Friday 22nd October 2021

Life Lessons. #1.2018.52.

Life Lessons. #1. 2018.52.

This may be a theme for one or more posts. Let’s see where the Life Lessons journey takes us!

The catalyst for this post was something that happened to me a few weeks ago. The story of that was this:

I have been a long-time sufferer (and yes, that IS what it is…suffering!) of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (diarrhoea mostly) for years. It became quite a debilitating condition for me, restricting work-related tasks and social events for some of 2014 and into the years following our move from Sydney to the Central Coast in 2015. I railed against it, I did courses to help me, I took meds, I had tests and in the end, I guess I had to admit it was MIND-GUT connected and my own stressors did seem to be behind it all. This actually did not help me, in fact I probably became more determined to beat it. Not sure how, as will-power had not worked.

So, my now GP first gave me some meds which helped and through the awful times of post cancer surgeries and other stressors in 2017 I know that my gut reacted and no immodium in the world could work against a gut which had not been ‘fed’ for ages. I learned that sometimes the reaction in my gut was normal and over time I accepted that. Kind of. I also made sure that any future anti-biotics were of the type my gut did not react to. Fingers crossed, that has worked so far.

Life Lesson.

Out of the so called blue on the recent long weekend, I had an episode of IBS. I could not ‘think’ of a reason why. In fact, that made me even more cranky with ‘it’. I got sad and had to stay home…close to the ‘loo because of it. Eventually, after immodium it did settle and I was able to drive to Westmead 2 days later to have a much-needed appointment with my prosthodontist.

In the meantime, I had to admit a truth to myself, and herein lieth the Life Lesson.

My week ahead, on the weekend I got an episode of IBS, was actually filled with a couple of items relating to my health that were NOT cancer- recovery related. I had decided two weeks ago that it was TIME I got myself together and did some regular testing that comes ‘at our age’  and my GP agreed. I did not know how much the anticipation of this and some other things I had planned would impact upon me emotionally until:


You see, I am a bit of an over-achiever…and my GP says I am ‘goal driven’ and I have to agree so I made a ‘rule’ that by now, a year post-cancer diagnosis, that I needed to be back in tune with normal activities. 

I.B.S. told me that I was not ready and in fact, reminded me brilliantly once I accepted it that I had made a promise to work on one thing at a time and that was to continue to recover from cancer.

Yep. I needed that and with  a chat to my GP, after my husband totally agreeing to what this life lesson had told me, I accepted it, cancelled the other things….and guess what, life settled again for me ….and I have learned my lesson.

I have photo on the left as my locked phone screen saver to remind me of my lesson!

What Others Say.

I asked for any Life Lessons via my social media and here are some responses.

Run your own race. It’s a cliche but it’s so important to know yourself, then do what you want to do and not to be swayed by others. The opinions of others are given way too much headspace. Make your own opinion the loudest. When I asked for any background to this conclusion here was the response: Life! Look around – who is happier? The person running after other people’s approval or the person who approves of themselves. “A.H”

Even on the darkest days and the most difficult of times you can always find something to be grateful for. It can be tiny, but there is always something. “D.C.”

Listen to your gut instinct. Other people may have opinions on what you should do within your life or your children’s but your gut instinct actually knows. Listen to it don’t ignore it just because someone else thinks they know best. Gut instinct is usually 100% right. “LofC”

Thank you to those people.

Last week Natalie from wrote a timely post which she has been happy for me to share. Thank you!

What Life Lesson(s) have you been taught?


On Tuesday this posts links with Kylie here

On Wednesday this post links with Sue and Leanne here

On Thursday this post links with Leanne here.




  1. Thanks for sharing my post. We often get so swept up in life and our own world that we forget where most of our learnign comes from. Just stopping every now and then, watching what is happening around us and then slowly moving forward helps with understand why some lessons are so essential.

    • Oh Natalie, you are so right!

      Great privilege to share your post.

      Thank you for your kind words and support, always!

      Denyse x

  2. Good on you for getting proactive with these health issues, especially in the face of all you’ve been through! IBS is such a debilitating condition. I have read about new treatments, hopefully they are available soon!

    • Thanks so much Amy. Things are relatively well-controlled right now thanks to a low dose old fashioned anti-dep my local GP trialled me on. I know too that there are direct gut-things that can be done. Right now, for me anyway, I recognise that my emotional turmoil brings about much of it so I am doing what I can to understand this and make allowances for myself.

      Denyse x

  3. I think one step at a time, really are words to live by. I think you’re courage, patience and resilience this year are to be commended and I hope you can see yourself as others (or at least I) see you, with such an inner strength. It must be frustrating to not be as far along the road to recovery as you’d like, but I think it’s also important to see how far you’ve come. Cancer taught me some very important life lessons – to make every day count, to go gently and to know that I can’t control what happens to me but I can control how I react to what happens to me. I know you’ll show that IBS who’s boss. Here’s to happy days and feeling better!

    • As usual, you are so perceptive and yes, you have nailed it. Cancer IS one helluva teacher! I am feeling a confidence within that has been dormant due to the years of stress, anxiety even before cancer’s ugly intrusion. I am relishing this as I just noted on an IG/FB update. This well feeling is so helpful for me to take up the positives again…my hiccups were hard to deal with and even the professional team was apologetic. It was lovely for my prosthodontist to ring and check on me this afternoon.
      Thank you my friend,
      Denyse x

  4. Hi, Denyse – This is such a wise post with so many valuable takeaways. I agree that one’s body can be the best teacher and that we need to listen closely to what it has to say. Thank you for this very important reminder. Wishing you a well and happy summer.

    • Thank you Donna, your words are much appreciated. Our body does ‘tell us’ things but sure enough if we do not listen (as I did not!) then it makes itself known.

      Thank you for your kind wishes…I hope YOU have an awesome summer, we are in the throes of winter right now and whilst it can be cold and wet, the weather is often mild!

      Denyse x

  5. Listen to your gut! Isn’t it funny we’ve been told this for years but now we’re finally listening! Good to hear your gettin I tune with your body Denise. Take it easy lovely xx #teamIBOT

    • Thanks Jo! Took me more than a while to admit it. I wanted it to be every reason than it to be directly related to ME. But there it is. I now know more than I did about myself, even if it took some years and for that I am pleased!!

      Denyse x

  6. We really do need to listen to our bodies don’t we, Denyse? I know I’ve learned that lesson over the last year. I love being active but had problems with my lower back. I realise now that is because I was over working it and giving 120% at personal training session twice a week. Now that I have pulled back a little on the ‘enthusiasm’, my back is fine and I actually ran almost 26kms last week with no ill effects. Glad that you are listening to your body and taking care. Thanks for linking up with this reminder for all of us at #MLSTL.

    • Such a life lesson for you too. Interesting isn’t it? I wonder because we can be very driven about our mindset about ageing we are doing our bodies a disservice by not recognising that physically there are losses than no amount of vitamins, attitude or exercise can overcome.

      Giving 120% sounds like you did ‘over’ reach and good on your body and your mind for noticing and making some changes.

      I know how much running means to you so well-done on the big run of 26 kms. Amazing!

      Thanks for your link up too.

      Denyse x

  7. Hi Denyse – isn’t it interesting how our minds and bodies are so connected. You wouldn’t expect one thing to impact on another, but it certainly does! My biggest life lesson in the last couple of years has been to step away from other people’s drama. They are not my responsibility to fix or to pat on the head – they need to be owned by the person who creates them. It’s been very liberating to smile and move on, rather than getting embroiled in stuff that isn’t mine in the first place. We’re obviously both working on being less controlling and letting life happen at its own pace.

  8. I do agree that usually our head and gut know the truth what needs to be done if we choose to listen. I am always being taught a life lesson because I don’t listen well.

    • Yes, being an active listener is something I am adding to my skill set…I mean listening well to others without wanting to jump in with my opinion.

      My body tries its best to tell me things, I need to not ignore it as much!

      Glad you too are learning life’s lessons!

      Denyse x

  9. Hi Denyse.
    I’m just starting to learn to listen to my body.That’s a huge life lesson, perhaps one of the most important ones out there because your body will never steer you wrong.

    Kudos to you for listening to yours and for paying attention to what you hear. #MLSTL

    • I wonder why it takes us a while..ok a long do this?
      Maybe we are too busy looking out for others.

      I am glad you too are doing this and it can only be good news for our health, right!

      Denyse x

  10. My gut is my first sign that things aren’t right elsewhere. While I often listen to my metaphorical gut, I tend to ignore the complaints of my physical gut. Like this week – being back in Sydney & pushing the candle at both ends & in between. My gut is telling me enough is enough!

    • You have been on my mind this week as I know you are ‘where you would rather not be’ and THAT is evident now in what you are telling me.

      It can be hard though when you have ‘good practical reasons, i.e. money and work’ to be where you are but your heart and emotions are crying for ‘what you would rather be doing.’

      So hear you….

      Denyse x

  11. It’s easy to forget the rules of life, especially those that we impose for the good upon ourselves after a major upset. We always think that we can do better, or be better, and I do think as Hugh Mackay says that so much of this comes from the media and today’s ‘must have it now’ society pressures. I was talking to my hubby today about recipes – he asked for a curry tonight – and I reeled off any number of curries I could attempt, from shop bought sauce based ones, to old tried and tested ones made from scratch. Then I scratched my head and thought my Grandmother would never have had the problem of such choices. She would have had a few recipes handed down from her mother and maybe grandmother – if she was lucky she might have had Mrs Beeton’s Cookery Book – and everything she made would have been made from scratch and fresh. These days we have so many decisions to make about every little thing, that no wonder we tend to do too much when we should just slow down and take it easy. Your Life Lesson made me think today 😉 Take it easy, won’t you x

    • Oh Jo, what a great example!! Yes, of course we have far too many choices and it really has become out of control. Growing up in the 1950s and 60s in Australia you just got what you got with little or no peer pressure until teenage hood and even then it was pretty tame compared to now.

      Social media, good as it has been in some ways, is such a comparison trap and maker of all types of insecurities.

      The life lesson of mine may have seemed quite simple but it was like a fight going on inside me as I tried to be: 1. the good patient moving on since cancer….2. the cancer patient still in recovery mode. One thing at a time. Not easy for me but I am doing it as much as possible.

      Decisions about SO much is driving anxiety I reckon. And ‘what if I get it wrong?’ That is still a bit tough for me.

      I hope you are having a delicious dinner whatever it ended up being. Loved your example.

      Thank you.
      Denyse x

  12. I like to live by my favourite saying “Not my circus, not my monkeys”. I try to keep out of other people’s dramas and prefer not to get caught up in idle gossip. Unfortunately I have learned this lesson the hard way, but have finally equipped myself with the “subtle art of not giving a f***”! Unless of course it’s something incredibly important. We do live and learn as we go. #TeamLovinLife

    • Thanks Kathy for your honest and heartfelt words. I hear you on the ‘issues’ that can make us change. I like your attitude. I know it is still a work-in-progress from me to remember who and what is my business but I am MUCH better than I was. I am thinking maybe this age thing has a benefit or two.

      Denyse x

  13. Love this! Don’t love the IBS bit. I have had that in the past (and also irritable bladder) so I have some insight into how disabling it can be. But I do love the life lesson your “Gut” gave you.

    My fave life lesson fits in perfectly with yours. “Behind every challenge is an opportunity”. Whether it be an opportunity for growth, or for reflection, or for moving in a new direction … the opportunities are always there … some days we just have to look harder to find them.


    • Thank you for your understanding. There are many more of us out there I see with IBS etc. I think sharing it makes it less onerous. Yes it can be debilitating and life gets inconvenienced but knowing I am not alone helps me.

      Your motto sounds like a good one. I think with one like that I would first need to remember it, then it would help me. Too often I go into the negative mode. Getting better though! Progress is good.

      Denyse x

  14. Ah yes, I had bowel-related issues for years. I thought the coeliac diagnosis would help but it didn’t. I hated not being able to walk in the morning, or walk in a place not-near toilets for example.

    Interestingly post-surgery it’s no longer an issue at all which is weird!

    As for a life lesson – for me it’s that: things you think are going to matter don’t, and things you think won’t matter, will!

    • Well how about that! So the issues went away. I find that really cool for you! Mine are much better except (as above!) so I guess I take what I get as a positive. A very low dose old fashioned anti-dep is what my GP suggested to ‘slow the gut down’ and 8/10 as long as I am ok emotionally or not on certain anti-biotics it works for me.

      Interesting life lesson you have written. Is there a chance you could make the last bit “may” rather than “will.’

      Sending love as I know you are in some dilemma mode right now…

      Denyse x

  15. I thought I had commented on this already, but don’t see my comment so will post again.
    Our bodies definitely know best. Usually when I need to slow down and rest, I start to get a niggle in my back. I hope you feel better soon.

    • Thanks Suzy. I am sorry if you commented and didn’t see it come up. Here you are now though.

      Bodies can tell us things that is for sure but we need to take notice. That is where we can be caught!

      I am better, thank you and whilst I do not like your signs of overdoing it, at least you know!

      Denyse x