Wednesday 27th October 2021

Appreciation in August. #1. 2018.69.

Appreciation in August. #1. 2018.69.

Update: This post is being shared to a new link up called: Zen Tips Tuesday here on Write of the Middle’s blog.

My post is about how I overcame. and continue to overcome my anxious thoughts and physical experiences, that are NOT wonderful, in order to live the best life I can as a post-Head and Neck Cancer diagnosis patient.


Thanks to my readers and commenters I am continuing a more ‘on the spot’ post and perhaps adding to my stories of what I would like to share.

In line with this title: Appreciation.….Today I am thankful for:

Opportunities to share my story about my head and neck cancer diagnosis and what has followed since 17 May 2017

  • My blog has, of course, been the main way of sharing since then
  • This year a number of organisations have taken note of my blog’s purpose in keeping readers updated with my cancer treatment and progress and approached me to write a post for them or to engage a writer on my behalf.
  • Both versions occurred: Here with Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.…and Here with Beyond Five and most recently here with  Cancer Aid App
  • The connections I have made on-line in groups on Facebook, for example this one and then meeting people from a local group continue to add to my knowledge of what others are doing in managing both the cancer diagnosis and treatments along with post-cancer life
  • I was approached by one newly made friend who is also a head and  neck survivor, to write about what I do each day to both be active and busy but to be mindful in my post-cancer surgery times and into the 14th month of recovery

I understand that each and every person, with a cancer diagnosis or not, will find ways in which to live their lives in semi or full retirement.

I am only one person…who has found the transition to retirement an anxious one. I have written about it here  

However, knowing it was up to ME to make things work better for me each day, I used my instincts and skills…and some creative thoughts to determine this:

The emotional impact of cancer cannot be under-stated but I have taken steps to ensure my physical and emotional health are priorities. I do this by:

  • Getting dressed each day with purpose, having a photo taken and posted on Instagram. This keeps me connected and within a routine I enjoy. Losing weight before the cancer was diagnosed and keeping it stable while recovering meant I could celebrate with buying new clothes

From 30 Oct, I did an Outfit of the Day post…now into my 10th month!

  • Taking notice of the world outside – the natural one in particular – by driving the the local beaches and walking or just taking in the scenes with all of my senses or just looking skywards and seeing the clouds and patterns. I also post a photo with #noticenaturedaily on Instagram

The week before #4 surgery

  • Creating art or designing mandalas and colouring them and making patterns to colour and decorating cards. Whatever I make I add to Instagram with #createdaily2018
  • Completed Mandala

  • Being a sociable person and meeting up with friends when I can and even if I go out alone (which I actually enjoy too) I engage in conversation with others as much as possible. I have learned long ago not to be self-conscious of ‘no teeth’ in my upper mouth.

Coffee & Morning Tea. Can only eat 1/3 of a scone out! Messy.

  • Staying interested and informed via reading newspapers, commenting on others’ blogs and generally taking an interest in the lives of those I may have met or am still to meet via social media.

I wear this to remember I AM!

That’s my Appreciation in August for this week! But before I go: on World Head and Neck Cancer Day 2018 last Friday I felt a great need to visit here and enjoy the space, sounds and more….but to also give thanks for all the beach has helped me through so much since we moved away from Sydney in 2015.

What are you thankful or grateful for this week?


Joining Leanne and friends here for Lovin’ Life Linky each Thursday.

My blogging friend from Ballarat is starting a first day of the month linky called Good Grateful. I think it’s always a great plan to reflect on gratitude! In fact, I AM grateful to her for rekindling old blogging friendships recently which spurred me on to making a Blog Roll on this blog!

Thanks so much Caz! Her blog is called Room For My Soul. I wish you well and will be there for sure! 



  1. After seeing the state of the Central West this week, I’m grateful for the wet start to winter we had. I’m grateful for my husband being an amazing driver & so far getting us 2000kms along in our roadtrip. I’m visiting a friend today doing it tough with cancer and am grateful for my health – and mindful of not taking it for granted. I’m glad to be back in Canberra & was thrilled to catch up with family in Tumba. There, I think that will do for now.

    • Pretty grim out there (and here too now, come to think of it) for everyone. I have been interested to read that this is so-called the worst drought ever. Yikes. Your road trip has looked like fun but the reason for being in Canberra is sure tinged with sadness. Visiting your friend will be so appeciated I am sure. I loved the pics of those trees from Tumba! Wow. Do you follow Deb from Deb’s World? I found her on Sue & Leanne’s linky and she lives in Tumba I think.

      PS just after I read your comment I went to the post to check it and in my busy-ness eliminated the photos I had initially! Been a mad scramble to get it looking ok again..with different pics!

      PPS I am grateful to have you as a bloggy friend who links up, encourages me with your comments and shares her life on IG so I get to experience it via your wonderful pics! And I reckon one way or another, we will meet up IRL. x

  2. You’ve taken very wise steps to take care of yourself, Denyse. I’m always grateful for my health, close knit family and good friends. This week I’m grateful for fun events that are free to the public in my city, and local parks and gardens with benches where I can sit and enjoy nature.

    • Thanks so much Natalie. It was ‘hard’ in the first months of recovery to achieve anything like getting out and more but once I was freely independent and well, I knew a plan for each day (loose plan, not rigid as it was in working days) would see me managing a better balance of being out and about as well as enjoying time in art solitude.

      Your gratitude is a lovely list and I will add that I am so pleased you found my blog and link up each week! Thank you!

      Denyse x

  3. You continue to inspire me Denyse and I love your t-shirt. I’m appreciating that my body is holding up well with my running training. I’m fortunate to be healthy at the moment so don’t take that for granted. Have a beautiful August!

    • Thanks Sue, what a feat you achieved recently on the stair climbs. Wow. Your physicality is one key to your wellbeing and you continue to care for that very well indeed!

      There will be an ‘appreciation’ type post each week in August and a long-time blogger, who has returned to blogging a week or so back is running a month-long link up for gratitude posts. Her link is the second one here if you wanted to check it out.

      Denyse x

  4. I’m really following along on your appreciation journey. It’s a reminder for me personally to get back to my mindful review of each day to find something for my gratitude journal.

    SSG xxx

    • Thanks SSG! I have fits and spurts with a gratitude app…it reminds me to be grateful each day. However, I also write a summation of my day in an on-line journal and I tells ya, by the time I get done with that I am over it!

      I have, at times, taken time to notice the gratitude and apparently that is as good for us as anything written!

      Denyse x

  5. I love all the things you are doing to look after yourself Denyse. They are all the things I would do too – be creative, self care, nature, connections with others. I am grateful for my health and never take it for granted. I know very well how quickly things can change. I’m grateful for every day I have with my mother, since I know how brutally confronting the finality of losing my Dad has been. I’m grateful for my home and my family. xoxo #TeamLovinLife

    • Yes Min, you have had quite a lot of health issues raising their heads and in the ugliest ways. Losing your Dad was/is such a shock to the system. I hope your Mum is doing as OK as she can. I see you doing quite a bit gratitude wise and self-care with your Pilates and your photos. Good to see!

      Home and Family. Nothing beat it.

      Denyse x

  6. I love the focus on gratitude. I used to read Anita Heiss’s blog and she wrote a post every day about ‘things for which she was grateful’ and I loved it because it’s something I don’t do enough of.

    I’m starting to stress about the end of this contract and no income so I’ll instead be grateful that I’m about to have holidays and have been able to save enough for them in advance. xx

    • Interestingly enough, recent studies have shown just feeling grateful or taking a moment to consider what we are grateful for is as beneficial as writing it.

      Today’s post came about in a directed way so to speak. I have become part of an on-line active and excellent support for Head and Neck cancer patients in a facebook group that is very active. One member there liked what I was doing and suggeted others may benefit so I planned it with that audience in mind too.

      Mixed feelings for you with this job that is about to end. I am picking up that you have not liked it that much (and for many reasons I am sure, least of all the politics of work!) but then again, you need something to come back to. I am hopeful they may keep you in mind for other work if that is what you want.

      I am looking forward to you trip. It will be for me as well! Unlikely to travel OS at all. Want to, but it is $ based and I would want to feel much fitter than now and be able to eat!!

      Denyse x

  7. Thank you Denyse for linky up with Good Grateful. I muchly appreciate your support. I’m not expecting it to be a big linky – but hoping to gather up a few people to share the gratefulness with. I so admire the way you have taken up the challenge to turn your journey with cancer into something positive. It’s been very inspiring to watch. I’m grateful to have been able to read your posts both her and on social media.

    • Thanks to you, more bloggers from “way back” are blogging again. That IS something to be grateful for. I know life is hard for you as your mum is so unwell and I am inspired by how you can love and appreciate what others are doing. Sending love, Denyse x

  8. I applaud you Denyse for taking care of yourself on a physical and emotional level during your cancer journey. It’s great that you have been able to share your story with others. It would be very reassuring for other that are going through the same things as you. You continue to inspire me and others. #LovinLifeTeam

    • Thanks Kathy, I know that when I was first diagnosed I was quite confused about what my surgery, and its recoveries, would be like. I heard from the professional team of course but until you read or hear about another person’s situation as similar as it can be to yours, you just feel a bit lost. Even though it is over a year, I still am yet to meet, or hear from anyone who has had my cancer and my surgeries.

      When my prosthodontist tells me , as he has a few times in his different treatments, “oh that is the first time I have done this” part of me is grateful to be helping in research and practice, the other part of my thinks “yikes, just as well I trust him”.

      Thanks for your kind words,

      Denyse x

  9. You are such an inspiration Denyse!! Feeling gratitude like you do even after going through such things, is how we all should look at life.
    I love that you take the time and effort to look nice because i know, personally that helps me feel better even on the days i don’t feel well!!

    • Jodie, it has literally been quite life-changing so I guess I would be doing my experience a disservice if I did not try to make the best of it. Funnily enough though, I have been quite a pessimist (glass half empty gal) but this experience of how to handle cancer and the very long recovery periods in between surgeries is a positive and on-going one of growth in my life.

      Thank you for your lovely words,

      Denyse x

  10. So much going on! Love that you’ve become an ambassador of sorts for the head and neck cancer awareness day. I mean, I wish you didn’t have the cancer, but love that now you’re getting through the other side you can bring awareness to others, xoxo

    • Thanks Leanne, that is true. Having it, no choice but to get on, but I am an educator at heart and want to share. Hence, the blog has become a vehicle for getting the messages out there!

      Denyse x

  11. Hi Denyse, it is great to read this post again because of how far you have come on your journey. As always inspiring and you certainly deserve your Ambassadorship as you promote in such a positive manner. #ZTT

  12. Denyse, thank you so much for linking up with #ZTT You’re doing the world such a great service by sharing what it is to do to look after your mental health as well as your physical and spiritual health when faced with the stress of a cancer diagnosis and for anxiety sufferers. All the things you do are wonderful – your art, your appreciation of nature, getting dressed each day and posting your #OOTD, coffee out, meeting up with friends, and so on! I agree with all of these as they all help uplift me too (though I don’t do the OOTD thing but I do put effort into how I look – for myself, not for others). Reading these things and seeing your images always inspires me so I’m sure it inspires many others also. Have a great week! xo

    • Thanks Min. I am glad to link up with a relevant post and your comments are very nurturing and encouraging. The outfit of the day is of lesser importance to me now but I am still posting an every day photo to keep myself ‘going’ and it helps me emotionally to know I am doing this and not sitting at home all day.

      Denyse x

  13. So happy to have discovered you Denyse and your blog at the #ZTT link-up. Your tee shirt says it all-stronger than you know. It takes courage to share so openly and find appreciation in all that you cope with. That’s what I try to do, despite my son’s recent death. My thoughts and prayers are with you and love too.

    • Nancy, thank you so much.
      I am in total agreement with the sharing. It helps me, of course, but if it helps one other person look at what I write about and consider what it might do for them, it is worth it.

      Sending my love for colour (I know, it’s the Aussie spelling!) back to you!

      Denyse x