Monday 18th December 2017

Cancer and Me Four Months On. 2017.108.

Cancer and Me Four Months On. 2017.108.

Really? It’s been four months since I found out that cancer was in my mouth….and by this Thursday coming, 11 weeks since it was removed. Oh. Then that has  gone both fast and slow!

I did say I wasn’t going to have cancer at the centre of my blogging but I cannot deny that it’s there/here/everywhere around us. My community nurse who visits each week to change and check on my leg wounds’ dressings has cancer. Hers is breast cancer. I know of on-line friends recently diagnosed too and one, very sadly, who has passed away. And the country was saddened to see the recent death to cancer of Connie Johnson from LoveYourSister.

CANCER.

I don’t use the ‘f’ word in front of it though. Many do with the #f…cancer. It’s just not me.

Today though  I am actually wanting to share the lessons having cancer has taught me. I am not going too ‘woo woo’ or having had a new experience from beyond. But it’s true.

Having cancer has taught me these 10 lessons:

  • I am not alone in getting a rare cancer and a most unusual one like mine …even if I did  know that someone else has had it might make a difference. The point I am making is I am not special”.
  • The surgeons know more about how to fix me than I do so I am better leaving things in their capable hands rather than trying to control where my cancer is taking me.
  • About kindness. Of strangers. Of friends. Of people I may only see a few times. So. Many. Kind. Words & Deeds. I am forever grateful.
  • When I need to be, I can be patient and wait. This is a huge life lesson for the previously still  impatient moi!
  • I have more inner strength and resilience than I have previously given myself credit for. It has made a psychological shift in me that has been noticed by those closest to me and the professionals I see more frequently such as my GP and psychologist. I am going well in so many ways, I can see & feel that now. 
  • To appreciate the little things in life. Sunshine on a day where I can go outside and soak up some vitamin D. A warm bed after an early shower (my husband still needs to help by sealing my right leg in a plastic bag. Time to talk. To my husband and to friends who call.
  • My creativity and independence give me great strength each day as I endeavour to feed myself for healing, wellness and enjoyment. It IS a challenge but now I am on my own two feet and fit to cook, I enjoy making meals for someone (moi!)  who has 8 teeth on the bottom jaw and a strong tongue. The rest…is attitude and being aware of how I can eat safely.
  • I can be calm about what is ahead because I am fortunate enough to be able to know (within a small likelihood) that my cancer is unlikely to metastasise.
  • What I face in the next 6-12 months is to get my mouth ‘fixed’ from the inside. I do trust my surgical and dental team 100% that their goal is for me to be cancer free (check!) and back to eating as I might have in the past (on the way) and to have my full smile back (it is half at the moment).
  • Every day is a gift and I need to be more in the present than I have ever been in my whole life. I am a work-in-progress in this as I often spent times in the past (regrets, sadness) and projecting into the future. I know that the only moment we have is NOW. 

What About You?

None of us have to have cancer to consider making life changes. Some of the last 2 years I had been on my way using daily meditation, creative arts and reading & doing on-line courses to better understand the various life transitions that were mine. Retirement. Ageing. Leaving Family. Selling Our House.

What do you do to help yourself?

Thank you to my readers here who have continued to be wonderful supporters and friends of mine as I continue to journey. I am buoyed by your care and words on-line whenever we connect!

Denyse.

Joining with Kylie Purtell (who is cruising along right now!) for I Blog on Tuesdays here and with Leanne here for Lovin’ Life Linky on Thursdays.

 

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What’s in a word? Cancer. 2017.82.

What’s in a word? Cancer. 2017.82.

Since I heard the word, cancer, to describe what had been found via pathology from the biopsied tissue from my gums, I have seen it and heard it everywhere. However, I think, it’s like when I  first become pregnant, I saw other pregnant women everywhere.

It’s more noticeable because it affects ME. So, whilst there is still no word (ha!) on the exact  date for my cancer surgery, I thought it timely to write a post.

I have been incredibly well-supported already by those in my friendship realm here in the blogging world and elsewhere.

Each has been from someone who has had cancer, knows someone with cancer, and is currently being treated for cancer.

I read recently  that 1 in 2 of us will have cancer. Wow!

My family of course have expressed their concern and care for me. I have been visited by almost all of the immediate family and that has been lovely. What I have found too is the outstretching of hands (figuratively) of so many is helpful and reassuring which is why I blog about it.

Here’s what I wanted to share briefly:

I had been on a roller-coaster of emotions ANYWAY before I was diagnosed with cancer, so to add cancer to the mix has raised those anxious thoughts of mine to greater levels. But, I am thankful that I was already doing much to help myself with anxiety and adjusting to our new way of life. Meditation, being more mindful, walking, being outdoors, blogging, enjoying some Netflix with my husband, going to the beach, taking photos, supportive health professionals  and generally engaging on social media are already integrated into my life. So, they have become tools for managing my thoughts about cancer too. 

Thank you to the many people who have sent me messages, cards and let me know that I am in their prayers, thoughts and hearts.

“We are all just walking each other home” Ram Dass.

It is very humbling to have such a lovely group of you with me.

Most of all, I thank my husband who is already my finest supporter and rock! He will be with me as much as he can within the first days in hospital and I know, not matter what state of grogginess I may be in, he will be within arms reach for me. That IS love. I am so lucky.

Thank you everyone. I hope that if the word ‘cancer’ is part of your world by association or for you that you too will be cared for and about like I have been. I am blessed. This image is one I am using when I need to take myself to a more enjoyable mindful place. Enjoy!

I am grateful every day.

UPDATED: About my present state of health. 

When I wrote this post I thought I was managing myself quite well. Since then, I have had some pretty horrid days (and nights) where I have become fearful, panicked, and so vulnerable I wanted to go into a corner and hide and never come out.

I am shit-scared right now.

I am worried about losing what I valued: my mouth where I speak, eat, share my emotions and smile. It has been days of crying uncontrollably, being held until I calm down (thank you dear B) and taking some valium (which I don’t really want to) and letting out the fears  in words between the sobs. 

I fear: the loss of ability to use my mouth for at least 7-10 days, have a naso-gastric feeding tube down my throat for those days, having the skin/flesh/bone from my right leg inside my mouth after 3/4 of my upper jaw/palate as been removed. Dealing with the not being in control.

I am, as I write, unable to really express what it means to be facing this loss of control of my body. I will be in ICU to start and may even have a tracheostomy to start if the mouth is too swollen. This is very scary to me, and I am admitting it now.

For me to admit how vulnerable I feel right now is to say “I cannot do this without help”. My husband reassures me he will be there as much as possible, and given how I will look and be, he will be my only visitor until I give any indication I can see others. I am facing the unknown and that as we know is the scariest place to be. I will be losing my smile….for more than a while. Possible 3-4 months until my upper jaw recovers.

Have you faced major surgery of any kind for cancer and other reasons?

How did you deal with it?

I am so wanting some answers that help me know – in the pre-surgery phase that I am not alone in my fears. 

Thank you for reading this far! I appreciate that very much.

Denyse.

Joining Kylie Purtell here for I Blog On Tuesdays link up.

Linking here on Thursday with Leanne and friends for Lovin’ Life.

 

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About Art Materials. 366/44.

About Art Materials. 366/44.

When I first started my art(full) journey in mid 2013 I had no idea about how important it might be to know more about quality art materials.

I had always liked drawing, scrapbooking and making craft/art with the grandchildren after I stopped teaching.

However, until I began my foray into the world of knowing more..thanks to this lady and her website and wonderful Index Card a Day challenge..I used cheap paints, brushes and paper.

Why? One reason was expense but on a deeper level I think it was more about whether I was ‘deserving’ of such things.

Tammy Garcia and her very supportive group, in which I now count some people as friends, taught me about the value of firstly myself as a creative person (in fact an ‘artist’) and how using quality materials can make such a difference.

For the past 3 years creating art has been a major part of my life and so helpful to my health. The bank balance not so much! Since the fall of the Aussie dollar against the US dollar art materials have been off my list of purchases from overseas.

This week though it was time for some review of needs. I had a little spend up of sorts locally and updated my watercolours which are in half-pan size and some very heavy water colour paper. I also purchased some new tubes of gouache paint.

I was like a kid at Christmas having fun sorting out the watercolours and here’s the photo story of how I did it.

Do you find it a challenge to ‘spend money’ on yourself for a creative pursuit?

I do now that I no longer work.

Tell me your story about creativity and what you enjoy!

Denyse.

Joining in with Sammie over at The Ultimate Rabbit Hole. Happy Weekend!

Also now joining Grace here for Flog Your Blog Friday because my link did not work yesterday. Sorry readers! Here is the post.

 

 

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Settling In. 355/365.

Settling In. 355/365.

Three hundred and fifty three posts ago…..I wrote this.

Then about 50 days into the journey of US

….from Sydney and working life and family life…to the Central Coast, with no more work (by choice) and leaving those we love….I wrote this post

Regular readers, who do not all comment (I know, that’s cool too) will recall that I have found the moving and more very stressful on some days and it’s affected my general well-being for days at a time. It’s not been helped by some IBS at times which has complicated my goals to be independent and drive to Sydney and other places more….

Yes, I wrote about this from time to time too…here.

But today, 355 days into this year of blogging every day, and just about 3 weeks away from the anniversary of the physical move to the coast, I am starting to feel I am settling in.

How do I know?

It’s a feeling of greater physical connection to what we always thought we would like about the coast…the waterways, the temperate climate (not always) and the slower pace of life.

I am also becoming more at ease with the no-working, no easy family connection thing too. I have had to ‘adjust’ to what is my new (very!) normal.

So, I am settling in.

Have you made major life changes?

What were they?

How did you go?

Take care, everyone!

Denyse xx

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Whooping Cough. 84/365.

Whooping Cough. 84/365.

I’ve had whooping cough at least 3 times. First time around 2000, then a couple of times since. Yes I have.

Indeed it does last 100 days and its nasty cough tired me out and left me quite hoarse.

But I was immunised as a child and later I think.

It is said that whooping cough immunity does diminish over time.

I was not a young child nor a baby.

As we know the effects of these people can be fatal.

I’m all in favour of vaccination which is why I am receiving a whooping cough vaccine boost this week in preparation for a new grandchild’s arrival.

Despite having had whooping cough, it is highly recommended that if I want to meet my newest grandchild I have the protection of the vaccine.

Availability of this vaccine is scarce right now…in Sydney and elsewhere, which is why when I found that a pharmacy had some in stock about 30 minutes from here I went there to pay $41.00! My local doctor will inject this so I can meet my newest grandchild knowing I have some protection.

It’s important.

Did you have whooping cough?

Have you been vaccinated?

Denyse xx

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Joining Grace for FYBFriday..


 

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