Wednesday 10th August 2022

Dear 2015 & Beyond D….Love From 2022 Me. 36/2022.

Dear 2015 & beyond D….Love From 2022 Me. 36/2022.


Blogging has given me the chance to share some of my life’s story to date in the form of Telling My Story (my memoir, found here) and Head and Neck Cancer ( my story, found here) and as my link up called Life’s Stories draws to a close, I thought I would give myself a timely reminder of










and life!

Dear D,


You did it. You made the physical move from Sydney to the Coast, as planned after selling the Sydney house.

It would feel ok but also very strange at times.

One such time, was on the day of moving when you realised as you crossed the Hawkesbury River, that you were headed NORTH to home, not back home to Sydney in the south.

You made use of the new area for take photos, find beaches and return to Sydney as “grandma” when you were asked for school assemblies, care and on one very special occasion, meet the youngest granddaughter on her birthday.

You were torn inside a lot, in fact it played havoc with your gut so that you had many I.B.S. incidents which did not help your confidence at all. In fact, the stress grew in you so much, you stopped a lot of what you thought you could continue. You let go of any remnants of your last work life. That in itself brought more grief.

You did make one promise to yourself and kept it. You would blog daily no matter what and that continued for the next 2 years or more.

Life was full of very mixed emotions. And sadly, you did not accept them well, because to be honest, it would not be till 2016 that a psychologist would help you understand that feelings take a lot longer to catch up to actions.

Doing my best to ‘look’ OK but feeling anxious


You loved your blog and it did give you a feeling of connectedness when there was no-one you knew in your new area. That was true. The blog got revamped thanks to Tanya & by September you had your link up called Life This Week start every Monday!

Your body was changing. From the very overweight one to a trimming down one but that was coming from the stress and concern about your anxiety AND I.B.S. As someone who FEELS so much, it was also very hard to absorb family issues and many challenges where you could do NOTHING about them.

You didn’t mind that you were no longer so overweight but you also did not feel well and that took any shine off  ‘wanting to look good’.

Despite learning so much through reading, meditating, art, getting into nature, you were still stuck somewhat and unsure of what it was about.

Your mouth’s soreness increased and you would need to find a decent dentist, after the last one in 2015 was like the others, telling you that not cleaning properly was part of the problem. Dear Reader: it WAS NOT. See 2017.

To Terrigal to see A.N.Z.A.C. display


Again issues within the family that you could do nothing about were very hard on your emotional health. Very.

It was getting worse for you. I know. Nothing seemed to get better, in fact despite all the medical and psychological help, and a kind listener in B, things went downhill stress wise…until

You could stand it no longer, and it was TIME for that mouth and its issues to be examined and in April that year you were so brave, using all your exposure therapy learning. You had the upper teeth and bridge removed. And then waited for healing of the gums that did not come.

And when you got the diagnosis of a cancer in your gums and lip, you were able to deal with SO much….despite the fear…and get on with things!

Family began to reconnect and it was likely that your cancer diagnosis helped with that and slowly, as with your recovery in the rest of 2017, things settled.

Your very much slimmed down body (hello, IBS and then oral cancer) became a great distraction and you re-discovered a love of clothes, colour and having photos of yourself taken that had probably last been seen in your 20s!

The blog continued but you stopped the daily posts as that was no longer practical. However your link up flourished and you found new bloggers and communities there too.

First haircut in 8 weeks and wearing a bright new colour


Having moved twice in the 3 years, you were very pleased to find a modern house and make that rental place for home…for then and now (2022) as it happens.

Your mouth needed two more surgeries and LOTS of patience (which you found mostly via gratitude) to wait for “teeth” for 14 months.

But your love of a coffee each day and somewhere to go and sit, after a photo of the day helped pass that time. You found solace in art and creativity.

Meanwhile, family life  back in Sydney kept on going of course, but the longer we had been away, we all found it somewhat easier to be feeling settled here.

You got disappointed from time to time that family did not visit but with heavy workloads and other commitments that was hard for them.

So, you accepted much of that, and turned your attention on your Dad, as he aged, visiting him more frequently, AND forming a more relaxed and adult relationship with him.

Your head and neck cancer story was shared with some places on line and you were invited to become an Ambassador for a head and neck charity.

You reached out to friends who might meet you for a coffee and your time on the coast was more relaxed.

Social media was a good friend (still is) as is the blogging community which would sustain you for years to come. And you shared stories on others’ blogs too.

And via a social media conversation, you ended up getting the farewell from NSW Dept of Education you should have had back in 2003.

You and B hosted family Christmas — first time since we lived in Sydney.

21 August: from no smile to smile.


You dealt with quite a few health challenges in 2019 but not yours. So, you were able to be more helpful and understanding of your dear husband on a couple of occasions.

You became far too concerned about the weight (healthy!) increase…vanity, thy name is Denyse!!

You have, by 2022 improved big time. ‘Nuff said!

We both turned 70.

You wanted, and got a wonderful celebration and are very grateful to have had those memories.

We planned to see our family in Sydney at Christmas but had to go solo as B was not well. Fortunately his health improved.

Late 2019: Ambassador.


None of us knew, of course what lay ahead in early 2020 when we got news of a ‘China’ virus.

You needed an eye check and had to get it in Sydney, where you saw your family for lunch at the shops you used to frequent when living in Sydney. Weird wasn’t it, to find your way around again!

Needing cataract surgery, that would come in March, over 3 days, just as Covid dramas and restrictions began.

But before that you appeared in a video for head and neck cancer…and you were the guest speaker at a fund raiser.

You would not have guessed about these back in 2015 would you!!

Covid did change so much, and you know that.

You and B got the vaccine. And fingers crossed now, so far have its eluded you.

You did need more surgery, one you had put off for ages but once it was done…and it worked, YOU were pleased, right?


The rules and routines around covid were OK (ish) and you and B were your sensible selves.

Blogging was changing but you continued and did your best to showcase the various series including Women of Courage.

You decided if you couldn’t see the grandkids, you could send them little boxes of fun and treats.

Christmas? Just us, at home, after Sydney had quite a large covid outbreak.

Beach walks sustain me


More of what was almost familiar happened. But in-person anything was missed by you if it involved family.

You were OK about Covid but sometimes the social media about was very vocal and you needed to come away from it for a while.

You blogged. But your enthusiasm was waning but you did not want to stop either.

Your blogging communities were changing for sure. But you were (and are) a loyal blogger and supported others’ link ups too when you could.

In between Covid restrictions, you drove to the beach (to see the sea) and did not miss the city at all but you missed family.

You shared special birthdays via Zoom, sadly not a great compensation at all.

You cooked and sent treats to your 50 year old daughter. They were MUCH appreciated. She was teaching remotely, overseeing a grade and helping her youngest through on-line teaching.

You slowed down. You might not have realised you needed to but by the end of the year, your I.B.S. (or something like it) returned and it appeared, Dear D, that you were OVER doing things.

So, you slowed right down and took the change into early 2022 to review how you wanted your 72 year old life to be like in retirement.

My word for 2021….


You had a quiet January and reflected on a LOT.

You actually enjoyed the slower pace and your physical health improved too.

You learned to please yourself before anyone else.

Who knew?

You listened to your heart more than your head.

In fact, a ‘gut feeling’ really is true, you found!

Blogging lost some of its appeal for you. You felt like you had written and shared all you wanted to…but yet,

You would eventually close down the link up that lasted almost 6 years but you are keeping the blog open for reasons like NOW…when YOU have something to share!!

(NB: 2nd last link up Mon 6 June, and last one, 20 June. See you there?)

And on June 2022 you went to your fave place to give thanks for all your life’s changes that have helped heal you.

It was cold but hey, smile was there, as you were wrapped up in your new warm jacket.

So, continue to go well…

Lots of love,


P.S. Have you ever written a letter to yourself?


Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share later this week.

Thank you Natalie.





  1. Thank you Denyse for linking up with #weekendcoffeeshare. It’s been an eventful time for you since 2015 and you’ve documented them so well. I’m glad to see you’re smiling and are in good health. Enjoy the present and have a wonderful week!

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thank you so much Natalie.

      It’s a season for change for me for sure right now, with 5 years of cancer free status and changing my blog routine by eliminating the link up, so I am appreciative of your space on the internet to continue to make connections.

      Warm wishes,


  2. Rosemary Carlson says:

    You look wonderful! I’m in the process of reading your story. You write it wonderfully well. Best of luck to you!

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks very much Rosemary. Your words are both kind and appreciated. Writing my story…two of them now, has been a great outlet for my health.

      Take care,


  3. Wow, you have had quite the ride these last few years, but it sounds like you’re coming out stronger. Congratulations on 5 years cancer-free!

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much Janet, sometimes we do need to look back to realise how far we have come.

      Your words are very kind.

      Take care,


  4. Lots of lovely smiles there!! And I think it’s important to recognise what’s going on within us as we trundle along. So the letter to yourself is a good format to make space for that.

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thank you, I am glad to have used this format marking the changes and many adjustments to help me remember and be grateful for all that has occurred in my life since we moved here.

      Blogging is so good for that!

      See you tomorrow !


  5. Hi Denyse – it’s certainly been a journey, but it sounds like you’re finding your “sweet spot” in life and a degree of contentment that was missing over the last several years (I think your health issues impacted on your inner peace). I find blogging is less appealing to me these days – less fellow bloggers bothering to comment and stay connected etc, but I like the outlet it gives me and I remind myself that a lot of people still read what I write and those who comment are extra special – and the others who’ve moved on are happily released into the ether. x

    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Thanks so much Leanne for your wise and kind words.

      It feels as if I am coming to a finish line…but then again, I am also excited for a new “race” too.

      When I had the idea to write the letter to me, it was for me a way of kindly sharing both with myself and readers just how far I have come but also just how hard many aspects of the past almost 8 years have been.

      You, my friend in WA have been here for me, and others like you, are very precious and whilst my link up ending it won’t stop me from connecting.

      I think I have been very kindly treated by life, writing here on the blog, and stay tuned for tomorrow’s post and the one that will end the link up..not the blog.

      With gratitude always for your connections here and for your support.

      Denyse. x

  6. Hi Denyse,

    I have sorta written to myself before. For me, that looked like journaling and it just did not appeal enough to keep at it.

    I did try to capture many of my significant moments in life via my “I Recall” stories and I love using my story blog as a place to maintain this collection, but those essays are written to be shared, so they don’t really work as a diary or journal plus, I tried to write them in a way that would be entertaining.

    Finally, I try to be careful about focusing too much on myself. It really is my first inclination and long ago I realized that I was making myself miserable by interpreting everything by it’s impact on me. The world is never going to be so accommodating that this would ever leave me happy. Instead, I’ve been trying more to learn how to be a better influence, a better friend or parent or employee to leave others better off somehow for having spent time with me. I still love any focus on me, but know I’ll ultimately be happier if I’m causing someone else to be happy.

    I can try to understand your path, but Denyse, your challenges easily eclipse my own and your place in your world I think was simply much more significant. The demands of your job and such, leave me impressed and wondering how I might do in a similar situation.

    At 67, I’m not far behind you and hope I can do my 70s as well as you are.


    • Denyse Whelan says:

      Ah Gary, reading your words and nodding in so many places!

      Thank you so much for your kind and considered words.

      I used to have a mountain of ‘telling all” diary posts on-line and off, and I realised over time, they were actually weighing me down. Sure it’s good to get stuff down rather than have it make us sad but it impacted me again by re-reading.

      So I decided to honour the Denyse I am now, who has overcome quite a bit and who got help from others to do so, and I deleted most of them.

      Some I kept to remind me of how tough it was to navigate some days of my cancer story but they are just a part of it not the focus.

      Many thanks always for your kindness and commenting.


  7. What a great letter to yourself Denyse! It says everything and more and is a great way of looking at all you’ve been through and how you’ve adapted. I have written a letter to myself a few times and enjoyed the experience of looking at my life through a different lens. Take care my friend xx

    • Hi Deb, thank you so much for your comment and you get it too!

      I am doing well, and very grateful for that!!