Saturday 17th March 2018

My Cancer Surgery #3. 2018.20.

My Cancer Surgery #3. 2018.20.

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

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

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

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

Moving right along now to Cancer Surgery #3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update #1.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update #2.

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

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

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


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


I Dislike Sydney’s Changes. 2018.15.

I Dislike Sydney’s Changes. 2018.15.

There I have said it.

I have been back to Sydney, crossing our wonderful Harbour Bridge many more times than I might have guessed when I was diagnosed with cancer in May 2017. I have also been out to the west of Sydney to the Oral Health Services at Westmead and certainly noticed how much more building work is proceeding. The traffic. Grrr. I know, Sydney is an awesome capital city. I love(d) her too.

I was fortunate to live in Sydney – Balgowlah Heights near Manly- from 1959 to 1970 then I went to the country to teach, get married and have one child. From 1978 until 2015 we lived in north-western Sydney. So, yes I think I might have an opinion!

Last week we drove to Sydney to stay the night before my surgery last Wednesday so that there would be a stress-free start to my Day Surgery and that was a top decision. It worked. However, I decided to use my ‘free time’ on Tuesday afternoon to have my little excursion around my old home town I guess. I am sharing photos and the letter I wrote to the Sydney Morning Herald. It did not get published but then again news of a certain Deputy PM and the stock market tumble were why.

My letter:

We left Sydney for The Central Coast the same week “powers that be” determined ripping up George St, adding more gateway links, extending Motorways… etc, etc, etc.
Yesterday before my 3rd surgery at a new needed & valued hospital called Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, I took a bus trip (opal card still worked!) & was astounded at the city’s disruption, noise from buildings & the fact that it’s a much slower development than ever.
When I lived in Sydney’s outer areas I enjoyed coming into the city. Not anymore!
The one thing that has not changed is the harbour & that I could ride a ferry to Zoo & return to re-connect my soul to Sydney there was my highlight.
Thank you kind bus drivers & ferry masters & attendants who helped this Senior find her way round again.

Snapshots of Sydney by me after my first real visit back in over 3 years.

However, I cannot say it was all disappointing because some things NEVER change (thank goodness!) and here they are:

Looking UP. Of course, and capturing Sydney’s varying architecture and Sydney Tower

Seagulls at Circular Quay and This Water….has not changed appearance since I first saw them in 1955.


It was great to see so many people enjoying the magical spot. A cruise ship was in too. I remember farewelling a friend off to England in 1965 from The Terminal.


Now Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and I have always enjoyed the various installations there. I loved the fact that the Aboriginal Flag was flying.


And this was the icing on the cake. As always. Sydney Harbour on a Ferry. Using my opal card I did a round trip to the Zoo. Ah!

So, there it is. My recent visit to Sydney.

I wonder what you think of the changes if you are a Sydney-sider.

If you are not, have you been to Sydney?

I think of this place more as my hometown now ….the northern beaches too…rather than the place of my birth, Wollongong.

What’s your hometown?


Joining with Kylie here for I Blog on Tuesdays.



The View From Here. 2017.90.

The View From Here. 2017.90.

Most regular readers know I have been away from the blog to face one of life’s BIG challenges, a cancer diagnosis and then surgery. If you want to know more, please look up May 2017 posts.

So, without much more to say, the single room I had at Chris O’Brien’s Lifehouse in Camperdown Sydney looked north and east so I had the BEST views for this visual person and photographer to savour!

Warning: I look pretty gross in some pics. That’s what happened when they cut the inside top of my mouth out!

Day Before: Pre-Op Admin. Last time I had (fake) top teeth. Outside Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.


Out of ICU on Day 3 I was moved to a room with this view at sunrise. Captured from me bed, through glass.


Not a bad place to be in hospital! It has only been open for surgical admissions for 2 years. The older building opposite are all part of R.P.A. Hospital.


My night nurse for 4 in a row was Roan and he and shared a passion for pics, so he’d come in before sunrise and capture some pics with me and me in them. He was the epitome of professionalism and patient-centred care. Looking south towards Newtown and Sydney Airport.


One day had three seasons in it!


Shot by Roan – I could not get that far on my balcony so he just shot away. Capturing Gloucester House, mid – left, a private hospital in the day where my beloved Mum had some of her hearing restored. I was 7! We lived in Wollongong and I remember how it was to visit her there. 60 years later, here I am looking at it each day.


Getting better every day and finally in a nightie. I must admit I stayed in the hospital garb because my face was…ummm…leaky!


Monday. At home. 11 days post surgery. Very pleased with my progress which is why was more than ready to come home on Saturday.

I am linking with lovely Kylie Purtell and friends here for I Blog On Tuesdays but won’t return as a part of #teamIBOT till next week.

OH and if you like joining in My Monday link-up called #LifeThisWeek the new prompts will be up on Thursday 20 here, ready for re-start Monday 24 July.




My First Concert. #LifeThisWeek 25/52. 2017.81.

My First Concert. #LifeThisWeek 25/52. 2017.81.

My first REAL concert was 53 years ago THIS month. Yes, June 1964.

I was one of the millions around the world to embrace the fandom of The Beatles.

Those lovely lads from Liverpool. Paul McCartney (left rear), John Lennon (right rear) Ringo Starr (left front) George Harrison (right front)

I did not have a favourite like most. I just loved them all.

I had already bought my first 45 record (are you old enough to know what a 45 record is?) and that was Love Me Do and I Want to Hold Your Hand.

No credit available.

So, I was in what is now Year 9 and my Dad (bless him) bought tickets for me, my younger  brother and a friend of mine to attend one of their Sydney Stadium Concerts.

It was everything you see in the old films. Noisy as. Filled to the capacity with screaming people. Yes, me too. And

The Beatles.


It remains a wonderful, wonderful memory now!

You really couldn’t hear much of what they were singing but we SAW them. It was amazing. Ringo Starr who had stayed in the UK to recover from illness was back with the boys and it was perfect.

The Sydney Stadium is no more but it was located near Rushcutters Bay and had a tin roof. They held fights and concerts there. It was not actually theatre in the round, not a bit! Mum and Dad dropped us off and went to dinner at Watsons Bay apparently and on their way back, they could hear the screaming!

I did scream but I think it was because everyone else did. My photo, with many others, was in the paper the next day. Gee I wish I had kept my memories!!

In 2014 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles Tour down under, the Powerhouse Museum put on a special exhibit. It was one my brother and I could not miss!

What was your first concert?

Do you know anyone who saw the Beatles in 1964?

I hope you link up this week on or off prompt.


Do join these other link ups on Mondays too. Alicia here for Open Slather and Kell here 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! Do come back next week. Next week’s prompt is “Halfway Review 2017”.


Merrylands East P.S. On Show. 2017.46.

Merrylands East P.S. On Show. 2017.46.

Merrylands East Public School’s principal John Goh and I have been professional colleagues since we were in executive teaching roles in Western Sydney in the 1990s. Early this century, I retired as a school principal close to the time John became a school principal here. We caught up a few years back via twitter and I attended  Teach Meet events where John was host or one of the presenters.

John is both a promoter of public schools and a humble man. He speaks loudly about the need for schools to have the full funding from the Gonski reforms as the students in his school have benefited already from this. I know he would want me to add that to work alongside the staff at his school is a highlight. John does playground duty each morning and often posts a morning selfie on twitter. He’s in the SES and uses social media to let us know about keeping safe in all the weather conditions.

In February 2017 he was part of TedXSydney Salon. The talk  was live-streamed and this is his bio from the site.

John Goh is currently the principal of Merrylands East Public School, in South Western Sydney. He leads a culturally diverse school of around 380 students with 85% of students from a non-English Speaking Background and 10% refugees. John’s dynamic and innovative staff are part of the Microsoft Partners in Learning Program. Together, they have a passion for the use of technology in learning and student engagement. In recent years, John’s school has achieved the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Award for their sustainability programs and infrastructure and the NSW Director General’s School Achievement Award.


I visited John’s school a few years ago and even then I was impressed by the ways in which he and his staff were ‘undoing’ traditional teaching models. John added resources that save the school money including water tanks and solar and in this way, funds can be channelled for students’ needs. He had some spaces transformed and kids were using technology to communicate with kids in remote schools in NSW. He also has an area in the school set aside for gardens and produce grown there has been supplied to the canteen. This school is in an area where many people do not live with a backyard so fresh is always appreciated. John and his staff are helping kids see the food chain in action! I loved the playground signs!


Merrylands East P.S. varied its school hours some years back and there have been benefits. Some media about this and other matters can be found on ABC’s Life Matters here  and ABC’s Radio National here

What inspired me to write this post, with John’s permission, was what I saw on SBS TV last Sunday night. I have much pride in introducing this wonderful segment with teacher Lee Hewes and his class. They tell the story themselves  here on SBS!


I am a proud public education supporter and I hope you enjoy seeing what one school is doing so well!


Joining with Kylie Purtell and bloggers who blog on Tuesdays here.

On the weekend I am linking here with Sammie and friends for The Ultimate Rabbithole.


Sydney Vistas From 2014. 366/308.

Sydney Vistas From 2014. 366/308.

I often ventured into the city when we lived in Sydney for a solo photography day and a chance to see my city.

These pics, deliberately capturing different vistas, are from that mid-year visit in 2014 where The Rocks was the focus.

I miss seeing the city, especially as I know it has already changed around the harbour at Barangaroo but I am not visiting anytime soon. Traffic!


Walking almost ‘under’ The Harbour Bridge. Details of the Southern Pylons can be seen.


From the edge of the water, near The Rocks, with the AMP Building (originally the tallest building in the city in 1960s) prominent. Dad’s office was located in that building.


Old Wharves and Storage Buildings Now Converted for Offices, Cafes etc. The Rocks.


From the walk under The Bridge looking to the famous Sydney Opera House with an iconic Ferry going past.


Viewed from The Rocks, this iconic building is one which was for public housing and its future is yet to be determined by the current NSW Government.

Do you know Sydney well?

Have you visited The Rocks?


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Thanks to these blogging friends for Photo Link Ups!

Trish at My Little Drummer Boys

Sue at Image-in-ing

Jen at Pierced Wonderings

Steph at Stephs Joy



4 Reasons We Don’t Miss Sydney. 366/234.

4 Reasons We Don’t Miss Sydney. 366/234.

When we left Sydney forever in early 2015 we went back more regularly due to continuing to see doctors there, visit family when they invited us, to source items we thought were easier to find there and of course, for me to still ‘feel connected’ as I thought I needed to be.

No more.

Not at all.

Since mid 2016 we have (well I think my husband had already!) realised that we will not return to live there and thanks to changes all round the only ‘family’ reason I have to go there now is to see Dad. We are happier these days if family who live in Sydney travel up to see us on the coast!

During my trip last week, I was a bit ‘naughty’ and took a few quick pics when I was stopped in traffic….and so this has made my story via pics….These were taken before after-school and work peak too.

4 reasons we don’t miss Sydney!


My husband has just returned from a trip to help with getting some furniture of ours back from a family member’s house and he arrived back saying ‘if I never have to travel that way again, in the traffic that is Sydney and with all those traffic lights, then I will be pleased.’

So, that’s our little revelation. Mind you, there might be much for us to see and connect with in Sydney if it wasn’t so darned busy!! And, if it did not take 90 minutes and more, there and back.

We are enjoying our semi-country existence even more so as we settle into this retired life.

What do you think of Sydney’s traffic if you are familiar with it?

Do you live in a less busy area as we do now?


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Joining with Leanne for her Sunday linky over here. Big congrats to Leanne as she posted her..2500th post in a row this week! What an achievement.





“Find My Phone” Works! 366/154.

“Find My Phone” Works! 366/154.

This post was initially written and published in May 2014. Today it is posted in the week after as The Sydney Writers Festival 2016. I miss events such as these but I am not as inclined to travel to Sydney any more so will be thinking of those who enjoy this festival here! Denyse.

People chilling along wharves before sessions

People chilling along wharves before sessions

On Saturday I visited the Sydney Writers’ Festival at Walsh Bay. It’s located in the area just west of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. My friend and I had a great day out. When I arrived home, unpacked my small bag and went looking for my iPhone, I couldn’t find it. Whilst this is not so unusual, by ringing it I find it ‘somewhere’ in the house, or deep in a bag. This time. NOTHING. Ooops.

My day became not so pleasant as I searched for about 15 minutes, then decided to tell my providor (in this case Telstra) so a ‘block’ could be put in the phone’s use. This took less than 5 minutes. Late on a Saturday afternoon I was blessing 24/7 services.  (My phone is so much more than a phone, it’s a diary, a photo album, an organiser and more). Then I remembered “find my phone” the feature Apple has on their many devices. But what to do?? I went on-line at home, and via a phone call to Apple support (thanks 24/7 again) I was led down the very simple path to “finding my phone” activation.

How Did It Work?

  1. My phone always has ‘find my phone’ on and iCloud enabled (critical I would think to success of device being found)
  2. Current apple ID and support enabled.
  3. Once I was onto the right support person, it was a matter of logging on with my ID and then she walked me through the steps of “Find My Phone”.
  4. The final stage (took less than a minute all up, by the way) was my addition of the ‘best contact number’ to an on-screen message which my phone would display stating something like this” “this phone can be returned to its owner by calling XX XXXXXXX thank you”
  5. Within one hour, a call came to our home phone stating that the iPhone had been handed in and I could collect it any time. I went in the next morning (first up!) and did so.

What Did I Learn?

  1. To ensure my phone is not left in a…. portable loo! Yes, that’s where it was and I had no idea. Very grateful to the finder.
  2. Blocking my service to the phone meant no surprises – high charges for calls etc, having a password on my phone and getting the blocking Unblocked as soon as I knew I had my phone back.

Have you ever lost your phone or something equally needed and found it again?


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Joining with Anne from Domesblissity here on Thriving on Thursdays.

Fridays is when I link up with Grace at With Some Grace for Flog Your Blog Friday.