Thursday 27th January 2022

Archives for January 2022

Living With Cancer & Uncertainty. 4/51. #LifeThisWeek. 5/2022.

Living With Cancer & Uncertainty. 4/51. #LifeThisWeek. 5/2022.

I go to BIG places to help get me out of my small place: in my head!

  • In the week leading up to World Cancer Day, I wanted to share facts from the website, and here it is….and to also add my update at the end of the post.
  • Each of us will be touched by cancer in some way: directly via a diagnosis, being a partner or in some way related to someone with cancer and maybe knowing of friends and acquaintances who have had cancer.
  • Sadly as we all know, not all of those people survive a cancer diagnosis and I want to say how sorry I am about that. I also know some people reading here have cancer and I want to wish them well.

World Cancer Day 2022.

 

Head and Neck Cancer.

Head and Neck Cancer colours are maroon & white

 
Today I want to share this:
 
1. I am now in my 5th year of recovery from Head and Neck Cancer (HNC as we call it)  and much is not the same for me now BUT I am alive and well
 
2. I do what I can, within my skills list and experiences, to share about HNC various symptoms which can be seen as often nothing to do with a cancer. My own diagnosis took over a year.
 
3. Every day people I know of or through others know about, are dying from head and neck cancer. This is the sad news. Always.
 
4. I can only share my condolences to their families and friends and can continue to do what I do, with a sombre heart.
 
5. There are friends here who are suffering….from the long-lasting and ill-effects of this brutal Head and Neck Cancer and yet, they live.
 
6. They, like me, “Live With HNC and its effects”. I for one am grateful for that and that they are here too.
 
7. I know of people too, who are not doing well at all now, and are unlikely to improve, and in fact, will succumb when the HNC or another type of cancer has destroyed the life within.
 
8. I reflect on this often and I am so, so sorry. And sad.
 
9. I am aware that there are friends who have had HNC who do not share their updates and who prefer, if they can, not to be identified “with” their head and neck cancer. I respect that so much.
 
10. I will continue, as I do today, to honour all who have had the personal challenge of head and neck cancer, and those whose loved ones have died because of it.
 
And please do not ignore what might be signs of cancer. Covid has impacted people getting seen by doctors and going to hospitals because there is a myth they won’t be seen or it is not safe. Sadly, that has been creating a cohort of cancer patients now being seen much later and effective treatment may be hampered.
About Uncertainty.
  • It’s everywhere we look and see today.
  • Not only about health and cancer but more so about what the Covid Pandemic is doing to us all.
  • We have been in various levels of uncertainty for almost 2 full years now.
  • I know I have started to feel somewhat more anxious playing the wait and see of maybe getting a covid diagnosis. 10 PCRs & 2 RATS in 2 years: No.
  • I thought I would be better equipped to manage my somewhat anxious self as I have needed to garner my strength and capacity to deal with around 3 years of pretty serious and life-changing times.
  • First a cancer diagnosis, then hearing about my surgeries and having them…and then SO much time for more surgeries and recoveries and check ups and treatments….and that finished in some ways because of Covid, so I only had 2 in-person cancer checks in 2021.
  • I have no signs of cancer. I am grateful
  • But then I have some of my way back anxious feelings creeping back…connected to health for other reasons, whether we get to keep renting this house (have you seen how much real estate has risen…in our street alone, over 45% in 12 months) if the rent is too high….and more…and I don’t like it!
What am I doing…and being?
  • I practise Calm meditation morning and night.
  • I get out into nature every day.
  • I have disengaged with twitter for now. I was getting very angry about how our leaders were/are behaving.
  • I talk with B about it
  • I tell myself “this too shall pass” and “I have been like this before and it ends” and I believe me
  • I am listening to helpful books I have downloaded and am enjoying learning some more about ageing….
  • I am seeing my GP again soon, to hear how my recent test results were and “what the heck” has been wrong with me since late Nov. (Dear readers, I think it was me overdoing the doing and then getting a bit sick and then more worn out and I did not recognise it till a few weeks back….)
  • I am reducing my exposure to crowded places like a supermarket and using the NSW Service Check In App
  • I know it will eventually be something I can live with more easily
  • I have found some of my better health & mindfulness  resources from years ago and giving them another listen and read.
  • And colouring my world of course..helps me heal and stay well.
It also helped HUGELY last week to have a treat day of almost all the family visit us. Some we had not seen up here for over a year. Filled our hearts.
  • May you all be as well as you can be in heart, spirt and mind today, and onward.
  • I send my best wishes to you and yours who have been, and are affected  by cancer.
Denyse.

Life This Week. #275. 24.1.2022.

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.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a kind thing to do!

* 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 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

Colouring My World In 2022. 3/51 #LifeThisWeek. 4/2022.

Colouring My World In 2022. 3/51 #LifeThisWeek. 4/2022.

I’ve been missing something in my creative life using art, words and photos. I wasn’t sure what and I felt a tad frustrated about my art journalling prospects in 2022 as a result.

I use my blank art books of various sizes for art, pattern making, designs, painting,  journalling, adding photos. I tried others’ methods and some guidance from others too, however none sat quite well with me.

I let that simmer on the back burner in my mind, while I came up with the FINAL versions of my first two posts for 2022….and looked to my learning and understanding of where I was going, and how I might ignite that creative spark that was a bit dull.

I usually have a project or two ‘on the go’ for my mindful needs…i.e. when I need to focus on JUST.ONE.THING.

Even though I turn to making things using my hands, much of my personal growth over last 5 years  has come from my learning here:

I have had from my life experience, and learning from others including Brene Brown, Susan David, Kristin Neff, Chris Germer, Tara Brach et al… and my daily meditation practice Calm guided me.

Notice the details…in nature

  • Slow Down. Stroll. Rest More.
  • Take Time Out
  • Do Easy Things Not Always Hard Things

Reflect on the ways  places have helped me heal

  • Recover
  • Revive
  • Go Gently
  • Be Self-Compassionate
  • Seek Awe
  • And Wonder
  • Feeling the feelings
  • No feeling is forever
  • Feel to know and own and accept
  • Feelings are fleeting
  • Gratitude
  • Accepting what is out of my control
  • Allowing Time To Pass
  • Self – Forgiveness 
  • Less Black & White Thinking

When I can safely (covid safe) go out for coffee I often have time to reflect…and this is something I want to do more of in 2022.

And then it dawned on me…I LOVE colour.

I love its brightness, its patterns and its many variants. I decided to re-visit a song from my past as a teacher where I taught classes K-6 on my first venture back to school in 2004 with this theme: COLOUR MY WORLD. My art and journalling, and photography too, will reflect this!

I am colouring my world.

Does colour affect your mood?

Share what it does for you too.

And when I remember, I am going to add a few photos from my world: Colouring My World: Let’s start now as I mean to go on.

Denyse.

Just for a reminder…here’s the singer Petula Clark singing….and only click to play if you like the song and want it in your head too…as it is in mine.

 

Life This Week. #274. 17.1.2022.

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.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a kind thing to do!

* 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 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

My Father Is 98 Today. 3/2022.

My Father Is 98 Today. 3/2022.

In his mother’s arms. 1924.

My father, Andrew Simpson, was born in Wollongong NSW 98 years ago today.

11.1.1924.

He was the second child and first son to his father, Andrew and mother, Henrietta. His parents met via WWI when he was recovering from war related mustard gas poisoning & she was from the town where the hospital was located.

After the war, the war bride arrived to make her home in her new husband’s city of Wollongong. His family had emigrated from Scotland before WW1.

Dad went on the become brother to two more siblings. In the middle photo, Dad is around 11, and this is likely the last pic of his whole family.

Andy, Dad’s Dad, was fatally injured in a workplace accident at the Steelworks in Port Kembla.

So, it’s 1935, and already the effects of the Great Depression left their mark on Dad and his family. In fact, in a way, he has to grow up from then.

His mother, Gran as I knew her, became an embittered and sad woman not only because of widowhood but due to family matters, received no help at all from her late husband’s more well-to-do family.

What my father tells me helped him was:

Joining the scouting movement

Being an excellent student at school

Having some support from local men who ensured Dad’s education continued at Wollongong HS.

But, at 15, he needed to leave, to become employed and with his aptitude for office work, good understanding of figures, he was given an office traineeship with Australian Iron & Steel.

He worked hard, he rode a push bike to work and he revelled in the scouting connections.

From 1939-1945 Australia was in WW11, and Dad was working in an essential industry and could not enlist. He did community work with the Rover Scouts but it bothers him still that he could not play a part as many did…friends and family, to help his country.

By 1946, life sure stepped up a notch or 3, and he’d done very well with his clerical work and was on his way to being an accountant…and met a lovely woman who was a lady cub master, at Mt Keira scout camp, marrying her on 2.11.1946.

Dad found a different and more loving extended family via Mum’s relatives and was accepted by all. They worked hard, saving money and after 3 years, just about had a brand new house built in Gywnneville with the help of many friends, ready to welcome their first child, Denyse.

Sadly for Dad, and Mum too, he was obliged to go and work in Melbourne for most of my first year of life as it was company policy. He rode it out though, helped by me and mum flying to Melbourne to stay for a while.

By the time Dad returned and was told for his continuing employment – after all, this was a big company which had trained him and given him work experiences for over 10 years, he would be based in Melbourne.

With much thought, and in discussion with some independent mentors, he resigned and took up a role as the works accountant with a fertiliser company based in Port Kembla.

Life was improved  more so, with the addition of a son, and a Holden Car! Dad tells me he had a car in order for many months & whilst waiting had some basic lessons in driving, so when he took ownership of the car, in Sydney, his mate said “you drive home”.

Memories here are mine. Life as kids in Wollongong was family centred, we both went to the local primary school just down the street. We were taken to the beach, Dad helped us learn to body surf, we joined brownies and cubs, and enjoyed life with a few challenges. One was when Mum’s hearing, very damaged after childbirth, necessitated her having major surgery in Sydney and Dad managed work, seeing her and making sure us kids were OK with neighbours helping out.

The forever home and comfortable life in Wollongong did not remain. Dad’s skills were seen as being needed at the higher end of the company ladder, and was offered the role of Chief Accountant in the Sydney Offices of his company.

In recent years Dad & I have chatted about this big move which must have challenged their marriage as Mum had her family nearby and couldn’t even think about moving.  It did happen and despite the initial misgivings, turned out to be a richer and more varied life than either could have imagined.

Balgowlah Heights, Sydney  Years. 1959-2011.

Aspects of my parents’ life have also been covered within the Telling My Story series here.

Now, as I share on his actual birthday, and I cannot visit him because I am not well (not covid) I thought this might be a good way to share.

1960s into 1970s.

Dad’s life expanded socially and work wise with contacts in the new local community, joining scout association and kids’ cricket group both with my brother’s activities. Supporting our local primary school and getting to be part of the much larger community on the northern beaches. He and Mum joined sporting clubs to play social tennis and he became a golfer at Balgowlah Golf Club as a Saturday regular. It was a great sporting and social connection for him, eventually becoming the club  treasurer and later a life member.

Work was big and busy and often took him away for a day or more to visit work sites in relation to his financial role. As we kids grew up, Mum would often accompany him and that was best for them both.

The Big Trip in 1966.

His bosses were progressive with the big company take over of the original one, and Dad was selected to attend the Harvard Business School Management Summer Program at University of Hawaii in June 1966. A VERY big trip beforehand took him literally around the world, visiting places of business related to the big company. It changed his life in so many ways as he still tells us. Eight weeks away and endless friendships and connections made helped he and Mum when they then had their turns at international travel and over time, many trips back to Hawaii.

The class of 1966.

Kids Grow Up. Leave Home. More Happening! 

I left to teach at Barraba in 1970, and met my husband, marrying in 1971 and  my brother had an OS trip and work training, and then in 1976 married his wife. Dad saw that wherever we (the kids) ended up, he and Mum would come to visit where possible. He and Mum did get to see a lot of Australia thanks to us both.

Grandkids and Home Improvements.

In late 1971, our first child, Dad’s first grandchild, was born. As we spent each school holidays with my parents (we were country based teachers) our daughter felt that their place was her second home. In 1978 Dad made a big decision for his comfort and enjoyment…and added a large in ground swimming pool to the back yard and it was loved by many till the house sold. More grandkids arrived in 1979, 1980 and 1981.

Work Comes To An End. 1983.

Dad is a planner and very astute financially. He was tiring of the office work…especially as leadership changes did not appeal, and whilst he could have been promoted to the ‘top’ job said no. He preferred using his financial expertise and not having the ‘buck’ stopping with him. His retirement present from work was a farewell trip around the world…first class, I think, with Mum, to see all of the works’ related places where he had made friends.

Active Retirement Years. 1984-2005.

Golf more often, trips away, taking grandkids on holidays, having a  Gold Coast holiday for each winter, and much more. Helping his family out in many ways. Dealing with deaths of his mother, other family members and more. Pragmatic and an organiser meant things happened well. Garden maintenance, volunteering at a local youth club, making new friends, farewelling older ones and taking time to enjoy life. A walk along the beach at Manly and even a surf until it became physically challenging. Welcoming the first great grandchild, then over the years till now, another 10! Celebrating zero birthdays and anniversaries. Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1996.

Not Wonderful Times.

Mum was not well and in 2006 even though she was fine to celebrate their Diamond Wedding Anniversary with the family, it was clear her health was taking a toll on her and of course on Dad, as her main carer. In early 2007 Dad and Mum were told she was terminally ill with secondary brain tumours and the decision made by her, and supported all the way by Dad and us, was no treatment other than palliative care. Mum died on 5 March 2007. Dad was both relieved and bereft.

The next 3 years were ones of transitioning to being by himself and remaining as well as he could…and his goal remains that. A great walker and social person he continued his practice of getting out and about each day and meeting friends. But time, and a large cold house meant he was ready for more comfort and people around him.

New Beginnings. 

After selling the family home, Dad hosted a farewell to Curban Street with all of us there and it was bittersweet. Nevertheless he moved on and into the spacious, modern and well-fitted out apartment at Dee Why where he is today. He has made a whole group of new friends in the 10 years since he moved in. He hosted a 90th Birthday for friends old & new, and family at the RSL club next door 8 years ago. His health has remained good until the last couple of years where he was troubled with a balance issue and he spent 3 weeks in rehab getting that sorted. His GP says his heart is in great shape. Sadly, mobility is challenging but he has a walker. His eyes are affected by macular degeneration. But his mind remains incredibly active and rarely forgets anything. He can’t score at darts anymore because of his eyes. But he can listen to music, chat with others and use the phone. Interested always in learning more, his neighbours who are originally from the UK and he get together weekly for sharing knowledge and history. He cares for himself including minor cooking. He has a cleaner. He is well.

Today, even though I cannot visit him as I am not feeling well, friends are taking him out for lunch. Yesterday my brother, who lives close by, and family took Dad a cake, and we facetimed for his 98th Birthday.

He has no secret for living to this age. He has outlived all of his older times friends and his family.

Happy 98th Birthday Dad.

Denyse.

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Words To Live By In 2022. 2/51 #LifeThisWeek. 2/2022.

 Words To Live By In 2022. 2/51 #LifeThisWeek. 2/2022.

Welcome to the second link up for 2022 here at Denyse Whelan Blogs.

Thank you to Tanya for my new link up image. Do copy it for your blog if you share my link up there.

 

A reminder of the link up rules…not much has changed but it never hurts to have a refresher, right?

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.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a kind thing to do!

* 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 and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive  in nature.

 

Words To Live By…in 2022.

See my post from last week here.

I am adding more to the words:

BE

ME

I need to remember this word.

P I V O T

I have an issue with my right leg since the fibula was removed and it means I cannot ‘pivot’ myself with ease…I feel I could fall.

But that’s not what I meant.

There have been many occasions in 2021, particularly related to living in pandemic conditions when I have had to change my thoughts and activities that may have been planned. ‘Old’ me would have ranted and railed on some occasions, but now, I can express disappointment but learn to change my ‘tune’.

There was a ‘perfect’ example where I had to practise my pivoting and that was when our plans for Christmas Day in Sydney with our family was cancelled for us as I had symptoms of Covid and needed a PCR test.

But wait there is MORE.

I reckon I need to pivot almost every day…the huge change to how we ‘live with covid’ since Omicron exploded here and around the world means this.

For me and B, it’s about making ourselves a relatively safe place at home, like a virtual lockdown. I have had to say to my Dad, 98 tomorrow, that I am not driving down to see him because:

  1. My GP thinks I still have remnants of the virus that is not covid…he is right. I can be feeling well for a time, then whoosh, feel weak and lethargic and my gut is affected
  2. Keeping boundaries of self care rather than my old-hard-to-lose practices of people pleasing and I end up not doing well
  3. I will talk to Dad on the day, maybe even facetime if my brother is with him and I sent a card….

And we are literally taking each day at a time here.

Plans for this week, and into next week cannot be formally set. Covid threats and our health continuing to go well is paramount. We are doing what we can ….and it’s hard when I know we would love to see family and get out and about more. Not happening. For now, and the foreseeable future.

Want to use “pivot” too? Go ahead! It’s yours….

I will consider many of these words to help me

BE

ME

 

H.E.A.R.T.

words…..because I am a feelings person first!

Health  Empathy  Awareness      Rest     Trust    

Hope   Emotions    Acceptance       Revive        Truth  

Honesty    Education     Acknowledgment     Review      Time

Words from previous years to continue to  help guide me.

my WOTY 2021 is going to accompany me in 2022

SMILE from 2021 was a good one, as was GRATITUDE in 2020,

Thoughts on Gratitude

and the others before helped me through my cancer years B.O.L.D. and before then,

I gave ACCEPTANCE a go somewhat unsuccessfully in 2015 and KINDNESS in 2016.

Words To Help Remind Me About Living Well

  • I am also learning….to, as my husband tells me…hasten slowly.
  • I am a recovering striver*, with high achievements behind me and a pretty fast paced mind …matches my walking style.
  • * I made this up but it works for me to be more aware….
  • I will stroll more than walk at pace when I really want to surround myself with sensory memories.
  • I will continue my morning and evening meditation practice.
  • I will put my devices down for a time (increasing from 10 mins at first) to pick up a magazine or book.

I will not think that I have to DO something every.single.minute.

I am learning to BE ME more.

I will make mistakes and then I will say that’s OK, and remember what my intention is to have at age 72:

  • a somewhat less busy daily life
  • time for me
  • time for being with B
  • and time to play…with art, words, photos and more.
  • and I will be colouring my world.

Check out next week’s post about Colouring My World in 2022.

I am confident that it will all be something I learn to love and will wonder how I lead the life I did before now!

What do you think?

Denyse.

Life This Week. #273. 10.1.2022.

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.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a kind thing to do!

* 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 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

What Are My Words For 2022? 1/51. #LifeThisWeek. 1/2022.

What Are My Words For 2022? 1/51. #LifeThisWeek. 1/2022.

Welcome to the first link up from Denyse Whelan Blogs in 2022.

Thank you for linking up, and commenting!

The rules for being part of the link up are at the end of the post.

 

Happy New Year….

I have re-written, edited and then added some more to my initial post for 2022 and then….scrapped it all!!

Why? I listened to my inner self. I felt what I had written was far too wishy washy. 

I had already decided on the word:

BE

Then I added:

ME

And finally things came together.

I have never really BEEN me …as I see and feel it.

I have been (and continue to BE)

  • A daughter

  • A sister

  • A granddaughter

  • A teacher

 

  • A wife

  • A mother
  • A grandmother
  • A principal

  • A blogger

  • A friend
  • A community member
  • A cancer patient

  • An ambassador for Head and Neck Cancer Australia

 

But now, some years on, I feel I finally can live with those titles and labels but also go beyond them to

BE

ME

1 January 2022

I went for a drive on New Year’s Day, along the water at Brisbane Waters, Central Coast, where the above image was made by me. And on coming home, I was ready to re-do this post! Sometimes taking time to absorb and consider is helpful.

I am now ready to:

BE self-compassionate

BE kind in thoughts & words

BE empathetic to others

BE the me I am proud and willing to be.

BE more accepting of the unexpected, the inevitable and the unplanned….and

BE self-forgiving when I revert to my lifelong ways!

 

For 2022 I have started using an app on self compassion each day as a guide to help me in many ways. I’ve now paid for the app using a 20% discount code from the owners of the app. On 1 January 2022 this quote stood out!

The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.

Steve Maraboli.

The current wallpaper reminds me to live every moment

 

I will be interested to read what you are planning for 2022 for yourself and perhaps your blog.

I know I am, for now, pleased to have made the choice to blog weekly (there still may be the odd additional post) and to keep Life This Week happening!

Tell me about you and your ideas for 2022.

Denyse.

LifeThisWeek Link Up. Est.2016.

Life This Week. #272. 3.1.2022.

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.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a kind thing to do!

* 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 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