Monday 20th September 2021

Archives for August 2021

35/51 #LifeThisWeek. Telling My Story. Ch. 26. Part 2/3. May-August 2021.106/2021.

Telling My Story. Chapter Twenty Six. 2021. Part 2/3. May – August.

The backstory first:

FOUR years ago now ….I thought it was time, seeing I had a blog, to start writing my story. It was on advice from a blogging friend, now published author that I did. Then, for a long time I did not. Because cancer was diagnosed.

Nevertheless, I eventually returned to the story and now I am at Chapter Twenty Six. Telling the story as 2021 progresses in three parts. Today is Part Two. May-August 2021.

So, in keeping with my ethical approach to all things, I am making the chapters about MY recollections to various changes in life for me, and us, and life as we knew it. I hope I can continue sharing the story without any intentionally negative or hurtful references to others who are in my life as friends and family members. All of the stories to date found here.

And with this chapter, a recent photo…taken overlooking the harbour at Dobroyd near where I grew up close to Manly N.S.W.

 

May 2021.

We had pretty good weather in May. We got outside even more. The covid ‘stuff’ had settled. However, we could never be quite sure of its whereabouts so we did “wearing a mask” when asked inside, and I know I was pretty casual about signing in using the State Government QR code. No-one was really practising social distancing but living on the coast, we did not have too many concerns.

We did not travel to Sydney for Mother’s Day this year even though I could have. It just wasn’t happening.

I got to celebrate my 4 years since my Head and Neck cancer diagnosis with a much anticipated visit to Sydney’s Lyric Theatre where I saw Hamilton.

Yes it was everything I had hoped and more. Wonderful.

That week I also came back to Westmead for a 6 month mouth check with my prosthodontist. All is well.

I stopped on my way home at a cafe in a nursery where I used to meet up with friends in Sydney days. It was lovely but it had changed as had I.

June. What happened?

We were continuing to be lulled into some kind of normality, living without too many restrictions and life was pretty good.

I visited my Dad to celebrate his 10 years living in his independent retirement Unit. He is going well.

I had my 6 months check with my regular dentist and he was very pleased with how well I care for my mouth and 8 teeth now! It’s always a treat going to him because we have such a history and he is a great cheerleader too.

I was delighted to recall that my head and neck cancer nurse, Cate, was a Woman of Courage on the blog too. But….the head and neck cancer group getting to Canberra was not able to happen because of Covid restrictions in Victoria and I took a reality check. The reality check for me was about how I would be able to eat when away from home over 3 nights and it was literally something I need to accept. A future post on eating and drinking challenges post head and neck cancer was planned.

But, we were going OK. In fact we had morning tea out twice using our government’s ‘dine in’ vouchers and I was excitedly planning the Soup for the Soul event with my friends from BluJ’s in Toukley.

 

And then late June 2021, just as the school holidays began, and we got excited about seeing our son and his family to celebrate our newly minted 8 year old’s birthday it was OFF. Back to Lockdown. Because of Covid 19 and ONE person’s infection from the newly seen and very nasty delta strain….it was not a good news day or week. So much changed in a very short time. STAY home. STAY safe. And as I write this ready for 30 August publication we are STILL in same lockdown. It’s actually become much more serious. More on that as I try to recall August! OK, we live on N.S.W. Central Coast, around 2 hours from centre of Sydney the capital of N.S.W. On 27 June 2021 we were declared to be part of Greater Sydney, along with Sydney and all its suburbs, Wollongong and Shellharbour to the south and the Blue Mountains to the west. NB: the Central Coast where we live was declared a regional area mid August.

The Hawkesbury River and Bridge. From the side where I took this photo it’s Central Coast.

July 2021.

July holds many memories for me since 2017. It marks the anniversary of my first head and neck cancer major surgery and reconstruction on 6 July (4 years this year) and 27.7 each year – since 2014, is World Head and Neck Cancer Day.

I met other people who were also head and neck cancer patients, carers and professionals in July 2018 at Central Coast Cancer Centre and in 2019 was part of the group called Central Coast Head and Neck Cancer Support who held a Soup for the Soul Event. And, each year the charity for whom I volunteer as an Ambassador, Head and Neck Cancer Australia, has awareness activities on line and encourages communities and individuals to host Soup for the Soul.

I was one who was going this with my friends at my local cafe but once lockdown came and they chose not to open as takeaway business was not a large amount of their trade, the event could not go ahead. So, I made it a virtual event and kind friends and professionals donated to a total of $305.

Some other memories and more from July 2021.

And August Arrived!

Of course we celebrated our daughter’s birthday. Post in detail here. We continued in lockdown which felt endless. I admit I did sometimes get very cranky on social media and then had to stop using it.

I tended then to spend more time outside, or doing something creative. I know preparing and sending off little packs of bookmarks was a positive experience.

Of course, Women of Courage continued on the blog but I was planning to bring it to a close soon. I stayed in contact on line with friends and family as much as practicable but also remembering people at work (even at home) are much busier than I am.

I had successful dental checks – of the regular kind. I am doing well after the surgeries I had in July and August 2021 and I am very grateful for that. I talk to Dad once a week. He is OK and finding the visitors restrictions within his unit complex quite frustrating. He is a sociable person. My brother and sister in law help him each week with shopping and some company. I haven’t been to see him since mid June because of “lockdown”.

I try to get out each day somewhere to notice nature – walking locally or driving somewhere near the water and that helps regulate my mood.

And to do this often:

 

What’s ahead and what other news is there?
No-one knows.

However, I know I am going well and have quite a few choices of art and creative ventures at home. B is making a new TV cabinet and has numerous small projects on the go. He is doing some on-line music lessons and I have similar ones for art. We would not be happy if the NBN stopped working!!

My dear husband has enjoyed writing his 3rd blog post, with another one to come. We are very well suited…different interests but shared common history, love of kids and education (not always the formal kind), and connecting with people. It’s the first time in our marriage of over 50 years that we have spent so much time together at home and for the most part…at least 99% …it’s going well.

Our next door neighbours have two little ones, one born just before Easter and when our family visits were curtailed and I had excess of mini cupcakes in the freezer, it’s been great to share (safely!) a couple of little boxes of treats. Their family cannot visit just as we cannot have ours come. Still, for the greater good.

We have made a promise, once new restrictions began for lockdown, to only go to two stand alone supermarkets, the doctors and chemist and (before they became more restricted in entry) Bunnings on occasions for B. On one day, only one of us goes out (for essential reasons) and we stick to that. I recently made a trip to the local Reject shop…the only place open in a large super centre to buy a stash of cards for upcoming birthdays and celebrations. I also got some fun items which have been sent to Sydney to two families for the school aged grandkids…a care package…costs more to post by express but I would rather they got them! Australia Post employees tell me they have never been busier.

Here’s  two days of contrast (weather and condition wise) at Soldiers Beach.

 

Mon 23.8.21. Warm weather

Great day but look at those clouds.

Windy & wet. Tues 24 August.

Same ‘area’ where person was snorkling on Monday!

 

 

UPDATE: In late August I heard very sad news. Two friends had both died of cancer. One of whom was a Woman of Courage. Her name is Tracey Fletcher King. Here is the link to her story:

The second person is Fergus McCulla, a young man I had the pleasure of meeting back in 2019 as he had questions to ask me about my surgeries for cancer in my mouth. Fergus’s cancer was a very nasty one, and despite “everything” he eventually left behind the pain and suffering, that as his Mum said, he never spoke about. On Tuesday, I will attend his funeral service which will be streamed on-line.

 

Sending my love to the  families and friends of both of these special people. Vale Tracey and Vale Fergus. I am honoured that our paths crossed.

 

 

 

 

And so the second of three parts of 2021 is done. I will of course, be finishing this year’s story. However, I am no longer going to update here as I have found it hard(er) than I imagined in the midst of other life stuff…meaning, I am reducing some of my ‘have to’s in 2022 and keeping Telling My Story going won’t be a blog post. I might do a summary one time, but the recall and record keeping is less appealing than when I committed to starting!

 

Thanks for reading. And maybe just skimming but looking at the pictures. That is cool too. I am grateful I have used this blog to make me accountable.

Last one will be published as the last blog post (and Link Up) for 2021. 51/51….but we have a few weeks to go to that, and I am not wishing the year away!

Denyse.

Link Up #255

Life This Week. Link Up #255

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* 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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

Next week’s optional prompt: 36/51 Self Care Stories #5. 6 Sept. Link Up #256

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Lots To Share Afloat. #SundayStills. 105/2021.

Lots To Share Afloat. #SundayStills. 105/2021.

Terri here has shared the prompts for August 2021 and beyond when Natalie from here hosts for 3 weeks. This week is the second. Thank you Natalie.

I will share this post soon as ‘my’ Sunday becomes Monday here. Terri & Natalie are in the northern hemisphere. I do enjoy sharing and am happy to wait till Monday. This is the prompt: Afloat!

Come and read to see what I did for this post!

Afloat: A Sydney Harbour Ferry.

I love a good ferry ride when I can visit Sydney. This time, however, was one to make memories for me, just before we left to go to live further out of Sydney on N.S.W  Central Coast in 2015. In the background is the Sydney Opera House and a little part of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Grandma was happy to take H for a day into the city and part of our excursion, before he started school in 2013 was a ride on a ferry! Being outside you see the best. This part was where the ferry was starting to back away from the wharf at Circular Quay, and then would turn around for our trip to Darling Harbour.

The Sydney Opera House. So splendid from the harbour. Best views from the Ferry. This was finally opened in 1973 and I still marvel at it. I have attended many events there.

Outside, always, for me and another view back towards the Sydney Opera House, with the Botanical Gardens in the background.

I don’t mind a bit of chop on the water and it makes for extra splashes and fun. What a great background showcasing Sydney’s well-known landmarks. The rock building is called Fort Denison and forms part of Australia’s white settlement past.

This a Manly Ferry, photo taken in 2014. Many of these have been ridden by me and my family over the decades when I lived quite close to Manly. These days the much larger ferries are no longer in use & one is moored close to Darling Harbour. This one is a medium-sized one. Often too, they are using speedier ones. Sad in some ways because the 40 minutes slow(er) ride on the Ferry to the City had an air of calm. Unless you were in a hurry!

Afloat? Not always. 

In April 2015, we had already moved to the Central Coast and a weather phenomenon called an East Coast low arrived. For 5 days in rained (and more!) and blew dangerous winds which felled trees. We lived here, close to the water and we could not get to the cars unless we wore gumboots. We had no power and after three days my husband ventured very gingerly out in the white car to bring home a generator and a portable gas stove. The generator was awesome and kept phones charged. Power was restored and then it was a matter of waiting for shops to re-open as their perishable food had to be thrown out as did ours.

Not our boat but moored close to our rental accommodation…I spent a lot of time taking photos and videos as a distraction from how awful the time was.

This was the result for one of those boats. NOT afloat. But “OAR”some photo!

Staying Afloat…

This dear little granddaughter, back in 2016, keeping herself afloat in her ‘lifejacket’ but mostly holding the hand of her Papa and feeling much safer in the shallow water at Norah Head Rockpool.

That’s my take for Afloat for Sunday Stills.

Denyse.

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Women of Courage Series. #69 Bianca Hewes. 104/2021.

Women of Courage Series. #69 Bianca Hewes. 104/2021.

Two years ago… I tentatively courageously launched Women of Courage series on my blog and here was what I said then:

I got this idea from attending the Newcastle Writers Festival in April 2019 and hearing the wonderful Jane Caro speak about her book Accidental Feminists. IF you ever get a chance to listen to or read Jane’s works they are very good.

What I considered after that day and in the days to come is how we women have a tendency to underplay our achievements and whatever else we are doing in our lives. I know this is changing.

This third series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here will continue to be published each Thursday into September 2021 when it will conclude.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

 

Thanks to the world of school education being big as well as small in New South Wales, where I used to be employed, I am fortunate to say I have met Bianca Hewes, who is 41 on a couple of occasions at Teach Meets! In fact, one of them was in August 2015, held at where “I” attended high school in the 1960s, and also where Bianca did….much, much later!  She, was at the time of meeting, working locally at a selective High School and introducing new and exciting subjects, along with her philosophy of education I found very refreshing. She and her husband impress me greatly and education is richer for their presence. But today, it’s Bianca’s story, and I am delighted to share because saying “yes” was not initially Bianca’s response! Thank you, B.

 

 

 

What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

 

I find this question very hard to answer, as I’ve never really viewed myself as a courageous person.

In fact, since I have anxiety (the diagnosed sort stemming from childhood trauma, not the trendy kind) I’d say that I’m almost the opposite of courageous.

But, after some prompting from Denyse and a bit of reflection, I think something that could be classified by others as being courageous was my decision to continue with my university studies whilst I had a newborn son.

Luckily he was born in mid-semester break so I had a few weeks to give birth and learn how to be a mum before I strapped him to my chest and headed back into the lecture hall.

 

How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

 

I suppose it just made me more determined to work hard and prove everyone wrong.

I got used to people staring at me on the bus and around campus – even though I was 21 I looked like I was 15 – and this defiance of judgement is something I have cultivated as a key personality trait and a value I’ve passed onto my sons.

I learnt quickly to stand up for myself when I needed to and to assert my rights as a woman and a mother. It also made me realise that I can do anything I want to – which sounds really cliche but has proven (mostly) true.

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

 

I think the biggest thing is to not listen to the negative opinions of others and to embrace those who support and celebrate you for who you are and the decisions you make.

I remember that second semester with my tiny two week old son I was doing two philosophy courses.

One lecturer was so supportive of me, but the other came up to me after class once and told me he didn’t agree with me being at university with a child.

It hurt being confronted that way, but I knew my rights and I stood my ground.

 

Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

 

Like I said at the start, I don’t think I’m a particularly courageous person, but having my children when I was also studying and then later working meant that I developed resilience and determination.

I definitely draw on both of those qualities a lot in life.

 

Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

 

Just don’t listen to society.

Be true to yourself.

Trust your own judgement and your own capacity.

I knew I could care for a baby whilst completing my studies even if other people lacked faith in me – and I was right.

So, I suppose just trusting yourself and enjoy proving others wrong is my message.

 

Thank you Bianca, I “knew” you would share a great story of courage and that it would help others to see what can be done despite the ‘judgements’ of some. How awful was that comment from a Uni so-called professional!

Bianca has some social media sites where she shares about education and more.

She has written and co-authored many texts and other books for teachers and schools.

Denyse.

 

 

Social Media:

Blog/Website biancahewes.wordpress.com

Twitter @biancah80

Facebook Page:  Australian Project Based Learning Network

Instagram: @jimmy_reads_books

Joining with Natalie here for Weekend Coffee Share.

Copyright © 2021 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Time. 34/51 #LifeThisWeek. 103/2021.

Time. 34/51 #LifeThisWeek. 103/2021.

Bernard’s 70th Birthday Gift.

By popular demand, today I welcome back my husband Bernard to share his thoughts with us on TIME. Before getting to his words, I want to say this:

  • he is wise
  • he married me (ok, that was mutually wise)
  • he wrote this and I…..
  • did not really understand it
  • he said ….you will need to read to the end to find out.

Thank you Bernard.

This image taken by me, as an example of time. Others’ feet who had gone before me. Little and Big. Last week.

 

Tempus Fugit – Or Does It?

Poor old Father Time … He and we have been butting heads since the moment he was conceived.

From that moment He has copped so much abuse and, yet unaffected, marches inexorably

 

  • I would have finished if only I’d had enough time!!!’

HSC student who has assigned more time to just hanging out when he ought to have been studying.

 

  • ‘Yer never gave me enough time. How’s a bloke supposed to do a thirty minute job in fifteen minutes?’

Angry mature apprentice  reacting to an incompetent boss.

 

  • ‘Every day’s delay costs me money. I need to buy some more time!’

Worried builder under pressure to meet an unrealistic deadline.

 

  • ‘Bein’ in the clink feels like time has gorn to sleep or it’s jus’ standin’ still!’

Woman incarcerated for life for the slaughter of her cheating husband.

 

  • ‘The faster I work the slower my progress seems. It’s driving me cray-cray!’

Anxious dressmaker working on a wedding gown for a precious princess

 

This old guy has not a nasty bone in his poor body.

Since he began interacting with humans, he has been the object of relentless criticism and abuse having been laughed at, jeered at and generally flung dung at for just doing his job.

How would you feel being accused of a robbery that you didn’t commit? Plenty distressed I should venture to say!

However, he is not so pure and innocent as to not seek and gain revenge. Just look above to see examples. Who among us can say that they have not felt ‘time is standing still’ when we can’t wait to see what Santa has bought us? Or, that ‘time flies (tempus fugit)’ when we’re having fun. And, the more fun you have the faster it goes. Correct?

 

We encounter challenges with TIME for we are fallible folk.

We allow our decisions and actions to define whether IT is our enemy or ally.

Whatever the case, we seek to take control of our time as a means of living our own lives and getting the most out of them. Can’t blame us for that!

However, if we are honest – or a member of the Anti-Vaccination Klan – we would admit that attempting to control what is essentially uncontrollable is a fruitless pursuit that can only result in frustration and heartache!

 

As I see it, the problem is a universal one among our varied and extremely complex humankind.

Nobody really understands him –  that includes your author, even after many, many long years of being closely restrained and guided by him! I now know how a dog on a leash feels! He’s way ahead of us.

 

  • He is enigmatic (Batman wouldn’t stand a chance against him)!

 

  • The scientific community would say he’s a fourth dimension.

 

  • We think we see, hear, touch the old guy passing on by and yet, if we had the grave misfortune to have no functioning senses, we would still have a mental experience of IT through our changing thought patterns. Bit spooky that! Perhaps our brains possess a special faculty for processing time.

 

  • Can any of us really declare any greater understanding than he is a measurable perception. That’s why we mere mortals need to personify him.

 

  • It seems this ever-present phenomenon comes in two quite separate perceptions. There is the objective perception, Persona one,  that removes the gender from him and presents as a clinical measurement, informed through clocks, calendars, etc.

 

  • Persona two is our subjective perception that emanates from our need as humans to connect and form a relationship with him. As is our wont, we just have to give time personality, don’t we?

 

  • And, of course, when the world was a place when only the male of the species had the authority and importance (albeit, self-) to make such monumental decisions, he was assigned the male gender. This is a bit like trying to understand the concept of God. She’s always been referred to as masculine. But now we know differently – don’t we girls!

 

So, it seems to me that, in order to change and enhance our relationship with the old bugger, we need to accept that understanding him is a bit out of our reach and probably unnecessary.

I mean, how do we experience something that is odourless, tasteless, invisible, soundless and without substance? You can’t sniff it, lick it, eyeball it, hear it or feel it. That really makes understanding him very challenging.

 

What we can say is that time:

  • stands, beacon-like, as the only perception we cannot perceive through any of our five senses. Yet, our ‘experience’ of time suggests it has an overwhelmingly, controlling presence in and of our miserable lives.

That’s just great, Bernard! Thanks for telling us in a roundabout way that which we already know!

 

The author on left with 2 of 10 male siblings.

The author, 4th from left, back with 11 of 12 siblings.

 

Sorry … Okay, so rather than expending a great deal of precious energy trying to understand something we so obviously can’t, let’s just agree that we experience time through that miraculous organ called the brain.

The brain enables our awareness of time through its relationship with more tangible objects that can be more easily perceived and understood, like the sun! Life in this magical universe is based on relationships.

So, we can get a better appreciation of time by thinking about him in relation to more tangible things. My wife, Denyse, helps me grasp the concept of time better. She, like Time, waits for no-one.

 

A favourite photo of 2 grandkids: siblings.

 

They “tried” to re-create this some years later!

 

And, that’s about as deep as we need to go in this Part One of a two-part post. Seeking to further unravel what it is and how it works is not as valuable as seeking to understand how IT influences our lives and how we can return the favour in order to make our lives keep in time with Time.

 

We look forward to that, Bernard as I noted in the introduction,  …..you said you are none the wiser either about time.

Do leave a comment or even a question for Bernard. He is writing Part Two for the blog in a few weeks.

My image to close: more from the sands of time…  the beach.

Thanks for sharing your words, Bernard.

Denyse.

 

Link Up #254

Life This Week. Link Up #254

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* 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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

Next week’s optional prompt: 35/51 Share Your Snaps #7. 30 Aug. Link Up #255. 

I will be posting Telling My Story May-August 2021…which is mostly via photos too.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

In The Garden From 2014. #SundayStills. 102/2021.

In The Garden From 2014. #SundayStills. 102/2021.

Terri here has shared the prompts for August 2021 and beyond when Natalie from here hosts for 3 weeks. This week is the first. Thank you Natalie.

I will share this post soon as ‘my’ Sunday becomes Monday here. Terri & Natalie are in the northern hemisphere. I do enjoy sharing and am happy to wait till Monday. This is the prompt: In The Garden.

Come and read to see what I did for this post!

In The Garden: 2014. Glenwood House: For Sale. 

In 2013 and into 2014 we began to prepare for the inevitable. Selling our house, with a mortgage, to become debt-free, and for me to stop working and for us to move away from Sydney to the N.S.W. Central Coast.

My husband, whilst having chronic pain from a very much compromised spine (2 very serious ones which have left him with some complications) IS a hard worker and planner for all things building and outside. So, he takes his time and things get done.

In this period too, we continued to care for our pre-school aged grandkids and had them stay with us too…making many memories.

I am so glad I do love to make memories and share some images here from In The Garden.

We miss having a place to call our own BUT it’s our current situation and we are accepting of that.

Almost finished a retaining wall.

Grandchildren ‘helping’ and loving it. The part of the yard needed a retaining wall.

Looked great after completion. All plants and grass added by my husband.

 

 

And then there was this:

 

Out the front too. This hedge gave the front of the house a division from the street, and there was a drive way on both edges of the house boundaries along with a parking pad in between. What was a front garden back in 1998 when we moved into the brand new house, changed to meet the needs of us (and maintenance too) over the years.

What’s In The Garden At Your Place?

Denyse.

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Women of Courage Series. #68 Gloria Hill. 101/2021.

Women of Courage Series. #68 Gloria Hill. 101/2021.

Two years ago….around this time of year, I tentatively courageously launched Women of Courage series on my blog and here was what I said then:

I got this idea from attending the Newcastle Writers Festival in April 2019 and hearing the wonderful Jane Caro speak about her book Accidental Feminists. IF you ever get a chance to listen to or read Jane’s works they are very good.

What I considered after that day and in the days to come is how we women have a tendency to underplay our achievements and whatever else we are doing in our lives. I know this is changing.

This third series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here will continue to be published each Thursday.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

 

I may not have (yet) met Gloria Hill, aged 48, but I already am very aware of her role and input as a parent into the very newest public school which opened in 2019. This is North Kellyville Public School, and I am a proud retired principal who continues to support public education in N.S.W. Our daughter is the teacher/librarian there, becoming foundation year staff member, and I recall seeing the many positive and amazing projects which the foundation year Parents and Citizens group (P&C) initiated. To that end, Gloria, as the 2019 P&C Secretary and later as the 2020 P&C President was nominated for the 2020 NSW P&C Federation Volunteer of the Year Award, and was one of 16 Finalists after winning the North West Sydney Electorate. Thank you Gloria for sharing your story with us. At the foot of this post is information from Gloria.

 

What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

In 2012, my son Sean was diagnosed with a genetic disease at the age of 12 months.

  • The disease is called Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) and people born with this disease are effectively born without an immune system.
  • Most undiagnosed cases do not survive infancy.
  • I was not aware I was a carrier of this glitchy gene, nor that I had passed it on to my son.

As a first-time mum, I did not know why my little man would take weeks to get over a cold, or why a small nappy rash would leave his entire bottom a red raw open weeping wound for days on end.

That first year was spent advocating for my son with various medical professionals – we got to know our GP and our early childhood nurses very well, to the point where one medical professional noted the frequency with which we were visiting the doctors’ surgery and flippantly told us we should be earning frequent flyer points for all of our visits.

For his many ailments, Sean was prescribed every potion and lotion available from our local pharmacy, but there would still be extended periods of ill health between the bright and happy days.

After many months of bashing down the doors of various doctors, a chance meeting with an early childhood nurse fast tracked the diagnosis when she insisted that Sean be seen by a paediatrician immediately.

  • In the space of 2 hours, we went from being just a number in a queue to Patient #1 at the Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick.
  • The diagnosis came quickly, and the treatment plan followed – we would have to consent to chemotherapy and a bone marrow/stem cells transplant to save Sean’s life.
  •  He was 13 months old, my first and only child, and my husband and I sat through all the medical scenarios and diseases Sean may develop post transplant, all of the scenarios ended with “if this disease developed, then Sean may die”.
  • The bone crunching, soul destroying scenario was presented last – if we did not consent to the transplant, then Sean will die.

 

On 27 March 2012, a specialist team performed a miracle by transfusing 30mL of precious stem cells into Sean’s little body.

  • Over the next 5 weeks, we watched Sean’s condition worsen before he got better.
  • In a comparatively short period of time time, Sean’s body recovered from the treatments as the stem cells grafted in his body and he grew stronger by the day.
  • We were discharged from the hospital in May 2012 when the real fun awaited: a lengthy period of self-isolation with an inquisitive toddler quarantined in a small house while trying to manage weekly hospital check ups, the complicated medication schedule, the new diet (both liquid and solid), and the upkeep of his medical accessories (nasogastric tube and central line) tested my patience.

 

By the end of 2012, all the hard work paid off.

Sean was weaned off all medication, and all of his medical accessories were removed.  Sean’s appetite returned and he was thriving again hitting all of the growth milestones with ease.  The weekly clinics at hospital turned into monthly visits, and by the end of 2013, the visits would become an annual check up.

Today, 9 years since the transplant, Sean is a healthy 10 year old who loves to swim, ride his bike, and read, with a healthy appetite and an even brighter outlook on life.

 

How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

I learned to trust my gut instincts and not back down, especially when I am advocating for my family and my loved ones.

I learned to look for silver linings, because the alternative was too sad.

I learned to show my vulnerability and accept help in all the different ways that were offered to us.

I learned to take a deep breath and push on – sometimes, it just IS what it is, and I have to get on with it, because there is no other option available.

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

Lean on those you trust.

Some friendships will grow and transform to the next level.

Expect to lose friends and see friendships shift – you may be surprised by who “slip away” and bow out of your life, but don’t begrudge their departure.

They are not bad people; they just don’t know how to support you.

You are not alone.

AND you don’t have to do this alone.

There is help and support available, everywhere.

Never be afraid to reach out for help.

And if help comes to you, accept it.

You are not weaker by seeking or accepting help – in fact, you are the stronger and more courageous one for seeking or accepting help.

Specifically to a medical condition: listen to the professionals – if they tell you not to Google the disease, then don’t Google the disease, especially at 3am when you can’t sleep.

 

Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

I don’t think I could be more courageous now than I was then.

In 2012, just after diagnosis, we found ourselves “shedding friends” – people who called to check in on us, but then picked fights with us over trivial matters.

The drama that some of these former friends created at the time distracted us from the real focus at hand – the life and health of our critically ill little boy.

In hindsight, I came to realise that these people may not have been strong enough to support us, nor knew how to support, nor knew how to react to the news.

Whilst it was disappointing at the time, the loss of these relationships was actually to our benefit.

At the same time, our true friends stepped up and found innovative ways to support us.

Financial donations flooded in from well meaning friends who wanted to make sure my husband and I were fed during our hospital stay and we had money for petrol to get to and from the hospital.

Friends cooked us meals, took us out for quick meals (just so we would leave the hospital room and get some fresh air), and called and messaged us to get up to date news on Sean.

We still have the same loving network of family and friends who rallied around me then, so if I had to face the situation now, I know I have the support and love to get through it.

 

Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

You are not alone.

You don’t have to do this alone.

And asking for help is not a failure.

To ask for help is a sign of strength, so reach out to family and friends, and lean on them.

 

Thank you Gloria. I feel it is such an hnour for people like, and all the women who decide to share their stories, that this is a place here on my blog to do so. I am in awe of your strength as you were learning to be a mum too. I do hope all continues to go well for you and your family.

Denyse.

 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Oh_Glorious_One

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/oh_glorious_one/

Information supplied by Gloria which I am very pleased to be able to share…awareness is always an important factor in any health conditions. Thank you.

Since Sean’s diagnosis, I have discovered the Immune Deficiency Foundation Australia’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ImmuneDeficiencyFoundationAustralia/) and their private group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/217875418231666).  IDFA have provided a fantastic platform for people with Primary Immune Diseases to share knowledge and information and to provide support to each other.
As a point of interest – if anyone is keen to find out more about our involvement with Inner Wheel Australia.  The treatment plan devised by our Oncology and Immunology teams at the Sydney Children’s Hospital involved a stem cell transplant.  Sean received the transplant using stem cells extracted from cord blood, and in the ensuing years, we have been involved with Inner Wheel Australia as Ambassadors for their National Project in Cord Blood Research (https://www.innerwheelaustralia.org.au/national-project).  I have been a keynote speaker at various conferences, and Sean is the face of their national fundraising campaign called “Sean’s Two For Ten”.  The annual campaign was launched this year, and we have agreed to be the face of the campaign for the next 6 years (until Sean is 16).

 

Joining with Natalie here for Weekend Coffee Share.

Copyright © 2021 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

 

 

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Shopping. 33/51 #LifeThisWeek. 100/2021.

Shopping. 33/51 #LifeThisWeek. 100/2021.

I hate love shopping.

It’s something I inherited. From Mum. See us in this family photo where we celebrated Mum’s 80th. With my brother and father. That’s nearly 17 years ago.

I like the seeking out, the browsing and the finding of whatever it is I am looking for. Dad tells me he has spent many a time (back in the days when he & Mum were active retirees) sitting on a bench in a shopping centre while Mum ducked into a little….(insert name ) shop . She would often emerge with something and often at a good price.

I do not have my mother’s budget skills and can overspend. Think: reformed impulse buyer. But I do enjoy shopping…Read On.

Shopping Then.

I admit grocery shopping got awfully repetitive as a busy Mum and teacher and sometimes my husband would do it. Sometimes (and I admit I am still like this) he might not get exactly what “I” thought.

Shopping for us, in 1970s before moving to Sydney had to be done at a nearby country town on a Saturday morning (all shops closed by lunchtime, not opening till Monday) or ordered for delivery to us by the mailman from nearby very small town. Once a week.

As Time Moved On.

Shopping became something to do on a Thursday evening by the time we had moved to Sydney, and then came the big one, shops could open all day Saturday and into Sundays. It made life as a working parent much more flexible.

How Did We/I Shop?

With a list, mostly, and with a view to getting specials that we would normally eat. Menu planning helped in busier times.

Shopping Experiences.

I like to shop solo. I really dislike having another person with me, unless he/she does what I want…..mmmm.

Shopping Changes.

I had to really take note of our limited budget in past few years and be more careful of on-line and so-called indulgent or impulse buying. We have a “rule” for us now that on-line shopping is 24/7. We may look at items we like to think about buying but we don’t if it is night time or a Sunday. History has shown us both that we are more impulsive then. And here’s the good news, by the nest day or so that impulse to buy has often left or diminished.

Images from Shopping! 

And some more: These are some of the purchases for me during my life’s transitions when I was learning so much about mindfulness, mental health and more. I also had some favourite authors publish books…and I admit it, craft and art take took quite a bit of our money in the last 7 years.

Then when I had lost so much weight pre-cancer and, once recovered from the BIG surgery in July 2017, I  needed clothes. I admit I actually enjoyed this shopping..in person and trying clothes on. Then when Covid19 stopped access to shops and most went on-line I did not get to enjoy the process but still couldn’t always pass up a bargain. Very little of this happening at all now for me. I admit I overdid it (shhh, don’t tell B) and it was fun.

Now of course, we (I) can only go shopping for essentials. And that is once a day when one of us can leave the house. So it’s groceries and the chemist. We decided as our area became more impacted by the presence of Covid 19 cases (thanks, no thanks UNvaccinated people from Sydney (we heard)  leaving their trail) we would go to only stand alone supermarkets and not into any centres. So far it’s OK.

Here’s what a local street looked like recently.

Wanting to get back to whatever normal might be for our future does depend on more people being vaccinated. I actually used this image last Friday because…I was getting frustrated with progress on vaccination numbers. Update that day is that 25% of Australians are fully vaccinated  and that is about 6 million.

My last image….

Back in September 2017 I gained independence. I was able to drive following the big surgery which cut my leg to reconstruct my upper mouth using my fibula and skin/flesh from the right leg,  and to go to the local shopping centre. I remember it well. I was a little concerned someone might bump into me but all went OK. I really want to go here again and see the businesses re-open. I haven’t been for at least 5 weeks as it was a covid spot recently. I think of those who have no work. The hairdressers and beauty places, coffee shops, even JB Hi Fi et al. May we be able to get back safely soon.

 

Are you a shopper?

What’s your fave on-line trawling…?

Tell us more! Make me feel better!

Denyse.

P.S. Mr W is back next week for his post on TIME. I know very little other than he is spending a lot of TIME getting his post ready on TIME.

Link Up #253

Life This Week. Link Up #253

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* 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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Found: At The Lake! #SundayStills Colour Challenge: Burlywood. 99/2021.

Found: At The Lake! #SundayStills Colour Challenge: Burlywood. 99/2021.

Terri here has shared the prompts for August 2021 and beyond when Natalie from here hosts for 3 weeks.

I will share this post soon as ‘my’ Sunday becomes Monday here. Terri & Natalie are in the northern hemisphere. I do enjoy sharing and am happy to wait till Monday. This is her prompt: “Colour Challenge: Burlywood”

Come and read to see what I did for this post!

Introduction.

This colour is not a favourite, I admit straight up. It formed part of my school uniforms back in the 1950s and 1960s so “beige, brown, light brown” are not colours I wear nor enjoy seeing much (unless the brown is CHOCOLATE) so I did have to look closely for examples of this colour I had never heard of before. Maybe it’s not known by this name here in Australia? Anyway, I did not have to go far it seems. Just to visit the Lake.

On My Walk.

We live about 15 minutes drive from water like this: part of Tuggerah Lakes, a huge saltwater lake system. This beach is called Canton Beach and whilst there is a lot of water, much of it is shallow. Popular with families in the summer time.

For me, a chance to photograph the scenes and those who enjoy its environment.

This is What I Found:

in my eyes, to be Burlywood, on the shore and surrounds.

The sandstone

The weeds harvested from the lake ‘browning’ in the sunshine

The sand

Even the clear water where sand is seen.

 

 

 

 

 

So I think I responded to the colour challenge: Burlywood.

Do I like it any better? Not really but in nature I see it has a place.

Denyse.

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest