Tuesday 28th June 2022

Being Me in June & What’s a Move Back Home To YOU? 41/2022.

Being Me in June & What’s a Move Back Home To YOU? 41/2022.

This post will cover quite a bit of ground!

It’s my time to share how my Word of The Year is working out for me via the  post to this link up run by Deb, Sue,  Donna and  Jo too.

It’s my end of (not quite but nearly) June 2022 sharing “the month that was”

And it’s a more detailed post about where we see our future life being lived.

Word of the Year. Be(ing) Me.

I am, now, living the me I want to be more than ever.

I have learned to speak up and confidently share what it is I really would like, rather than hide behind my emotions….and become frustrated. So in being me, I can share more further on about the move back home and the why.

Sometimes we can make mistakes in OUR thinking about what others might be thinking..as we try to guess what direction life might take us.

Now, of course, after all the inner work I have been doing, AND living, I realise that our thoughts are not always true, and they can often be something that tells us lies and distorts our thinking.

I probably feel the BEST I have felt both emotionally and physically ever. Lots of the impact of having my cancer gone, my recent surgeries helping my other issues and being incredibly grateful for life and being here NOW to enjoy it all.

June’s Happenings.

  • We have remained well and (cross fingers) covid and flu free because of our use of masks everywhere AND all vaccines possible on board.
  • More conversations about moving back to Sydney…see further down.
  • My 6 month visit for a check at Westmead with my prosthodontist. I couldn’t take photos of us this time round but did a few shots around the place. I mentioned all the amazing work he had done having my upper prosthesis and lower partial denture so well set and he said “no, it’s you doing the hard work every day that makes it so”. Worth it, I say!
  • Update: on 21 June, he called me to say ‘bone loss’ appearing near an abutment (implant site) you will need to come back next week for a CT scan and we will take the prosthesis off to check all around it. This was unexpected news. I got stressed. I then was able to see it now as being grateful for this person’s competence and diligence. But another reminder of what having head and neck cancer has done to me. No cancer noted.
  • Cold weather. Nights down to single digits…but the mandala crocheted rug has helped me feel very warm and cosy.
  • Cooking: soups for me and Dad, meals for us, and cakes and treats. The freezer means that with batch cooking I don’t need to every day.
  • News that we will be fee paying at the GP’s from July and that the very low Medicare fees paid by the Federal Govt NEED to be lifted …no change for many years.
  • Meeting up with my two adult granddaughters for coffee when I was back in Sydney.
  • Having a follow up appointment with the nice Gynaecologist here and going along with his plan for me to have…(yet another) surgery to repair vaginal prolapse..in 2020 I had rectal prolapse repair & that was so worth doing. I have been living with a cystocele for over 20 years. All from childbirth. Ageing, and dryness is not helping so now using a prescription oestrogel cream till surgery on 11 August. I am sharing all of this because we never did…women told some stories but not like these. So, don’t put up with something that a specialist may help you with…and I know I face more recovery time (sigh) but I have done this before. I am 72…and over the counter fixes and supplements do not help with this. I was ANTI this surgery because of misinformation. No way was I having anything to do with mesh. My Gynaecologist said HE was one who was telling those other colleagues NOT to use it. So, that is why NOW I am going ahead.
  • Saying good bye to my GP here of over 5 years who has helped me with so much. But the good news, I have all of the tools now to continue onto a new GP at the practice and once we are back in Sydney, will be returning to our old GP practice.
  • Deciding to continue the blog until my hosting and other add ons run out in around May 2023.

About The Move Back Home….

In making the choice to move back home to NorWest Sydney in our future there were these three things we considered in our decision.

  1. When we moved up here, from NorWest Sydney to the N.S.W. Central Coast (around 2 hours north) it was for reasons of financial freedom from a mortgage, releasing me, the then 65 yo, from any more paid work, and to see how life was for us on the coast. 
  2. The move saw us try out 3 different parts of the N.S.W. Central Coast, and we loved aspects of each. But none of them was now, as we move into our mid 70s, good enough to keep us here as our health needs changed, along with a loneliness for like friendships (my need) and to have great opportunity to connect with member of our family.
  3. Our saved money was now, due to many factors, never going to buy us a house here or back in Sydney, but the rent increase here (significant) meant we were able to afford to rent in an area back in NorWest Sydney where we have ties of family, friends, health and familiarity.

 

My comment to Leanne: after my first post announcing the possible move….

There has never been an expectation in our family to ‘care for us’ at all. However, what I note, as Dad is much older now, is that his son, is someone he can ask for help as needed. He does not do it much and he has a couple of friends where he is too. Everyone else from his life…is no longer here!

In the friendship vein, B and I made friends through our careers but now almost 20 years later, things have moved on with those groups and here there has been no-one with whom we can say we share anything in common.

We are, though, incredibly grateful for the relationships we have made up here at the northern end of the Central Coast. So many people we have connected with professionally and in a caring manner. People who remember your name at the coffee shop, to those at the dentist/doctor/podiatrist who know me well enough to joke around…and many more. And as for the hairdresser. Of this I cannot (yet) speak. My BEST ever haircuts are by Bec.

So, whilst I will outline what our plans may be, it is clear for us, that our time living here has served its purpose in our lives and we will move to where ‘home’ feels like it is for us more!

We plan to return to the area of Sydney where we used to live but to rent. There will be no chance we can buy again. Ever. This is the story for so many we know, and that for now, includes members of our family. What we will be able to do though is find a smaller place for around what we are paying here, and despite having had 8 years away, will pick up connections to needs such as health ones and shopping and so on. We are already planning our downsizing and de-cluttering to another level. And whilst we are not publicly saying any dates or times, we would think that by this time in 2023, that our move will have been made.

We rented teacher houses in our first years of marriage, settling into the north west parts of Sydney in 1978, and leaving the area in 2015 for the N.S.W. Central Coast. It will be back to this general area of north western Sydney (much expanded since we left) that we hope to call home again.

This image is from where I lived age 10-20 and where my parents did until 2011. Northern Beaches of Sydney. Manly.

A Taste of Life Back Where I Feel It’s Home. 

On 16 June 2022, I had to go to Westmead for a 6 month check and usually once that was done, I would drive back up the M1 to our place on the coast. This time, I had two other ideas in mind, to get me back to the NorWest of Sydney area, and to bring me up to speed where we are likely to live and about the changes in the places and more.

I drove a very familiar road from Westmead, up Old Windsor Rd, through the turn offs to Glenwood (where we lived 1998-2015) and to Windsor Road and onto Rouse Hill Town Centre. There has been a HUGE amount of urban development and infrastructure like the Metro Rail, yet I could still  find my way. After parking as I recalled the spot, near the Library, I was easily able to meet my two adult granddaughters in our agreed catch up spot near Muffin Break at the Food Court.

We had a great catch up, and yes of course, in almost 8 years much has happened to the centre and to our girls but we enjoyed the memories and later as I left, I captured images. I was around, as a teacher back then in mid 2000s seeing the Rouse Hill Town Centre built!

One more stop before driving back up the coast was to the Family Medical Practice at Rouse Hill, which is now a Mega one…but the same two women I knew from the old practice back in the day, welcomed me with hugs and lots of questions…and yes, we will be fine coming back there. Great news.

It was a tad overwhelming on that day however, as I managed emotions based on:

  • Five years since cancer diagnosis….and all those trips back and forth to Westmead for my upper prosthesis to be made over time…huge
  • Seeing my adult granddaughters in a place I last shared morning tea with them as teenagers.
  • And then noting how, despite all the changes, we can still pick up and be well cared for in our health futures.

I was able to share it all with B after the day, and then the next day reflected on the gratitude which abounds for me.

So, back to the question….what would a move back home mean to you?

Perhaps you are already ‘home’ and that is wonderful.

Maybe, you are able to make ‘home, wherever you are’
I guess I tried to do this for us but in the end, the ties of love, the familiar and connections with like-people helped me know that I could only pretend for a while.

I was always set on moving back to Sydney if B had died because I had never considered that he too may want to go along with the idea.

Never assume…have the courage to ask for yourself…and see what may arise.

Listening to our hearts AND our heads, helps!

 

I hope you were able to read till the end! Thank you.

Denyse.

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‘Being Me’ In The Month That Was May. 35/2022.

‘Being Me’ In The Month That Was May. 35/2022.

Since I decided to join in this link up each month, I am also adding my post for ‘the month that was’…and what a month it turned out to be!

MAY 2022

Word Of the Year Link Up Party.

Joining in with these kind bloggers:

hosted by friends Deb, Sue,  Donna and  Jo too.

You too can join in, clicking on one the above links:

Look for this image, and add your post.

Those who follow this blog, and know me from either on-line conversations or in real life, will know that my highest (in terms of importance) value in life is ‘honesty’. And that has seen me make some choices to live better with ME!!

I guess another way of putting it, is to be ‘true to myself’.

I have been blogging for well over 11 years and seen so much change in this time. I have always reflected on what I want my blog and me to represent and along with honesty, comes vulnerability, truth telling and giving thanks.

So BEing ME has meant some reflection and change making…

Saw a recent Instagram hashtag  about ageing and owning up by #speakingyourage (words to that effect) and I have never been someone to hide my age…so this is something I do easily. Here:

 

And then just this week, to be honest, the work that was having a blog link up suddenly (or maybe stealthily) was not anything I wanted to do any more. I could have been someone who soldiered on, but that’s not me either. So, without anything else to add, here is the message to my blogging community…..

Well, now what has that meant for BEing ME?

A few changes within and they feel good.

I have reduced my in-person involvement with Head and Neck Cancer Australia and feel better for this.

I have decided to blog when I want to…and there have been examples of this recently.

I am allowing myself to feel uncomfortable too as changes like these are made. Instead of the old thinking of must get everyone’s approval I am being my own best friend and remembering what I REALLY want to do and be…and again, it’s part of my value system.

MAY MEMORIES.

FIVE years on from my cancer diagnosis was always going to be remembered and celebrated! I added a memento in the form of a bracelet with hearts on 17 May 2022 at 9.35 am. And wrote a post here. 

 

The feelings and experiences here are part of why I am very grateful to be well…following 5 years of recovering from a rare oral cancer…and I make the very most of all the in-person connections we can have with family. We had a lovely catch up here after 4 months.

Our son’s 4. We cared for these kids for years…sadly not Miss in heart top as she was born after we left Sydney.

Then there is this photo which means so much for my healthy recovery and emotional connections. Our four grandkids visited me just after surgery #1 (the big one) in August 2017, so I asked them to do a re-creation with me in May 2022. Love this!!

And that will do for now. I have been to see Dad in Dee Why twice in May and am enjoying the frank chats and helpful conversations we both have to better understand and appreciate each other and our similarities and differences. No more photos from him though. Fair enough! And no, he does not want to live to 100…..I get that.

How was your month of May..not quite finished of course…

And are you  using a word or words in 2022 like I am?

Denyse.

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Being Me & The Month That Was April 2022. #WOTY. 28/2022.

Being Me & The Month That Was April 2022. #WOTY. 28/2022.

Word Of the Year Link Up Party.

Joining in with these kind bloggers:

hosted by friends Deb, Sue,  Donna and  Jo too.

You too can join in, clicking on one the above links:

Look for this image, and add your post.

 

April 2022: Being Me & The Month That Was. 

April started for ‘being me’  with less self confidence and some inner conflict.

I have been at odds with my perceived appearance (once a woman with overeating and overweight issues) that I could not shake. I needed evidence. Fortunately for me, and my current images, I now know my mind has been telling me stories. Who knew*? *sarcastic font.

And that was one of the reasons, lack of some self confidence,  I chose to make myself (and anyone who wanted to join in) a 30 Day Challenge via social media. Instagram specifically.

Being Self-Compassionate!

Dear Readers, I stopped the challenge at Day 20. I was getting little to no  engagement via my daily posts. And whilst I was wanting some likes and perhaps a comment, nothing happened. I like to engage with those who comment. So, I was a bit sorry that it did not happen. I was also taking part in a daily challenge from Fat Mum Slim about food, and using it to share knowledge and experiences from my head and neck cancer. And I stopped it at Day 20 as well.

 

Lesson learned: Perhaps I post too much and perhaps with an expectation of interest in what I post. But I can see, that having a private account, along with content that my on-line followers have seen enough of since 2017.

I am unlinking instagram from the blog as it truly was a nuisance with its updates. I am now just posting on Instagram when I have something I want to share. I have also unlinked Instagram from the Denyse Whelan Blogs facebook page. AND, in case you are not aware, I have deleted as many photos as I wanted to because Meta (owner of both FB and IG) own the images until you delete them. It takes a while to do it. But I didn’t want as much on line.

On Changing & Ageing…Being Me.

It’s all very well for people to say, “oh age is just an attitude”…and yes to an extent that is true but to deny the fact that we humans age in many ways (all different for each of us) but towards the common denominator called death, is for me and my husband, a non-realistic way to LIVE in the NOW, but keeping an EYE on our future.

What We Both Love About This Time Of Our Lives Is:

  • being together for parts of the day, week and so on
  • having some separate and private times
  • pursuing our differing interests and hobbies
  • coming together a few times each day, and at 9 p.m. to chat, laugh and listen
  • no one to answer to any more…no bosses!
  • lack of direct  responsibility for any other humans…those dear kids are in their 40s & 50s with our fast growing up grandkids as their responsibility
  • where we live now
  • having a limited but sufficient income with which to live our now modest lives

We went to Norah Head Lighthouse on Good Friday.

What We Accept Is Coming…one day…who knows when?

Our different and chronic health issues may impede some of our planning.

Already we have accepted that for two different reasons, both physical changes within us, we cannot travel or have a night staying anywhere. We both have eating and digestive issues that are managed with ease at home, and whilst we can venture to a cafe for morning tea or visit our family for a meal, that is it now.

My husband has a severely comprised spine – surgeries have helped him stay upright – and pain is with him 24/7 so he is most comfortable at home with all the needs met here. And of course, my reconstructed mouth means eating away from home is in fact, too hard!

I tend to want to know, research and read…(and listen if it’s via Audible) and “he” has learned so much in his University Counselling Degree and working as a Counsellor that he listens to me and nods ….because, dear Reader, is he WISE!

Mind you, we both do still learn from each other and he is understanding of my need to know and with my father’s age at 98 I have seen so much about ageing as it happens to him..I want to understand more about what it not only IS but what I can accept…so, learning for life me, learns! Here’s a few ways:

And this is truly BEing ME!

BEing Me.

Has changed considerably this year.

For the better.

I have, finally, taken stock of what was causing me some anxiety and worry and stopped being an always happy to say YES person.

I now have worked out whose health matters most, mental and physical and that is mine.

I know not everyone can see why I might now have changed but I have had to change.

I was being stressed over small matters that grew into big ones and they were, generally about people-pleasing.

It’s something I am more aware of now and seek to take a pause before I respond to something that perhaps I may have said yes to in the past.

On some occasions I wear my family circles but every day I wear this, a small heart within a heart to remind me of inner and self love.

Now, back to April: The Month That Was.

And some more:

I have visited Dad more often as the weather has brightened and he is needing company. I also bring little treats and food.

He no longer wants me to take photos of him but when he went to my brother’s for Easter, this image was taken and I love it….will be taking a copy “blown up” so he can see it next week. This is his youngest great grandchild and there is 97 years and 4 months difference in their age!

And that, my friends is April…..Word of the Year progress noted….and on Sunday it is May!

May, for many, can bring memories of Mother’s Days…and mothering, and grand mothering too if you get to do that.

It’s the month in which my oral cancer was diagnosed and my life changed from that time onwards.

Yes, there will be a post (or two) in May about it….

Take care,

Denyse.

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Being Me: February 2022 Review. #WOTYLinkParty. 11/2022.

Being Me: February 2022 Review. #WOTYLinkParty. 11/2022.

Last month I wrote here and joined in this new linky party.

Back again to this new linky hosted by friends Deb, Sue,  Donna and  Jo too.

 

I am glad to have the chance to write about my Word of The Year progress

….even though mine are two…and despite being little actually are BIG in terms of making changes.

For me, it’s often easier to link my progress and review with photos as they have the memories of the time embedded. It helps me anyway!

Being Me: Health-wise.

  • I admit I held quite a bit of stress and anxiety relating to not being well from late November onwards.
  • I know that ‘it’s me’ and how I am and can BE yet I would like to manage this with greater ease.

THIS got me through really tough times….and now, I have to soften…and go slower…

  • I went to my general practitioners’ rooms a couple of times because I still was not well and wanted reassurance more than anything.
  • That wasn’t quite forthcoming until I got the results of the tests I’d had. One related to ‘my bowels’ and whilst I knew it was most likely I.B.S. it was necessary for a pathology confirmation.
  • That turned out fine.

In fact my main G.P. when I finally saw him after his 3 weeks on holiday was pleased to hear of my better healthy days. Yet still.

I did need to ‘fess up about I.B.S. and my constancy of worry about it after its long absence.

And I surprised myself (and him) when I said

“I think I am going to see any I.B.S. as a barometer of my health. In fact, I now know, that last year, after the virus, I probably continued to try to do too much (again) and back it came”.

I might get some help but in the end I am the one who does what I can…to BE ME

So, from this conversation and into reality I now:

accept

this

as

part

of

me

and

offer

myself

compassion

now

not blame.

 

But, I hear you and me say…”that is HARD and now you are not being hard on yourself but self-compassionate, HOW is it working for you”?

In January 2022 I signed up for a very helpful and much needed program right for me, now, called Self-Compassion App. I found it initially via the App store (iphone) and then when they offered a 20% off subscription after the 3 free days, I took that up.

 

The Self-Compassion App: app icon

The Self-Compassion App

 

I have written about it here but the various reflections, learnings and actions have all contributed to me being:

  • Kind(er) in my self-talk
  • Encouraging when I may be feeling a little anxious
  • Able to see these things (feelings, thoughts) do eventually pass

A human BEING with all the frailties and qualities that make me the ME I am more comfy with these days.

How I Help Myself.

The first time I realised I could choose to do less to be more I couldn’t quite believe it.

As a life-time doing person, helping person, sharing and teaching person, I was not sure that I could until I realised this:

I

Had

Little

Choice

Now

because I was/am keen not to fall back into the behaviours of ‘older’ me but not yet quite as wise me!

After making adjustments for myself and then in discussion with Head and Neck Cancer Australia CEO, I know I can continue my role into my 4th year but in a less active one and with fewer needs to drive and attend meetings. This graphic is from my twitter header.

February is FREE for Me to Plan…or Not! 

So, this is/was new. Very new.

I can plan my own February…..

It took me a bit to give myself permission to enjoy a morning tea out with me. Half the muffin came home for B. I really loved being back ‘people watching’ too.

Change Takes Time:

I have always I guess since I was a kid, been ready to throw myself into whatever the first term of school, whether as student or teacher brought.

In retirement back in Sydney, it often meant, back to grandchild care some days a week, and perhaps school pick ups.

In volunteer land (we have both inhabited that for many years) it meant the gearing up of activities to plan, places to be and work of some kind to do, for others.

Meetings. Face to face or via zoom and writing and helping others.

It often meant, since 2017 appointments for my head and neck cancer checks, surgeries, treatments with the prosthodontist and more.

I gave myself permission to STOP.

I am learning so much about myself from freeing myself too.

I am learning that I am a valuable person to myself and my husband and family.

I am learning that I do not need to DO as much now, to continue my life moving forward and that the last almost 5 years have taken a toll of sorts.

I was always ready to go, to drive, to put up with a lot of time waiting, to recover, to do without eating for ages, to not plan too far ahead, and to keep trusting that my head and neck cancer professional team knew exactly what they were doing…but

I felt a great deal of emotional stress and some physical stress over those years.

I now realise I am was can feel emotionally worn out….but definitely NOT out!

So now I self- nurture.

And I wrote about the unexpected but actual GRIEF that overtook me recently here.

 

And so far, I am loving that I am giving back to me to be me…..Sunday solo excursions listening to an audible book or some fave music. I love these times

And I continue to be grateful and remembering how to BE ME in a different time in my life. I may be ageing (aren’t we all) and into my early 70s but I am also learning to BE which is a challenge I am prepared to take!

Thanks for your interest in my post for Word of The Year.

I look forward to catching up with yours and others soon too.

Denyse.

P.S. For regular readers and those who link up with me on Mondays, come on over this coming Monday, 28th February to catch up on some N E W S.

 

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