Wednesday 18th May 2022

The Big C and Me. 15/2019.

The Big C and Me. 15/2019.

It’s time to share more about me and the Big C.

Yes, it’s about C for…..


(ha! not the other big C for cancer)

I think I give an outward show of being confident. It is not really a fake it till I make it confidence either.

It is about self-confidence in selected settings.

  • I am confident about my school life and teaching days and enjoy sharing the stories from then.
  • I love this part of me that can share now. I know there were days in education that were not always great (yes, my emotional health took a beating in 2002) but I have grown so much as a person and learner since then.


  • I am getting more confident of how I am managing my self-care in regards to less anxiety that plagued me for the years of my transition into retirement.
  • What good news that is! It was horrible for me with IBS thrown into the mix and I have done so well taking on board exposure therapy and a small medication routine.


  • I am less than confident in my belief about how well I am going in terms of my mental outlook since my cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatments and surgeries.
  • What is the evidence each day? None, really. It just happens sometimes.


  • I remain under-confident about my changed appearance a.k.a. my body’s change from very overweight to ‘almost normal weight’ and then back to a slightly ‘overweight’ status.
  • Am I taking steps to understand this huge shift and learning as I go? Yes. Every day.


  • I am still not as confident as I think I need to be to take on a continuing role in educating others about Head and Neck cancer because I am sensing judgment of others. I do know that I call upon courage to help me through even I have doubts.
  • Do I have evidence? Not really.


I am who I am.

I am the product of a childhood and teen years spent in a dominant paternal household. I was told what to do. I may not always have done it but the memory of “other people’s words” being my measure for self remain.

I am able to give myself a ‘good talking to’ at times and can turn this matter of lack of self-confidence around.

But it takes energy and time AND motivation. I do not always have these on hand together and so there are days when my lack of self-confidence AND worth impact me more.

I am learning more in terms of self-compassion and how each of us is connected via shared humanity.


Possibly but what of it?

  • I am on Instagram each day keeping myself accountable for dressing with purpose and going out somewhere for coffee.
  • This does help me ramp up some of my confidence in just doing so. I am not reliant on the comments as much any more because I know the effort I put in makes the outcome worth it.
  • But then when I have kind followers write comments of “congratulations, kindness and cheering me on” I do appreciate this a lot but also that inner critic rises up and adds her voice “would they say that if they really knew me?”
  • Lies. I do not tell them as far as I am aware but it seems maybe I am believing them from this inner critic. Who? Moi?



I know that putting these words here has helped me see that it’s my faulty thinking that has been affecting my self-confidence.

OK! How to change that?

  • Already I have in some ways as I now recognise this inner critic voice and her role.


  • My actions, my words and my inner life help me remember MUCH more about the confidence I like to have and know I can bring more to the fore.


  • Each time I dress and go out for coffee, I am embedding self-confidence.


  • My daily journal keeping can continue to be a ‘write it all down’ place and then review for evidence of this confidence tracking upwards not the downwards the inner critic can believe.


  • My on-line interactions with people from my various communities in education, blogging and head and neck cancer are ways in which I grow my self-confidence and also give back to others where I can and it is asked for.


  • Seeing myself as others do and may. It helps to believe that I am both good and doing good. This is something I have struggled with all of my life and want it to change. I can do this. I will remind myself more.


  • Maintaining practices of:


  • being in nature,
  • time-outs with my art journal,
  • chats with my husband, meditation each night,
  • helping my physical body to relax,
  • exercising within my limitations,
  • planning to eat well and doing the same without any deprivation,
  • cancer checks and better understanding of the fact that cancer actually never leaves but might take a back seat in my life,
  • taking time to make contact with family and friends,
  • exploring the local area’s beauty,
  • browsing at the shops,
  • reading,
  • keeping to a timetable of sorts each day for balance in my life.

Already I feel better!

Thanks for reading.

Do you have an issue with the Big C?



Joining with my blogging friends here:

Min on Tuesdays here for #ZenTipsTuesday

Sue & Leanne on Wednesdays  here for #MidlifeShareTheLove

Leanne & Crew on Thursdays  here for #LovinLife






  1. I think we all have issues with the big C Denyse! I know I do! That has been tested very much lately with the activities around the Bupa Blog Awards. I’ve been forced out of my comfort zone and I suffer ‘imposter syndrome’ and comparison of myself to others who are much bigger and more successful bloggers is very, very hard to avoid. Anxiety has been triggered big time. However, I don’t let that stop me. I still go and I still enjoy myself and am so grateful for the opportunities! As for you – I see a huge sense of self-awareness which is something you should be super proud of. Thanks so much for linking up again with #ZTT xo

  2. Isn’t that good about how despite your feelings attached to the BUPA awards you are not letting them rule what you are doing and can do.

    Such a great way to deal with this.

    Well-done to you.

    Denyse x

  3. I think we’re always our own worst critics Denyse. We know we’re doing well, but that little voice in the back of our head still fills us with doubt. Just keep doing what you’re doing, enjoy stretching your boundaries and sharing what you know. Confidence keeps growing as we stop overthinking stuff and worrying about the opinions of others (which we usually underestimate!) We’re all in this together xx

    • Yes, that voice is not kind. I have put “her” back in her place just writing this.

      My words on paper and here really help me come to terms with whatever issue I face so I am always glad that blogging gives me that opportunity too.

      Thanks Leanne,

      Denyse x

  4. I think we have this pre-supposed idea that we shall and should become more confident as we age, whereas in fact I think the opposite is true. In part I believe it’s because we don’t live in a society where age and wisdom accumulated from years of living are venerated. I think our youth centric society and technological advances which spear head ‘progress’ have a lot to answer for. In our grandparents day, the elderly were to be revered, their opinions deferred to – for they were considered wise and I’m sure from this they developed a certain confidence. We have lost that and now as we get older we wonder where we fit into the general scheme of things, so yes I think you are right, we have to consciously put confidence as something we need to work on, to believe in ourselves and to keep on being curious about the world. #MLSTL #lovinlife #ZTT

    • What an interesting view and I can see some of this for me too Johanna.

      I guess in some ways, I have maintained quite a presence with younger people in terms of blogging and education. This helps me stay “relevant”. I also do make contributions on twitter and have been asked to continue to attend some education events.

      I would like to ‘mentor’ people in education and have raised this with my professional principals’ group. It is though, as you say, maybe a sign of the times that I maybe not quite as up to date with the latest for some groups.

      Meanwhile, I also need to honour and respect my ageing. I cannot pretend that some of my body is not playing nice! However, it is the nature of life. In some ways having a Dad who is relatively well and mobile aged 95 makes me think I am still “of the middle-age” group!!

      Thanks for making me think more about this issue.

      Denyse x

  5. I love this Denyse! We are on the same page in relation to confidence it seems 🙂 I think you are on the right track and by being honest and open with yourself and making an effort each day, you are able to quieten the inner voice. Go you 🙂 #mlstl

  6. Denyse, I’ve often called my blog my own life coach. It’s helpful to get be able to say “gosh, it’s not just me.” I’ve got the inner voice in me as well who, in a very nasty voice, will ask, “who do you think you are?” I have Imposter Syndrome or feel like I am “not enough” – especially when I read other people’s blogs. I worry I wear the wrong clothes, am doing the wrong things, or not doing the right things. I even feel like my cancer was not bad enough to warrant calling myself a cancer survivor. So yeah…you are not alone in searching for self-confindence. And no, we don’t lie when we tell you “you go girl”… we do mean it. Sometimes I think my blogging friends know me better than my IRL friends since I’m pretty open on my blog/with my blog comments!

    Love the Louise Hay quote!
    Visiting from #MLSTL

    • Oh Pat, they are kind words about me and I reckon soon those kind words will gently weave their way into your being!

      I do think our blogs give us the chance to ‘say in written form’ what we would find hard to get out any other way.

      Writing this post was exactly that for me! It “got me out of the mood” and as my fingers dashed across the keyboard I felt better for doing so.

      Come back and chat anytime, my friend!

      Denyse x

  7. Hi Denyse, as someone who has always struggled with self-confidence I do believe in ‘fake it until you make it’ in certain circumstances. I have followed your journey with the other big ‘C’ and have seen you show ‘C’ourage and your ‘C’onfidence increase. Thank you as always for your inspirational posts and never giving up. It is always lovely to have you join us at #MLSTL.

    • Thanks so much Sue. People often are mistaken for having confidence but often are actually ‘melting down’ inside. This isn’t quite me but a sense of it eases back into my thinking from time to time and it IS quite a battle to get back to ‘me I like to be’.

      In this case, blogging about it gave me the restoration I needed even if I could not have foreseen that when I started writing the post.

      Your C for Care and K for Kindness is always A for Appreciated!

      Denyse x

  8. What a positive post! 🙂 I, too, have struggled with confidence. Sometimes, I like to make a list of at least 5 things I did RIGHT during the day. We can get so caught up in self-improvement, that we forget to celebrate where we are and how far we’ve come!


    • Yay for a great idea Bethany! We can do that using our fingers even if we can’t write them down.

      Apparently our inner self does not know the difference between “gratitude felt and gratitude written’ so just paying attention to that helps as well.

      Love your words!

      Denyse x

  9. There are more empowering C words than there are defeating ones, Denyse! Thanks for the reminder about confidence and courage as well as the calmness you exhibit in your mandala posts.

    SSG xxx

    • Thanks so much SSG. I admit over the past few days I have had a LARGE mandala outline designed and every so often, I would visit it and it put all my thoughts into one space.

      I had to think about which colour to use, what paint brush size I needed and then apply the paint gently with care not to smudge. Slowing myself down via tiny steps through art really works well.

      Denyse x

  10. If only our negative ego mind could be packed up in a box and thrown out in the trash. You have so much to be proud of and you are such a great influence!

    • Oh yes! Today is back to being “one of those days” so am definitely using all the tools in my toolbox today.

      Thank you Nikki for your kind words.

      Denyse x

  11. I’m a big one for faking it until you make it. I’m relieving in a senior and unfamiliar role at present and while everyone around me seems to have confidence in me, I’m smiling, pretending and making it up as I go along!

    • Ah yes, I was actually told that by a psychiatrist many years ago.

      I kind of do this but I also need to acknowledge the anxiety but not buy into as much. Still a work-in-progress.

      Congrats (?) on your promotion. That would be a bit hard when you are “not physically there” so I can imagine it brings on that feeling over overwhelm. Hope it goes well…over time!


  12. You’re so courageous. MIndset is key to fighting any chronic condition. Pinning to my Chronic Ilness warriors board <3