Tuesday 27th October 2020

Healthy. 39/51. #LifeThisWeek. 78/2020.

Healthy. 39/51. #LifeThisWeek. 78/2020.

When I was blogging more frequently, health and mindfulness were a category for blog posts. These days, like many, my posts are limited to twice a week.

This is good for my health in some ways as I am not feeling too much pressure to perform, aka write posts, and can enjoy the writing of the two I do more.

About Me.

  • Being healthy is a relatively new idea for me…I was raised to be healthy and was…I am talking about lifestyle & choices
  • For many years I balanced my life …in a not so good way…with eating for comfort and doing less as I was quite worn out by life
  • I knew limited ways in which to care for myself because…as many do…I was too busy caring for others: at work, and in my family life.
  • I do much much better now in the self-care and health stakes as I have learned much in my years living following head and neck cancer.

Then I Was Diagnosed With Cancer.

Those who have followed me before and since this diagnosis know that I found out I had a head and neck cancer, specifically squamous cell carcinoma of the top gums (maxilla) and under the top lip. All about that, and many more posts outlining the years of surgeries and more are here: Head and Neck Cancer.

But Before Then.

My emotional health was at an all time low from 2013 into early 2017 for a number of reasons:

  • ageing and becoming somewhat disenchanted by some of its effects
  • retirement from all of my meaningful and paid work over this time
  • my weight was the highest it had been and with encouragement from my GP and my own determination, I lost some kilos over a year with greater awareness of why I ate, and ensuring I moved more
  • finishing up grandparent care at our house and actually being glad because I was finally tiring and becoming worn out by it
  • making a move from all I knew: Sydney, our family, friends….to the Central Coast
  • this move was one I thought I wanted (and still agree it was the right move) but my emotional health brought me down into spirals of anxiety and fear along with the dreaded Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • the health professionals I saw then all said it was reactive depression and anxiety was part of the transitioning. Not a diagnosis of either. I do take a low dose anti-depressant now to help with IBS more than anything and getting off to sleep
  • I admit I am one of what is known as the “worried well”.

SO….in some ways I was not surprised that I had cancer diagnosed in May 2017 …I can see that others may have felt stress was a cause. That it is not a direct link, but from what I know about cancer, it is random.  Some people thought my immune system was down due to the appearance of my mouth. THAT,  was actually the beginning of cancer…but no-one thought that till April 2017 when I insister my dentist remove the bridge from my upper gums.

This quote sums cancer up. From an Australian surgeon:

Head and Neck Cancer Requires Frequent Checks.

From the diagnosis on May 18 2017, to the big reconstruction surgery on July 6 2017, through to further surgeries for skin grafts and checking inside my mouth, glands in neck area and many visits to the prosthodontist, I had:

  • post-surgery checks after a few days to a few weeks to see my head and neck surgeon and his surgical assistant, nurse specialist
  • three monthly checks for the first year
  • any time where I may have seen/felt an issue, such as additional skin forming, and my surgeon saw me within weeks
  • four monthly checks for the next year
  • weekly and fortnightly visits to the prosthodontist as he continued to work on the making of the upper prosthesis
  • then monthly to two monthly visits to him, until COVID. Last time I saw him was February 2020 and I am returning in mid October as he is now doing regular checks again
  • this year, the visits to Sydney’s Chris O’Brien Lifehouse were at 6 month intervals.
  • THEN, at my recent early September visit, after clear CT scans of my head, neck and chest, and after visual examination and more, I am now on:
  • a 12 month check up..so will not be back until September 2021.

“MY” Prof…as I call him, Professor Jonathan Clark AM recently became chair of a new program at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and Sydney University where this grant will enable him and his team create software and 3D models for head and neck surgery on the spot. My surgery, over 3 years ago, meant a delay as my team here in Australia  and the software developers in Europe made the program for my surgery and the model for my  mouth which had to be flown in from Belgium. Here’s the announcement of the donation for the funding so this program goes ahead.

ALWAYS happy to have a photo….

How I Manage My Health Now.

Interestingly with greater ease, thanks to a limited ability to eat a lot and to a better attitude to moving more.

Photos tell that story too. It is a way of keeping myself accountable too.

However, I never feel that I am missing out either. I have a better understanding of my need to nourish this body and to also enjoy the treats when I can.

And Then I Had to Do These Things.

Have both of my eyes’ cataracts removed and lens replaced. This happened on the cusp of COVID restrictions and I was glad to be done. In Sydney, over 3 days. Then of course, I had recovery but my opthalmologist has rooms up here so visits for checks were OK. I was quite shocked that from one annual visit to the next, it was cataracts time. This turning 70 was not quite what I thought. Now 6 months on, I use readers of a lower strength and no glasses for driving. Love the clearer views everywhere.

Left Eye Cataract Done

After hiding FROM myself and my problems with rectal prolapse* and the ways in which it impacted my day to day life, in May 2020, I was forced to face the matter as I could no longer live in pretend land. I look at it this way though, in managing my recoveries – physical and emotional – from those years of head and neck cancer I could not face more investigations into what is wrong. But dear readers, there was a lot wrong. Google rectal prolapse and what it means. Let’s just say, I paid a small fortune for incontinence aids, and suffered a great deal from shame about this condition.

Grateful to be ‘out of’ another surgery.

Getting One of the Things* Above Fixed…and Added Complications. 

Again COVID changed a few things but from my GP’s referral to a colorectal surgeon who insisted on a colonoscopy “no cancer or polyps but def need rectal prolapse repair”…and then needed surgery I became resigned to what needed to be done. From early May to late July I waited for the  surgery called rectopexi. The surgeon did a great job, especially complicated by my inners where he also found (surprise) a hernia needing repair. This necessitated a horizontal incision AND, the best (not) news, a vertical incision. Meeting in an upside down T at the bottom of my abdomen. The surgery, has worked. He took the slack inner workings of my rectum and has stitched them to a bone low in my back. I have no prolapse and normal (for me) bowel movements for the….first time in perhaps a decade…and…

My recovery in hospital and at home was slow as expected but at my first post-op appointment he told me I was a star for recovering in exactly the way it was best. I liked that. Especially as I did not quite hit it off with him at my initial consult…I was scared.

Three weeks into post-surgery recovery I noticed a section of the upside T section of the wound was kind of not staying together. I showed my GP and he thought it would be OK. But take this anti-biotic and apply this cream…and let’s hope it resolves.

It did not.

Within 2 weeks of seeing my GP, I was ‘astonished to see and feel liquid forming over my nightie as I got up out of my chair. Eeek. Got an urgent appointment to the GP, who was ‘so sorry, Denyse’ but…It was called wound dehiscence and sometimes a wound will not stay together. My colorectal surgeon saw me the next day, and pronounced “can fix, back into hospital for wound debridement and we will put a VAC system on to help heal the wound over less time.”

Wound Debridement and the VAC. 

One month post first surgery for rectopexi I was back in the same hospital and cared for very well. Surgery was less than an hour. I stayed overnight so the surgeon and wound nurse could see I understood how to live with the VAC system. The best part of having paid for our private health insurance since the late 1960s it means either of us can get the best care, when and where we can. I know this is a two-part health system in Australia but I am very grateful.

Each week I was visited two days a week by the Wound Nurse. This was all covered under ‘Hospital at Home” care from our Teachers Health Program. A machine was supplied, each of the changes of dressings and the costs of visits from the Wound Nurse. This lasted just over 3 weeks.

Since then, our GP and his practice nurse is taking care of my wound dressing. The progress is amazing on the wound. I have so many photos, none of which I will add here but they give me and my husband (the photographer) updates. The medical and surgical teams appreciate my dated photo collages.

Is that IT?

I don’t know but I sure would like to be free of appointments for  the above. This is likely to occur in the next two weeks or so. At least I have no VAC on me and have full independence.

I am back to my prosthodontist in October but I am pretty sure my mouth care will be praised.

Emotionally I am getting there. I know I have gained a great deal of resilience through much of these past 3+ years but am looking forward to a some respite from health professionals for a while,

THANK you…if you got this far.

I hope you are healthy and well.

Stay that way!

Denyse.

Link Up 208

Life This Week. Link Up #208

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 and it’s a bloggy 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.

* THANK you for linking up today! Next week’s optional prompt: Share Your Snaps. 40/51. 5 October 2020.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


 

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Women Of Courage: Appreciation For Those Who Shared In 2020. 77/2020.

Women Of Courage: Appreciation For Those Who Shared In 2020. 77/2020.

The Women of Courage Series has now concluded.

I like many was sad to see it end, but with no further contributions waiting in the drafts area of my blog and no-one coming forward with their stories after the invitation, it was wrap time! I certainly am delighted too, that 55 women DID share their stories and they are incredibly varied too. But with one theme: courage!

It ran from May 2019 until September 2020 with breaks at certain times. The backstory is here.

The message I added to each post is this:

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.

In 2019 I began with my post, and then numbered each person from #1 onwards. The colour I used in 2019 was this one.

In 2020 I changed to red!

Last week I shared those who told their stories in 2019 here.

 

2020 Image For the Series.

Leaving  January 2020 behind, it was good to launch into the 2020 series with this post: from Jane Caro AM, whose book Accidental Feminists helped me form my plan for a blog series and I will always be grateful for Jane’s support (and likes and retweets each Wednesday) along with those from Rosemarie Milson (#49) who ‘is’ Newcastle Writers Festival Director.

Catching up with Jane Caro: April 2019.

 

Jane Caro AM

To read, or re-read the posts of these Women of Courage: please visit the page at the top of the blog: here. 

Thank you all for sharing your stories. I hope you return occasionally to re-read and see what sharing your story has brought to your life.

Were you someone who shared your story in 2020?
How did it make you feel once it was done?

Thank you again for sharing.

Denyse.

Linking here with Leanne and friends for the Lovin’ Life Linky on Thursdays.

Copyright © 2020 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Grateful For This. 38/51. #LifeThisWeek is 4 years old! 76/2020.

Grateful For This. 38/51. #LifeThisWeek is 4 years old! 76/2020.

  • I am forever grateful to be a blogger.
  • I am always grateful to have bloggers link up here.
  • I am feeling the gratitude that through this computer of mine we can connect!
  • So, today: celebrating 4 years of this link up, I offer you my gratitude. In abundance for coming here, reading, commenting, linking up and sharing!

 

If I could reach out to you all, here’s what you might have to celebrate the blog’s 4 years of link ups on Mondays. Big on cake and biscuit cooking at my place.

Where did it all start?

Back in August-September 2016. Gosh, I hadn’t even known I had cancer back then. Lovely Kirsty from here, decided to close her Monday link up called “I Must Confess” and I approached with an idea for Mondays and she was delighted to support and promote….we ARE good mates!! Thanks Kirsty.

This post tells some of the story too.

Here is the first blog post about it. With the first set of optional prompts.

M E M O R Y    L A N E :  September each  year.

2016: see above

2017: 

LTW is ONE. #LifeThisWeek. 35/52. 2017.105.

2018:

Have You Ever? 38/52. #LifeThisWeek is 2! 2018.93.

2019:

What Is Love? 37/51 #LifeThisWeek. 95/2019.

About the Optional Prompts.

I admit they can be easy to decide and then, I can find some weeks harder than others. I do use a calendar for some, for example recent post on Sydney 2000 based on the Sydney Olympics Anniversary. Some are personal because I have some views I want to share but they can apply generally, for example “birth order”. Then in 2018 I made a plan to help sort out the year by adding:

Each 5th week: Share Your Snaps (photo-based post)

Each 7th week: Self-Care Stories

Each 9th week: Taking Stock

This meant for me I “only” needed to come up with prompts in between those intervals.

The reality of the blogging calendar is there are 51 weeks of prompts, and often the last one or two is free choice.

Why Optional Prompts?

Sometime we can sit at the computer and draw a blank but we still want to write! I know this helps me to have a prompt but to ensure no-one felt if they had not blogged based on the prompt they could not link up, I call them optional prompt.

2020.

What a year 2020 has been. Nothing like any of us expected when we made our first of the year posts and mine was this!

Word of Year: Gratitude. 1/51 #LifeThisWeek 1/2020.

I admit when I set out to make a daily gratitude post on Instagram, I thought it would be easy. I knew I could find, feel and notice gratitude all around me. I was ready! Bring it on. Then…the year changed as we know, for all of us. My go-to daily activities were curtailed via the big C (not cancer, the other one) and I also had some surgical procedures. I really HAVE had to seach for gratitude far more deeply and note it even on the worst days for me. I continue to do the daily gratitude on Instagram (see the right hand side of the blog) until 31.12.2020.

2021.

I have no particular hopes nor dreams for 2021, given how 2020 has played out, but I do know one thing: Hamilton, the Musical, has been on repeat for me.

This sums it up…the title anyway, for 2021 and Life This Week!

Thank you for linking up today and commenting too. I will read your post later this week, as always!

Denyse.

 

Link Up 207

Life This Week. Link Up #207

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 and it’s a bloggy 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.

* THANK you for linking up today! Next week’s optional prompt: 39/51  Healthy. 28.9.2020

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Women Of Courage: Appreciation For Those Who Shared In 2019. 75/2020.

Women Of Courage: Appreciation For Those Who Shared In 2019. 75/2020.

The Women of Courage Series has now concluded.

I like many was sad to see it end, but with no further contributions waiting in the drafts area of my blog and no-one coming forward with their stories after the invitation, it was wrap time! I certainly am delighted too, that 55 women DID share their stories and they are incredibly varied too. But with one theme: courage!

It ran from May 2019 until September 2020 with breaks at certain times. The backstory is here.

The message I added to each post is this:

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.

 

In 2019 I began with my post, and then numbered each person from #1 onwards. The colour I used in 2019 was this one.

In 2020 I changed to red!

Women of Courage 2019 Series.

One woman’s story was shared anonymously in 2019. #25.

 

 

 

 

 

To read, or re-read the posts of these Women of Courage: please visit the page at the top of the blog: here. 

Thank you all for sharing your stories. I hope you return occasionally to re-read and see what sharing your story has brought to your life.

Were you someone who shared your story in 2019?
How did it make you feel once it was done?

Thank you again for sharing.

Denyse.

Linking here with Leanne and friends for the Lovin’ Life Linky on Thursdays.

Copyright © 2020 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Remembering Sydney 2000. 37/51. #LifeThisWeek. 74/2020.

Remembering Sydney 2000. 37/51. #LifeThisWeek. 74/2020.

  • I admit right up….I was a Sydney Olympics tragic.
  • I was ecstatic when we found out that “Sydernee” was announced as the host city for 2000 Olympics. This was in 1993 as I saw on the weekend news, after hearing of the (then) NSW Premier John Fahey ‘s death.
  • Did we think Sydney could do this?
  • I guess I was part of the group “yes we can”.

The selection of the grounds where the stadia would be built and surrounding ground, waterways, wetlands…of a former brickworks and other industries at Homebush was somewhat controversial. And had plenty of challenges to get completed. But it was and I can say without any qualms I was one very proud supporter! The Olympic torch relay around Australia was amazing. The day it came closer to home for us, I drove to watch it being passed on at Rooty Hill. Quite an emotional time.

At school we were lucky to have a torch bearer visit and “I” got to hold it.

 

By the time 2000 arrived, I had already become a school principal and schools got to get involved in many ways, including attendance at practice events and to have special days of celebrations. Free tickets to practice events meant I went to the gymnastics with my daughter and her eldest. She figures in photos below!

 

The end of term 3 school holidays were extended by a week so all the busses could come to Sydney and help transport people along with added trains and train lines. No private travel to the area was to happen. All tickets sold had a transport payment factored in.

 

I got the badge collection fever early, even linking up for new releases for ages. Over time, the badges were added to a framed memory board. And, I then donated it to a school library. I also had a fantastic framed photo of the Opening Night and donated that to a school down the track too. Many bits and pieces of memorabilia and my writing went into 2 huge scrapbooks…and do i have them now? No, again, donated I think along with above to the school where my daughter was teacher-librarian. I admit, to have these now would have been nice but they were cumbersome and I would hope be of greater value as a historical resource.

Onward:

Memories here: with photos I could actually find!

Dear granddaughter, who came with me to this ‘practice’ of looking at the grounds once they were built and developed and we could drive there. August 2000.

Outside the main stadium. 2000.

Noting the street names after Olympians.

Number Plates: still going strong. For our respective 50th Birthdays in 1999.

I still love these and they were special gifts to us from our family for our 50th birthdays!

And, always a very patriotic Grandma ensuring Miss 4 got the whole Olympic experience! 

Miss J, always happy to share her Grandma’s enthusiasm was delighted to be dressed up. Her younger sister and parents joined us at our place to watch the Opening Ceremony on our TV. What an experience, just from the telly. I will never forget the horses’ entry to the Man from Snowy River theme.

The three mascots are a duck-billed platypus (Syd), a kookaburra (Olly) and an echidna or spiny anteater (Millie). They symbolise the water, air and earth respectively. Their colours correspond to those of the Games emblem, and all three are typical examples of Australian fauna. source: wikipedia

We WENT to the Olympics!

After a lot of discussion and then knowing we had to get in quickly as tickets were balloted we secured ones to a morning of track and field. It was amazing to be up close..even though we had to wear our ponchos for a while. Some events were slowed down because of rain on the track, you can see it here in 2nd shot.

My husband & I went to the Athletics on a wet day. No worries

 

Our seats were amazing. Almost on the track!

 

The wonder of how Sydney was then! Amazing co-operation and fun all round. 

Lots of smiling and chatting people on the busses to and from the Olympics. We parked our car on a field (now covered in buildings) at Bella Vista, just over the road from Glenwood and busses took us straight to the gate.

We got to see international athletes in OUR time zone. However, I do believe some events were staged at particular times to allow for northern hemisphere news.

I got to attend practice events: free. We attended one big day and tickets were reasonable cost and we had to apply by ballot. I also got tickets to the Paralympics and my then son-in-law came with me along with granddaughter as above.

One big standout memory for me, was standing up with my family to sing Advance Australia Fair as an Aussie won her event at the Paralympics.

My mother was a hockey representative in her youth and a very keen follower of most sports. My brother got tickets for him and Mum to see, I think a women’s hockey semi or final. Mum was blown away!

Great signage and organisation. A lot of walking but it was all OK.

So much detail here: blurry. However, some areas like these had TV people telecasting. Solar panels on top of the pylons.

AND, “where were you when Cathy Freeman won gold?”.

I saw the event on a TV at the local doctors’ surgery! I don’t remember why I was there but I do remember the elation and event.

This post goes live AFTER the first airing of this below. However, I will watch on iView and hope you may as well. It’s a special event AND memory of the Sydney Olympics.

https://help.abc.net.au/hc/en-us/articles/360001745615-ABC-is-proud-to-present-the-world-premiere-of-FREEMAN-in-September-Relive-the-magic-of-the-Olympic-Gold-medal-win-that-united-the-nation-

Source: pinterest 66c6cb3bd663ac5e77c9388d0b6b990b.jpg

What memories do you have of the Sydney Olympics?

Did you attend?

How old were you at the time of the Sydney Olympics? I was 50.

If you viewed from another state or country, what are your memories?

Were you part of any of the ceremonies?

Tell us more!

Denyse.

Link Up #206

Life This Week. Link Up #206

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 and it’s a bloggy 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.

* THANK you for linking up today! Next week’s optional prompt: 38/51  Grateful For This. 21.9.2020

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Women Of Courage Series. #54 Leanne @DeepFriedFruit. 73/2020.

Women Of Courage Series. #54 Leanne @DeepFriedFruit. 73/2020.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid-May 2019: Wednesdays: each week and now the series concludes today with this post. Over the next two weeks there will be a look back at those who have shared their stories. Actually 56 women. The link to all of those stories is here.

Here is the introduction to the series and each woman’s story.

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.

 

Leanne, also known by her blog’s name of Deep Fried Fruit, has been blogging FOR ever..no, not really. However, I believe she started for a significant ZERO birthday and now admits to being at the next decade. Not one to hide away from her celebrations of life, she calls her birthday a festival. In real life, and yes, we have met, this person is warm, funny, generous and very caring. In fact, she stopped off on her family’s trip to Queensland two years ago so we could meet up!

 

Let’s get on with Leanne’ story…and I admit, she has written more than was asked but all good. The more we get to know about the ‘why’ of this lady!

 

Background

  • I look back and think of all the things in my life that took great courage and I guess most things do.  Every new experience requires some amount of bravery.
  • I used to be timid and shy.  As an only child I found safety in the walls of my own home with my tiny family.  Then one day my mum was told she only had two weeks to live and suddenly my safety was about to be stripped.
  • Her bravery of fighting the disease and winning, changed who I ultimately became.  Being timid in life was no longer an option. I learned if you want to achieve results you have to stand up and take responsibility for your existence. You had to find courage.
  • As a result, I’m someone whose meta programming is set high on the “challenge” meter.  Some people take the path of least resistance in life, others take the path of most challenge. I’m the latter.

 

My favourite quote is by Sarah Henderson:

“Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there and light the bloody thing yourself.”

That’s how I live my life. I spend a great deal of time striding down great big long tunnels to turn that bloody light switch on. Which means I need a fair bit of courage I suppose.  Although I don’t necessarily recognise it at the time.

 

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

My mum’s leukaemia, backpacking overseas alone, buying my first home, completing my degrees, creating a career, marrying into a readymade family, having kids, dealing with fibromyalgia. The standard stuff.

 

I think there are some major milestones that took more courage than others though.

  1. “Retiring” from a well-established career at the age of 36 to concentrate on my family
  2. Becoming the creator/founder of several small business initiatives
  3. Deciding to self-publish my children’s book series
  4. Watching helplessly as cancer took our (my husband’s) eldest child
  5. Re-entering the workforce at the age many retire

While point number 4 is probably the one jumping out as the most challenging event anyone could possibly face, it’s still too hard to talk about.  So, I won’t be talking about the loss of a child today.

Instead, given it’s current, I’d like to chat about number 5.

 

Re-entering the workforce.

 

How did this change you?

  • For the past 15 years, skipping merrily outside the boundaries of the paid workforce as a sole trader and finder of cool projects, I’ve been striding through many tunnels turning on a shitload of Sarah Henderson-esque light switches.
  • You’d think that with all the results I’ve achieved when I was out there on my own, re-entering the workforce would be easy. I mean, I’ve done so much! I’m a force to be reckoned with, aren’t I?
  • I would have thought so too, but no.
  • Going back to work” has honestly been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.
  • Why? Because I discovered something when I went back to work in corporate Australia.  I’m old!
  • I know right.  Shocking revelation.
  • I thought I could waltz right back in there and just be amazing. But it turns out I’ve got a bit to catch up on in the corporate world and apparently my brain isn’t quite what it used to be.

 

Re-entering the workforce changed me.  My confidence, resilience and emotions hit an all time low.

According to the numbers I am fifty years old, but my heart says I’m still a vibrant, intelligent and energetic 35-year-old who knows everything there is to know about everything. Hell, there are days I’ve got the mindset, energy and frivolity of a 20-year-old and the smarts of a 70-year-old Harvard professor.  Lingo and all.   Yet despite my love of life, my readiness to be challenged and the wealth of experience under my belt, the fact is, I’ve been out of the workforce for a bloody long time.

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend?

  • Every single challenge in life presents an opportunity for growth.
  • While wallowing in self-pity, I realised I’d bumbled into this job without much thought nor planning.  Somebody needed me to fill a gap, so I filled it.  Then somebody else needed me to fill another gap and I filled that one too. That was my re-entry. I didn’t create my new work life; I simply fell into it.
  • It’s hard to stride down a tunnel with purpose when you’ve fallen into the tunnel.
  • So, I downed tools, re-wrote my resume, contacted recruitment and said, “hello world, here I am, and this is what I have to offer you”.  I took back control and started striding forward on my terms again.
  • I guess I’d like to say out loud for all to hear, if you find yourself in a job you aren’t enjoying, or that doesn’t suit you, or that makes you feel less-than, then do something about it.  Don’t stay there for staying sake.
  • I’m now focussing on my strengths, adding value where I know I can and not putting so much pressure on myself to be able to do everything.

 

I have decided to create my job, rather than have my job re-create me. Or more specifically, rather than have my job deflate me.

 

 

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

  • Absolutely, 100%, without a doubt. Our challenges make us stronger.  My challenges have made me stronger.
  • Facing problems can be hard. At the time it can even feel like the end of the world.

But looking back at the times where courage has been required is a fantastic reminder that we do survive them, 100% of the time, because we’re still here!

 

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

 

  • When you’re younger you tend to put up with a lot more heartache in order to get your foot in the door, particularly when it comes to jobs and careers.  I know I did whatever it took to show my value. I worked hard from the ground up.
  • When I re-entered the workforce, I thought I’d waltz back in without that need to go back to grass roots, and it was quite a dent to my pride to discover I wasn’t as shit-hot a I thought I was; or perhaps as I used to be.
  • When I hit rock bottom, I thought “wow, does this mean I have to start again? Has my experience over the last 30 years meant nothing?”
  • No.  We don’t need to start again. Everything we’ve done previously is still part of us, only we’re even better off because we not only have that experience, we also have a proven track record of resilience, growth and acquired wisdom.
  • If like me you don’t like your job, and the light at the end of the tunnel is dimming, then just stride down there and light the bloody thing yourself.

 

Anything else to add?

  • This “being back at work” thing is new, and I am still finding my feet.
  • But if there is one thing I know for sure; I still have a good 15 years of work life left in me in which to create something that suits my strengths.
  • I may well create my dream job or a whole new career, or I may just decide that my current income generating activity is simply that, an income source.
  • The bottom line is, if the world feels dim, I’m now old enough and wise enough to know where to find the light switch.

Denyse offering me this WOC interview has been a fantastic exercise in recognizing where my inner lion has been needed in life and how I can apply it to my current situation.Thanks so much Denyse for this opportunity to reflect and to remind me where to find the light.

 

Thank you Leanne, you are an amazing friend and definitely a great woman of courage and it’s my privilege to share your story as the final one in the series over the past 2 years.

Thank you to all of the Women of Courage.

Over the next two weeks, there will be a farewell and appreciation for those who shared in 2019 and in 2020.

 

Denyse.

 

Social Media:

Blog/Website:  www.deepfriedfruit.com.au

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DeepFriedFruit

Instagram: @DeepFriedFruit

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends.

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Taking Stock #4. 36/51. #LifeThisWeek. 72/2020.

Taking Stock #4. 36/51 #LifeThisWeek. 72/2020.

To new-to-this-linkup bloggers:

W E L C O M E !

Add your post, old or new, on or off prompt below. Come back to comment here too.

You can be assured of a  visit from me to your blog later in the week, and for others who link up, popping in to read and comment too.

Taking a detour from my Taking Stock in photos as I have here, here and here in 2020….

to reviewing where I am now, 3 years and 6 months on from this Taking Stock Post. 

Back then I used all of Pip Lincoln’s Prompts from here.

Now, for just this post, I have adapted my own list as well…in the interests of being easy-to-read!

The black print is from February 2017.

The blue print is now: September 2020.

 

 

Making: art every single day in one form or another.

Making: this continues! I have changed some of what I do, but consistently I do create on paper daily.

Cooking: much less these days and loving that more.

Cooking: whilst I like not having to cook each day, I do enjoy the satisfaction of batch-cooking and freezing meals for each of us.

Drinking: water and some soft drink

Drinking: back to coffee…yay. However, since COVID, I am learning to make myself a strong coffee at home. I dislike sugar-based soft drinks now and enjoy water, soda water and ginger ale.

Coffee: double shot small latte

Reading: a long list of books..none of which have been completed (yet) almost all non-fiction.

Reading: I have to say, this has not changed much & I tend to buy the physical copy of a book I love from Audible to have that as well.

Wanting: to have a greater level of concentration to continue to read “Victoria” by Julia Baird

Wanting: to continue to be satisfied with the life we have now, 3.5 years on, post-cancer and more….

Looking: always looking around me

Looking: I still do this but I also look into some people’s behaviour to try to get some insight into the ‘why’. 

Wishing: I had some of the insight into me earlier than now!

Wishing: This continues to go well. Is this a wish come true??

Enjoying: the company of my husband each day as we have never been ‘alone’ till past 2 years

Enjoying: as above,  a more relaxed at-home lifestyle now that many of the health issues are receding…stay there, ok! 

Waiting: to have enough money to buy a house

Waiting: this one (as above)  has now faded into the background. Knowing where we live now suits us and maybe, it will be something we consider to be renters in our future. 

Liking: that we do not have enough money to buy a house (yet) because it gives us more time to consider.

Liking: how life, as above, sometimes works out…

Loving: that I surprise myself with my art every day

Loving: that our family is more connected even though we live a fair way from them. We miss them but feel connected. That’s great.

Hoping: that I can continue to accept that I have a chronic condition called IBS and learn to live with it

Hoping: that my overall health continues to be OK. I “have” had some big challenges but I do manage my IBS even better than before.

Marvelling: at the way anyone who has a brain is….

Marvelling: that I have no idea why I wrote that above response. OK..maybe it was about D Trump??

Needing: to be as kind a friend to myself as I am to others and I am getting better at it

Needing: this is getting much better and I am very grateful for how much I can be self-compassionate and kind. So much better.

Smelling: frangipanis on the large tree right outside our back door

Smelling: not these any more…we are living in another house. Fresh air. Enjoying outside as there is a clear air and not that awful smoke from last Summer. NO more bushfires, please.

Wearing: retirement coastie clothing of coloured shorts and sleeveless top and birkenstocks

Wearing: similarly if it were Summer but in late Winter, early spring, it is likely to be jeans, maybe sneakers and a short-sleeved top. And a mask. None of us knew what COVID would bring to our lives.

 

Following: lots of interesting friends who blog

Following: same as above: also twitter and facebook too, along with instagram. I admit I am on social media frequently but know when to stop. For my mental well-being! 

Noticing: the days are shortening and the mornings are getting cooler

Noticing: the opposite for above…as the season moves into Spring. 

Thinking: that I would prefer not to think so much

Thinking: that I am much better at recognising and acting upon over-thinking and ruminating. It certainly pays dividend for my mental health that I can and do recognise it and act upon it.

Feeling: more positive than the last time I did a ‘taking stock’ post

Feeling: that I can see the differences in me and my progress in terms of mental health and well-being over the past 3.5 years.

Opening: my blog each day and seeing who has commented so I get ready to chat

Opening: my eyes each morning and beginning with the Daily Calm Meditation. It has made an enormous difference in my life. 

Have you ‘taken stock’ recently?

Denyse.

Denyse’s Taking Stock Prompts: from the original by Pip Lincolne.

Making:
Cooking:
Drinking:
Reading:
Wanting:
Looking:
Playing:
Wasting:
Wishing:
Enjoying:
Waiting:
Liking:
Wondering:
Loving: 
Hoping:

Marvelling:
Needing:
Smelling:
Wearing:
Following:
Noticing:
Knowing:
Thinking:
Feeling:
Bookmarking:
Opening:
Smiling:

 

Just did an update to these two optional prompts: they are in correct order now. Changed on home page too.

38/51 Grateful For This. 21.9.2020

39/51 Healthy. 28.9.2020.

Link Up #205

Life This Week. Link Up #205

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 and it’s a bloggy 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.

* THANK you for linking up today! Next week’s optional prompt: 37/51 Remembering Sydney 2000. 14.9.2020 (20 years since the Olympics were held in Sydney.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Women Of Courage Series. #53. Yvonne McClaren. 71/2020.

Women Of Courage Series. #53. Yvonne McClaren. 71/2020. 

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid-May 2019: Wednesdays: each week until the series concludes in 2020.

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.

Whilst I have not ‘met’ today’s Woman of Courage in real life, as they say, we have most certainly connected by the common (and not ever-welcomed) diagnosis of Head and Neck Cancer. Yvonne, who is 54, has shared her story below via the responses to the questions but to know even more about her and how she is facing life full-on these days, check out her links! Recently she appeared  too as part of the Beyond Five live video segment relating to food preparation and eating for those affected by head and neck cancer, particularly as in Yvonne’s case and others, relating to swallowing.

Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty in swallowing. This includes problems with sucking, swallowing, drinking, chewing, eating, dribbling saliva, closing lips, or when food or drink goes down the wrong way.

The link to the video is at the end of this post.

Thank you Yvonne for sharing.

 

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

There are a few times in my life where I have had to reinvent myself both professionally and personally. I think my latest challenge with finding a large tumour on my left tonsil has been my greatest challenge.

There have been other life-threatening situations – involving motorbikes, but this was really out of my control. Once diagnosed I responded with ‘silence’ – I went into myself I realise now.

It was a difficult time as I had relocated countries, left my full time job to start a new life and career and had my heart broken all in the space of 8 weeks, then a cancer diagnosis.

Suffice to say, I had little time to grieve anything, it was get on with it and start the treatment. Everything was put on hold in terms of dealing with loss of income, loss of love and in some respects the loss of my beloved father a year earlier.

It’s only now, 18 months after diagnosis, that I am starting to mentally deal with some of the other issues going on in my life at that time.

 

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

I had no time to consider anyone or anything else really.

I was on my own and thankfully had my mum still in her own home where I could live whilst going through the treatment.

I had had a sore throat for many, many months and jokingly said to a friend “I think it’s cancer” not really believing it, turns out 6 months later I was right.

How has it changed me?

I listen to my body really closely now, I use to before, but this has made me very aware of what thoughts I have running through my head, what niggle is going on and why… it also made me realise that every second you spend worrying about some insignificant thing is wasted time.

Get on and do it and do it now. Whatever it takes.

I lost the last five kilos I couldn’t budge and then some, so that was great for me, not an ideal weight loss programme but it started me back on my fitness journey 15 kilos lighter.

I now have to learn how to eat again and for a foodie I have found this the most distressing, depressing and difficult side effect.

Food was/ is my world and I have had to retrain and rethink what that looks like now. It also made my fledgling idea about teaching culinary pursuits in a foreign country come to fruition.

 

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

 

You always have choices, for me, I sat with it and the implications and thought about the worst-case scenario.

I was also told by a well meaning nurse that my cancer treatment had not worked and there was nothing more they could do for me. That sort of puts things in a very stark perspective, it’s humbling and it’s frightening.

It’s also incredibly motivating when I discovered that was not the case.

Learning to manage emotions is something you also can practise and become the master.

I then figured well if that’s as bad as it gets (death / inability to function normally/ disability) then make the most of what you have now.

I also discovered that you lose “friends” along the way, whether they can’t handle the new you, or who you have become or are becoming is too hard for them I don’t know.

I have had to make an entirely new circle of friends and have reacquainted myself with ones I have not had much to do with for years.

What I can say is, you are innately very strong you just don’t know it yet.

 

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

Yes, I am doing things now that are very much out of my comfort zone, although some would say riding through Vietnam and Laos on the back of a motorbike during a typhoon is getting out of my comfort zone too, but this disease and its side affects have made me realise that everyone has a message and a story.

In many ways this disease has focused my life’s purpose, I had all the scaffolding ready but now I have the ‘reason’ to hoist the flag on top of the scaffolding.

 

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

Don’t spend time worrying about things that might happen, focus on the now and take it one step at a time.

There is literally  someone else worse off than you, I’d hate to be that person by the way whoever they are, I guess it’s all relative.

 

Do add anything else that you think would help others who read your post. 

 

My job as I see it now is to spend my time doing what I love, what I love is cooking and if I can help others with eating difficulties as a result of HNC and its treatment then that’s what I am going to do.

I come from a family of teachers so it is not surprising to me that ultimately, I want to use my skills to help others.

I have set up The Food Manifesto and Soup hug as a way to bring a community together that suffer from this debilitating side effect.

I like to think of myself as the food curator for dysphagia, the link between your dietitian and your kitchen.

 

What a story of resurgence here. I can say that because I did not know Yvonne until she found the friendly facebook group for Head and Neck Cancer Patients, Carers, Professionals and Families. It is here, too, where I ‘met’ another Woman of Courage Maureen whose story is here.   There is another Woman of Courage called Tara Flannery who shared about her head and neck cancer here.

And this Woman of Courage shared her story. She is Julie McCrossin AM, who is also a Community Ambassador for Beyond Five and is part of the webinar Yvonne appeared in below.

 

Thank you again Yvonne. I am so pleased you are doing all you can to be well and help others too.

This is the penultimate post in the Women of Courage series.

Denyse.

Beyond Five, where I am a Community Ambassador released this video live just before World Head and Neck Cancer Day 2020.

Please take some time to view…and see what Yvonne shares from her kitchen and share with others who may benefit.

Thank you.

Social Media Links for Yvonne:

Blog/Website:  www.thefoodmanifesto.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McclarenYvonne

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sustainablefoodandtravel/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_food_manifesto/?hl=en

 

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends.

Copyright © 2020 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest