Monday 22nd July 2019

Share Your Snaps 4. 20/51 #LifeThisWeek. 53/2019.

Share Your Snaps 4. 20/51 #LifeThisWeek. 53/2019.

Every 4th week for #lifethisweek the optional prompt is about sharing your photos. Less wordy….more visual is the intent. See how I go this time!

It was a momentous week in Australian politics.

The new prime minister of Australia is the one who was there before the election. Nothing else to add.

Australia’s legendary PM from 1983 and for 4 terms was Bob Hawke and he died 2 days out from the 2019 election. I honour Bob here for the good he did (and I know some remember differently) and that he took time to answer my then 7 year old son’s letter when he wrote to him about ‘not wanting a war to happen’. I have since found more people got letters back from Bob Hawke, written in his own time and signed. No PM has done that since I have heard. Thank you!

But it has been a pretty big week for me…actually an anniversary of 2 years since my cancer was diagnosed. I am very grateful to be as well as I am. I have a visit to my head and neck cancer surgeon tomorrow and “hope” all being well, the next visit will be in 6 months.

Marking the occasion was by making a HUGE mandala which I started a month or so ago to literally remember by a space on this and a photo of me from every month.

I also made these photo collages. I find it really helpful and motivating for me to “look back and see how far I have come”. Here they are:

Before May 2017 diagnosis, I was ‘trying’ to be smiling and well but something was lurking….from 2016 onwards

 

Recovery & surgery times: July 2017 onto Nov then into Feb 2018

 

Surgeries x 2 recovery and then…many trips to Westmead for upper prosthesis. Teeth added: 21 Aug 2018

 

Smiles for day…months and more!

 

Taking this up to recent weeks. Of course, I still have to be wary of eating and it takes a LONG time to eat small amounts requiring chewing but very happy indeed.

For about 6 months I toyed with the idea of getting an Apple Watch. Those who have read some of my Instagram posts know I now have this but I shall share more. I wanted to have “something” to mark the 2 years of cancer done but it seemed extravagant for us on a tight budget to get one. I had this idea I would sell some books and CDs towards a saving plan and actually that brought in $100 net! Thanks friends here. Then on Friday, 17 May 2019, I was taken on our morning tea date and when it was over, asked did I want to go get this Apple Watch now!? Apparently my face showed it all. SURPRISED! So, it is never “that” easy because one shop did not have the colour and size in stock but another did and off I drove happily that afternoon. And what I totally love about an Apple Product is…unwrapping. One day with the watch already and I will be, at some stage, changing the band. No blue tooth earbuds yet either. I shall wait and see.

Denyse.

Kell also has a Monday linkup here. Join in!

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 Weeks’ Optional Prompt: 21/51 Self-Care: Share Your Story #3 27/5/19

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Taking Stock #2. 18/51#LifeThisWeek. 47/2019.

Taking Stock #2. 18/51#LifeThisWeek. 47/2019.

It’s that time again folks, which comes around every 9 weeks on the blog for #lifethisweek. Taking Stock originated with Pip here and I thank her for that. I have amended the list recently. I hope you enjoy what I’ve been up to. I look forward to reading your post, if you have also ‘taken stock.’

 

Making: so many little cakes. Maybe I am ‘fooling’ myself making them tiny but I look at it this way, I feel less guilt and small still has lots of icing!

Cooking: see above. And as well, quite a few meat meals in small serves for both me and my husband. I prefer a batch cook and freezing the meals. Recently it’s been sweet & sour chicken, slow cooked lamb shanks and sausages/bacon in tomato and gravy base. And pies.

Drinking: my daily double shot latte ( seen as a model for the meme for this post) 

 

Reading: I start so many books (non-fiction) and have yet to finish them. Megan Blandford’s book is one. Go Megan for sharing the story of your post-natal depression. 

 

Wanting: as I write, less pain in the parts of my upper mouth which are tight. So tight. However by the time you read this, it will likely be gone. 

Looking: at the wonderful awards won by my favourite Aussie fiction writer at the recent publishers’ awards. Go Trent Dalton and Boy Swallows Universe.

Playing: a game I liked in 2017 and enjoying it again. Not strictly a game but an app called Elevate and it’s a brain-training one and I love me a personal challenge. Back at it. It’s a paid annual one but they had 40% off so snapped it up. 

Wasting: enough time – too much I mean – considering how much I have added weight to my body since I can eat….properly and well…..and being more kind to myself as I learn more about mindful eating vs mindless eating!

Wishing: that cancer was cured. Eradicated. Gone. Done. Two friends ( one on-line and one I have met) have died far, far too young in the past 2 weeks. 

I am so sorry @curlypops  and @t_to_the_racy your time here ended too soon.

Enjoying: some quality time with my husband as we have made it our practice to go out once a week somewhere different for morning tea. 

Waiting: for not much. That is a good thing!

Liking: the fact that we live in a very modern house, the lease has been extended till April 2020 and we are content with that.

Wondering: what this year will bring to our family and relationships. Nothing mysterious in this. Just wondering as when your kids are adults and some of  their kids are adults, you can get some news about all kinds of things. 

HB to SM! A while back but I will never forget the day this beautiful butterfly joined our family!

Loving: that relationships made with our grandchildren in their early and formative years, translate into memories made even if we do not see them frequently, they have our love embedded in them.

Hoping: that the rotten   federal election is over with a clear result one way or another. Please. 

Marvelling: at nature. Always. These flowers were in pots last May. I planted them in the very small garden out the back when they stopped flowering and now, it’s May and here they are! Again.

Needing: to remember self-compassion before self-blame and it’s getting better. It really is. I highly recommend as I have written before: Dr Kristen Neff’s work.

Smelling: coffee. It is aromatic. Love it.

Wearing: more tops with sleeves, so it must be getting cooler!

Following: my education tweeps and their schools and being so proud of what public education in N.S.W. is doing for ALL kids. 

Noticing: that I am far less reactive generally. Not always but better! And I always realise “oh” and think, that could have been a better way to respond.

Knowing: I am loved. Not much more needed is there?

Thinking: How fortunate I am to have been treated by the best every professional team when I was diagnosed with my Head and Neck Cancer almost 2 years ago.

Feeling: gratitude. And for the next few weeks on the blog, will be posting about Gratitude on Tuesdays and linking up here.

Bookmarking: so many of my real books. Sigh. I love getting them. I just need to actually read them as well.

Opening: a parcel from Ebay that I did not recognise then realising I knew exactly what was inside.

Smiling: at so much these days and with so many people because I CAN smile

I hope that your weeks have been wonderful.

I hope for sunshine and warmth and rain too….it’s needed!

Very soon, on this blog, I am starting a series called Women of Courage. Each Wednesday. It promises to be a very interesting series judging by those whose words I have already received. Thanks to all.

Have a great week.

Denyse.

Linking here on Mondays with Kell for Mummy Mondays.

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: 19/51 Contentment Is…13/5/19

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Head & Neck Cancer: “Beyond Five” Ambassadorship.2018.130.

Head & Neck Cancer:”Beyond Five” Ambassadorship.2018.130.

Last week I wrote a post called Farewell and Hello. It was pretty long so I stopped at Farewell promising to be back for Hello. Here we go!

Regular followers here know that I was diagnosed with head and neck cancer (squamous cell carcinoma) in my upper gums and under the top lip. The whole story is here, in posts, from the day I was told until the recent post on adjusting my eating requirements when I am out of the house.

Hello, I am now a Beyond Five Ambassador!

How this came about was partly after this day in October 2018 when I was back at ‘my’ hospital Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, but I had offered earlier this year if there was any way I could help spread the news about head and cancer awareness I would like to do so. I had already been sharing the work of Beyond Five here on the blog for World Head and Neck Cancer Day 2018.

Following that day, the Board of Beyond Five met, Sr Froggatt and Professor Clark are board members and Nadia Rosin is Manager, Business & Communications,  and I then received a formal letter of invitation to become a Beyond Five Ambassador.

Role of Community Ambassador

  • • Share your personal head and neck cancer story for use in Beyond Five communication e.g. website, social media portals etc.
  • • Raise awareness of Beyond Five through family, friends, other personal connections.
  • • Where possible, attend events e.g. patient support group meetings, education days to help raise awareness of Beyond Five.
  • • Support Beyond Five grant applications where relevant e.g. as a consumer representative.
  • • Provide feedback to Beyond Five to help us improve and develop the way we work.

About Beyond Five.

Background

Beyond Five was established in December 2014 and is Australia’s only not-for-profit organisation supporting patients with head and neck cancer, caregivers, family and health professionals.

Beyond Five was established to provide evidence based, comprehensive, easy to understand and easy to access information to everyone, regardless of where they live.

Beyond Five is the first organisation in Australia supporting patients and their families through their cancer journey, from diagnosis to treatment and life after cancer.

Mission

Beyond Five’s mission is to improve the quality of life of everyone affected by head and neck cancer through education and access to support and to raise awareness of head and neck cancer nationally. We are committed to working collaboratively with all specialties across Australia to achieve our mission.

 

I have joined the inaugural Ambassador, Julie McCrossin and Marty Doyle too. Their stories and mine, can now be found here on the Beyond Five site. There will be more ‘thinking time’ for my involvement and what form it may take as everyone is going to be on a break soon. We are getting together in February 2019. I look forward to helping where I can especially now I am post almost all of my cancer treatments and now in ‘check-up and check-in’ mode.

I know that I am keen and ready to help others learn more about head and neck cancer as it is not well-known. In fact I had no idea you could get squamous cell carcinoma inside your mouth (and other areas of the skin inside the head & neck region, till my day of diagnosis in May 2017.

And here we are sending Season’s Greetings.

I wish that no-one had cancer of any kind, of course, but the fact of life is we do. I want as many do, to help pay back the time and effort and research that has gone into the amazing surgeries and mouth reconstructions I had. That I can smile and eat well again is testament to the wonderful work of my team and their integration of allied professionals too. I have written posts about how many helped get me well again. Now, it’s onward….and to say I am glad to be an Ambassador for Beyond Five is an understatement. It is an honour and a privilege to be in this new role.

I want to do the role justice, and help others as I too have been helped.

Thank you to the Board of Beyond Five for entrusting me with this role as your Ambassador.

Denyse.

Joining with Sue and Leanne here for Midlife Share the Love and with Leanne here for Lovin Life link up.

 

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What Is Friendship? #LifeThisWeek 16/52. 2018.33.

What Is Friendship? #LifeThisWeek 16/52. 2018.33.

When I selected this topic I already knew it may be a challenge to write about.

The challenge though was from my inner meaning of friendship.

I admit that having and keeping friends in the world of teaching has been hard. Why?

It’s because we move around from role to role and school to school. I know as I left work in schools to retire fully, I had hoped to keep connecting with some of the people but over time, the friendship drifted into nothingness. It was also one-sided I found.

Instead of berating myself about this, I looked at my life and why. It WAS about the moving on and about. It WAS also about interests changing too. We had a lot of couple friends as young teachers and enjoyed the company and camraderie, even keeping in touch once we were all back in Sydney. However, family changes and priorities, along with our health and moving away Sydney saw a decline in friendships.

But that was OK. That is life.

Luckily for me, I am social in my outlook and can arrange to meet with people who are on Facebook and that is fun. The friends on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have made many a lonely time better and I have met so many of these people via blogging I am very grateful.

And, despite the somewhat dated graphic above, when I put out the call on Facebook asking ‘what is friendship?’ I received some lovely and most helpful quotes! Thank you so much, Friends-in-the-Computer!

 

Friendship is surrounding yourself with people who celebrate you, not people who tolerate you. (E.)

Friendship is seeing each other after 18 months and everything is exactly as it was the last time you hung out. (L)

Friendship is comfort and ease, no judgement, just open hearts. (J

 Friendship is never having to be anyone other than yourself. (E)

(And never expecting your friend to be anyone other than themselves!) (E)

Friendship is always having each other’s backs, being each other’s greatest champion and greatest support. (A)

Friendship is everything that’s already been said and also being there through the good and bad, not just a “fair weather friend” if that makes sense. (V.)

Friendship is having the same sense of humour, good discussions (the flippant, the intense, the nonsensical and the hard), reciprocal gestures of support/acceptance of help (if these are imbalanced, the friendship is too), and being the rock of support in there with you without being the rescuer (and again, vice versa!) – give as generously as you receive! (K.)

Friendship is your friend arriving for dinner, and needing a little weep, and that just being part of a great evening together. Ease, love, acceptance, and solidarity. (A)

Friendship is a safe haven for kindred spirits. (V)

I liked these two quotes as well.

What I did love, and miss quite a bit, about friendships back in my working life and semi-retired life was getting together for a lunch, or a coffee date and having a good old catch up. This was fun.

However, I regard myself as fortunate to have married a man I love and who IS my best friend. He and I have seen each other through 47 years of love, triumphs, tragedies, child-rearing, illnesses, house buying and selling, and arguing! Yes, we are opposites in many ways but we are always there for each other!

Having a photo taken is NOT his favourite thing..so this pic is very much about being my best friend AND he has learned so much about photography being my ‘insta husband’ each morning! Thank you, B.

So what are your views on friendships?

Love to hear from you!

Denyse.

Joining with Alicia here – if she is having her link up 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’s Optional Prompt: 17/52. School Holidays Memories. 23/4/18


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