Monday 19th March 2018

My Last Meal Was. #LifeThisWeek 11/52. 2018.23.

My Last Meal Was. #LifeThisWeek 11/52. 2018.23.

When I made this prompt up initially it was “My Last Meal” but that conjured up those of prisoners who are about to be executed (yikes) get to choose their last meal. I have wondered, as you do, how on earth ANYONE could actually EAT before they were led off…anyway, I need to lighten up…and here we go.

It’s hard for me to write about a meal in actual fact . I can have meals of course and I have written about what it’s been like to eat after cancer surgery here and tomorrow is the part two of that series.

It’s really been more than a year since I have been able to chew or crunch with success. My upper front gums were very sore and inflamed before we knew it was cancer. See here if you are new and missed that post back in May 2017. So even before Christmas 2016 I was seeking food that was softer.

Onto the now.

I cannot cite my ‘last meal’ because I am writing this pre-Monday. Every day for many months I have had two weetbix and milk for breakfast. Before I discovered I actually did not mind weetbix I was struggling to get something resembling toast down. I no longer try that. I can’t. Yet.

But here are some main/lunch meals I eat now with 8 front lower gum teeth and my strong tongue!

Each of the above requires a lot of time (I used to be a 10 mins and it’s eaten girl) and concentration so I do not overfill my mouth and can swallow with ease.

I always have water near me to help the food go down and for me, a long-time talker at meals, I try not to chat and to get my food down safely. I have been fine to date! I have had to use my ingenuity in this LONG (over 8 months now) post-surgery journey as I miss variety, textures and tastes.

Each of these was borne of my need to have all of those within my limitations.

I am quite proud of these. But will be glad in a few months when chewing and crunching may return!

Here’s two meals I had in the past that I will be looking forward to have again. Simple but nutritious and very comforting!

Now I realised “this” is not a meal. But oh my gosh it is both comforting and delicious and I do not have F.O.M.O. when I treat myself to this!

As I cannot bite into a donut, I break off tiny pieces from the BEST BIT, the edges and place them in my mouth. I leave the middle ….I never liked that much anyway.

I wonder what your last meal was….I must say I have stopped being envious of people who get to eat what I cannot yet as it was not helpful to me or to them.

Eating food we like is such an enjoyable event I would never want to put someone off theirs!

Here’s to eating well!


Joining with Alicia for Open Slather here…and let me say, some of her food pics are wonderful and almost everything is home-grown!

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 is the optional prompt’: 12/52.  “Out My Window I See.” 19.3.18.


Everyone IS Creative. 2018.22.

Everyone IS Creative. 2018.22.

Recently I heard Brene Brown say on the CD of her latest book Braving The Wilderness two things that stuck with me about creativity.

One: she was THAT kid told by her teacher that she couldn’t do art. Her art sucked. As a result, Brene never ever tried again. Until this:

Two: her findings were that the best way to embed the learning in her courses was to integrate them with creativity.


I have taken some of her on-line courses over the past two years and each has a component of journal writing, decorating a page of photos, adding some pictures that inspire and so on. In other words, the head learning becomes embedded with the heart learning.

Source: Brene Brown

My Back Story.

I cannot recall doing anything creative at home like drawing or colouring but I recall coveting the brand new Textas (so colourful) around the time I was in Year 6. I loved the geometry lessons which taught me how to make a flower with a set of compasses. That learning comes back to me every time I make a mandala. I went to High School and would have loved to do Art as a subject but I was advised to follow an academic pathway. Never mind. I had fun decorating diaries, school books bags and so on. I could not draw well but I loved patterns. Still do.

My mum was a colourful and stylish dresser and I am pretty sure I learned that from my observations and my innate creativity. Mum was not educated past age 15 but she was a wizz at cooking and baking. Loads of people were delighted to receive her goodies. I saw creativity in the way my parents’ made their gardens and how Mum arranged flowers.

Into my teaching years, particularly with the children under 8, I loved creating colourful and stimulating classroom environments with my ideas and their art. I found teaching in a space like that was great. However, over the years, I learned that some children do not need a lot of visual stimulation to act out so I amended how I did this.

Over The Years.

Teaching probably kept me as creative as I needed to be until it was time to have a break. I was non-teaching for over 20 years so I went to scrapbooking classes, learned how to make Christmas decorations and went to a term of learning how to observe doing drawing with pencil. I did buy a lot of products over the years and my grandchildren who came to us for care each week got their share of use with my paints, paper, scissors, playdoh and so on.

It actually surprised me not long ago to find that after my visual preference as a learner comes kinaesthetic so I guess I got a lot of that with the cutting, placing and pasting I was doing.

Of course, I also cooked and decorated cakes with icing (still do!) but it really wasn’t until I was permanently retired that I saw that my creativity extended to art-type activities, photography, blogging and making memory books. Then as my outer world shrank as I no longer worked nor cared for our grandchildren something needed to happen.

I needed more. I needed something. As it turned out, I needed to make, to practise, to try and to have some fun.


Some famous people said this about creativity:

I asked my friends on Facebook about creativity and was delighted that not one person who responded said “I am not creative…” well, a few may have said “I don’t see myself as creative but I do….”

Here’s the list from those people.

  • Blogging
  • Creative writing
  • Graphic Design
  • Playing a musical instrument
  • Doing colouring-in and dot to dots for adults
  • Making my garden
  • Dressing each day and adding accessories to suit
  • Sewing
  • Cooking and Baking
  • Scrapbooking
  • Photography
  • Making Photobooks
  • Journalling
  • Art
  • Drawing
  • Ceramics
  • Planning Family Outings and Events
  • Making costumes for dancers
  • Creating websites
  • Talking on radio
  • Dancing
  • Making Slime
  • Card Making
  • Singing
  • what about you?
  • what are your creative pursuits?
  • there are more than I have here I am sure! 


Thank you all who contributed. Here’s a few pics of my versions of creativity.

So, how are you creative?

And  sorry but “I am not creative” is NOT a reasonable answer!!

Thanks for joining in.



Taking part in Tuesday’s Link of the Day called: I Blog on Tuesdays with Kylie Purtell here.

And on Wednesdays I link with Sue and Leanne here for Midlife Share The Love Party.

Then comes Thursday: Thanks to Leanne we have a beaut linky called Lovin’ Life here.



My Cancer Surgery #3. 2018.20.

My Cancer Surgery #3. 2018.20.

Since the diagnosis of cancer in my upper front gums and partially on the inside lip on the right hand side in May 2017 I have had three surgeries. The first, on Thursday 6th July 2017  has been written about in detail and in 3 parts…because it WAS huge!

Here are the links: Part One, Part Two, Part Three.

And over 4 months passed as a lot of healing needed to happen in my recovery at home. My leg was cared for by the Community Nurse who visited for 8 weeks over a few days each time, and my mouth, well it had to heal over time. Before the next surgery there were visits back to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and to Westmead.

Then I had the second surgery. It was at relatively short notice and was for Day Only stay. So different to last time. But do read the post if you have not because it was a hard start to MY day with my husband driving me down on the same day.

Moving right along now to Cancer Surgery #3.

Again there was a long gap from the previous surgery to this one, but in this case let’s “blame” end of year and January …and that is fair enough because everyone needs a break. And my surgeon sure did! As did the team. But before this surgery and for some weeks in December and January we did not lose touch because as the ‘flap’ inside my mouth healed it was a bit unruly and decided to do things its way so we (ok, my husband) had to take regular photos INSIDE my mouth and send them to Professor Clark. And ‘things were OK’ he said so I managed to take my worry hat off.

I had better understanding of what would happen in Surgery #3 and as my husband agreed with my wish to drive down the night before it was a smooth start the next morning at 6.30 a.m. on an early February Sydney day to walk to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse to present me to pre-admission.

The pre-admission room and beds were full! 7th February was a popular day. This time my husband left me to go back to the apartment where we stayed overnight when I went to theatre. No waiting in the anaesthetic bay for an hour this time…I was ‘first’. Yay. Chatted to the same anesthetist from last surgery, also to my oral restorative dentist and once wheeled in and shuffled onto the bed, chatted oh so briefly to my surgeon.

Back in my waiting space within 2 hours….dressed in an hour…and we were on our way home (2 hours away) arriving there some 5 hours after I started surgery. There was ONE big surprise. How I looked!!

The ‘look’ was the foam squares (they were holding a stitch each) to add some movement but also stability to the stitches that were making MY NEW upper lip…from the skin graft from surgery #2 that was taken from my right thigh. I know, my body is a GIVER!!

The other part of the surgery was to add some ‘abutments’ – screws – to the gum/jaw area to allow for the skin there to keep healing BUT to add a cover – like a mouthguard called a stent – to protect this area.

Oh my goodness. That did fill up my mouth let me tell you, and make eating (and drinking coffee!) particularly challenging. In fact, I literally dipped my foam into a cup without realising (Initially I thought it was blood but it had a coffee aroma!) so I had to be very careful.

The foam – with stitches in –  also prevented me from washing my face and hair so my dear hub learned how to help do their hair wash over the laundry sink with me holding a washer to my face.

It was only a week of being like this as when we returned to Sydney for the check-up the stitches were removed AND the area in my mouth indicated that it was time for a visit to the Oral Restorative Surgeon to start planning the implanted teeth program.

Foam Blocks gone. Mouth very swollen due to stent and surgery.

Update #1.

On Friday 23 February we drove to Westmead to have the stent looked at and the condition of the gums. I was a little nervous as my mouth was stinky (food particles under the stent) and my oral restorative dentist had a broken hand and his colleague (who had attended each of my surgeries) would be undoing the stent and examining the gum with my regular person viewing and commenting.

Firstly, the precision with which the stent had been drilled into the current abutments was spot on and as each was loosened the stent eventually yielded and that stinky thing was GONE. The nurse and the specialist dentist did an amazing job of cleaning the area and as they always do for my visits, photos of the inside of my mouth were taken.

The BEST news was that the gums growing around the 5 abutments are doing as expected and there was now no need to put the stent back on. Phew. Phew. Phew. But now what? Well, I have my gums and abutments on display and have been given all the care instructions I need.

I will be returning to Westmead in 4 weeks to have a temporary prosthesis put in if all is well. 

I hesitated about publishing the photo of my mouth but then I wanted to explain it more:

The little silver things are the abutments with caps on – there are 5 – and they started off being attached to the fibula bone from my leg which was cut and made to fit my mouth*. I have only 5 abutments when they were hoping for 6 but my fibula bone was too narrow in one spot and broke. The redness is OK and the area above the ‘jaw’/gumline is the ‘flap’ which has been harvested from my right leg *and has been cut, stiched and used for different purposes such as burying a skin graft** to make my ‘new lip’ .

Update #2.

Whilst my dental team thought my gums were going well it was when they shared the photos from Friday with my surgeon, Professor Clark,  he saw some small issues with the gums that he thought will benefit from at least another week with the stent in. So….back to Westmead this Thursday for that. I understand the need to make things right and trust my team implicitly!

* part of surgery #1 ** part of surgery #2.

This will be the second last of Cancer posts for a while. I appreciate that there is support for me as I go through this but I also want to update readers too. However, the remaining post, Part Two of Eating after Gum Cancer Surgery will be published in two weeks. Unless there are good reasons for updates, there will be a cessation for a while. Thank you for your interest.


Joining with Kylie Purtell here on Tuesday for I Blog On Tuesday.
Joining here with Leanne for her Lovin Life Linky on Thursdays.
And I will also join with Sue and Leanne here for their Wednesday Link Up.
Thank you all for hosting!


Living B.O.L.D. 2018.16.

Living B.O.L.D. 2018.16.

One year ago this week I was an anxious, hypervigilant and fearful woman because……of nothing other than what went on in my mind.

There  was NO real reason At ALL for this.

However, my mind over-rode the outside messages of safety and security and commonsense and left me:




and really, really disappointed in myself for being like this.

Does this sound true for anyone else reading?

These sayings are from blog posts in February last year. I knew I needed help and to change my thinking but gosh it proved hard and I really had to move away from ‘positive affirmations’ which are now said not to do us much good at all… and WORK hard at the shift.

I did. I saw my psychologist about the ramping up of my fear to travel on the M1 (read about that here and here for part two) whilst she was kindly she did say I would have to do this work for myself. I baulked at it over and over. Why? It all seemed far too hard and my mind was leading.

But it took THIS!

In April 2017 my  teeth & bridge  needed extracting because they were causing me pain and I was sure something was wrong. Forward to the results of a biopsy of the gums in the front of my mouth in May 2017 where cancer was found. Posts are here about that.

From June 2017 until now I have gently and firmly led myself out of that busy and annoyingly bossy mind to be able to:

  • accept what is happening to me in terms of my health
  • understand that I have the inner capacity to manage my emotions now
  • give back to others who have supported me as I found my strength and confidence again
  • joyously proclaim each day that I am going well (even in some pain or discomfort it is OK)
  • be grateful for the big wake-up call to assist the change
  • MAKE the inner and outer world of me one which I am most happy to inhabit

This has led me to the intention I set earlier this year. I chose B.O.L.D.

Be Brave


Learning & Loving

Determined Denyse

and I had the ‘word’ engraved on a bracelet I wear 24/7 (other than hospital surgeries!) and it really has helped me move my old mindset to the new. This is something that will always be a work-in-progress for me I forgive myself readily for forgetting then congratulate myself for changing my thinking.

My “message to me” bracelet.

Sign Above Where I Blog.

Did you find a word or intention for 2018?

I understand that for some people they mean little and for others they like the process and the product.

Last year’s worked for me more than I realised. Thank you KINDNESS especially when I remembered to be kind to me too!

Today as this post goes live I will be in Sydney having my post-surgical check up from last Wednesday’s mouth reconstruction #3.

I will be glancing at my bracelet a few times I imagine!


UPDATE: I will blog next week about the outcome of Wednesday’s visit to Sydney to see Professor Clark and his wonderful Practice Nurse.

Joining in with Sue here and Leanne here for their link up on Wednesdays.

And because of the Theme for Leanne’s Link called Lovin’ Life I am joining in there too on Thursday.





Who’s a Worrier? #LifeThisWeek 7/52. 2018.14.

Who’s a Worrier? #LifeThisWeek 7/52. 2018.14.

I will put my hand up first!

I also will have a smile as I realised a couple of times I read this headline as: Who’s a WArrior? That then made me think a bit more. Maybe, to admit to being a worrier I need to be a warrier and get over some of the worries! If there is one thing I have learned about myself in the past few years it’s this:

I am stronger than I think I am

I am braver than I remember

I have more courage in me than I think

I know that what I THINK is not always true. In fact, from research I have heard we tell ourselves LIES most of the day. And we WORRY?

In the photos above my worry-levels were almost nil. Naturally there is apprehension before surgery but I also knew I was in the best place with the best people.

What is the point?

I found this quote summed up ‘worrying’ well for me:

Do you find yourself worrying about things? Do the same concerns seem to go round and round in your head? Would you like to find some peace and respite from all this mental ‘noise’?

If so, you are very far from alone. Clients often come to therapists wanting to talk about their worries and anxieties. Often their goal is more to be free of worrying, than to sort out whatever it might be they are worrying about. This makes sense when worry has become a habit. One client told me recently, “when I sort out one worry, it’s as if my mind goes looking for the next one, it just seems to need something to stress about.” 

Worry is usually about something we fear might happen in the future, or something that happened in the past that we fear the consequences of. It distracts us from whatever we are doing right now, taking our focus to something else, sometime else, some-place else. So what can be done?

A simple but powerful antidote to worry is to open our awareness of what is happening right here, right now. Looking around and becoming aware of what you can see, hear, smell, feel and even taste, grounds you in the moment you are in. Gently bringing your focus to your physical experience, noticing what you sense in your body right now can interrupt the flow of worries and anxieties.

Don’t get me wrong, while this may sound simple, it is not always easy. Most often we need to bring ourselves back to the here and now again and again and again. As we do, the mind becomes more accustomed to focusing on this here and now and less inclined to add worries to the spontaneous thoughts that serve to distract us.

This mindful practice of being where you are with all of your attention is a good way to address anxiety.  Why not give it a try? 

A counsellor can help you start addressing your habitual worrying and find peace of mind.

Fe Robinson UKCP, MBACP source:

Then I saw this Ted Talk…and listened and learned more about becoming emotionally agile. This means less listening to the voice in the head (the worrier inside) and being the warrior who does not need to believe or act upon said thoughts. (my words!). I have also downloaded Susan David’s book on audible and it is making a lot of sense to me…the learner!

As I write this I am in recovery mode from the surgery last Wednesday and in some pain and discomfort from time to time. However, as this is surgery #3 I have had, I feel far less #worried than I may have. I am also continuing listening to Susan David’s book and finding it very helpful.

Taking care of my thoughts…

How about you?
Are you a worrier?
How do you manage your emotions?


Joining with Alicia here for Open Slather.

Thank you for linking up for Life This Week!

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 is the optional prompt’: 8/52.  “February is..” 19/2/18.


Appearance Matters. 2018.11.

Appearance Matters. 2018.11.

When I knew that Sue from Sizzling Towards Sixty and Leanne from Cresting the Hill were starting up a link up for the Over 50s I decided it might be just the place to be…for me!

I’ve been blogging for more than 8 years now and my blog has changed a lot in the past 2-3 years. It has become a personal space for me to connect and be in conversation with a range of readers who vary in age, interests and career status.

My audience till the past year or so has tended to be mothers of children who are at school or at the beginning of their school lives. I love that too because I am a parent of 2 adult children who have kids (our beloved grandkids) and I sometimes see the similarities of the life I had as a parent with what is happening now. The significant change though is SOCIAL MEDIA and PHONES. This is something for another time!

What do I mean by ‘appearance matters?’

In my case it has two meanings:

  1. that my appearance does matter to me
  2. that it matters that I take care of my appearance

But why should I?

In the past 2-3 years I have had to face mental challenges that came as a big shock to my system. They included selling a beloved family home, moving to a completely different area of NSW AND finally stopping the care of our grandchildren which had formed a part of my weekly routine for over 6 years. Oh yes, and I stopped my final professional role as an educator of pre-service teachers at University.

These events proved to be much bigger as a challenge to my feelings and mental well-being than I ever considered. I thought (yes, thinking is an intellectual move) that all the transitions we went through towards our longed-for retirement were well-reasoned and totally accepted by me.

But they actually were not well-received by my inner being.

My life spiralled down into a self-centred and sad one despite on the outside it seemed OK.

Here’s what transpired so that I did finally accept the changes emotionally and could move forward.

I got cancer.

What the??

I do not downplay this at all but my diagnosis of cancer in my upper gums came last May (read here if you would like to know more) after almost a year of troubles with my mouth and a bridge attached to my front teeth.

I literally had to step up and find emotional strengths and courage to manage myself as well as I could with such BIG news and a HUGE change in my life. And that of my husband’s. I was well-cared for by my psychologist who had already given me the tools to manage situations that were threatening to me and my then-new GP was also part of “support Denyse as she supports herself” team. I have since not needed the counselling and use my inner strengths and knowledge more over time with some top-up reminders from chats with my husband and GP.

Introducing Appearance Matters! 

I admit that when I was feeling down, even before cancer, I was not much into clothes. I was overweight for a LONG time in my life. Read my post where I confessed to my long-time weight issues. Yet, in 2015 and onwards something happened to me that has never happened before without diets and restrictions. I started losing weight (I did need to but it seemed too easy) and it became evident that my clothes were too big. I did see that and feel it too but as a decades long overweight person I thought it would all return. It did not and slowly I needed to give away the BIG sizes and down-size my wardrobe.

Me with my late Mum. I felt I could never measure up to her appearance-wise so I did not bother. Mum died in 2007. This pic well before that.

This was a chore. I had no interest in buying the clothes around late 2016 and into 2017 because I figured we could not afford new clothes for me (on a limited pension) and that I did not deserve new clothes. Again, my inner self was not a happy camper. I hung out in casual beach clothes and nothing which was tight nor showing off my shrinking body.

I had the cancer surgery in May. I could barely eat and that sure did prove to be a weight loss success that no-one thought I should be aiming for as I needed to become well via nutrition as well. I learned what I could deal with and what went down with virtually no teeth and a very restricted space in my mouth. I received on-going medical care for wounds and yes, loose beach pants and tops suited just fine.

Until they didn’t.

I made the choice to begin taking care of my daily appearance AND to add to my very limited wardrobe. I knew how to shop cannily and I began slowly as my physical body recovered to be able to shop and browse. I found to my delight I had missed this kind of self-care.

Now it was on.

Visits to the shops, finding my old jewellery stash which was packed, getting my wedding and engagement rings re-sized so they did not fall off me and finding some fun foot wear in the back of my wardrobe I had abandoned.

I began seeing the purpose of the Outfits of The Day posts here on Styling You and a blogger called Jan (who blogs here, had me write a guest post ) had been posting pics of her daily outfits for a while and I decided it was time to

Make My Appearance Matter! 

I may not have anywhere in particular to go to anymore but I decided from 30 October 2017 and onwards that my day would have purpose and getting dressed in something flattering and appealing to me along with added accessories was important. I also added a daily outing, even if it is only for a coffee to my day. It has been amazing! I have written about it here and here.

I am delighted that it is helping my recovery from cancer too as I am far less focussed on what is wrong and more on what is right with me!

Does Your Appearance Matter to You?

Tell me more!


It’s the Midlife Share the Love Linky and is the direct link to the Link Up. 





My Intention & ‘Word’ for 2018. #LifeThisWeek 2/52. 2018.3.

My Intention & ‘Word’ for 2018. #LifeThisWeek 2/52. 2018.3.

Here we are, one week into the New Year and whilst I do not make them any more, it was clear in the media (who are, let’s face it in the business of selling their stories!) that it’s time to make New Year’s Resolutions.

The reason many of us choose not to any more is the real and perceived lack of willpower or character when we ‘fail’ to live up to them. This link re anxiety which can be heightened by making New Year’s Resolutions. So, it is not good for us it seems to do these!

In becoming more mindful over the past years to enable me to live more in the moment I note that my teachers, from the Buddhism area, talk of setting an intention each day. It is in doing this, and appreciating what we already have, that our present moments are valuable.

Last year my intention WAS to set an intention weekly but I ended up giving myself too much pressure to perform over it!

Not helpful in my mindful pursuits.

In 2017 I made KINDNESS and being KIND to myself and others a priority and in fact, the lightbox above where I am writing now, held this message for the year. It did help me centre myself more in the times when I became more negative about myself.

I also embraced gratitude as a mental and written practice. I was not consistent every day and there were days (as you can imagine when I first knew I had cancer!) that I did not feel grateful at all.

What is it to be for me in 2018? I was struck and somewhat humbled by various comments to me personally and in writing about how I have been managing the news of cancer, the surgeries and the long recovery times. The word which arose time and time again was BRAVE. I certainly saw myself as someone who usually actually rose to which ever occasion that was a challenge but didn’t quite think of it as being BRAVE.

Neverthless I am continuing to tell myself that perhaps this word IS a message for me to carry into 2018 as more surgery and recovery times await. So, my WORD was to be BRAVE….and then I listened to Brene Brown in her latest publication Braving the Wilderness and considered B R A V I N G. Here’s what Brene writes on page 149:








Yet still, this was no quite what I wanted. For some weeks prior to this post I have had these words on my locked screen on my iphone and I thought they would be the intention for 2018:


And that seemed sufficient until 5 days ago when I thought of a WORD..which was both self-contained and an acronym. Here it is:

B.  Be (brave)

O. Optimistic

L.  Loving & Learning

D. Determined (Denyse)

So, that is it. I am content with this and already have it here….and on my wrist! No, not a tatt! But an old-fashioned way: an engraved plate on a sweet little bracelet I will wear 24/7. My eyes can go to it and be reminded when my brain and confidence may be lagging and I can be:


My “message to me” bracelet.

Sign Above Where I Blog.

There it is. An intention and a word with more!

Do you have a word or intention for this year?

Have you found that you forget them as the year goes along? I confess to that in a few years gone by!

Thanks for reading, commenting and hopefully linking up too!


On Mondays I also link up here with Alicia for Open Slather! Do pop over, her blog is always interesting and I learn a lot!

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: 3/52 My Favourite Weather. 15/1/18.



A Very Personal Post About My Weight. 2017.134.

A Very Personal Post About My Weight. 2017.134.

In this, my last post for 2017, I am finally unlocking what I have kept inside more than I have let out. Into the world beyond my conversations with my husband who is my trusted confidante.

This is about my weight and what I see and think about the place it has had in my life as an adult. We are talking over 48 years.

Mid 2014 Left. Recently 2017 on Right.

It has been always, and yes it is a not very good analogy, the elephant in the room.

I do not mention my size, weight or fluctuations other than in written form in my diary or in saying something to my husband.

So, where to start with what I want to say….it’s here. As a young woman.

My Twenties.

  • I was 20 when I left home to teach in north-western NSW. I was free to be me. Well, in some ways and I do know I had the first sense of freedom around food. I believe I was a less than normal eater in my teens, still living at home and preferred ‘junk’ food over the better food.
  • I think my parents did what they could but in some ways, I had/have that sweet tooth which I used to calm and comfort. I was not overweight at all but like many young women moving into their 20s I saw the faults of hips and thighs. In fact, being told by a teaching colleague I had child-rearing hips was not taken as a compliment. In the photos above you can see I was a normal  looking young bride and then mother.
  • However, the very first notion that I needed to diet (i.e.) lose weight came at my 6 week post-pregnancy check up where the OB told me I needed to get those (back then in pound/stones) half a stone off me to be back to wedding day weight.
  • Thus it set something off in me about not being good enough AND to add to this, I was one miserable stay-at-home mum (very isolated in the NSW bush for 8 hours a day for 6 months) so I comfort-baked and ate.
  • Onto a new school and a new house and our baby grew to be a pre-schooler and my weight did too. I ate to soothe. I ate to calm and I ate, interestingly enough, because I could not fall pregnant even though the first time round was too easy!
  • We moved to an even more isolated area where we were both on staff: hub was the principal and I was the teacher and our daughter started school with us. We enjoyed the teaching stint because it was incredibly challenging but in the meantime, and the downtime I baked for ourselves and others and I put on even more weight.
  • When I saw my parents, family and friends in the school holidays  it was not a topic for conversation but my imagination took over and there were many judgement of ME by others (that they never said but I imagined). I was already ashamed to be the size I was but I was not going to talk about it to anyone. Some diets were tried to limited success and as someone who hates deprivation it was never going to last.
  • The doctor who told me I would never fall pregnant without losing weight was hated by me. I did so much want to have a second child but it appeared not to be something that would happen so I accepted the fate of one child.

My Thirties.

  • I became pregnant! Not by dieting, oh no. The  next specialist I saw once we had settled back into Sydney, diagnosed multiple ovarian cysts and other things inside that were preventing pregnancy and following major abdominal surgery…and a bit quicker than the specialist recommended, I was with child.
  • I was at a lower weight (still around 18 kgs above my wedding day weight) and kept that weight consistently with no increase until the last couple of months of pregnancy. Gave birth, went well, breastfed (the weight did not drop off!) and back to work full-time when the baby was 18 weeks old.

STRESS: This time in our married lives were amongst the worst as my husband was made to medically retire due to ill-health and the next 4 years or so were pretty grim. I was teaching full-time and seeking promotions as I was the only one now in education. Our kids were growing and whilst their Dad did some things for them, he was very unwell and a lot fell to me. How did I cope? Well, good old food. Comfort foods of course. However, noticing that I was getting bigger did not help my self-esteem and I would put myself through rigorous exercise and restricted eating in the hope that would help.

  • And no, I would not talk about it ever. My GP always checked my BP and bloods and even though I did have highish BP medication helped that and it was not weight-related. Blood tests were awesome. I was healthy.
  • But I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror or photos so I stayed behind the lens as the family photographer.

My Forties.

  • As a mum I used to wonder if my kids (who were of so-called normal weight) were ever ashamed of me and I hoped at the same time that they would never mention my weight. They did not.
  • But I sure told myself stories about how my parents must have felt about me as neither of them was overweight.
  • So, there I was on the outside trying my best to look good: I had nice clothes, I had my hair done regularly but my mind told me I looked fat. Always. And that others must be saying that behind my back too.
  • I went on diets at least 3 times. I lost and re-gained the same 18kg each time. Diets included weight watchers (who never could explain to me how NOT to be an emotional eater) and attending a dietitian.

My Fifties.

  • Life was good in many ways. Our children were now adults and independent to a degree and both eventually left home.
  • My husband was reasonably well and we had the trappings of success outwards (new house, cars etc) but there was more happening inside.
  • Interestingly I never ate when stressed but I ate to soothe when I felt overwhelmed or needed what I would call a ‘reward’ or treat.
  • I became a school principal at this time of my life and the days might not have had time for me to eat but I made up for it when I got home.
  • I liked cooking for others and enjoyed sharing my culinary skills with plenty of leftovers, always making I had put aside food for me that I liked too for another time.
  • By now I realised that I used food emotionally. Yes. Crunchy foods helped soothe anger and frustrations. Soft food, like chocolate and cake soothed my sad or loneliness.
  • I visited psychologists about my weight, I went on exercise plans and I did diaries and I even took a prescription tablet to help me reduce my cravings. That worked for a while but it gave me side-effects so off that I went and back on came the weight.
  • By now I decided NOT to be the number on the scales anymore and threw them out.

From a Slimming Mag Article on Me. Early 2000s. Made up me, around 70kg on left, Grandma me in 2001 much heavier on right.

My Sixties.

  • I was in the decade of when my maternal aunt died. This was a bit scary as she was overweight and I know she comfort ate and her death was related to an unknown cancer.
  • I did get blood tests done annually and it was as a result of one of those around 4-5 years ago that I got my first warning of what ageing, lack of exercise and excessive weight could do. I had raised blood sugar and my GP wanted me to have the Glucose Tolerance Test.
  • She really did understand thought that I was trying to live my life without being a number on the scales. But I HAD to do something myself. I then agreed to be weighed and then I asked her to give me 6 months to do something about this.
  • Six months later, and 3 kgs lighter, thanks to more attention to the amounts of what I was eating AND to increase my walking each day, there was no need to have a GTT. Phew.
  • In this period of 2014-2017 I was affected (still am from time to time) by the immense stressors of the trifecta of transitions as I like to call them: selling our house, moving away from family and friends, retiring from all education work.
  • Enter: Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) …it had emerged for the first time in my 30s but had gone till now. Suddenly, and over time I found I HAD to limit what I ate. I also found I was…ahem, going to the loo much much more.
  • My GPs (I was still going to one in Sydney and then I found one up here) re-assured me that this unintentional weight loss was OK as long as I was managing OK. I was but not always.
  • Stressors such as loneliness and sadness of the trifecta of transitions saw me settle into a healthier and better eating pattern which probably halved meals on most days.
  • I no longer went out for coffee and cake as I was too stressed to do so but I missed it. However, this helped me too.
  • I often asked the doctors “are you sure this is OK?” and they always said “yes”.
  • It took me a LOOOOONG time to believe (and I still have doubts) that this weight loss could be sustained.
  • Over the 3 years or so I lost around 33 kg. It goes up a bit then down a bit but I have gone from Size 22/20 clothes to Size 16/14. Interesting!


  • Interestingly, in the 2014-2017 times I used to ask the GPs and even the Gastroenterologist “do you think I have lost some weight because I have cancer?” and this was always answered no!
  • I do not believe my cancer was weight-related either now but I also know that somewhere along the line our bodies can change inside when we are under stress. The last 3-4 years were those for me. My Professor and GP both have no idea why I got this cancer (neither a smoker nor drinker) either but they have said it can be found in older women (check) and is quite rare. Lovely. Not.
  • So, yes since having a cancer diagnosis IN my mouth it was already hard to eat as my gums and the bridge with teeth at the front of my mouth was tender. So, too sore to eat much. Weight comes down. How do I know? Clothes are loosening.
  • Time to get real about food. After the surgery I had to take responsibility for feeding myself with a very limited selections of food that can be soft, easy to swallow and are generally nutritious.
  • It was impressed on me by the dietitian before I left hospital in July that I was not to lose weight. And THAT was something I had NEVER heard in my life before.
  • Staying the weight I was and am is a bit of an up and down juggle and I weigh myself every few weeks. I have not lost much weight and have even gained a kilo or two since my lowest a few months back.
  • The importance of the nutrition in healing and staying well is something I have accepted more easily. I am eating foods I never chose before. Weetbix is my breakfast and I will even eat some scrambled egg with tasty cheese in it. I am adept at slippery and soft foods and right now, mangoes and avocadoes are my friend. Little cakes and some biscuits I can dunk for softness are my treats.


  • I admit it took me at least 6-7 months to realise once the weight loss had settled  it is likely to stay.
  • I did donate mountains of Plus Size clothes to local charities but could not (yet) bring myself to do that with all of the size 16s so they are in a box in the linen press.
  • As time goes on, I can see with the changes I have made since cancer made me eat differently and consider food as nutrition more than for enjoyment (that still counts!) I will not re-gain those 30+kg.
  • I gave myself permission to buy new (usually on special as we have a limited income now!) clothes and over time I have begun to see myself differently.
  • The person in the mirror has more wrinkles than ever (the fat held the skin more taughtly) but she is looking, in her 60s, more like what she remembers her mother to look like. This has taken quite some time as I never thought I could be good enough to look like Mum.
  • Deciding to share my story, in bits and pieces on the blog has been good for me but until this post, I had never explained the WHOLE story.
  • Taking part in a daily outfit challenge for everyday style has given me such a lift as I do get some very encouraging and positive comments.
  • I like who I see in the mirror and in the photos now and I love seeing my husband’s eyes light up when I appear in something he likes me wearing. The day of my birthday when I wore a dress for the first time in 15 years was one such landmark.


  • I need to remember to be kind to the ‘person who was not at an ideal weight’. I need to forgive her and tell her she was doing the best she could at the time. I do.
  • I see the ‘me’ keeping on keeping on. I know so much more about the why of what I was doing. I also think I know so much more about how to stop that continuing.
  • Getting my mouth re-construction completed in early-mid 2018 will be interesting for me as for the first time in close to a year I will probably be able to eat all foods. I have missed crunching and chewing a lot.
  • I know if I am seeking comfort for something I am not prepared to admit or talk about I want something food-wise so I will keep an eye on that.
  • My IBS is well-controlled now thanks to a medication my GP has me taking.
  • My anxiety levels (which were incredibly high PRE-cancer) have reduced by around 90%. In other words, they are not out of control.
  • Telling my story has, for the first time in ages, been both cathartic and brave. I hope, that if you got this far it has proved to be of interest.

Me: Sun 17 Dec 2017. Off to Granddaughter’s 21st and 7 months post- cancer diagnosis. I miss smiling! It will be back next year sometime.


I understand this is a tough topic for many of us and it took me a LONG time to own up to what has been going on for me here.

Thank you for reading and let me know what your thoughts are about weight and self-image.


Yes, it’s the last post in 2017! How DID that happen.

Last linky with IBOT and Kylie on Tuesdays until January 2018 and with Leanne on Thursdays for Lovin’ Life. I know Leanne is returning in the same week I am with #lifethisweek. My Monday link-up is back 1 January 2018. Leanne’s is Thurs 4 Jan.