Saturday 17th November 2018

Cancer Is Always ‘There’. 2018.84

Cancer Is Always ‘There’. 2018.84

It is rare these days for me to compose a post and publish it immediately. I have planned posts, scheduled posts and draft posts. Today is different.

I need to write out my truth and my feelings based on recent, significant events for me: a Cancer Patient.

What Do I Mean “Cancer is always ‘there’?”

  • Once diagnosed with cancer I held onto the belief, rightly or wrongly, that my surgery would eliminate the cancer in my upper gums and behind one side of my top lip.
  • It did. In terms of reports back from the many lab results, biopsies at the time of the major surgery in July 2017, and the reassurances from my professional team.
  • However, I do, like many others who have been diagnosed with cancer, “know” that it could come back in another way or form….and also that the reason for my four surgeries has been because I had/have cancer.
  • The many (22 now) visits to Westmead Oral Sciences to have treatments and checks for the progress of my mouth healing, stent wearing and health of my gums is because of cancer.
  • This came home to me yesterday, ONE week after re-gaining what I thought I wanted most: my smile, when it appears that the top lip (cancer site) is tightening again and I need to do some exercises to help it gain more suppleness.
  • There I was, thinking (albeit naively) that the cancer thing was almost gone.
  • Nope, no and not at all really. Check ups, doctor’s visits, mouth checks …..it is not gone nor over by a long way.

Explaining My Mixed Emotions and Responses/Reactions via My Photos.

 

Thank you for reading.
I wonder if any readers who have cancer/had cancer might identify with this.
I am a relative newbie (only 15+ months since diagnosis) yet it feels like I have had cancer forever.
I guess I do.

Cancer is always ‘there’.

Denyse.

Linking with Sue and Leanne here for MidLife Share The Love linky.

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If I Could. 31/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.67. 30 July

If I Could. 31/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.67.

I am pretty sure when I considered this optional prompt is was not about wealth, health and all that jazz. But they were the first thoughts that came into my head starting to write. Instead, I am going to make some lists and here they are:

Past

Photo: Feb 2017

If I could:

  • I would tell this me (above)  that I am pleased that I have made it through a very stressful time related to moving house, leaving family and finishing my work life but…..
  • there is actually more to come. Stress I mean. Yet, despite what it will do to me emotionally, it will teach me that…
  • I am able to shift my thinking (despite my anxious brain) to be able to challenge myself to accomplish what fear had told me was not possible.

Present

Photo: May 2018.

If I could:

  • remember that I have been and continue to be stronger and more resilient than I ever thought because…
  • I have managed a head and neck cancer diagnosis in May 2017 with courage, tenacity and a determination I never knew I had as evidenced by…
  • my ability to bounce back emotionally despite some pretty serious setbacks/hiccups over 4 surgeries and 4 recovery times
  • my physical body’s wonderful capacity to re-generate and heal itself without direct engagement with me, other than…
  • caring for myself as well as I can with a limited eating regime, getting outside each day and doing some walking along with engaging in meaningful social occasions: on-line and in the community

Future

Late July 2018.

If I could:

  • be confident about this man and the love and care we have had of and for each other for the past 47+years then all will be well because…
  • we are indeed a partnership for life and….
  • the laughs and chats we have with each other are as important to our health and welfare as any medicines.

That my friends, is my take on “If I could”.

Denyse.

 

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! 

Joining with Alicia here for Open Slather.

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: 32/52.  Countries I Have Visited  6/8/18.



 

 

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Just For July #3. 2018.63.

Just For July #3. 2018.63.

I am titling this one:

Am I the only one?

  • who thinks television  newsreaders who sit in pairs at the desk and are seen talking to each other as the news intro starts are saying “so, after this, the pub?”…

 

  • who says “did I say that to you or just think it?” Happens soooo much lately… is it my age..

 

  • who goes to the supermarket with a list and comes home with more than what is on the list BUT forgets things from the list…

 

  • who opens a new packet of biscuits and finds at least ONE broken? Do they throw them onto the shelves…

 

  •  who goes to sit on the beach and is relaxing until someone WITH their dog OFF-LEASH comes by and said pooch not only invades my space but frightens the hell out of me too…

 

  • who cannot and will not buy a branded supermarket bag since the one-use plastic bag ban because those BIG chains get enough out of me anyway so I stuff my shoulder bag with old grey bags…

 

  • who surrepticiously checks milk use-by date in ANOTHER person’s fridge and then rejects the cuppa and says water is fine…

 

  • who will not drive to the last 10 kms when the “need petrol” gauge appears because she has filled the car as soon as it appears at around 60 km left..

 

  • who has driven (well)  over the speed limit on a country road and when picked up by the Highway Patrol, she says “the conditions were perfect” and gets let off with a warning after chatting to the cop about teaching in Mt Druitt…

 

  • who has cheated on an exam…I lied here, I haven’t….

 

The beach walk above….so lovely BUT has been spoiled by DOGS (off leash, despite the signs) and OWNERS who just ignore me and the signs.

Tell me yours….Am I the only one??

Denyse.

Joining with Leanne for Lovin’ Life linky here. 

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What Is Courage? 29/52. #LifeThisWeek. 2018.61.

What Is Courage? 29/52. #LIfeThisWeek. 2018.61.

To answer this question I sought responses from various people and the internet sure does pop up some good ones. Yes, I have read some before. Yes I understand them…now.

No I did not always get why courage was so important.

Surely staying safe and small was best. Then, over the last few years I needed guidance and knowledge to help me gain skills that I am sure became dormant in a body rattled by far too many changes in my life at one.

These photos explain more. I recall taking each of them…and the last one  I had started to feel the courage I needed.

 

From these quotes I can see there are a number of views on courage. I leave them here for you and after you have scrolled, read or skipped them…my responses, via examples, to What is courage will be below.

https://www.tes.com/lessons/ZP0RzEjUkL554Q/what-is-courage

https://www.pinterest.com.au/33rdchance/courage/

http://acelebrationofwomen.org/2013/02/courage-is-not-the-absence-of-fear-women-in-recovery/

https://randyfrazier.com/brene-brown-quote-on-courage/

 

http://www.azquotes.com/quote/1343701

I recently saw this quote and it had to be here: It’s from Dr Danny Penman who has written a book called: The Art of Breathing, which I have found very helpful.

What are some personal examples of courage? 

  • Moving away from our family, friends and the known to the unknown to live here on the Central Coast. I paid for this courage with resulting fear and anxiety yet, on reflection, 3 years afterwards it was worth it.

 

  • Deciding that I could apply for and get a principal’s role in 1998. Before then, I wanted to stay “safe” because that felt best. Yet as I considered my life as it continued, I knew UNLESS I got up the courage to go for roles, I would always regret it. I did get a principal’s position. I did really well in the first three years and then, the fourth year I was brought down by over-work and I had the courage to leave to help me save my mental health.

 

  • Starting a blog. I know that might not seem courageous to some but for me, a lonely retired educator I was prepared “to put myself out there”. It’s been hard to see some of the external measures of success in blogging by-pass me but look now, a lovely community thanks to this link up has joined in and that has made it worthwhile.

 

  • Speaking up and telling my father that some of his comments to me over the years have hurt me and I would prefer to have his support, no matter what, than advice that is not sought. I did wait till my mid-60s but I have done it and as a result, there is an adult to adult relationship now. I took the risk and it worked.

 

  • Insisting, after many sessions of conservative treatment,  that my dentist removed the bridge and attached teeth from my upper gums because of the pain and trouble the area had caused me for the past many months. Getting it done, despite my anxiety being sky-high at the time because I knew the only way was to find what was causing the problem underneath.

 

  • Being prepared to let go of any real or perceived attempts that I can control other people and their behaviours and this was especially true for my family relationships. I risked not knowing what I thought I needed to know and can accept this as a reality.

 

  • Determining, after taking some time to convince myself, that my cancer diagnosis, surgeries and treatments were not to harm nor scare me but to help and heal me and once I did that I was/am a more responsive and healing patient.

This list is not the end but an example of some instances that came to mind as I was preparing the post. Each of them starts with a verb. Yes, action is required in courage.

I found this example of my artwork which helped (and continues to help) me move through the often slow, boring and painful times of recovery from the BIG surgery in July 2017. I concur with past me!

A very influential person to help me learn aspects of the courage I could tap into in my latter years is my husband and along with him, my reading and listening to the works of Brene Brown. Her statements on vulnerability hit home!

So, what is courage for you?

Denyse.

 

 

Joining with Alicia here for Open Slather.

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: 30/52. Share Your Snaps 6.  23/7/18.



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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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My Intention & ‘Word’ for 2018. #LifeThisWeek 2/52. 2018.3.

My Intention & ‘Word’ for 2018. #LifeThisWeek 2/52. 2018.3.

Here we are, one week into the New Year and whilst I do not make them any more, it was clear in the media (who are, let’s face it in the business of selling their stories!) that it’s time to make New Year’s Resolutions.

The reason many of us choose not to any more is the real and perceived lack of willpower or character when we ‘fail’ to live up to them. This link re anxiety which can be heightened by making New Year’s Resolutions. So, it is not good for us it seems to do these!

In becoming more mindful over the past years to enable me to live more in the moment I note that my teachers, from the Buddhism area, talk of setting an intention each day. It is in doing this, and appreciating what we already have, that our present moments are valuable.

Last year my intention WAS to set an intention weekly but I ended up giving myself too much pressure to perform over it!

Not helpful in my mindful pursuits.

In 2017 I made KINDNESS and being KIND to myself and others a priority and in fact, the lightbox above where I am writing now, held this message for the year. It did help me centre myself more in the times when I became more negative about myself.

I also embraced gratitude as a mental and written practice. I was not consistent every day and there were days (as you can imagine when I first knew I had cancer!) that I did not feel grateful at all.

What is it to be for me in 2018? I was struck and somewhat humbled by various comments to me personally and in writing about how I have been managing the news of cancer, the surgeries and the long recovery times. The word which arose time and time again was BRAVE. I certainly saw myself as someone who usually actually rose to which ever occasion that was a challenge but didn’t quite think of it as being BRAVE.

Neverthless I am continuing to tell myself that perhaps this word IS a message for me to carry into 2018 as more surgery and recovery times await. So, my WORD was to be BRAVE….and then I listened to Brene Brown in her latest publication Braving the Wilderness and considered B R A V I N G. Here’s what Brene writes on page 149:

B     BOUNDARIES

R     RELIABILITY

A     ACCOUNTABILITY

V     VAULT

I      INTEGRITY

N     NON-JUDGMENT

G     GENEROSITY

Yet still, this was no quite what I wanted. For some weeks prior to this post I have had these words on my locked screen on my iphone and I thought they would be the intention for 2018:

BE THE BRAVE OTHERS SEE IN ME.

And that seemed sufficient until 5 days ago when I thought of a WORD..which was both self-contained and an acronym. Here it is:

B.  Be (brave)

O. Optimistic

L.  Loving & Learning

D. Determined (Denyse)

So, that is it. I am content with this and already have it here….and on my wrist! No, not a tatt! But an old-fashioned way: an engraved plate on a sweet little bracelet I will wear 24/7. My eyes can go to it and be reminded when my brain and confidence may be lagging and I can be:

B.O.L.D!

My “message to me” bracelet.

Sign Above Where I Blog.

There it is. An intention and a word with more!

Do you have a word or intention for this year?

Have you found that you forget them as the year goes along? I confess to that in a few years gone by!

Thanks for reading, commenting and hopefully linking up too!

Denyse.

On Mondays I also link up here with Alicia for Open Slather! Do pop over, her blog is always interesting and I learn a lot!

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: 3/52 My Favourite Weather. 15/1/18.

 


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Any Regrets? #LifeThisWeek 39/52. 2017.113.

Any Regrets? #LifeThisWeek 39/52. 2017.113.

I first thought of this prompt as a list where I would write my regrets.

Oh.

So then I had a review of why I thought they were regrets and that opened a conversation between me and my husband about the futility of the list. However, before I sign off on no regrets, these were on that list*:

  1. Leaving the state super scheme aged 22 because I could and my husband was already a member.
  2. Selling our Kellyville house and putting much more of our borrowed dollars into a new build of our own at Bella Vista only to have to sell it to keep ourselves from bankruptcy only 4 years later.
  3. Deciding to resign from my role as principal rather than continue in the way in which Work Cover wanted me to in steps and stages starting with working from the local district office.
  4. Generously giving our adult kids hefty (for then and now!) deposits as early inheritances so they had security for their future and that of our grandchildren or future grandchildren.
  5. Saddling ourselves with a much larger mortgage than we could sustain once I had reached 60 and found working most days a physical and mental challenge.

*I note that each of these is money-based and yes, I am that person who likes financial security (we have it) but I am still someone who would like to have had more. That’s who I am. Not proud of it. It’s me. 

This has been hard in some ways to re-visit these landmarks in my mind….but that IS the whole point. They are in the past. I cannot change a thing about any of them. I need to leave them where they are but also to recall, from time to time, the learning they have afforded me.

That is: I cannot control the ways in which others may respond to my or another’s gifts, choices, decision and the like. The only way I can move on is to say to myself “I forgive myself for some of those decisions and will use my memories of them to guide me for the future me and centre the present me on where I am in this moment”.

Some findings on-line about regrets here:

http://www.parentscountdowntocollegecoach.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/no-regrets.jpg

http://inspirationboost.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/88-Never-Regret-Good-is-Wonderful-Bad-is-Experience.png

I did have some songs come to mind too with lyrics about regrets but rather than give you ear worm (which you just might regret!!) I offer the titles only.

Non Je Ne Regrette Rien – Edith Piaf

My Way – Frank Sinatra

I am interested to know how you view regrets and if you have been successful at letting any regrets ‘go’…..

Thanks for reading!

May I ask you to come over and read TOMORROW’S post here or on I Blog on Tuesdays link with Kylie or

on Thursday’s link with Leanne because I have an ANNOUNCEMENT about 2018 Life This Week!!

Denyse.

On Mondays I link with Alicia here for Open Slather and with 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!

Next Week: Letter to My 20 year old self.


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Reality Bites. Part Two. 2017.100.

Reality Bites. Part Two. 2017.100.

So a few weeks back I wrote here about ‘reality biting’ from the emotional health perspective as it started to over shadow my physical recovery. It is true that as I said back then our feelings can take longer to catch up with us. In some ways a more gentle and regular pattern of life has taken place since then and life is pretty good!

However, there have been some more moments and events where reality has bitten and I outline them here:

  • I am finding it  a challenge most days to ‘like’ the face…i.e. the mouth I see which is shrunken and ‘old lady with no teeth in’ look. Oh wait. That IS me. Old(ish!) lady with no teeth ..at the top. However, I saw myself in a photo and it’s not pretty. I am vain! I guess we all like to think we present a reasonable face to anyone. It will happen! You know it will…just going to be a few months yet.
  • I am feeling luckier as time goes on that my cancer does appear to have been isolated in that one place in my mouth but IF I let my imaginative thoughts take over I anticipate more cancer in my future. Note to self: remember mindfulness and living for today
  • I am hungry and wanting to eat from a nutrition and enjoyable perspective but I am very limited by foods which require virtually no chewing and can be swallowed with no chance of choking. Oops: I remember this well when I ‘try’ to eat some small pieces of cooked chicken within a soup I have blended and I manage not to choke but to remember that I cannot chew. Note well…OK? Sigh.
  • I have a great desire to have the rest of this year on fast forward to the days when I can eat well and without much restriction but that’s not going to happen. I was reminded of this limitation again when I did my first mini supermarket shop last week and had to say to myself: can’t have chips, can’t have meat, can’t have ANY thing that is hard, crunchy or needs chewing. In 2018 this will be different. Be patient ..LOL.

I posted this photo recently and had so many positive comments about my appearance. For a while though I wondered why I felt defensive about my loss of weight because it has not been intentional. I feel I have to justify my weight loss (over 3+years) because it did come at a ‘cost’ thanks to anxiety and IBS. But..I reflected on this too because for the many years I was very overweight I was using food as a comfort. My slow and gradual weight loss has made me realise that in many ways it has also helped me to feel more content at this size and I am certainly more physically comfortable and I think my recovery was assisted by me being this size.

But you know what I do actually say to myself now?

  • I am so fortunate to have recovered well from a MOST major and complex surgery where part of my leg was made to fit into my upper part of my mouth to give me, over time, teeth and gums and a S M I L E to be proud of.
  • I have the best support person in the world…who is also incredibly patient with this ex-patient…and that of course is my husband who I paid tribute to here.
  • I have my 100% independence back now. I can look after myself in terms of hygiene…oh I do need some help with covering my leg to have a shower…and dressing. I still need the nurses to visit to dress my leg wounds but they are going well too. I can walk well with no boot and I can drive. This has all come about in the past week to 10 days.
  • I am, as they say, #blessed!

Some photos showing my progress. This post is published just under 7 weeks since my surgery on 6 July 2017.

This will be the last of the posts about my cancer diagnosis and surgery for a while. As I recover more over the next few months I will be back into other topics and those of interest each week. I appreciate that the number of commenters and the amount of support I have had since I announced I had cancer has buoyed me through much of this time. Big thanks to you all.

How have you managed when being ill or post surgery?

Are you someone who has little patience or are you someone who can wait?

Have you ever cared for someone post-surgery or who has a major illness?

Denyse.

Joining with Kylie Purtell here for I Blog On Tuesdays and with Leanne here for her Linky called Lovin’ Life on Thursdays.

 

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