Tuesday 24th May 2022

I Am Grateful Today. Cancer Surgery#1 Part One. 2017.91.

I Am Grateful Today. Cancer Surgery#1. Part One. 2017.91.

Hello again!
Today I am listing many reasons I am grateful and am delighted to be back blogging and linking up with dear friends here with Leanne for Lovin’ Life Linky!

Day Before Surgery

Oh, and in case you did not know… I have returned home after my major cancer surgery which removed the inside top of my mouth, gums and teeth (ha! there were only 3 left…and bummer…no tooth fairy coin left either!). When I was in hospital I had PLENTY of thinking and reflecting time so a post about gratitude seems to fit my return to Lovin’ Life today!

This post is live two weeks after my 11 hour surgery on Thursday 6 July. The selected  photos and words are just a part of my grateful list.

I am doing my best to have them sequentially …enjoy!

Wednesday 5 July. Pre-Admission Day.

It was a well-planned departure (I am so that anyway) but I did have a tiny sense of ‘what if I don’t come back’ and sensibly did quite the paperwork tidy-up, prepared official documents so husband and daughter knew where they were, and left my bedroom and art room clean and tidy. The trip to Sydney (by now I had done 3 since diagnosis) so I am grateful that I built up my confidence through challenging my beliefs based on fear of driving on the M1 and ‘getting caught short’.

We arrived in plenty of time at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse (pictured)  for a myriad of health checks (all fine and dandy!) at pre-admission and handed over my life in forms…about 10 pages. There was no money to pay as our Teachers Health covered every.single.item*. Always very grateful we were both in it as young teachers then continued as a family always with top cover. The amount paid by them was in excess of  $21K.*not all doctors’ fees but that is ok.

We had booked overnight accommodation (cheap and cheerful as recommended by the hospital) as it was within 10 mins walking distance of Lifehouse. We were not impressed by the spartan set up however kindly the people were who supplied the accommodation so after our LAST night together for a while, B decided to bunk in with the grandkids and our daughter who live an hour away from Lifehouse. In retrospect I was incredibly grateful he did because as he said ‘it was great to see loving family faces!’.

Thursday 6 July. Day of Surgery.

I have no pictures! Fancy that! But I was grateful for a laugh when I got my phone back from B the next day and there was over 3 hours video of the inside of the phone cover which must have started when I handed it to him in Surgical area at 6.30 a.m.

Friday 7 July – Sunday 9 July. Intensive Care Unit.

After 11 hours of surgery I remember one fact about waking in what possibly was recovery but might have been ICU and it was nighttime. I asked ‘no tracheostomy?’ Of course, my brain tells me now I would not have been able to ask the question if I had, but I was intensely grateful that my surgery did not require this as I had been told it was possible.

In intensive care I was grateful each room was private and I could shut out sounds and light as I mostly needed to rest my eyes, not sleep. I liked that I could talk (a bit) to whoever came to check my obs. Loads of obs checks, especially my ‘mouth flap’. This was checked via a doppler ( a mini ultra-sound scanner) and each time I heard the reassuring beats I did thumbs up as I was incredibly grateful it was alive in me. The catheter came out on the second day and it was good to go to the loo (with help of course, as my leg was in a back slab). I am grateful I stopped caring about modesty. Let’s just get better is my motto!

By Sunday I was stir-crazy and when I heard they were waiting for a room to be ready on the ward I sure was pleased. It took a bit of time to do the transfer but I was grateful to say ‘bye bye’ and ‘thank you’ to ICU.

The Rest of My Stay Until Discharge on Saturday 15 July.

To be continued next Tuesday week where I will link up on I Blog on Tuesdays and the next Thursday when I will link up here again too.

I decided to do it this way as I am tiring and I have a lot to say! Who knew? Ok. I did.


Next Monday I re-start my #lifethisweek Link Up: Here are the prompts: They are also on the Home Page.

Mon 24 July: 28/52. Can’t Live Without.

Mon 31 July: 29/52. Winter.

Mon 7 Aug: 30/52. Birth Order.

Mon 14 Aug: 31/52. Ideal Meal.

Mon 21 Aug: 32/52. Selfie Time.

Mon 28 Aug 33/52. Mindfulness.

Mon 4 Sept 34/52. First Car/Bike.

Mon 11 Sept 35/52. Beach or Bush.

Mon 18 Sept 36/52. Taking Stock.





  1. The tooth fairy is totally ripping you off! We need to have a word with her I think.

    Oh wow, that money paid by insurance is a bit astronomical. Thank God it didn’t come out of your own pocket all at once, although I’m sure it has over the years.

    It’s a shame that the accommodation wasn’t the greatest but I’m sure that your husband liked spending time with your daughter and grandkids, despite the long drives to visit you.

    Ouch. A tracheotomy. That would not have been fun at all, I’m glad you were spared that. I’m grateful that you’re telling us all about your experiences!

    • Yep..no money for me teeth! Mind you they were pretty crap so, perhaps below $ value.
      As for health insurance it has paid for itself over and over in our situation.
      Teachers Health (teachers and relatives of teacher all over Australia can be members – not for profit too) is the BEST! Even for the ancillary stuff every provider says.
      Rates per day in ICU is over $3000!
      I negotiated a lower fee from the professor and the rest of the team are taking the medicare rebate (has not changes for doctors for well over a decade) and whatever teachers’ health pay.
      I am getting free nursing care from community nursing who come 3x a week to dress my wound.
      We will be paying close to $8K for implants but that’s not until well into next year.
      Life…it’s pretty good and I am pretty grateful we have always had private health insurance.
      D xx

  2. Gosh it’s good to have you back! The time went quickly from my point of view, but I can imagine it felt like an eternity for you as you went through it. Onward and upward now!
    PS I’m looking forward to your Monday prompts again!

    • Oh thank YOU! Yesterday when this went live I read comments but had no energy left for this. So I was a ‘good patient’ and blogger and waited till this morning as I feel good today! Thanks for having me over at your place too! D xx

  3. I can’t believe how quickly you’ve recovered (recovering). You’re attitude will take you far, lady!! Pat yourself on the back to be back on the computer again! You will be back to your old self before you know it….

    • Lydia, I think I was so strong in recovery because I had been so OVER what was wrong in my mouth! Before we knew it was cancer it was a bother for almost a year – not that gums were an issue then but the teeth under the bridge were and I had a torrid time ‘living with that’. However, I have taken heed of how well I can go under difficult times and I realise I have always had it but for the past 3 years it was hiding under ‘all the stuff’ that made me fearful. D xx

  4. I love that you’ve dound so much to be thankful for in the face of adversity- you’re an inspiration

    • Thank you Amy. I never set out with any goal to become better but I realised as I was recovering how much this was within me to do well. I guess I learned more about myself under the circumstances and can put them into practice now. Really pleased to feel less fearful about things that ‘bothered’ me before. D xx

  5. Welcome back and can’t wait to start on Monday’s Life This Week post.

    SSG xxx

    • Excellent! I had done the prompts before knowing I was going to hospital so I was glad they still ‘worked’ when I had a look! I look forward to your post too.D xx

  6. Firstly, we need to have a stern talk with the tooth fairy, and secondly, welcome back. I’ve said it before, but your inner strength through this – and your openness with us – has been, and continues to be, awe inspiring. xx

    • Yes, I was just replying to Kat, that the condition those remaining teeth were in were well under dollar value so perhaps that was why! I guess none of us knows what we can do until we are tested. However. the long 3 years of transitioning from work, Sydney etc where I HAD to do something to learn more about how to approach our new life were obviously helpful when faced with one of life’s big challenges. Thank you! D xx

  7. So many great gratefuls. So glad you are on the mend.

    • Thanks so much Trish. I am feeling really well today. I have a minor infection in the ‘open’ wound & have to have strong anti-biotics which do not do my tummy any good but I am seeing it as short term pain for long term gain. D xx

  8. We are grateful to have you back Denyse and what a wonderful and inspirational woman you are. Major surgery and back a the blog – well done you! Don’t overdo it but it is lovely to see you back. xxx

    • Thank you Sue! I am being measured in my activity and as result when I was extra tired yesterday I left commenting here until today! D xx

  9. Of course I know how this story ends (well, the next instalment anyway) and am so happy you’re doing so well. I think it’s a result of the prep you did AND your positivity, which has been wonderful.

    Although this has been a really trying (understatement of the year) experience I hope it’s shown you how much you are respected and how much so many of us care for you and appreciate you. xx

    • Deb, I was/am truly humbled by the outpouring of support and love from the on-line, blogging and SM communities. It has buoyed me incredibly. I know friends and family were thinking of me and wishing me well too but on-line, it’s pretty instant and I liked that when I was able to make sense of my keyboard and camera and connect with everyone again!
      I have always prepared (over- prepared at times) for everything but it gives me security too. I had bags for hospital & bits n bobs out for a week or so because I knew whatever I took to Sydney could come with me or stay in B’s car. Living 2 hours away and B came every 2nd day I did not want to ‘miss’ anything I might have needed or (dread) ask him to find something. It worked well!
      D xx

  10. Oh Denyse I am SO glad you came through it with flying colours! Only you could be doing a gratitude post days after such a huge undertaking! It really brought it home to me when you mentioned about getting your affairs in order – and also those days in ICU. You have done amazingly well and I hope you are patting yourself on the back for getting through it all so well. Looking forward to your next update and also the linky – I’ve missed you xxx

    • Yes Leanne, the ‘getting stuff better organised’ was a job that I had put off for a year, so felt it best to do it then. I was surprised in a way that I felt up to doing 2 small blog posts as well before this one, but it was in a way, an extension of my FB and IG updates and it felt good to be back! Thank you for your kind words. D xx

  11. Great to hear about your journey Denyse and so happy that you have come out the other side of surgery. I wish you the best with your recovery and will look forward to hearing more about your recuperation process. 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    • Thank you so much Kathy! I do not want to be an over-sharer but from everyone’s comments there is genuine interest and I find that heart-warming. D xx

  12. It’s so good to have you back blogging Denyse! I’m also so relieved you have come through the surgery well and are home again now recovering. I’m so impressed by your courage and positivity. You really are amazing! 🙂 xo #TeamLovinLife

    • Oh Min, how kind you are. I know you were in hospital recently and when you know someone else is going to be there it brings some of it back. I actually thought of you and the ‘breathing’ thing you had to do. I was so pleased that as long as I was doing some deep breaths and some coughs (all dry) was OK. Mind you, swallowing was a challenge as I had little saliva and when you are lying in a bed in ICU there is not much to think about…I used to try not to be concerned and let it happen. It was because all areas inside my mouth are filled with stitches but the best news was ‘no tracheostomy’ ad I dreaded having to cover hole near my windpipe to talk. I hope you continue to be on the mend as well. Today (Friday) I have started walking independently without the walker and it occurred spontaneously after I used the walker to get to the kitchen then did a few more things..and went..oh. D xx

  13. When I was “going in” and uncertain about my first general, a friend of mine told me I’d be cranky to be woken up from it because it’s such a great sleep 🙂

    I think it was true – I seem to remember them having to yell (or at the very least, say my name loudly and closely) at me to wake me up in recovery. I guess I was enjoying the sleep too much. Or I was too loopy on the painkillers to wake up!

    • So true because you don’t want to wake up but my usual question is ‘is it over?” My surgery was so long I do not recall recovery as I had before or maybe they bring ICU patients straight from theatre. This time my words (very hard via a mask and NO teeth up top) were about the tracheostomy ..I told B that would be the first thing I would say/wonder about! Then it was obs every hour…ICU is not a restful place at all. D xx

  14. So pleased you were well covered by health insurance, there is enough to worry about without financial pressures as well. I hope you realise by now that we all consider you an absolute legend and I am so pleased to see you back in print on your very own blog page.

    • Oh how kind you are! We have always had, as our kids do too, private health insurance with Teachers Health & it stood us in good stead with major orthopaedic works for B along with stomach and other issues. He was the one back in our 20s, 30s and 40s. I just had two kids! Then in late 1980s and into 1990s surgery for me. We are happy to pay as we have benefitted many times over.
      D xx

  15. So much to be thankful for, not least such awesome health insurance! So good to see you back blogging. Onwards and upwards!

    • Indeed! Health Insurance has helped our family and now their families are in it too. I was a good recuperating blogger today… I commented in batches rather than all at once! D xx

  16. Always things go be grateful for Denyse and that’s sometimes easy to forget so good on you for managing to find the positive xx

  17. So glad things went smoothly for you Denyse! x