Thursday 21st October 2021

Self Care Stories #6. #WomenofCourage 1/2. 42/51 #LifeThisWeek. 122/2021.

Self Care Stories #6. #WomenofCourage 1/2. 42/51 #LifeThisWeek. 122/2021.

In this week’s self care stories the words are not about me.

All the stories from the Women of Courage series are here.

They are about these women noted here and what they shared as Women of Courage back in 2019 for what became known as Series 1.

Further on are some of the women from 2020, which became Series 2.  In the final post where I will wrap the remainder of the women’s stories from 2020 and then those who were part of Series 3 which ended in September 2021.

 

How did Women of Courage start?

I am  introducing the series with  examples from (my!) life. That post will go live on Wednesday 15 May 2019.

After that, at certain intervals,  other “women of courage”, will be having their stories shared via a post here.

It is a goal of mine as a blogger to connect us all and to share our stories.

Thank you for your interest as a reader and commenter here.

I look forward to this series as the year proceeds and we all get to read about some different and wonderful:

                                 Women of Courage

And then what happened?

I am excited, interested and curious about these stories from real life…and women of courage!

I hope you are too.

If you would like to share your story of being a woman of courage* please let me know in the comments and I will email you. That would be great!

*there are no men included as I  think we women do not talk or not write about our stories enough which is why I have called the series: Women of Courage.

This woman here, Jane Caro AM, author, mother, and more, is a friend and I was delighted to hear her speak about the book Accidental Feminists which struck a chord for me, given my age and stage in life. I then put a post out about me, and already asked some people from the world of blogging to share their stories, and away it went.

Thank you to women of courage:

It had its challenges getting answers of Yes/No?Can I Get Back To You?/I Am Not Courageous…but I accepted all whose answers arrived.

Then if there had been an agreement to add their story, I sent off the same five questions to all.

 

Questions from Denyse:

  • What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?
  • How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.
  • Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?
  • Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it?
  • Why is that?Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

And then waited for responses. Some came fast, others came slowly but in the end 74 women shared! Not all used their real names and that of course was fine.

2019: Series One.

2020: Part of Series Two.

 

I pay particular tribute to dear friend and artist, Tracey Fletcher King who recently died.

Tracey had been an amazing and inclusive art teacher and I ‘met’ her virtually when I did classes with her in 2015. I knew then she had cancer but was free of it for some time.

Sadly, then around 2016 into 2017, hers became a nasty one, and she required on-going chemo which came at a price. Her last art exhibition was a monumental occasion and struggle but she achieved her goal to hold it. She supported me from day one of my cancer diagnosis and was a generous friend to me and many.

She was determined she share her story while she could, and because I am highlighting her here, this is the direct link. Vale Tracey. This is classic Tracey art…blue and white, and fruit. From her website.

 

Now on the right hand side of my blog’s home page, here is the roll for Women of Courage 1-37.

    1. 1. Sam Colden
    2. 2. Megan Blandford
    3. 3. Katherine
    4. 4. Debbie Harris
    5. 5. Kirsty Russell
    6. 6. Annette
    7. 7. Dorothy
    8. 8. Leanne
    9. 9. Min
    10. 10. Tegan Churchill
    11. 11. Kirsten
    12. 12. Megan Daley
    13. 13. Alicia
    14. 14. Veronica
    15. 15. Deborah
    16. 16. Sarah
    17. 17. Lydia C. Lee
    18. 18. Margaret Jolly
    19. 19. Jan Wild
    20. 20. Tracey Fletcher King
    21. 21. Deb Morton
    22. 22. Joanne
    23. 23. Lisa Greissl
    24. 24. Grace Titioka
    25. 25. Anonymous
    26. 26. Maureen Jansen
    27. 27. Sandra Kelly
    28. 28. Beth Macdonald
    29. 29. Lorna Gordon
    30. 30. Jayde
    31. 31.Cathy
    32. 32. Sue Loncaric
    33. 33. Sanch
    34. 34. Rebecca Bowyer
    35. 35. Jennifer Jones
    36. 36. Anonymous
    37. 37. Kathy

If your story is here, why not go back to the page here  and have a read to check out what you shared then.

Warm wishes to all,

Denyse.

Link Up #262.

Life This Week. Link Up #262.

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, or multiple 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: X Marks the Spot. My post will be Part 2/2 of Women of Courage. Recap.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Share Your Snaps.#8. 40/51#LifeThisWeek.120/2021.

Share Your Snaps.#8. 40/51#LifeThisWeek. 120/2021.

Every 5th Week on Mondays

This is the month just past of September 2021 where I determined I needed a challenge. I thought of this:

#ShareSeptember

#oneword

#onephoto

I invited friends and bloggers to join in to #shareseptember as part of Instagram posts and these lovely people did: Thank you!

Their instagram handles are next to each name.

Debbie: @debs__world

Sue: @womenlivingwellafter50

Jo: @jotracey

Christie: @christiehawkes

Jennifer: @jenniferalisonjones

Marilyn: @downmarilyn

Susanne: @susanneguitar

Leanne: @leanne_d_b

One Word Selections. One Photo Too.

I had the idea to do this after reading Comfort (not yet finished) by Matt Haig where he wrote of taking time to notice, or be or find one beautiful thing. I included that page in this photo challenge.

Every one of us will find meaning in words and the challenge was to find a photo which meant something to you about that word. I know I looked inward quite a bit and sought photos from less recent times as I had tended to have already shared them.

I also wanted to add more creativity to my #ShareSeptember and chose to print each photo and then mount it onto a square card of my art work. I photographed that and then, over time using two different photo apps I added the frame and the print out to look like dymo tape. It was good to have more to distract me in lockdown so the complications I added were for that very reason.

In the instagram post I would add my details about the why of the image, and I also used an art journal to add them, and then write more. In other words, I kept a record that is more than just about photos.

And what came together well on-line, because following social media can be a challenge (ha! that word again!) so the use of #ShareSeptember by all those who took part and some who kindly added my name so I saw your images daily meant we got to connect.

Thank you all.

It was fun and I enjoyed connecting. By the time this post goes live my instagram account where I had this challenge is being deleted. I explained last week. However, I have the records here and I am grateful for that.

If you wish to follow me on Instagram it’s @denysewhelan_blogs and this is my avatar while the change is happening from two to one.

 

 

Thank you to my friends from social media who took part in #ShareSeptember.

Did you know my instagram account for @denysewhelan_blogs links to the right hand side column of the blog?

I am, as I promised myself, slowing down to take more time to connect in person and have more time to enjoy outside and whilst there will be photos shared…I wouldn’t know who I was if I did not, I am not making up any new challenges!

Update: Over the past days I have been oh so slowly deleting MANY of my photos from social media: Instagram and Facebook, including the Facebook page Denyse Whelan Blogs. Why? I have shared many images over the past few years. More than anything, to connect with others and to share my progress with head and neck cancer. I also need connections. However, in my new goal of going more slowly and blogging less, I will be sharing on social media less…for ONE very good reason. Every image shared on Facebook and Instagram becomes theirs until “I” delete it. And, to delete it, there is only ONE way…one image at a time. I have found after about 15-20 times, the system stops deleting. I found I had high 100s of photos which were duplicated because I shared to Facebook as well as on Instagram. Now, I am much wiser…and over this detailed action. Believe me, there is no multiple ways of deleting. 

Take care,

Denyse.

P.S. This is now Daylight Saving in parts of Australia. Where I live in N.S.W. we have just put the clocks forward one hour for next 6 months. It creates a lot of confusion at times and I am pretty sure my Queensland friends have an opinion on “not taking part” in Daylight Saving. And I know those in Western Australia …and perhaps NT, are maybe happier without it. It IS all an individual’s response!

Link Up #260.

Life This Week. Link Up #260.

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, or multiple 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: Water 41/51 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

View. 39/51. #LifeThisWeek. 118/2021.

View. 39/51. #LifeThisWeek. 118/2021.

This post will take a look at ‘view’ the word about seeing and perhaps a ‘point of view’. Using images and words I found of interest in my archives.

And with an update from me at the very end…about Self Care.

 

 

Bernard looking at the view: for whales! None sighted.

 

Papa & 3 Grandkids viewing the water…and seeing ‘little fishies” 2015.

 

This view, of my talented granddaughter who enjoys photography, as she checks an image via the viewfinder. Sydney 2014.

 

The view of me…last one in any kind of education role. Viewed at a TeachMeet in 2015 at the High School I attended 1962-1967. I spoke about my life in education.

 

A not-unfamilar view to regular readers…this is Soldiers Beach in late 2015 with my visiting granddaughters in view.

 

Sunny view of yachts in the background with us having a morning out with a view to greater connection amidst lots of change in 2014.

 

Is it even a session with lego unless you make a tower? Papa pleasing these 2 back in 2016. Great view!

 

Cheers Miss 2. My view of her in 2012. Out for morning tea.

 

Look at that view, as grandson takes photo with my camera. What I view too is protective arm of Miss 5 around her younger sister. 2016.

 

My view then…2015, remembering my view of room on right near. My home room in high school 1962! I got the tour before I gave my presentation.

 

I didn’t notice this view till I was finding photos. When Ms 2 stayed with us, she put her sandals next to Papa’s. 2016.

 

The place we moved to had a great view over the water. The house was too uncomfortable and expensive for us in 2015 so we moved on.

 

Teacher & Grandma Me loved this view. Miss 15 months trying out pencils. Go Miss E!

 

So long ago we did this none of remember accurately but we think about 20 years ago. The view from Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of Bridge Climb was amazing.

 

I have viewed this scene over and over and in real life many times. Back to Manly in 2013 for an early morning walk around the area with an interstate visitor.

 

This view, of the now-demolished Entertainment Centre in 2014, is of my eldest granddaughter in her solo role as part of the School Spectacular.

 

The view of the Hollywood sign in January 2006…so far away! Such a different view to what we expect as tourists.

 

My current view…and views of my life as I face turning 72 in 2 months.

These four images, all with ‘me’ inside are part of the story of what I have been, done and needed to be ready for over the past four and a half years since my head and neck cancer diagnosis in May 2017. Blog updates are here.

These times gave me many chances to display courage, admit overwhelm, be able to keep going and…as I often said “do the hard things.”

My blog, and social media have helped me greatly over this time to distract me and to provide comfort as well as to connect.

Now, as I face a YEAR ahead with no check ups for cancer, no plans for any other health issues to need my attention other than the usual checks with G.P. and dentist, I am feeling an air of relief and release.

So, this is how I am going to make some changes. Remembering self care and adapting to managing my life as I age. 

 

  • From next week, I will be blogging ONCE a week. On Mondays for Life This Week. I have posts planned ahead and this is a good thing for planner me!

 

  • I have decided to discontinue further blogging challenges for this year, which means that I have stopped Sunday Stills as of this past week. I have loved being part of the Sunday Stills community and thought I would see the year through, but no, I am making the choice to stop now and have written to Terri at Second Wind Leisure about this and appreciate the friendliness of her community.

 

  • I will also no longer linking up with Natalie for Weekend Coffee share by the time of the final Woman of Courage story and wish her all the best. It’s been a great community to meet and I have connected with Natalie too about this decision. Thank you Natalie.

 

 

  • I am discontinuing one of my instagram accounts.

 

  • I have had quite a lot of trouble with instagram since the end of 2019 where “they” won’t let me post from my phone nor recognise the @denysewhelan account unless it’s via @denysewhelan_blogs so, with the end of #ShareSeptember I will be deleting this account. I may be able to transfer some images over but I am not that concerned about it.

 

  • To be honest, Instagram was a favourite of mine until Facebook took over. Now, I will continue to post on @denysewhelan_blogs and do ask for a follow there if you don’t already follow me. I keep my account private because I was hacked in 2017.

 

  • I will keep that account because it is linked (so far no issues) to my blog and to my Denyse Whelan Blogs Facebook page.

 

 

@DenyseWhelan will be deleted at the end of September 2021 on Instagram.

 

This is the new avatar with the ‘old’ one for @denysewhelan_blogs. Do ask for a follow! Thank you

 

Thank you for you support as I make these changes.

I cannot truthfully write about self care unless practising it so this is my story.

How do you practise self care as you move forward in life?

Denyse.

Link Up #259.

Life This Week. Link Up #259.

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, or multiple 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: 40/51 Share Your Snaps.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Spring Signals It’s Here. #SundayStills.117/2021.

Spring Signals It’s Here. #SundayStills.117/2021.

Terri here has shared the prompts for September 2021 and I took the chance to show some Spring images.

In Australia Spring begins on 1 September…and we are well and truly noticing its arrival. Mostly via the garden but also the skies…and a great reminder of life begun one Spring a while back…and my gratitude to have a Spring  landmark in my head and neck cancer story! I hope whatever the season is where you are, it is good to you!

Spring is very changeable!

We have had almost heatwave conditions which changed to “winter is back”.

But the flowers never let me down.

Wherever I went..not far thanks to Covid…I saw beauty.

Then there is this from Spring:

Meeting our September born granddaughter, just minutes old….

 

My good news from Spring. No face to face head & neck cancer checks..but news is ALL good. Next check in ONE year.

 

This is the house we rent & my husband refreshed the garden in Autumn so it looks great in Spring.

These are Australian native flowers: Flannel Flowers. They are protected and must not be picked. What beauty they have and delicacy in their texture. Normally they are found in bushland and recently as I drove back along a road which bordered a national park, these were at the side of the road. Naturally I stopped…to take photos.

That’s my Spring News.

And for this year my last contribution in 2021 to the lovely friendly space called Sunday Stills.

I am taking time out for self-care….and blogging less.

My Monday Link Up #LifeThisWeek continues each week. You are more than welcome to link up a post, old or new, on or off prompt.

I love connecting via social media, and I sure will be there from time to time.

Thank you to Terri, and Marsha who hosted a while back and to Natalie.

My post, going out on Monday 27 September , shares more.

I hope wherever you are there is wellness and brightness around you…and follow this instruction as I will too:

Denyse.

 

FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Taking Stock #4 37/51 #LifeThisWeek. 5th Birthday Edition. 112/2021

Taking Stock #4 37/51 #LifeThisWeek. 5th Birthday Edition. 112/2021.

This Taking Stock is different as I am using images from the 5 years of this link up….

for which I am grateful  and that you, dear blogger and reader  play a very important part…

as it shares some of my stories…

Because back on this day in September 2016 where I posted this…I did not know what lay ahead. I

f you do open the link, you will see it’s a bit like a time capsule. 24 bloggers linked up. Sadly some no longer blog.

Is your name or blog there I wonder?

Present: September 2021.

My focus as a blogger who loves to connect is  summed up in these images on the home page.

I’ve chosen the months of May, September and December for 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020….to take stock!

Whilst  I am not using my A-Z list this time round, I am pretty sure I am using images which spark:

GRATITUDE

LOVE

HEALTH

CONNECTION

APPRECIATION

CARE

MEMORIES

(no meaning in the colours…just used rainbow colours to give headings a different look!) 

Back to: September 2016. When Link Up Began

My dear friend Tanya who makes my blog the colour-filled one it is, and helped me refresh the blog at the beginning of 2016, made this for the link up. Always grateful to her:

Started Life This Week Link Up. Sept 2016.

September 2016.

December 2016.

May 2017.

September 2017.

December 2017.

May 2018.

September 2018

December 2018.

May 2019

September 2019

December 2019

May 2020

September 2020

December 2020

May 2021

September 2021

On 7th September 2021 I had great news from my head and neck cancer surgical team that because my mouth looks good inside, I don’t need to return to them for another YEAR and that visit will be my last. I can scarcely believe it. Yes, so grateful of course and yes to all the support many here have given me….so here’s to good health for us all: Click on the link, please:

https://youtu.be/N91kCMHTzEA

Thank you for being here, whether from the start of the link up or as the years have gone on.

Delighted to announce that I will continue my Monday Link Up for 2022.

I have the plans in readiness for a different set of ‘optional prompts’. I have shared them with one blogger already to get a feel for how they might work out and they should do well. As usual they are optional. I will publish a separate post about this in October-November.

Meanwhile:

Stay well

Stay covid-free

And Be Fully Vaccinated (if you can and health permits)

May we all have greater freedoms of places to visit and be in the near future.

Denyse.

Link Up #257. 5 Years Old.

Life This Week. Link Up #257.

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, or multiple 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: Unusual. 38/51. Mr Whelan is back with Time. Part Two So Optional Prompt Not Used.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

Self Care Stories #5. 36/51 #LifeThisWeek. 109/2021.

Self Care Stories #5. 36/51 #LifeThisWeek. 109/2021.

 

I think I will sub-title this with:

  • More of the Ways In Which I Spend Lockdown.
  • And Try Not To Be Too Covid-Cranky. It IS a Thing!
  • That’s Because….We ARE in many ways over it but Delta Strain of Covid has not yet finished…and so:
  • I will be continuing to find ways to Cut Parts of My Hair….Husband can help a little but right now, resisting…

Onward! 

Celebrating 3 years of having my upper prosthesis fitted…it sure does make eating AND smiling AND talking so much easier. Very grateful for that.

But before I do, I have made a small change to my commenting policy on those who link up their posts  for Mondays.

I am someone who wants to diligently comment on her blog. I do, as much as I can, comment on the day in which bloggers comment on my Life This Week posts.

Then I would aim to read and comment on every linked up post on Wednesday evenings once the link up closed.

Now, in the interests of self care, I have given up that rigid practice and now choose to take more time and do it sometime over the next 24 hours or so. Releasing internal pressure! Try it.

And next  week, it’s the link up’s 5th Birthday! Hip Hip Hooray for you all who make it a pretty regular habit of linking up!!

It will be a special Taking Stock from me.

Started Life This Week Link Up. Sept 2016.

Getting Outside Every Day. Somewhere, even if it’s the backyard. If I don’t see and experience some green of nature and some of its colours and shapes I feel deprived and sad. So the fact that I can, legally in Covid times, still drive somewhere to do this is a MUST. I do love it and am so much better in mood for sure.

And I am arting and crafting my way through emotional self care…because this IS always my go-to and makes a difference. Sending the bookmarks to friends (on-line and in real life) has been a personal project I have enjoyed so much. And it’s still happening. Nothing like connecting.

Then there is my responsibility for self care that’s an every day must or I soon feel not great and my poor husband has to put up with my ….whingeing.

Physical care.…and all that means these days.

  • I am going well with my keeping active in walking most days.
  • I have reduced my goals on the apple watch as lockdown brought fewer places where I could walk.
  • I am eating well for my age and mouth restrictions.
  • I have almost given away the notion of the food intake concerns and being obsessed by any kind of difference in my appearance.

I say almost because life-time habits take a long time to diminish.

  • I accept that my mouth and its insides limit my food intake and quantity and I am much better at ‘eye balling’ something and know I can eat it safely.
  • It doesn’t mean I don’t get ‘hungry’ looking at some people’s food posts!

My head and neck cancer seems to be gone and I have a tele health appointment tomorrow.

I have had my dentist and my GP check my mouth out, and have sent images to my team at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. Fingers crossed they too agree.

The rectal prolapse surgery was the best thing I could have done for my health last year. What a difference it has made to  my life and confidence. Highly recommend it.

Mind you, I mentioned a couple of things to my GP recently and he said..but didn’t quite get the word “ageing” out….for a couple of things but if they worsen do come back

This is the most vital relationship of all, after caring for my health, and that is of my long time husband and best friend.

This is the man I share most of my day with but little of my night. Why is that?

We found many years ago we are both far better at sleeping if we maintain separate rooms and bed.

We have completely different tastes in TV…another reason…and Netflix offers more for him than I…

but in recent times we now have a 30 minute chat and wind down each evening in the bigger bed (mine) and play word games on our I pads and chat.

It’s become a time we both treasure.

Laughing together is a fave!

There it is, my accountability for self care written and shared.

How is your self care these days?

What’s the easiest part for you?

What about the hardest part?

Tell us in the comments.

Warmest wishes to all,

Denyse.

Link Up #256

Life This Week. Link Up #256

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: Celebrating 5 years of this Link Up with Taking Stock. Optional Prompt. 37 /51

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest
FacebooktwitterpinterestFacebooktwitterpinterest

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

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