Sunday 24th January 2021

Telling My Story. Chapter Twenty Five*. 2020. Pt.2/3. 51/51. #LifeThisWeek.102/2020.

Telling My Story. Chapter Twenty Five*. 2020. Pt.2/3. 51/51. #LifeThisWeek.102/2020.

Well over a hundred three years ago ….I thought it was time, seeing I had a blog, to start writing my story. It was on advice from a blogging friend, now published author (her story is here) that I did. Then, for a long time I did not. Because cancer was diagnosed.

Nevertheless, I eventually returned to the story and now I am at...Chapter Twenty Five*. Part Two of Three.

So, in keeping with my ethical approach to all things, I am making the chapters about MY recollections to various changes in life for me, and us, and life as we knew it. I hope I can continue sharing the story without any intentionally negative or hurtful references to others who are in my life as friends and family members.

 

*Rightio…how DID I jump from my last chapter..Telling My Story which was Chapter Twenty to here?

No, I did not secretly write the posts and then not publish them.

But I did have a brainwave…do 2020’s chapter while it is fresh in my mind.

So, here I am with the second four months of “THAT” year we won’t forget in a hurry: 2020. Last Wednesday I published the first four months here.

This is the last post of #LifeThisWeek I will publish the final one of Telling My Story 2020 on Wednesday 23rd December.

Then, over time in the first months of 2021 I will write:

Chapter Twenty One (2015),

Chapter Twenty Two (2016- mid May 2017),

Chapter Twenty Three (later in May 2017 – 2018),

Chapter Twenty Four (2019)

In this, the last post for Life This Week, I want to thank each of you who has linked up, read and commented this year. You are very much valued as a part of this community. I am posting again this Wednesday to conclude this series (the Chapter for 2020 I mean!) and will be back on board for:

MONDAY 4 January 2021. 1/51 Word of The Year. Optional Prompt.

 

Part Two of Three. Chapter 25. 2020.

Now, on with the months of May, June, July and August of 2020.

I have to warn you whilst there are no gory photos there may be some details of the ailments I had that are not pleasant to read. Nor, of course, were they pleasant to have!

MAY 2020.

Family.

Our second granddaughter turned 21 in the early days of May. On the same weekend when the Premier of NSW announced, during a COVID update,  that families could visit each other in their houses, S had her ‘lockdown ISO’ party which she shared with us,  around 2 hours away, via facetime. Her Mum, boyfriend and siblings made it a special night and I am told, she got the cake cooked by her mum as was requested! Congratulations, S!

We actually saw her and the family the very next weekend as it was Mother’s Day and my daughter invited us to her house for Morning Tea. That was the first time we had ventured to Sydney since March. It felt strange being on the M1 and it was not too crowded. Delighted of course to see our family. It was lovely.

On the Tuesday afterwards I drove back down again, in a different direction, to see my Dad on the northern beaches. I had not seen him for at least 3 months as we were being very cautious in making contact with such an older person in an independent retirement place. I took all precautions and they had strict protocols for me and paperwork. I admit, I did give Dad a few hugs. He had missed human  contact other than generally on the phone.

 

My Self Care In May.

My emotional health took a bit of a battering as COVID struck with all its limitations, rules, changes and moving of goal posts. I am not great with change but do accept it’s needed and so I offer myself more kindness, easier inner talk and times out (if possible) by myself in the car and to possibly enjoy a coffee. I was delighted to find a takeaway stall on one of my Sunday drives, and then over time, with limitations some of my fave coffee places which had stayed open, could have a small number of people sit for coffee.

I kept up my art and craft practices and set myself small goals and got immersed in fulfilling those. With the Index Card a Day Challenge starting in June I was ready for that. I did some treat cooking for me and for my local GP practice as the doctors and front office staff went through a LOT in terms of dealing with the regulations and patients!

I continued with drives over to the water once COVID regulations about exercise meant you could walk where you went. I did. Sort of. To take photos. Noticing things in nature always helps me and I really needed it because I had health matters to deal with that were significant.

I also acknowledged that it was 3 years on 17 May 2020 since my oral cancer diagnosis. Important to remember, reflect and be grateful.

Health Matters. May, June, July and August.

I will do my best to use short and helpful sentences..and as my husband suggested: dot points.

MAY:

  • I needed to finally, and actually rather urgently see my female G.P. about the bothersome rectal issues. When I saw her, it was “do this, go here, see him” and “YOU have your whole life ahead of you” Get this sorted. She “IS” that kind of doctor and I love her for it but that day I got a bit scared.
  • She sent me to the Colo Rectal Surgeon and to my embarrassment (not his) I was very reluctant to go through with what he suggested first. A colonoscopy. Why? Rectal bleeding and obvious (he saw, not me, I just knew) rectal prolapse.
  • THIS was a condition I had lived with, tried to anyway for well over 2+ years, and I KNEW it was not good. I blamed IBS for my sometimes incontinence and ageing..but as I have found out no, it was the rectum being very lax and ‘falling out’. Sorry to write that.
  • Off home with the news, and the Colonoscopy pack. It was mid COVID restrictions at private hospitals and I opted for mine at the place 5 minutes up the road. No can do. Till June.
  • Waaahh. That is me who does not like to wait.

JUNE:

  • OK, people, with me it was nerves and more that put me off the colonoscopy but I also knew that without doing that nothing would change.
  • Facing up to it, hating the preparation and the aftermath at home, my dear husband took me to the private hospital up the road and left me.
  • The nurses were kind, the prep sure had done its work and….
  • The outcome, as told to me by the surgeon, was no cancer..but a pretty awful rectal prolapse which he strongly suggested needed repair and to come see him very soon.
  • We did, it was very helpful to have my husband there. The surgeon explained how he would perform an abdominal rectopexi. He would go in via my very old hysterectomy scar, pull up the rectum and sew it onto bone low on my spine near the coccyx.
  • Recovery would be in hospital for at least 4 nights and he predicted success. I was ready to trust him.

JULY:

This post tells something of what was to come for me.

  • Testing, testing. Bloods needing for the major abdominal surgery coming up.
  • Then to the private hospital in COVID times for booking in. In actual fact, it was a phone pre-op consultation but I needed to attend the hospital some 45 minutes away for ECG and pick up pre-operation info and prep. No not the awful prep. Phew.
  • I admit the nerves did play up a bit but I have dealt with 4 cancer surgeries AND I trusted this doctor and his goal for me and my GP too.
  • On a freezing late July morning my husband drove me – bag packed with nighties, all I needed for entertainment i.e. phone & ipad, and loose pants – because coming home my abdomen would be swollen & tender.
  • I was literally dropped off because of COVID.
  • Interestingly the prep I had to take at home before surgery was a drink of electrolytes and I had to have an all over shower body wash with their particular sterilising skin liquid.
  • The worst part for me …is always the waiting before going into theatre but this time was made worse as my surgeon insisted on a series of enemas. OMG. Not happy, in fact I got teary with the kindly nurse. She understood but the back and forth in a gown to the loo…made little better by being on a bed close to it. Sigh.
  • Anaesthetist was very thorough with his questions and also had to give me a spinal. Not impressed by the anaesthetic nurse who was very stressed about my veins. Shout out to him: not good to show frustration in front of patient who is already nervous.
  • Then I was GONE. Out like the proverbial.
  • Recovery: very aware of the pressure boots keeping my legs active, the fact that I could not feel from my waist down, catheter in and to be honest, felt well because “it’s over”.
  • Hiccup in communication between staff in recovery – it was busy – COVID restrictions were easing for capacity – meant I stayed in recovery about 2 hours longer than needed…grrr. Could have been in my room.
  • Something unexpected as my surgeon told me the morning after: he did the horizontal cut as planned but when opening me up, there was a hernia which would need repairing. It required a vertical cut to access it, from the first cut to my bellybutton. All stitching was internal with tape holding the outside wounds. I literally had an upside down T wound area.
  • Fast forwarding: I had an OK time recovering but not comfortable at all. My eating was hampered by my mouth and whilst I could have anything to eat, I was worried about …diarrheoa. Trust me, it didn’t happen but I needed reassurance and my surgeon was prepared to let me go home a day early even before bowel movement because I was needing home. He was lovely. Still is!
  • Saw him at a check up about a week or so later and he told me I was a star patient. Oh, I needed to hear that.
  • No driving, but that was OK. I was just so relieved that all was well  and miracle of miracles, no incontinence. Yay. Unreal.

AUGUST:

  • But. It was not to continue as a star recovery.
  • Around 2 to 3 weeks post-recovery, and I was still not able to drive, there was some redness appearing on the surface near my bellybutton. Husband took me to GP who advised ‘could be a ‘haematoma’ …we’ll keep an eye on it. I did, with photos. BUT….the area of the upside down T was needing greater cleaning by me. At shower time. Sigh. OK.
  • Whilst I am not great with complications, I also understand they occur. Even with ‘me’ doing everything right. I wrote here about what happened.
  • Then I wrote in detail here of the timeline, the circumstances and why it took me till October 2020 to be fully recovered!

 

What a Four Months That Was! 

But wait, there is MORE.

Daily Life with COVID19.

No, we did not have it..phew and all that. But we had to, like everyone, live around its restrictions and rules, and to be safe. For us, who are pretty conservative and intelligent people in their every day lives, it was fine. Really. You see, due to our health matters and not much income, it was never on our agenda to have overseas holidays, or even interstate ones so, unlike many, being home-bound in some ways did not bother us.

I made it work for me, the person who enjoyed her daily outings, by varying what I did at home and combined with my cooking/baking mojo returning, I found I could enjoy a coffee and treat at home some days. I also re-discovered reading the women’s mags. I did! Some got ditched soon after buying, but I have been reasonably surprised by the quality reading in the Australian Women’s Weekly so I buy that now. We gave up our physical paper delivery ages ago and get the Sydney Morning Herald as a digital subscription. All the local newspapers, which I used to love, are gone to digital land…except for one free community paper each week. I still enjoy something physical to read.

I continue my audible subscription each month and listen to some books in the car, and others at night in bed. I have taken to reading along in some cases with the physical book when accents become too hard for me to fathom which character is who!

My art is always here for me. I have, as many know, a dedicated area near my computer for all things creative. Making designs and mindful mandalas is the g0-to for me when I need to ‘concentrate’ or be mindful on just one thing!

Cooking now has a rhythm for a meals each week and we tend to use our batch-cooked meals a couple of times a week, and eat meals made from scratch on others. My dad is the recipient of some of the frozen home cooked meals.

Head and Neck Cancer Awareness and Support.

In the weirdest year ever…. COVID …to date…all things meeting-wise and catch ups were off the table. Therefore the organisation for which I volunteer had to re-think what it did to get messages and support out there for patients, families, carers and professionals.

The June Patient forum at which I was to speak was cancelled and morphed into an on-line program over many days and weeks. My part, on line as recorded by me here, was to respond to my psychological reactions to and management of having head and neck cancer.

The usual fundraising event for Beyond Five was Soup for the Soul and the physical events were not happening, nor were there any of our local Central Coast meet ups. Nevertheless, we worked on getting messages out there via You Tube, and of course, Zoom Meetings. I was not great at zoom so not that involved but as mentioned last time, my interview was on line about nutrition.

More from COVID Year 2020 for Me To Remember!

Apart from hospital homecomings… THIS was a big day and much needed..our son and his four kids came for lunch. Ahhh that’s better!

Grateful for Family Visits.

Thank you for reading..if you got this far. I am incredibly grateful to my readers and commenters.

Denyse.

Link Up 220

Life This Week. Link Up #220

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do!

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive  in nature.

* THANK you for linking up today! Have a great break from now till the New Year. May You Be Well! 
The next link up will be Monday 4th January 2021. Optional Prompt: Word of The Year.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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Comments

  1. Denyse you’ve had a very up and down year. Your strength is amazing and you always have a smile. I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and a happy and safe new year. Looking forward to catching up with you again for life this week

    • Thanks so much Jennifer. I think I am not alone in this for 2020.

      I appreciate your support and kind words too.

      Sending you healing wishes and that you can enjoy a Christmas despite the Covid thing rearing its very ugly head again.

      See you in 2021. Best wishes to you and yours too.

      Denyse.

  2. Hi Denyse, I admire you for making the time to Tell Your Story. It takes commitment to do this and you’ve certainly had your share of challenges. However, your inner strength and beautiful smile are still shining through. Merry Christmas to you and your family despite the restrictions and here’s to a happier 2021. xx

    • Ah thank you Sue for those kind and generous words.

      Good to see you here again too. I know it’s tough when the blogging mojo goes. But you have had quite the year…and I know that makes it all very different.

      I chose to tell this story and then had to stop…as I said, so I am a finisher! I might have raced forward a few chapters to do this but I will return to the others in 2021.

      See you in 2021. Best wishes to you and yours too.

      Denyse.

  3. Denyse, You’ve made it work despite COVID-19 and health challenges. Thank you for hosting Life This Week and the Women of Courage series. Happy holidays to you and your family!

    • Thanks so much Natalie.

      It has been the year not to forget for so many reasons.

      I appreciate your presence here and thank you for your kind words of support.

      See you in 2021. Best wishes to you and yours too.

      Denyse.

  4. So much happening and yes, you’ve certainly done a lot despite COVID. I love your commitment to the Head and Neck Cancer Support groups and raising awareness as well.

    • Thanks so much Deb and I know lots happening in your world right now too.

      I love seeing your blog posts pop up here as I am always interested in how life is treating you.

      I do my bit to raise awareness for head and neck cancer because “I” had no idea initially and because “once a teacher…” and all that. Keeps me busy at a level I enjoy.

      See you in 2021. Best wishes to you and yours too.

      Denyse.

  5. It would have been a rollercoaster of a year even without the added health challenges! You didn’t just make it, you triumphed over all the adversity! Thanks for hosting the link up and enabling us all to connect – I’ve especially appreciated it this year, when we’ve all been physically isolated at one stage or another. Wishing you and the family the happiest of holidays and hope that 2021 is a big improvement full of good health, good fortune and good times! See you on the other side!

    • It certainly has. For you, Sammie and your Mum so hard to be physically separated. It was such a regular event catching up with her, family and friends in the UK. It’s not looking great is it for a while to come.

      So, the thing is you do have the most adorable distraction in your Teddy…and I hear whispers of another coming too.

      Thanks for such a lovely observation and kind words.

      See you in 2021. Best wishes to you and yours too.

      Denyse.

  6. Thankyou so much for Life This Week Denyse. I’ve looked forward to meeting up with other bloggers every week. It wasn’t a great year, and going through health issues with Covid restrictions was horrible but you did really well. Good on you. Hope you have a lovely Christmas and New Year, take care

    • Thank you Christina for being here so regularly and being a keen participant and commenter.

      You too have had your health challenges in terms of recovery so I think we each deserve a pat on the back for getting through!

      See you in 2021. Best wishes to you and yours too.

      Denyse.

  7. Thanks for all you do Denyse, I know it’s not been easy to write and to share some things but you always do it in such a way that doesn’t make us feel like we’re intruding. It’s been a huge year for you and you’ve soldiered on, sharing your stories as you go.. You are a shining light and your weekly link up is a highlight for me! All the best for the festive season 🙂

    • Thanks so much Deb. I am glad it reads like that for you as I share. I tend to want to tell ‘the whole strory’ but need to be cognisant of both readers and others who may have been involved.

      I am pretty sure your year replicates mine in terms of ups and downs and multiple challenges, disappointments and joys…but hey, we are both hear still smiling and sharing our stories.

      Those words are very kind. I love my link up community!

      See you in 2021. Best wishes to you and yours too.

      Denyse.

  8. What a year! What a life! Thank you for sharing Denyse.
    See you in 2021
    Take care
    Cathy

  9. Hi Denyse – I read your very interesting update, then jumped into the linked posts and forgot to leave a comment here! I’m back and just wanted to say Merry Christmas and thanks for another year of friendship and support. You’re such a great example of resilience and making the most of whatever life serves up (including all the drama of today’s post!) See you in the New Year! xx

    • Oh Leanne, I am pretty sure we all do that kind of thing too. Thanks so much for popping back AND commenting…that is gold to me.

      Your kind words help me garner strength to continue as I will and I too look forward to next year and more chatting on line in this linky!

      See you in 2021. Best wishes to you and yours too.

      Denyse.

  10. Good for you for finally seeing a doctor and getting your surgery done. I am sure it was no fun at all but it must be such a relief to have that behind you.

    • Yes, Joanne, I had to and it WAS in the end the best thing to do. I know why I waited so long but I also needed a bit of a push thanks to my GP!

      See you in 2021. Best wishes to you and yours too.

      Denyse.

  11. Denyse, I didn’t have anything to add for this week. But I hope to in the future. Partly because my most recent post is about Bible Characters, I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate. I have a question, but couldn’t find an email to write it privately. I know that we should share your posts, as part of participation, but I wasn’t sure exactly which one? Feeling dumb but trusting the group. Thanks and Christmas, Holiday blessings, Michele

    • Hello Michelle, thank you for your discretion about a post. Whilst I have no worries about mentioning of religion and using some quote to bolster a post, a complete post is probably best not linked up.

      That said, I am so glad you have returned and as far as the issues of sharing etc here’s the deal:

      1. Link up a suitable post – just one and it does not have to be brand new nor one which follows the optional prompt.
      2. Once you have done that, you can use the button that is within the linky itself to share (if you have a twitter or facebook account)
      3. Reading my post (please!) and adding your comment is great.
      4. Popping over to 2 or 3 others bloggers’ posts to comment on theirs is a great way to connect and hopefully then they too come to your blog.
      5. At the bottom of each week’s linky there are F (facebook) T (twitter) & P (pinterest) symbols and if you click one of those you will be sharing that week’s post.

      I hope that is all a help and Like I said, I am so pleased you are linking up or intend too. My email is : denyse@ozemail.com.au

      See you in 2021. Best wishes to you and yours too.

      Denyse.

  12. I think you’ve adapted well this year – despite the challenges – and have pushed your own boundaries with your involvement in the head and neck cancer support groups. You seem to have found a rhythm that is suiting you. Thanks for hosting this link-up in 2020 – and for our connection.

    • Jo, that is a good way of putting it.

      Yes, I believe I have found a rhythm and it occurred to me, post the abdo surgeries, that I had more time to choose for me than I have had in a long time. I am really enjoying more choices too.

      Drove through Castle Hill, Kellyville to our daughter’s at Rouse Hill today…oh em gee. The vistas sure are changing. Not in a good way.

      It was 43 years ago in January we found our little place in Wrights Rd and it was more semi-rural than urban jungle.

      I was glad to drive back up the M1 to a greener and more space place. Mind, you it IS the people we miss seeing of course and I know that this year will be hard on you and yours (thanks no thanks) to COVID.

      See you in 2021. Best wishes to you and yours too.

      Denyse.

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