Tuesday 18th December 2018

Two Steps Forward. One Step Back. My Cancer Recovery Update. 2018.126.

I am dedicating this post to the memory of a lovely woman whose life was cut too short by cancer. Chelsea, my friend Leanne’s step-daughter lived life to the max. Cancer may have been ‘in her’ but cancer did not take her spirit nor her love of life…and for her family including her husband and your daughter. My shared experience with Chelsea was that we were both patients of Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and because of that connection I wrote one of the Letters to Chelsea Leanne mentions on her blog.

Thank you for sharing the love and the life of Chelsea dear Leanne.

 

Two Steps Forward. One Step Back. My Cancer Recovery Update. 2018.126.

Update to update: even though I have outlined what was disappointing to me in this post which was an event from last weekend it has also taught me more about my capabilities in eating than I knew. I like many had tended to think eating with new teeth in my gums would be ‘back to what it was’. Not so, and I am now being more realistic and flexible.

Yesterday, 30 November, I turned 69. I had a wonderful and low key birthday celebration at a morning tea for two with my dear husband. We chatted, ate well, had our favourite drinks – small latte with an extra shot for me and English breakfast tea for him. Afterwards we wandered through the grounds of this lovely nursery, bought a plant each and came home to a relaxing afternoon spent at home. It really was just as I would have liked.

Except for this:

  • it has taken me sometime to adapt to some extra teeth added to my own on the lower jaw and I am very conscious of how much ‘saliva’ escapes and am constantly wiping – especially if I am talking…and drinking/eating. But with my husband or by myself I just get on with the ‘tidying up’ and enjoy what I can
  • I know my upper lip is shrinking in. I accept that. But, did you know you cannot ‘blow out the candle on your cake’ unless you get much closer…and I also cannot drink with a straw as there is no vacuum made in my mouth
  • I have a small but significant pain area in my….index left hand finger…the dominant one..the one where I write, draw and play. I have had pain in the tip of it before, as there is significant arthritis in the joint below. But not as bad as this. Our G.P. could not see anything affecting it from the outside, so he advised anti-inflammatories for a few days.
  • both of the above are so small, in the overall scheme of things I know, but I am writing about them (not using the left index finger!) because they have both given me cause for concern today especially.

Out Socially for Lunch.

  • Last Monday I had lunch at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and was asked what I could eat. I nominated a simple cheese white bread sandwich and a lemon slice I had tried there before. Whilst I did not eat more than half of the cheese sandwich, I managed and did not feel as self-conscious as I thought. I also took my leftovers home! Win.
  • Today, I ventured to a local large club for a Christmas lunch get-t0gether with the Head and Neck Cancer group I am in. It was the first time I have gone out for anything other than coffee and cake. I gave it my best shot. It is a very friendly group and I did get to know people more today in this social setting.
  • What I found though was a reality check for me about my current status in recovery as a Head and Neck cancer patient.
  • Knowing I ‘could’ have taken the easy way out and ordered a safe coffee and cake that I knew I could handle, I decided to join in and actually have lunch! Remember I have only ever eaten a meal at home for over 2 years.
  • At the ordering desk, I asked for a small meal: I could see a baked dinner was on offer and was pretty sure I could manage some meat, potatoes, pumpkin and grave. “No”. Sorry,  we do not do small meals on Saturdays. “Can I have just one slice of meat with a couple of the vegies?” “No”. No offer of a kids’ meal (I think they would have refused that too) so I asked could I have just the potato and pumpkin and gravy. “Yes”.
  • OK. I thought, well this is a lesson. Not everyone ‘gets what they think they can’ and also maybe this establishment does not cater for people with different needs. And, I stayed quiet about it. I was a guest. Everyone else at the table was either way down the cancer recovery trail than me or could find foods to suit them.
  • I could eat one half of each vegetable and then as it takes me a while, it got cold. I had leftovers and asked if I could take them home. “No”.
  • I went and got a coffee later, no cake, chatted some more then drove home and ate….some lunch.

Why Write This?

  • It helps me to process it and maybe others who know what I am talking about can understand
  • The fact that I may have given myself something creative to do over the past 3 days as I needed to has not helped my mood much. I really miss using my finger.
  • I am hopeful, that by being patient and having the meds it will come good. Or I will go back to the G.P.
  • I am concerned I over-expect of myself, so writing this is helping me process
  • Maybe I just needed to ‘get it off my chest’ as they say!
  • It is not a post where I am wanting any sympathy but I did get insight into a world out there today that, in some respects, has no flexibility to meet special needs
  • I also know people face this as a challenge every.single.day
  • I am wondering if my ‘reaction’ was a bit of an over-reaction to a day which I had wanted to go well, and in terms of socialisation it did.
  • But it came up short for me, the head and neck cancer patient getting used to eating again in a regular environment, and so I wonder if I need to be more prepared for the situations I place myself in as I change from ‘no eating’ to ‘limited eating’ to ‘regular eating’.

It feels like two steps forward and one step back….but probably it is more like five steps forward and maybe one step back!

And maybe I will take a little container of my own next time for left-overs!

Thanks for reading!!

Denyse.

P.S. It IS most unusual for me to post on a weekend but for my emotional health I am…and I already feel better for writing it out. THIS is why I blog!!

Linking up with Leanne here for Lovin’ Life on Thursday…sending love to Leanne and her family. xx

 

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November Notes #3. 2018.119.

November Notes #3. 2018.119.

I have reflected and decided that…..my daily “outfit” photos will continue.

Initially I was going to stop at the 12 month mark, i.e. end of October 2018.

And then I thought, go to the end of the year.

A blogging friend said “stop doing it if it has served its purpose.”

This was good advice and then I considered what my purpose was and is.

  • initially it was to get a more confident me to have a photo taken and put it on social media. (Y)
  • then it became enjoying finding new items of clothing that fit and were ‘on special. (Y)
  • as it continued into the beginning of 2018, I set a challenge of “no repeating an outfit. (Y)
  • the above petered out as I began dressing for the situation each day and so needed to be mindful of the weather and where I was going. This has continued (Y)
  • to be noticed as someone who is/was prepared to be photographed during face altering cancer surgeries(Y)
  • sharing my images on line with many hashtags became tedious and I have a private account so #hashtags are not even seen and I stopped (Y)

What now?

I keep on. I do agree with my fellow Head and Neck cancer patient friends on-line and in real life that each of us needs a purpose each day and one of mine that is 99% non-negotiable is to:

  • dress with purpose
  • have a photograph taken
  • go out for a coffee alone, with my husband or meet up with a friend.

The following collages are from around March 2018 until October 2018.

Scroll through to some fun and other images…including one or two of the Instagram Photographer Husband.

Here’s a few more reasons why this will continue…for some laughs and to remind ME how far I have come despite a cancer which took away half of the inside of my mouth.

Thank you most of all the my partner in life for care, encouragement, saying “smile” to me, and loving me!
The feeling is mutual. This photo was before one of our Morning Tea ‘dates’ recently.

What do you do with purpose each day?

Have you been sharing what you wear on social media?

Tell us more!

Denyse.

Joining with Leanne (who is doing outfit shots and looks amazing!) here for Lovin’ Life linky on Thursdays.

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Share Your Snaps.8. 40/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.99.

Share Your Snaps.8. 40/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.99.

This is a favourite prompt for many.

Take a group of photos from what’s been happening lately in your part of the world.

It might be a retrospective or indeed something that is very current.

My post is both!

My husband was bewildered that I would show a series of photos of “just my face” in this….and I said, it is what I blog about and my readers often seem interested in my progress. Make this prove him wrong, I say!

As you know I have had cancer in my upper gums and under my lip and this has brought about some challenges for me.

My appearance was not as it turned out as important to me as it was for me to:

  • speak
  • eat
  • communicate
  • smile

This little video, with a favourite piece of music right now, is here.

I sing this song often in the car and even as I am working. It totally explains for me what I have HAD to do to get better and how it takes

H E A R T

The video starts before I knew I had cancer…and then in under 3 minutes takes the viewer from there to now where I can

S M I L E

You’ve gotta have heart

All you really need is heart

When the odds are sayin’ you’ll never win

That’s when the grin should start

You’ve gotta have hope

Mustn’t sit around and mope

Nothin’s half as bad as it may appear

Wait’ll next year and hope

When your luck is battin’ zero

Get your chin up off the floor

Mister you can be a hero

You can open any door, there’s nothin’ to it but to do it

You’ve gotta have heart

Miles ‘n miles n’ miles of heart

Oh, it’s fine to be a genius of course

But keep that old horse

Before the cart

First you’ve gotta have heart

Part of the lyrics: Damn Yankees. My version:Damn Yankees (1994 Original Broadway Cast Recording)

I find singing (around the house and in the car) is a way of releasing any anxiety and I have fun doing it. I am definitely someone who loves her Show Tunes. However, it was only this year I discovered this song!

Have you got a song that helps you along?

Denyse.

 

Today I link with Alicia here: for Open Slather and Kel here for Mummy Mondays. Do visit them too and link up!

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: 41/52. Best Friend Stories.  8/10/18.


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What Is Kindness? #LifeThisWeek 4/52. 2018.7.

What Is Kindness? #LifeThisWeek 4/52. 2018.7.

I wrote about kindness in January last year and I have to say, seeing the word above where I write via my computer reminded me many times over to BE KIND…both to others and myself. I did not know then of course, that the pain in my mouth would be diagnosed in May at cancer and that my life as I knew it till that time was O.V.E.R. Yet, I also did not know back in January and through until that awful day in May 2017 how much my life would be impacted by:

                                  I                 E       S

From the news I shared on-line and via friends and family I was the humble recipient of so much kindness! It blew me away. I wondered why and that was my own inner voice of inadequacy and lack of worthiness ruling my thoughts then. When I let that voice retreat to the back of my mind I was calmer and then more understanding of how many people wanted to, and did, express their kindness towards me.

That kindness came in many forms: phone calls, texts, private messages, comments on my blog and FB pages, letters, gifts, flowers and visitors. Why did it take me some time to absorb this?

I guess, like most, I am more comfortable with GIVING kindness than RECEIVING it.

It became something I needed to learn, and quickly too, as if I was to continue to take part in my cancer treatments, mostly surgeries, I would need to be a FRIEND to MYSELF and speak both GENTLY and KINDLY to me.

Self-c0mpassion and adjusting my self-talk has become a lesson I have learned, and am still learning in my life as I move into this year’s cancer surgery and more.

Recently I asked this question on Facebook “what is kindness?” and received a great list of responses. Each person’s initial is next to their response. I was blown away with the readiness of people to do this and that each answer had a varient of sorts.

It’s a mixture of generosity and consideration, wrapped in friendliness and delivered with an open heart. A.W.A.

The selfless elevation of the needs of others above your own, an extension of empathy, generosity and care. B.K.

Thoughtfulness, unselfishness, empathy. A.S.

It’s not wanting anything in return. K.L.

Listening without needing to have or provide the answers. Empathy without necessarily intellectually understanding. J.W. 

Thinking of others and how you can make them smile. S.C.

Performing an act of selfless generosity, anonymously. M.W.

Kindness is doing something to brighten someone else’s day – unasked and without expectation of reciprocation. It’s about thinking of what you can do for others, rather than what others can do for you. R.B.

Tolerance, respect, generosity. A.O’B.

Helping others in time of need. K.M.

Kindness to me is noticing. B.M.

Kindness is the gift of someone’s time. It’s being listened to, cared about or just simply being made feel of importance. It’s about being ‘seen’. It’s a selfless act with no expectation of anything in return. M.G. 

A friendly, open person who treats others with respect, consideration & empathy. P.D. 

Kindness is strength. It’s often mistaken for weakness, but it is far from that. True kindness has boundaries, AND compassion. A.H. 

In short supply. L.Mcl.

My image and words:

 

I went to find quotes from others too. It would seem kindness is not only very important but necessary today as always. I will finish with the words from these people too. I trust that you have found the topic of KINDNESS as interesting and as universal as I have!

 

No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted. ~ Aesop

Kind words can be short and easy to speak but their echoes are truly endless. ~ Mother Teresa

No kind action ever stops with itself. One kind action leads to another. Good example is followed. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. The greatest work that kindness does to others is that it makes them kind themselves.

~ Amelia Earhart

What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?

~ Jean Jacques Rousseau

This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.
~ Dalai Lama

I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do. ~ Helen Keller

When words are both true and kind, they can change the world. ~ Buddha

source: http://www.spreadkindness.org/kindness-quotes

My image and words:

What will you do today to be kind?

How has someone’s kindness affected you?

Tell us more in the comments!

Denyse.

Joining with Alicia here for her Open Slather link up.

Join in here today for #LifeThisWeek 4/52.

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 FIRST ‘PHOTO PROMPT’: 5/52. SHARE YOUR SNAPS  29/1/18.


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