Wednesday 1st December 2021

Self Care Stories #7. 47/51 #LifeThisWeek. 127/2021.

Self Care Stories #7. 47/51 #LifeThisWeek. 127/2021.

The Last Of These 2021.

With images and some a lot of words, I will bring you, my readers, up to date with self care!
Here we go.
Mental Health
I got to do this after lockdown ended on 11 October for us here on Central Coast N.S.W….and second day in a row made it even better.
Celebrating wellness, and cafes being open..and sitting to have a coffee (double shot small latte) was a joy.
 
Had my final visit to psychologist too- had 2 in total this time round – as I had already been implementing quite a bit I had learned via my first psychologist (2016-17) and “life” experiences, reading & listening, AND having a trained counsellor husband for some “tips” and listening…
 
My own words as takeaways for me:
 
Allow time to pass. I learned this over & over again between head and neck cancer treatments…
 
Some voices and messages from so-called authority figures in my past told me information that was not helpful and fed the shame I carried about parts of my life….
 
I have the tools I need in my toolbox of strategies
 
My time in Covid was made ‘easier’ because of what I learned as a head and neck cancer patient
 
Allowing myself to feel the feelings…acknowledging them and letting them go is good practice for me
 
My self-awareness and understanding of what can be holding me back is improving as I acknowledge it too
 
That’s about it.
 
Oh and there is no shame in seeking psychological help at any time. I did this via a GP Mental Health Care Plan.
Making slow and minimal changes for me (no-one else!) re weight and activity.
And How Life Went for Us in Photos!
We used to have morning tea dates way back, now, each fortnight, we are trying out mini excursions. The one overlooking M1 is from a back road which wends from Ourimbah through rainforest! This is less than 25 mins from home. We continued to explore last week, driving to Terrigal (about 45 mins from home) to experience the new Boardwalk from the Haven to Terrigal Beach. Lovely! Not crowded as a school/work day and drizzly.

Self care is not selfish. We know that, right?

I would like to admit how much I feel the benefits of cutting back my blogging and my commitment to some of the social media groups and more that I think I felt far too much pressure (me, internal) to continue. As stated in last week’s blog post, I am making changes to 2022 plans for blogging and and thanks to you, the readers and sharers of your blogs, for understanding my ‘why’.

The Ageing Thing. 

It’s true for me, and my husband, that turning 70 and beyond has brought new issues to deal with in terms of physical health.

Ones that need check ups, some that need (different/new) medication and other test and referrals. We have a fantastic GP team where we have been going since April 2017 and in the very unlikely event that we ever had to move, the worst part would be if we could not continue to see this group. Mind you, no plans to move AND hope to continue renting here for as long as the owner allow.

Recently I’ve had an opthalmologist changeover as the person Mr W and I had been seeing since our 40s, finally said “I’m retiring”. Fortunately the practice we go to remains at Morriset, about 30 minutes drive away and they have all our records. I had some reassurance when I thought I was having a sight problem. Dad has macular degeneration so I keep up to date with how my eyes are going. The new Doctor told me there was a little bit of tissue behind the right eye that had its cataract replaced in March 2020 (left eye too) and he lasered it away in the surgery, and whilst I had some reactions with light sensitivity and still some blurring, I know my eyes and sight are in good order.

Annual Bloods and Other Tests. I always wonder how these will be as low iron has been a problem till the iron infusion in February 2021. Results are in: marvellous in all areas of health. I am incredibly grateful for wellness and, even with my cancer, to have good health. My iron, was 11 before infusion in February, rising to 200+ in March 2021, and now at 170 ish.

Feet! The podiatrist sees me every 6 weeks and things are going well with no dramas. I have had to accept the fact that the skeleton and muscles and tendons in my feet are ‘in pretty poor’ shape so shoes/walking wise I must always wear something, even around the house. Barefeet, my previous practice, can over time, and walking on hard floors cause plantar fascitis.

Hair. Well, now that I knew it was back to good health and thick (or so thick!) before I had it cut, I am relieved my hair health is back to good.

Breasts. I had an unexpected mammogram and ultrasound because of some pain but all clear, and strangely enough, pain went too. Now next one is in 2 years.

Any Follow Up For Rectopexi? Nope. Best decision ever to have that long-delayed surgery and to never be worried about bowel incontinence again. IBS has basically disappeared in the nasty diarrhoa form I used to get so very pleased with change in life style this brought.

Ears. I probably have some hearing loss but not needing testing at all…yet.

Heart, kidneys, lungs etc. All good via my GP’s test.

Cancer! Oh that. Mouth goes well. I hope to see my prosthodontist in the new year as he hasn’t seen inside my mouth for 7 months. Pretty sure my care is fine. And, my “last” (sob!) head and neck cancer check will be in September 2022. Why sob? Love my Prof and Nurse. Will Miss Them!!

Teeth. Yes, the remaining 8 on the bottom are going well thanks to me and my dentist up here.

Emotional Health.

My cup is already full of love for and love of our family.

Our daughter, solo mum, relieving Assistant Principal, turned 50 this year and just keeps on going. Very caring person and her three adult children benefit from her love every day. Miss E, aged 9 does too of course..when not asking a million questions!

Our son, solo dad, and psychologist, doing all he can to work on his new business helping Dads, maintaining a terrific physical health program via his local gym, and being the best dad to his four kiddoes aged 14 to 6.

We missed seeing them all, as did all people with loved ones in covid, and so our daughter and her youngest visited the first weekend of freedom, our eldest granddaughter the following weekend, and then we drove to Sydney to see our son and his four at his place.

This is how hearts are filled with joy, wonder and love…..

Minding H & R in 2011

 

Now here they are…R is off to HS in 2022, her brother into Yr 9.

And it was, as always good to see my father even though his sight is not great and he is weary, he can still enjoy a chat (it’s inherited by me) and we enjoyed some reminiscing and some morning tea. Afterwards, I drove to Manly to enjoy the views from the Wharf end. Growing up here was not even seen as anything special back in 1950s and 60s but as time has passed, I know I am grateful to have this as part of my life’s history.

And I will leave, with this… a great horizon shot!

How’s your self care coming along?

Share in the comments.

Thank you for reading and commenting!

Denyse.

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Comments

  1. Happy Monday Denyse, I’m commenting before I take a Strong Healthy Women Session. You’ve covered most of the self-care tools in my toolbox too. I think we have come to realise that self-care really starts with our mental well-being and of course our physical health. Like you I schedule in all of my screenings, tests and check-ups. I agree stepping back from blogging and social media does help take that added pressure off. The time saved from these areas means you have more time to enjoy other things in life. Thanks for #lifethisweek and have a lovely week.

    • That sure does cover it between us Sue.

      Your on-going work to help others in their health quests is a passion of course, but your first priority is to you.

      Big congratulations on the completion of your Cert IV too.

      Your kind words are appreciated and I look forward to reading your post too.

      Denyse.

  2. Denyse, Sounds like you’ve been taking great care of yourself. Your healthcare team (GP, specialists, etc) would be so proud of you. I’m glad you felt less pressure after stepping back from blogging and SM which tend to involve prolonged sitting and screen time. My health is my priority so I’ve been taking good care of it, too by daily exercises for my mind and body. I also keep my regular check-up appointments and social connections IRL. Have a great week!

    • Sounds so good to know how well you self care Natalie. Life’s lessons learned when we go ‘overboard’ at times for me resulted in self-analysis of what needed to change, and as it turned out, less blogging but still staying connected once a week is a great compromise.

      You have always set such an excellent example in wellness and self care. Your posts show this!

      Your kind words are appreciated and I look forward to reading your post too.

      Denyse.

  3. Hi Denyse, this is an excellent post to remind us of all the things we should be checking up on regularly. I try to keep up with many of these tests too and making our health a priority as you do, is the best advice at any age! I love the family photos, always so happy 🙂

    • At times it can feel tedious to keep the checks happening Deb, but with the right health care teams I find it easier.

      The people we both see here are on the ball and keep us healthy as we can be for age, and pre-existing conditions.

      Not all places can give its patients that and we are so pleased to have found the practice in April 2017…just before my cancer diagnosis hit.

      Family photos are precious. Grandparenting makes the memories more so I reckon! I admit I enjoy seeing Dot in your daughter’s IG feed. Such a cutie.

      Your kind words are appreciated and I look forward to reading your post too.

      Denyse.

  4. You are such an inspiration Denyse and can always see the sun shining no matter what is ahead or behind. Go you! So glad to see you are travelling well.

    • I didn’t used to be like that Jody. I was (and still can default to it) a glass half empty person…and I think all the inner work I have had to do on myself from 2015 onwards (and then came cancer) has finally paid dividends.

      Your continuing to work and blog and parent without your dear husband must be a big and sad challenges but you do it. We never know do we, just how much we can manage at times.

      May your progress and health remain stable…

      Your kind words are appreciated and I look forward to reading your post too.

      Denyse.

  5. I loved reading your post Denyse and you’ve included some very important health reminders for us. Your Dad is amazing and is holding his age well. He could pass for your older brother. I haven’t had a great year in regards to self care so need to get that under control in 2022.

    • Oh Jennifer, I must tell Dad…lol.

      Seriously the best thing that has happened in recent times is that I have accepted the somewhat tense long-term relationship with him despite how hard it’s been. As a result, I no longer feel any negative emotional responses as a result.

      I was quite pleased when I did the self care list to see how much I had been self caring and doing the health checks. Sometimes a nuisance but better done!

      Your kind words are appreciated and I look forward to reading your post too.

      Denyse.

  6. Hi Denyse – it sounds like you’re ticking a lot of self-care boxes these days. I think it’s so good that we’ve come to see that looking after ourselves should be a priority – and also that there will be a few rain clouds in amongst the sunshine, but they will pass with time. One of the great aspects of getting older is the wisdom that comes from a well lived life – and you are a great source of it for all those who visit your blog. Glad you’ve also found your blogging balance again – so much better than giving it up because it got out of hand. x

    • Yes Leanne, no excuses any more. The long time cancer treatments and recoveries held my health focus for so long, and my GP kept me going with not worrying about other checks whilst cancer held the focus.

      Once that happened, that was why I could (even though it was hard) accept the rectal prolapse needed fixing and couldn’t be put off any longer. Now I think it was such a good thing to do and has changed a lot of my daily life going forward. A boon and boost for my independence and more.

      I made the right choice with the changes to blogging for sure.

      Your kind words are appreciated and I look forward to reading your post too.

      Denyse.

  7. Your selfcare posts are so inspiring. I liked the pics in this post too.

  8. Hi Denyse, it’s great to read that your health is good at the moment. Mine is too! I’m keeping up with my exercise program and yoga, daily walks etc. to maintain my fitness. I have been back at work for 7 months so my husband and I have had a couple of weeks off – badly needed after our busy year. I finally had time to write a blog piece, which I have shared here. Regards, Christina

    • Oh welcome back and that is so good to read you are doing well too Christina.

      Yes, it’s been a huge year for many, and in your family especially so.

      Your kind words are appreciated and I look forward to reading your post too.

      Denyse.

  9. o much here. I love this ‘ there is no shame in seeking psychological help at any time. I did this via a GP Mental Health Care Plan. andI would also say the toolbox bit is imporatnt. Also on shame in general, as Augusten Boroughs said ‘Shame is a negative emotion given to you by others, and like at airports, we should never carry baggage we didn’t pack ourselves.’
    I love this bit ‘My cup is already full of love for and love of our family.” and of course all the photos.
    I also love your parting shot with the bird in flight.
    Self care is so important and is an ongoing exercise. Good post!

  10. The freshlinkz is gone – will try to visit the opther blogs tomorrow when I can see them. Sorry for being a slacker!

  11. It sounds like you are doing so well in all areas of self-care! I too have been focusing back on my health and wellness and adding in more healthy meals and exercise to my days.

    • It’s probably the best I’ve been in terms of ‘taking care of all my health’ because for a few years, cancer was front and centre!

      Sounds like you too are doing what you need to Joanne! Good on you.

      Take care, look forward to reading your post!

      Denyse.

  12. Denyse, it’s good to see the list of “body parts” that need to be considered in taking care of yourself! With our move, we had to find all new “ists” besides primary care physician (PCP- that’s what we call GP here) – dentist, periodontist, dermatologist, oncologist, etc. We added in audiologist because hubby needed to see one… I got a quick checkup too, just to be sure. (He’s getting hearing aids; I’m fine.) I still need to book in eye’s (hubby went), but all others we’ve checked off this past 6 months. I used to joke about all the doctors my mom sees (at age 88), but these days it seems everything is specialized. Thanks for the reminder to us all about all the body parts we do need to think about in self-care!

    • Oh gosh, yes it is hard here in Australia to find ‘the new people’ for all the health checks etc when you move from one area to another, Pat.

      In terms of now, we are well-catered for but it took some ‘leg work’ and ‘trial and error’ to find those who suited us. In fact, it was word of mouth in late 2016 from the now regular pharmacist to share his idea of a good dentist and GP and we are very pleased with that.

      There are shortages of health professionals in many part of Australia and it’s a growing trend that doctors are ‘closing their books’.

      I too did not know how much time we would be spending on appointments and checks either till we were over 65. Still, glad to have them and to have professionals caring for us.

      You sure are getting there!!! Well done.

      Take care, look forward to reading your post!

      Denyse.

  13. It’s always inspiring to read your posts and about your progress regarding your health, wellbeing, and self-care.
    For me, life has been a lot about self-care lately. The autumn brought a lot of good things, such as my singing workshop, but has also been a total mess, with a lot of low mood, anxiety and general stress.
    I’ve done a lot of self-reflection to understand myself and my reactions, and what I could do to feel better. I believe I have pandemic related burnout and anxiety, and was about to seek help, but then I started feeling better. I’ve tried to sort out different stress triggers, my attitudes, way of thinking, focus. I’m certainly not “there” yet but I’m happy to be back to my somewhat normal self.
    My post today talks about one thing that I needed to sort out, to be able to enjoy music again, however trivial it may sound to others. It’s important to me, my wellbeing – and for coping with the Covid times.

    • That’s lovely to read Susanne, and thank you.

      What you read about here has come from a long period of learning more how to self-care inside and out…and it’s an ongoing and not necessarily linear experience.

      Interesting to write that about the pandemic and burn out. It’s only now, on things easing and seeing life may be more to what we want, that we can see how much it’s affected us. I sure know this is the case for many.

      I see how much music means to you and showed my husband an IG photo of you with your guitar recently because music is a huge part of his life too.

      I look forward to reading your post.

      Take care,

      Denyse.

      • Yes, I can imagine the self-care learning journey isn’t linear and I know that for me it’s very messy, to and fro, learning as I go what strategies work best for me.
        Sadly the pandemic isn’t over, Covid is back with a vengeance here, with infection rates peaking in many countries including Ireland. Everything is open (with some restrictions) but I’m not going anywhere at the moment until I’ve had my booster shot, so I can’t say life is where I want it to be. But I try to focus on the good things I still have, and wait it out. Nothing else to do.

        • Goodness me, yes we are reading about the increase of Covid19 in areas of the northern hemisphere and sure hope people can change some of their behaviours around this pandemic.

          You sound like you have your care well and truly in hand.

          Thank you Susanne,

          Denyse.

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