Wednesday 12th December 2018

November Notes #4. 2018.122.

November Notes #4. 2018.122.

At the beginning of 2018 I decided to make myself accountable on-line.

To ME!

Accountable by sharing on Instagram and then via Facebook and Twitter three daily posts.

Every.Single.Day.

I did!

Well, I did until the reason stopped having meaning for me.

Routine.

Despite being retired and recovering from what was then “only” two surgeries on January 1, I committed to posting:

  • A Daily Outfit post: #outfitoftheday #dresswithpurpose
  • A Daily Creative post: #creating #process #product
  • A Daily Nature post: #gettingoutside #noticingnature

I remain committed in many areas of my life: career, partnership and more and so this was going to be keeping me:

  • accountable to ME for 3 different reasons
  • every day had 3 opportunities to share on line and enjoy interactions
  • help with a daily structure
  • less likely to sit around doing little
  • to keep my mood steady and somewhat elevated as I had interactions outside the house…and via connections on-line
  • managing my life with cancer by having 3 separate interests and reasons to connect with others
  • finding new people on-line, including groups of people with Head and Neck cancer
  • using my eye for noticing …and my creative brain for making…and helping my recovery by dressing each day for a photo

Here’s how it went, via a few examples from each category, until it stopped…on 30 October 2018.

Why Did I Stop?

I had had enough. Once something serves its purpose it IS time to move on. But there was also another landmark I had passed and I think it also had something to do with the decision.

On 30th October I had posted a “photo of me” every day for the previous 365 days (maybe a couple of exceptions) and I know how much I was both encouraged and buoyed when I first started doing this as I had only had cancer (and just one surgery!) for a few months. It fed my need to be ‘seen’ even with my face and body taking some blows and then recovering after surgeries 2, 3 and 4. BUT, I was knew things had changed for me.

From 31 October, I decided to post ONE instagram/facebook/twitter snap a day based on Daily Gratitude.

I still show me in whatever I wore that day, but on the side of the collage I group 4 similar reasons for gratitude for me.

I am finding this something meaningful as I wind down till the end of the year.

I will still, on occasion, post other pics but no longer via the need to do 3 a day for 365 days!! I cleared out a lot of my Instagram feed too now, keeping mostly the images of me as they help me see my progress.

So, that’s it.

This is the second last November Notes and I have decided not to do a Thursday post in December unless there is a need. I did enjoy the challenges of thinking more for my creative space…

Just for July, Appreciation in August, September Stories, Observations in October & November Notes.

When the reason has changed, change what we do. Do you?

Love to know what you think about habits that keep on going on and maybe they are no longer needed.

Denyse.

Joining the bloggers who link here with Leanne for Lovin Life on Thursdays. (I will still link up a post, even if it is not a newly published one!)

 

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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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Appreciation in August. #1. 2018.69.

Appreciation in August. #1. 2018.69.

Thanks to my readers and commenters I am continuing a more ‘on the spot’ post and perhaps adding to my stories of what I would like to share.

In line with this title: Appreciation.….Today I am thankful for:

Opportunities to share my story about my head and neck cancer diagnosis and what has followed since 17 May 2017

  • My blog has, of course, been the main way of sharing since then
  • This year a number of organisations have taken note of my blog’s purpose in keeping readers updated with my cancer treatment and progress and approached me to write a post for them or to engage a writer on my behalf.
  • Both versions occurred: Here with Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.…and Here with Beyond Five and most recently here with  Cancer Aid App
  • The connections I have made on-line in groups on Facebook, for example this one and then meeting people from a local group continue to add to my knowledge of what others are doing in managing both the cancer diagnosis and treatments along with post-cancer life
  • I was approached by one newly made friend who is also a head and  neck survivor, to write about what I do each day to both be active and busy but to be mindful in my post-cancer surgery times and into the 14th month of recovery

I understand that each and every person, with a cancer diagnosis or not, will find ways in which to live their lives in semi or full retirement.

I am only one person…who has found the transition to retirement an anxious one. I have written about it here  

However, knowing it was up to ME to make things work better for me each day, I used my instincts and skills…and some creative thoughts to determine this:

The emotional impact of cancer cannot be under-stated but I have taken steps to ensure my physical and emotional health are priorities. I do this by:

  • Getting dressed each day with purpose, having a photo taken and posted on Instagram. This keeps me connected and within a routine I enjoy. Losing weight before the cancer was diagnosed and keeping it stable while recovering meant I could celebrate with buying new clothes

From 30 Oct, I did an Outfit of the Day post…now into my 10th month!

  • Taking notice of the world outside – the natural one in particular – by driving the the local beaches and walking or just taking in the scenes with all of my senses or just looking skywards and seeing the clouds and patterns. I also post a photo with #noticenaturedaily on Instagram

The week before #4 surgery

  • Creating art or designing mandalas and colouring them and making patterns to colour and decorating cards. Whatever I make I add to Instagram with #createdaily2018
  • Completed Mandala

  • Being a sociable person and meeting up with friends when I can and even if I go out alone (which I actually enjoy too) I engage in conversation with others as much as possible. I have learned long ago not to be self-conscious of ‘no teeth’ in my upper mouth.

Coffee & Morning Tea. Can only eat 1/3 of a scone out! Messy.

  • Staying interested and informed via reading newspapers, commenting on others’ blogs and generally taking an interest in the lives of those I may have met or am still to meet via social media.

I wear this to remember I AM!

That’s my Appreciation in August for this week! But before I go: on World Head and Neck Cancer Day 2018 last Friday I felt a great need to visit here and enjoy the space, sounds and more….but to also give thanks for all the beach has helped me through so much since we moved away from Sydney in 2015.

What are you thankful or grateful for this week?

Denyse.

Joining Leanne and friends here for Lovin’ Life Linky each Thursday.

My blogging friend from Ballarat is starting a first day of the month linky called Good Grateful. I think it’s always a great plan to reflect on gratitude! In fact, I AM grateful to her for rekindling old blogging friendships recently which spurred me on to making a Blog Roll on this blog!

Thanks so much Caz! Her blog is called Room For My Soul. I wish you well and will be there for sure! 

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My Typical Day. 2018.48.

My Typical Day. 2018.48.

Now that we are in our fourth year of living on the NSW Central Coast in full-retirement mode, I thought it might be a good idea to share what my typical day is like.

Be aware, of course, that “no two days are the same”, so this is a snapshot of last Friday!

Before I start, I shall remind my readers about what I did BEFORE (first) retirement in 2003.

I wrote a blog post called: My Morning as a School Principal here. Most readers tired out by the end as they read through. I know I did as I lived it! I was a school principal in a relieving capacity for some years and got my own position as Principal in this school in 1999:

The School Where I was Principal. 1999-2003.

From 2003 until we left Sydney in 2015 I worked part-time: some roles in K-6 schools, another in my business as an Education Specialist helping families prepare for school, and as a University Pre-Service Co-ordinator and Tutor to Masters’ Students. I really did like using my education experience and knowledge to help others. I reluctantly ceased all paid (and voluntary roles) in 2015 as caring for my emotional health became my priority

All gone…students…late Friday afternoon. Final Tutorial for the week.

We also cared for four of our grandchildren on some days of the week when I was not working. We did this from 2007 until the end of 2014. It was a joy, delight, privilege and exhausting. But I would not have swapped it for anything.

 

I am leading up to this: It has been very challenging for me to come to terms with the notion of planning my own days and enjoying them. It truly has. It might sound funny but when you have been used to a life-long career and caring for family and they are no longer responsibilities suddenly: I get to decide what to do with MY DAY.

Mostly.

My husband and I do some things together but generally we give each other the space to determine what’s on that day.

Friday 1 June 2018.

  • 8.00. a.m. Cool start to the day, stay in bed for a bit, then rise and stay in night attire aka nightie and delighted that today’s Sydney Morning Herald has been home delivered THIS time. We have been here for almost 2 months, and gave plenty of notice for change of address but delivery is inconsistent. I am so sick of complaining Fairfax subs now rings me to see  if “we got the paper.”
  • 8.30. a.m. One load of washing on (thanks to husband – we share washing duties) and another awaits. Rainy looking day so we determine some of the load will be air-dried on covered terrace, others in the drier.
  • 9.00. a.m. Eat my 2 weetbix and milk as I read the Herald. Ah bliss. The time is just the best. What I do NOT miss from working was a quick read of the front page and then off to school! As far as breakfast is concerned I have NEVER been a cereal eater (always toast and tea) until I had my mouth reconstructions and now, it is one of my faves. Who knew!!
  • 10.00 a.m. Somewhere in this morning time, before getting dressed, I will check emails and social media. As Friday is not a link up day I will not be ‘as busy’.
  • 10.30.a.m. Ablutions, decisions made on outfit of the day – determined by the weather AND activity. Today it is cold/rainy and I want to go to local shopping centre as it is under cover (for coffee, not for parking). Photo taken outside in between raindrops and away I go.

  • 10.45- noon. With no reason to rush or complete chores at the shops today, I browse and enjoy some people watching. After a 3/4 double shot latte (no food today, it is too hard to eat in public just now) I mosey into Millers and come out with some specials. LOVE saving some money on clothes. In fact, I have not paid full price for a long time. So many shops with so many every day specials.
  • noon – 1.p.m. I admit, lunch is a hard meal to determine and I end up with crumpets and honey. I cannot bite into them but I can get a piece in my mouth, soften and move it around and swallow.
  • 1.00 p.m. Check social media. Upload my three instagram photos for today and comment on others I follow:
  1. An Outfit of The Day pic – see above
  2. A noticing nature pic – made this ‘about my cancer’ – i.e. part of nature, right? I want people to know how common this cancer is.
  3. A creative photo. This one heralds the start of the 61 day creative challenge I have been part of since 2013.

  • From Jan 1 2018, to give me routine and a challenge each day I said I would post the above photos and I have stuck to this. For me, routine is important even in a more loosely organised day like mine now.
  • 2.00 p.m.- 4.00 pm
  • Check washing and as it is cold, bring it inside.
  • Do a little bit of art – adding colour to a very large A4 collage I have designed.
  • Have a cup of soup and eat the inside of a yellow kiwifruit with a teaspoon.
  • Read a Good Weekend from a few weeks back.
  • Some social media scrolling.
  • Think about my dinner. My husband sorts his own meals. It’s been that way for a long time. Once I am eating with teeth again, I hope this changes.
  • Take one of my many made-for-me frozen meals from the freezer and contemplate what else I might have tonight. Add two savoury  muffins that I can eat bit by bit from the insides. This is another reason I find it hard to eat in front of anyone – it’s pretty messy!
  • 4.00 pm.- 6.15 pm.
  • Check computer for blog comments and emails.
  • Do some more art
  • Get my camera gear sorted as I may take the camera tomorrow because of the rough sea conditions.
  • Read more of “Laughing At Cancer”… and an definitely nodding my head in agreement so far.
  • Watch the last 5 minutes of Millionaire Hot Seat (to see if the person wins) and then watch the first 15 minutes of the local News. NBN.
  • 6.15 p.m. – shower and bed by around 7.30 these days! We sleep in separate rooms and watch our own TVs as we have completely different tastes in shows. I am also ready for bed by this time, even if I do not sleep. Body gets tired more! I am often up and down though – make a cuppa, find something I can ‘dip’ into it and chat to husband (who, most inconvenienced by this, has to remove his headphones to do so. I try not to do this much!! Of course, I often multi-task – or switch TV off – and scroll through the Ipad or play a mindless game or two.
  • 11.00 p.m. lights out..for me, and maybe listen to something soothing as I drift off to sleep.

And that, dear readers, is my typical day (at home). A day including a trip to Sydney for various reasons is obviously a lot different as is one where I may have appointments or decide to go for a drive to the beach.

What did Friday 1 June 2018 look like for you?

Denyse.

On Tuesday this posts links with Kylie here

On Wednesday this post links with Sue and Leanne here

On Thursday this post links with Leanne here.

 

 

 

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Six Months On. #OOTD*. 2018.38.

Six Months On. #OOTD*. 2018.38.

#OOTD* = Outfit of the Day. Used widely as a hashtag on Instagram.

The story starts:

Last year, on 30 October, I began (most unconfidently) to accept a self-made challenge to post of Photo-A-Day of me in a daily outfit for 32 days leading to my 68th Birthday.

Here is the first post:

There were some very encouraging comments. I continued as I am someone who when she starts a challenge, she finishes it! Or so I thought.

Early in 2018 I wrote a post explaining where my reticence had come from the ‘show off myself and clothing’. It has/had been a LONG time since I had actually been proud of my appearance but it did make me take a leap of faith to carry out this so-called 32 post challenge.

I was inspired by some blogging friends too: Jan Wild here, Em Hawker here, Carly Findlay here and Kimba Likes Here

The story continues until my 68th Birthday.

I noticed that by choosing and wearing an outfit of the day, and going somewhere for a coffee (solo is fine for me!) and a browse was improving my mental health. I had a reason to get up and get going each day. I have to admit, I enjoyed the browsing…and the canny-purchasing too. I had to admit to buying properly fitted bras. That took some courage and then once I did that, I felt even better.

I was joining in outfit challenges here with Nikki Parkinson from Styling You. I liked the comments. I know I am no spring chicken but it did my gum cancer emotional self-care a lot of good as I continued doing what I did.

The story goes past the 32 posts on Instagram! 

I admit this was (and still is on 90% of days) fun and I loved the challenge. When I put it to friends on Instagram whether I should continue to answer was a mixture of YES and DO what you want to do.

I wanted to continue. My shopping habits continued. Yet I needed new clothes. It had taken me a LONG time to admit to myself that I could spend money on clothing and accessories because I had been very used to rejecting that I could self-care.

Having cancer actually helped me.

How?

I was determined to get out every day. No.Matter.What. It was always something I was glad I did even if it might have been a short drive to have a coffee and come home. I also take an art kit with me and spend sometime reflecting on what’s been happening.

Special times in the story.

In the months before deciding to become part of #ootd I thought about my eldest granddaughter’s 21st birthday. I used to be concerned I could never travel to Sydney because of my fears. In a post here for anyone who has not read this. And this is the follow-up post about me conquering fears and anxieties.

Healing times as part of the story.

The outfits of the day are helping me manage my recovery from cancer. I recall the photos and can notice my mouth – 3 surgeries to date and one coming up! The daily publication of an instagram photo allows me to see myself which may sound odd. But until I do view the photos – of course, I preview them but they are never photo-shopped, just cropped – I often do not realise the improvement seen  by others mostly my husband.

When I travel to Sydney to visit Dad or see my specialist dental team or my surgical team, it is another good reason to choose an outfit of the day to aid both my confidence and demeanour. It actually does help me to lookgood to feelgood.

What else about the story?

From time to time, I give myself even  more of a challenge! To post a photo where my arms are seen for what they are. To post one of me in shorts and even one day, in the water at the surf. I do these to remind myself that to be true to me, I cannot continue what I used to do which was censor what was published in a photo. The result has been that others may be inspired to give up some of their old thoughts about sleeveless items and how they appear in photos.

Today, 1 May, is the day I am visiting Sydney to see my professor about surgery #4. This was not expected back in February as it should have been the last one. However, my mouth and the way it has healed had other ideas. There is not any room for my implants to go in so I will be hearing today, what the surgery will entail. I am guessing: cutting, stitches, stent back in, and possibly another skin graft. Sigh.

Will I be choosing an outift to wear that day to help me feel confident and in charge…even if inside I am a bit worried and fearful. You bet I will.

It will have RED in it somewhere….my go-to colour for adding to my inner confidence.

Watch for me on Instagram. I have a private account (I was hacked in May 2017) so ask for a follow. @denysewhelan

I hope to see YOU try the #ootd too.

I know Leanne has decided to do this more. Here is her link.

And yes, the story will go on after this 6 months mark.

I am needing and wanting to do this actually. In fact, in the recent article published here: telling my story, there is something said at the end.

Oh, and when I appear for my next surgery, early a.m. on Wed 16 May, I will ensure I wear a better bra for my photo unlike in February for #3!!

And how could I not make a tribute to this man…..the instagram photographer. He knows to tell me when a bra-strap is showing…he has, of late, been quite cheeky and he makes me smile broadly. But then, I have no top teeth so it’s a pretty grim look, then he simply looks at me with love in his eyes and I smile. That’s the secret.

I use these hashtags for my daily outfit posts: blue: relate to blogging, red: to outfit of the day, green relate to cancer, mine in particular.

#denysewhelanblogs

#babyboomerblogger

#everydaystyle

#outfitoftheday

#dresswithpurpose

#ootd

#lookgoodfeelgood

#cancersurvivor

#headandneckcancer

#hncspecialistteam

#squamouscellcarcinoma

#cancerintopgums

#notHPVrelated

#mouthreconstruction

#prosthodontist

#chrisobrienlifehouse

#humansoflifehouse

#beyondfiveorg

Do you dress each day with intention?

How do you find yourself feeling when you dress to meet each day in an outfit chosen by you?

Tell me more in the comments!

Denyse.

On Tuesday this posts links with Kylie here

On Wednesday this post links with Sue and Leanne here

On Thursday this post links with Leanne here.

 

 

 

 

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