Wednesday 18th July 2018

WHNCDay, Beyond Five, Soup For The Soul & Emma McBride MP. 2018.62.

WHNCDayBeyond Five, Soup for the Soul & Emma McBride MP. 2018.62.

Let me start with this.

I was diagnosed with a head and neck cancer in May 2017.

I had no idea that a cancer could be in my mouth.

Many posts here have charted my journey and it has been ever so helpful for me to post, learn and help others too.

What is WHNC Day?

It is World Head and Neck Cancer Day and is on 27 July each year. Last year, on this date I attended my first post-surgical appointment at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and there was nothing anywhere to indicate it WAS WHNC Day.

This year IS different. For me, and for more people who are coming on board to spread the word which is AWARENESS.

You see, as I was ignorant of mouth cancer, many who may eventually be diagnosed with a head and neck cancer (not brain cancer, it is a different group and speciality) and sometimes too late for life-saving treatment.

I’ve been wearing a ribbon from Beyond Five for the past weeks and having my photo taken to raise awareness. The ribbons are $3 each and available from Beyond Five (address is below)

Around the world there are organisations of professionals, patients and carers gearing up for this date with meetings, a conference is being held in Melbourne where I know my surgeon, Professor Jonathan Clark is attending along with my Specialist Prosthodontist, Dr Suhas Deshpande and an event, in Australia for the very first time called Soup for The Soul.

Beyond Five 

I first heard about Beyond Five in June 2017 as I was approaching my BIG (as I still call it, because it was!) surgery when A/Professor Ardalan Ebrahimi answered my long email very helpfully and suggested I check out Beyond Five as it was an organisation he and the Professor had started. At the stage I did glance at areas on-line but my mind was not able to take in much.

As I have moved well into recovery mode, my story was added to Beyond Five’s patient experiences in April 2018. As an educator AND blogger as well as head and neck cancer patient I became better acquainted with the organisation. Here is part of their mission.

Beyond Five is Australia’s First Head and Neck Charity supporting patients with head and neck cancer, as well as their families, carers and the healthcare professionals who care for them.

Their Story:

In 2014 a team of passionate people working within the field of head and neck cancer care had a common desire to provide access to information about head and neck cancer to people all over Australia.

Head and neck cancer is incredibly complex and diverese. It includes more than 10 different cancers that can affect a person’s:

  • mouth
  • tongue
  • salivary glands
  • skin
  • voice box

Each type comes with its own causes, symptoms, characteristics, complexities and treatment options.

There was a real need to provide comprehensive information in one place that was easy-to-access.

We spent 24 months gathering the content with the input of:

  • surgeons
  • radiation oncologists
  • medical oncologists
  • nurses
  • speech pathologists
  • dietitians
  • dentists
  • plastic surgeons
  • psychologists
  • health literacy experts
  • patients
  • carers

We included information for all of the stages of the cancer care journey from diagnosis through treatment to life after cancer. This means that patients and carers can easily find the information they need at the right time.

Beyond Five launched in September 2016.

(side note: my diagnosis date, May 2017)

Why Beyond Five?

When we talk of curing cancer, we talk in terms of  five-year survival. However, in patients with head and neck cancer the effects of the cancer and their treatment stay with the patient forever. These effects may be seen as scars on the face that cannot be hidden by clothing or may be difficulties with speech and swallowing.

The name ‘Beyond Five’ refers to the long-term need of patients which they often need more beyond five years after diagnosis. Find Beyond Five here: 

Soup For The Soul.

The sotry above indicates that Beyond Five is a charity that is new to the scene to help patients with cancer. In fact, this year is only their 2nd year in full operation. So, the FIRST every fund-raiser is happening and it is called Soup For The Soul.

Why that name? It IS winter, so it is a great idea to have some soup with friends and ask for a donation towards Beyond Five and their messages needing to get out to more. Another, and even more important reason is the symbol of what soup means for people with head and neck cancer. It is often the life-line food of nourishment and care. I had a lot of soup last winter and more this winter even though I can get some less liquidy foods down now.

For the week 20 July to 27 July (WHNC Day) there are events and meals and gatherings planned around Australia. I am off to one at Gosford on 24 July with a head and neck support group. I am hosting a “virtual” event for my blogging, facebook and other friends and I have opened a fund-raising page here.

Please donate what you can afford. I suggest $5 as that’s a bowl or a cup of soup!

Here is the link to my page, where the donations are sent directly to Beyond Five after the organisation looking after the funds takes a certain amount for their costs. This varies according to the amount donated.

Emma McBride M.P.

Emma is our local Federal Member and I wrote to her asking if she would accept a fund-raising ribbon from Beyond Five from me. A very busy lady as you can imagine, I was surprised and delighted to receive a call from her office in Canberra to say Emma wanted to come to our place, if that was convenient, to find out more and to accept the ribbon. So on Monday 9 July we did have a very pleasant chat and took some photos which went on social media and I am told there may be something happening on 27 July to raise some awareness for head and neck cancer and some funds via Soup For the Soul. I am very grateful!

I know there was a lot to read and get through today but this post has been getting ready to be published in advance of World Head And Neck Cancer Day and I wanted to cover all the information.

Thank you for reading…and I hope, commenting!

Denyse.

Joining with Kylie on Tuesdays here

Joining with Sue and Leanne here on Wednesdays.

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Just For July #1. 2018.57

Just For July #1. 2018.57

What is “Just for July?”

I was reviewing my blog posts recently and there have been some pretty heavy and detailed posts written.

I know they are helpful for me to do and some of the loveliest people in the blogging world comment when I link up with a post I wrote on the Tuesday to cover my linking up for the next two link ups …on Wednesday here and Thursday here.

So, shaking things up a bit and to help me just chat and share about whatever comes up I am going to do this for Leanne’s Lovin’ Life Link Up for the 4 Thursdays in July!

Mandalas. 

They attract me and I am drawn in when I see some in nature and in the man-made world. I cannot help but notice them.

Do you notice mandalas?

I am going to post more about the why sometime later this year but for now, here’s one in my back yard:

I cannot love this flower more. Mandala!

Social Media and Food Posts.

In my quest to be whinge-free (works some days, others not!) I now scroll right through. I used to be envious of those who could eat that food and make a comment of how wonderful that looked but that I could not eat that (yet). Then I realised I do not need to tell anyone that and in fact, that might even make them a bit sad. So, scrolling on….

Do you post food pics or are you someone who looks at food pics…and drools (such a weird word). This meal did not go on Instagram.

I cooked cutlets and the way I could kind of eat the meal, was cut meat added to mash & insides of a tomato over it. Sadly I could not even chew on the bones.

The Beach.

I wish I had better words to describe why I love the beach. In fact I rarely swim anymore (OK, tell the truth, have not been in the surf for over 2 years) but I remain captivated by it. I walk on the sand, I collect shells and pebbles (sometimes) and I dip my feet in the water.

It makes me feel better when I am sad. It helps me focus on a wider world when mine appears to be closing in.

I do know that the smells, the sights and the sounds along with the sensory experiences do something magical to my soul.

Is that what the beach is like for you?

No better place…and this day I was alone. Even better

Driving My Car.

I love my car. It is red. I chose red very happily for this car – the Nissan X-Trail – and I smile when I return to it in the carpark. I want to hug my car because it carries me safely to where I need to go and it is like an extension of my personality.

Is that something that makes me strange? What do you feel about cars?

Off to coffee somewhere!

Blog Roll is BACK.

Recently two bloggers began a facebook group called “Old School Bloggers”. Many of us who started back in the early to mid 2000s and onward had slowly let their blogs go or put in a resting space. My blog, as regular readers know, has had a few changes of direction. So, from this initiative of Caz who blogs here and Jacqui who blogs here, quite a few people linked up on Monday for #lifethisweek which made me a happy linky host! Check out the right hand side of my blog to see “Blog Roll is Back” and if your blog is not (yet) listed, do add your URL and blog name to the comments!

Thank you!

 

That is it for Thursday 5th July.

I am off to the Podiatrist this morning at Budgewoi and we will chat about his newborn daughter while he cares for my feet. After that I will go to a great coffee shop there for my daily fix. I may even take some photos as well.

Thanks for reading …and maybe even commenting with responses to my questions!

Denyse.

Joining with Leanne and crew here for Lovin Life Linky on Thursdays.

 

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Life Lessons. #1.2018.52.

Life Lessons. #1. 2018.52.

This may be a theme for one or more posts. Let’s see where the Life Lessons journey takes us!

The catalyst for this post was something that happened to me a few weeks ago. The story of that was this:

I have been a long-time sufferer (and yes, that IS what it is…suffering!) of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (diarrhoea mostly) for years. It became quite a debilitating condition for me, restricting work-related tasks and social events for some of 2014 and into the years following our move from Sydney to the Central Coast in 2015. I railed against it, I did courses to help me, I took meds, I had tests and in the end, I guess I had to admit it was MIND-GUT connected and my own stressors did seem to be behind it all. This actually did not help me, in fact I probably became more determined to beat it. Not sure how, as will-power had not worked.

So, my now GP first gave me some meds which helped and through the awful times of post cancer surgeries and other stressors in 2017 I know that my gut reacted and no immodium in the world could work against a gut which had not been ‘fed’ for ages. I learned that sometimes the reaction in my gut was normal and over time I accepted that. Kind of. I also made sure that any future anti-biotics were of the type my gut did not react to. Fingers crossed, that has worked so far.

Life Lesson.

Out of the so called blue on the recent long weekend, I had an episode of IBS. I could not ‘think’ of a reason why. In fact, that made me even more cranky with ‘it’. I got sad and had to stay home…close to the ‘loo because of it. Eventually, after immodium it did settle and I was able to drive to Westmead 2 days later to have a much-needed appointment with my prosthodontist.

In the meantime, I had to admit a truth to myself, and herein lieth the Life Lesson.

My week ahead, on the weekend I got an episode of IBS, was actually filled with a couple of items relating to my health that were NOT cancer- recovery related. I had decided two weeks ago that it was TIME I got myself together and did some regular testing that comes ‘at our age’  and my GP agreed. I did not know how much the anticipation of this and some other things I had planned would impact upon me emotionally until:

MY GUT TOLD ME WHAT I DID NOT PAY ATTENTION TO.

You see, I am a bit of an over-achiever…and my GP says I am ‘goal driven’ and I have to agree so I made a ‘rule’ that by now, a year post-cancer diagnosis, that I needed to be back in tune with normal activities. 

I.B.S. told me that I was not ready and in fact, reminded me brilliantly once I accepted it that I had made a promise to work on one thing at a time and that was to continue to recover from cancer.

Yep. I needed that and with  a chat to my GP, after my husband totally agreeing to what this life lesson had told me, I accepted it, cancelled the other things….and guess what, life settled again for me ….and I have learned my lesson.

I have photo on the left as my locked phone screen saver to remind me of my lesson!

What Others Say.

I asked for any Life Lessons via my social media and here are some responses.

Run your own race. It’s a cliche but it’s so important to know yourself, then do what you want to do and not to be swayed by others. The opinions of others are given way too much headspace. Make your own opinion the loudest. When I asked for any background to this conclusion here was the response: Life! Look around – who is happier? The person running after other people’s approval or the person who approves of themselves. “A.H”

Even on the darkest days and the most difficult of times you can always find something to be grateful for. It can be tiny, but there is always something. “D.C.”

Listen to your gut instinct. Other people may have opinions on what you should do within your life or your children’s but your gut instinct actually knows. Listen to it don’t ignore it just because someone else thinks they know best. Gut instinct is usually 100% right. “LofC”

Thank you to those people.

Last week Natalie from BeKind2You.com wrote a timely post which she has been happy for me to share. Thank you!

What Life Lesson(s) have you been taught?

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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Colour T.V. Comes To Australia! 2018.50.

Colour T.V. Comes To Australia! 2018.50.

Australia was late to adopt the television phenomenon compared to many parts of the world including U.S.A. and U.K.

I was born in 1949. No television then. Radio, via a large machine which in our house included a record player, was part of my life as a young kid. Programs were aimed at children were on the A.B.C. including Kindergarten on the Air at 9.30 a.m. daily. We listened to that as kids and then when I was a newbie teacher in 1970 we continued to do so. Loved the interaction between the announcers (including piano, learning a song and stories). It was ‘play school’ for radio and most families and schools had radios!

In 1956 Australia, Melbourne specifically, hosted the Olympics. This was the year, prior to the Olympics in September, that television started in Australia. There were 2 commercial channels at the start – 9 & 7, along with 2, the A.B.C. Black and white T.V. was all we had but we HAD television! Not our family in that year though. Mind you a lady up the street from us in Wollongong had the first T.V. in our street and she invited us kids every Tuesday to come and watch Lassie at 4.00.p.m. How kind.

This image was the first telecast in Australia; Newsreader Bruce Gyngell saying “Welcome to television” on Channel 9.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Television_in_Australia

Some people went and watched the news on black & white T.V. and the Olympics in the shop windows at retailers in the main street. I remember this in Wollongong, even though we eventually got television and reception was OK. Many regional areas had to wait for infrastructure.

https://goo.gl/images/Y1mXvY

My family got a B&W T.V. in 1957. It was amazing.

So, that’s what it was. Black and white T.V. We saw the Moon Landing and first walk on the Moon in July 1969 at Teacher’s College. We saw the Vietnam war on This Day Tonight, every night, via B&W T.V. That was what we became used to until…..1974 in Australia.

In 1974 we were witness to the change from black and white television reception to colour. Before that happened however, we needed to do something. Buy a television set which would receive colour. Yes, none of the B&W tvs could do that. We young teachers in Merriwagga were determined not to miss this new technology so we got a loan from the bank to buy a colour T.V. Infrastructure, especially with the national channel, the A.B.C. meant we got that signal at least.

Oh my goodness, they were exciting times! I recall it well. We sat and watched the television move from black and white reception to colour. How fortunate that this clip shows exactly as it happened. THIS was the show in which colour was introduced to Australia. At least where we were, about 45 minutes drive from the nearest big town of Griffith, in the N.S.W. Riverina.

Here is how it unfolded for our family back then. From ABC-TV’s Aunty Jack.

So, now we have so much more than Colour T.V. yet I wonder if anything was really as exciting as these two firsts? Maybe there was the introduction of Pay TV where we naively thought paying for television meant fewer ads. No. That did not eventuate over time. Then of course, there was the ability to record a show and watch it later. We still do this but the technology is different and easier. And then there is streaming shows, via Netflix et al.

I am not a huge television fan but I do know I like the local NBN news and some shows on the A.B.C. My husband enjoys Netflix and sport via Foxtel. Oh, and I like the shows about houses on Foxtel. And another thing, television used to stop ar a particular time of night, and an announcer would say ‘goodnight’ and “God Save the Queen” would be played until it was time for the test pattern.

What are your memories of television when you were younger?

Where did you live and was television (black and white or colour) available?

Come clean, how many T.V.s are in your house. In mine: 4! Two in 2 separate living areas and one in each of our bedrooms. It saves very much on ‘who wants to watch what’ occasions!

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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My Head & Neck Cancer 1st Anniversary. Pt 2. 2018.46.

My Head & Neck Cancer 1st Anniversary. Pt 2. 2018.46.

I recently wrote Part One of the Anniversary of my cancer diagnosis here.

The second part is actually a bit harder to write.

I am grateful of course for my cancer being taken via surgery but I seriously had no idea that to recover and be implant-ready would be up to and well over a 12 month period. This is because, as I understand it, bodies heal in different ways and react like that too. I also know that this mouth reconstruction of mine necessitates a lot of work by the multi-disciplinary team of medical, allied health and dental experts.

I am ever-grateful for this team.

With Prof Clark & Cate Froggat, Clinical Nurse Consultant & Surgical Assistant

I know that my Professor Jonathan Clark  leads the Head & Neck team and he is also working with the training of other doctors just as he learned as a resident with the late Professor Chris O’Brien at Royal Prince Alfred (RPA) Hospital. From the Westmead Oral Sciences comes  my Prosthodonist, Dr Suhas Deshpande and his colleagues including Dr David LeinkramDr Matthew McLachlan. Dr Deshpande’s Nurse, Ofelia has seen me through some emotional times and is a very kind person. Norma at the reception desk at Westmead Oral Sciences always has a smile for me and a welcome that’s bright.

Associate Professor Ardalan Ebrahimi was the first person I saw on May 18 2017 and who examined me and put together, along with Professor Clark what would be my BIG surgery in July 2017. A/Prof Ebrahimi was kind enough to respond to my 2 detailed emails pre-surgery and saw me post-surgery in 2017 along with  Justine Oates Head and Neck  Nurse Practitioner who re-dressed my wounds and ensured continuity of care once we were back home on the Central Coast.

In my 10 days post Surgery #1, I was cared for by a number of professional nursing staff firstly in ICU with Dr Tim  then on Level 9 North of Chris O’Brien Lifehouse where Jason was the NUM. I will single out registered nurse Roan as he cared for me most early mornings and made sure I got out of bed to get some sunrise shots!

From the Head and Neck team who were part of my first surgery was a team of doctors including Dr Laura Wang & Dr Rahaul Jayaram who saw me most days in hospital.  Allied professional staff  at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse were physiotherapist Leah ensured I could walk post July surgery after fitting my right leg with the boot, dietitian Jacqueline gave me lots of guidance for eating post mouth surgery and the speech therapist Emma made me drink a cup of water (ahh!) and speak ( not a hard task given my propensity to talking!) to ensure I was going well before leaving Chris O’Brien Lifehouse last July.

I thank the wonderful anaesthetists and anaesthetic nurses who ensured not only that I went to sleep  but that I woke up with no dramas. One was Dr Murray Stoken and another is Dr Paul Goonan. On 16 May I was cared for by Dr Stephanie McInnes. 

Of course I have the excellent and fabulous Cate Froggat, my Clinical Nurse Consultant & Surgical Assistant who is the gentle and smiling person looking out for me in the operating theatre and in post-op consultations.

How could I not mention Julie and Priscilla…a hug and smile each time I see them, those who keep all of us seeing Professor Clark organised with compassion and care.

Once I was home, as I have outlined before, I was also in the care of the Central Coast Public Health Community Nursing Team for around 2 months and Eileen was amazing with her knowledge and advice.

My dentist Dr Alistair Brown saw me for a mouth check last October and to clean the remaining ((and oh so important to me) 8 bottom teeth. He was the person who initially referred me to Dr Stef Calladine, oral surgeon,  who did the biopsy last May and broke the news to me over the phone that I had squamous cell carcinoma. I will always be grateful for her caring manner and more importantly for referring me to a place I had heard of called Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and to a specialist I had not, Prof Clark.

My GP. Dr Owen Greene. What a caring and understanding man he is. I saw him sometimes up to 4 times in a week when I was recovering from BIG surgery #1. He reassured, he checked on me and he continues to do so, letting me know you are doing really well. His office staff and pathology people ask how I am going tooIf I pop into the chemist next door, Tim the pharmacist is always asking how I am going too.

There are those that I cannot mention all by name but have been integral to my diagnosis, surgeries and recovery times:

  • staff at the various Imaging places in Sydney and on the Central Coast
  • staff at the Admissions Desk and Pre-Surgery Desk at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse
  • the nursing staff pre- and post-op in the recovery areas
  • my psychologist from the READ clinic in Erina saw me a couple of times and was most kind in her assertion that I was doing well without any more need for her services.
  • the social media account for Chris O’Brien Lifehouse @chris_obrien_lifehouse & the art programs at COBLH @arterieatlifehouse (Instagram)
  • those lovely people who welcome me to their coffee shops like Randa at Fibonacci Wyong  and ask after me, along with my fabulous hairdresser Tiffany, our great podiatrist Sean who came to the house to treat me when it was easier for me, and our Property Manager, Naomi, who was delighted to see me recently. Kyla who makes the most delicious cupcakes always asks how I am going when we catch up. In fact, I won a generous voucher recently and as cupcakes are something I CAN eat, this is just the best!
  • the Beyond Five Organisation: Nadia for her reaching out for me to help with publication of my story written by Kirsty. Check my photos here to see the fundraising ribbons. World Head and Neck Cancer Day in July 27. I wear my ribbon and blog about Head and Neck cancer because not many people know about this cancer. I do now!

Then definitely NOT last nor least are my friends and family. Those who connect on-line too. My blogging friends, my instagram friends and those from Facebook and Twitter. I love connecting!  To know of so much love, concern and care being out there for me after the diagnosis and through recovery in the year it’s been is marvellous. Thank you for reading my posts, checking out my Instagram pics and ‘liking’ the blog Facebook page.

Each day in 2018 I made a commitment to myself to do at least these three each day:

  • get dressed in an #outfitoftheday and go out – for a coffee, a browse, a shop or just to look at a view
  • go into nature or observe nature and then capture this in a photo
  • make something creative, be it a mandala or a pattern or just so art fun.

I cannot single any one person out from family and friends….other than this person:

My husband. There for everything for me. Always. Love IS what keeps us together…and has done for over 47 years.

Sending everyone my love and gratitude.

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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How Did My Blog Start? 22/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.45.

How Did My Blog Start? 22/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.45.

In late 2010 I started a blog called Memories By Denyse.

The purpose, back then, was two-fold. It was to chart the story of the life of my husband as his memory became affected by what we were told was early dementia. It was also to showcase my photos because I take photos for memories.

Great start! Yes AND No.

  • getting a website and domain name was easy through my internet providor and they hosted (still do) the blog.
  • I found someone on line to set up the blog and then I had NO IDEA of what to do to change anything. And it really meant me paying others!
  • I’d like to say here is that first post but no. In fact almost all of my posts from 2010-2014 are now either in draft or gone to bloggy heaven.

So, what happened?

  • never one to do things simply, I decided after the first ever Aussie Blogging conference in March 2011 that I needed to write about more.
  • of course I did. So I added education. After all I was a retired principal. I also thought I could help both parents and teachers.
  • in fact in 2012 I was a guest blogger speaker at the Digital Parents Conference in Melbourne telling ‘my story’. Oh. It’s still on YouTube somewhere and I cringe because…
  • it was found that sometime that year that my husband’s so-called medical condition was the FAULT of every darned medication two specialists served up to him based on mis-diagnoses.

Hold on, I am going too fast! 

  • when I decided to go down the three blogs route because I could write about them, I complicated my on-life with: Memories By Denyse, Ready.Set.School. and Ready.Set.Teach. Yes. I even copyrighted my names and intellectual property.
  • Hold ON!
  • OK. I am stopping to explain that I started again (still had the domain name and could add as many blogs as I liked) WITH the most patient man ever. MY computer techie guy as I call him.
  • I met him in a local cafe and with the help of MY hand drawn examples, he came up with the way to make all three blogs work for me on-line. And after all this time, if I run into a blog issue I can call him. He’s the best and most generous person and does my work pro-bono! He did HAVE to give me lessons though. The main one was: Keep the number of plugins small & reduce the file size of your photos (yes, Craig, I have!)
  • They were all wordpress models using my own hosting.
  • But I over-did it. By spreading things too thin.
  • I used my skills and talents outside blogging with parent groups and pre-service teachers and a person blog for me. I used to tell stories about our family (not naming names) and with permission I used pics of the grandkids.
  • I was also teaching at Uni, caring for grandkids on some days of the week, and spreading the word on school readiness via my education consultancy business
  • I blogged up to 4-5 times a week and linked up. Back then there was a link up for each week day and on weekends it was Weekend Rewind.

What made me stop and think?

  • Blogging certainly brought me many new friends via commenting, blog link ups and social media. That was great. I continue to be grateful for that once I had fully retired from teaching at all levels and grandchild care.
  • Blogging for money was the goal at one stage for many bloggers and not wanting to be left out, I did some sponsored posts for a company who gave me a grant to attend a conference in Melbourne. (remember the My Family Stickers??)
  • I started to consider the ramifications of advice I was giving on the two education-based blogs and as I had to take out personal indemnity insurance for my education consultancy (costly, over $1000 annually) and blogging was taking OFF ….when I read about Blogging and The Law.
  • School Principal me considered a lot that was being disseminated and over the time of 2014 two of  my three blogs shut down at my request.
  • I did not keep many posts at all. It also helped me with costs at the hosting end to delete a lot of the blogging posts and photos and I do not regret that.
  • The posts relating to the family were all deleted and trashed (sounds terrible) at the hosting end even though there were no identifiers but I felt better as time past that there would be no digital footprints as any searches sent people to 404 error message.
  • It felt a bit sad when it came time to renew the hosting and the domain names but I let them go to focus on:

Denyse Whelan Blogs.

  • I needed something familiar and connecting me to others when we moved away from all I knew. Family, Sydney and Work.
  • I made a commitment from 1 January 2015 to blog EACH and EVERY day.
  • Yes, I did that until sometime in 2016 when I eased back but for sometime I blogged via topics which I continue to use as a guide today. I had a friend I met when I was making a logo to attend a conference who helped me greatly with these graphics in 2016. Thank you Tanya!
  • By 2017 and into 2018 this blog posts on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the topics vary. See above!
  • I linked up to the link ups that I knew were still around back then, but slowly they shrivelled up too.
  • Blogging was not something everyone continued. Many focussed on jobs once kids were at school. Some became dissillusioned with the blogging promise. 
  • By 2014 there was no more Digital Parents and some groups emerged on Facebook. Problogger conferences were/are the only ones that are around. I went to one in Melbourne in 2012.
  • In 2016 I got the opportunity to host my own link up and chose Mondays as Kirsty had retired her link up. Alicia has a link up too on Mondays as does Kell.
  • In 2017 Leanne made a Thursday link up as did Sue and Leanne each Wednesday
  • Kylie hosts I Blog on Tuesdays after Jess retired her blog.
  • There are far fewer bloggers linking up these days and my view is that people are busy with life, are not blogging much and to commit to a link up would mean commenting more and some just do not have the time.

Why Are Link Ups Important?

  • On a personal level I know that I get more people reading and commenting than if I just posted.
  • I deliberately do not have an email sign up because I did and I had few people sign up.
  • I know rely on my Bloglovin’ follow on my blog and me adding my posts to facebook.
  • But I love link ups because I get to meet new bloggers and that is the joy of blogging,

Connecting is Why I Blog.

  • When I returned to full-time blogging in 2015 my blog’s name is Denyse Whelan Blogs (then I added) To Connect.
  • Humans thrive on connection and on-line is one of my daily ways to do so.
  • Moving to a new area and three house moves in that time means that many of my connections are as they say in the computer.
  • I will continue to blog as long as I enjoy it and I have people reading and adding their comments. The conversations are the best!
  • Last year my cancer diagnosis was one very big example of the connections and care in the blogging community and I am always grateful for that.

Tell Me, How Did Your Blog Start?

I know not all of my readers are bloggers but I am really looking forward to reading everyone’s stories if they have decided to follow the optional prompt.

Denyse.

On Mondays I link up with Alicia here.

Life This Week 22/52.

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’s Optional Prompt: 23/52. What I Will Never See Again. 4/6/18. 


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The A-L of Me. #LifeThisWeek. 19/52. 2018.39.

The A-L of Me. #LifeThisWeek. 19/52. 2018.39.

I’ve been doing a ‘clean-up’ of old posts. Some drafts from waaay back in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 have been trashed. I do however keep some posts in draft form to give me an idea of what things were like for me when writing here back then. I came upon a 4 year old post called: The A-Z of Me. I read it and determined, that with some additions it could be copied and pasted for this prompt.

What I found interesting is how I have not really changed much at all. Some of the updated life circumstances have been added to what makes me Denyse now, but essentially I have remained pretty much the same.

I wonder about what others might say about themselves, so I am looking forward to seeing who blogs using the optional prompt this week for A-L and for the M-Z week.

Art-lover  I really love to make art, look at art and appreciate the ART of others.

Blogger who uses this space, and Facebook,  to connect, share and communicate her passions

Caring person about people I care for, those who struggle in life from time to time and about issues which are really meaningful for me. I add for Cancer too as once diagnosed, it is ‘part of me.’

Dramatic in my moods, from highs to lows at times but often “over” them much faster than most people. I’ve added Determined in 2018 too.

Excitable with a side of tension, yet more of joy mixed with happiness, and often like a little kid!

Fat is not a word I like, but I embrace that it has been a descriptor of my outward appearance for decades. Whilst I do not diet to change it, life’s health circumstances have changed as I am a different size to my first edition. Maybe, Fabulous? Ha!

Generous to a fault — and the fault may be that I am not generous enough of time or energy for me. Sadly I add Gums: for that is where my cancer was found.

Helpful is my “middle name” not Jennifer, but again, I can ‘over do’ this and it become UNhelpful to me. A balancing act needed here.

Intelligent and so grateful for this genetic gift as it has given me opportunities in life and career, and now in retirement years to continue to learn and enjoy sharing knowledge.

Jealousy is hard to admit but yes, I am jealous. Of some opportunities I’ve missed & others have had, of having ‘enough’ money just to name a few. I am not proud to admit this one, and I am also ‘better’ at dealing with the ‘green eyed monster’ than I was. I am more prone to joy these days too.

Knowledgeable of trivia, such as my BFF birthday even though I haven’t seen her for 45 years, and of all sorts of news and family details. Oh yes, am often a walking encyclopedia of ‘stuff’.

Left-handed and proud even though the world we inhabit is made for the right-handers, it also sets me as a little bit different and for a usual-conformist in nature, this makes me ‘special’.

Interesting shots I have found from around the time of writing this original words and to now, adding just some.

I am very interested to read your A-L of Me if you completed the prompt.

Thanks for joining in or commenting.

This space here is always appreciative of readers, linking bloggers and comments!

Denyse.

Linking up with my friend Alicia here for Open Slather too.

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: 20/52. SHARE YOUR SNAPS 4. 14/5/18. Unbelievable…it’s 5 weeks since the last one!

Life This Week 19/52. The A-L of Me.


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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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