

Link Up #180.

Life This Week. Link Up #180.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* 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: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive  in nature.

* THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week’s weekly optional prompt is: 12/51 Out & About. 23.3.2020

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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