Sunday 26th June 2022

Two Years Ago: Before My Cancer Was Diagnosed. Pt 4. 46/2019.

Two Years Ago: Before My Cancer Was Diagnosed. Pt 4. 46/2019.

I am heading for ‘crunch time’ now. It is almost the 2 years since I heard the words over the telephone:

“Denyse, squamous cell carcinoma was found in your gums after further investigation by the pathologist”

In the last week of April 2017 I did something very courageous…for the Denyse I was back then.

I drove to Sydney to see my father.

My anxiety and fear of IBS episodes had so built up in my mind, that I could not even fathom this trip from the Central Coast, down the M1 to Dee Why. It bothered me big time that I could not but it made me so scared just thinking about it.

“The willingness to show up changes us, It makes us a little braver each time.”  Brene Brown.


Then as readers from earlier posts know, I HAD to find the courage and it was via this: exposure therapy which over time, has become my way of managing the hard things. This is discussed in a post here. And here in part two.

Remember this is not an advice post, merely my story. Wikipedia has also provided a quote.

Exposure therapy is a technique in behaviour therapy thought to help treat anxiety disorders. Exposure therapy involves exposing the target patient to the anxiety source or its context without the intention to cause any danger. Doing so is thought to help them overcome their anxiety or distress.

From my post here:

My psychologist brought up exposure therapy as part of her helping me learn what I had to do next after getting myself more confident about some social things I had previously resisted. These included driving to Sydney and going to the Dentist. However, I was resistant to learning how it could help me conquer my fear about IBS and getting ‘caught’ short.

She outlined a list of 1 -10 and then asked me to tell her hardest (the 10 end) and easiest (the 1 end) activities I would be prepared to try and then to do them before the next session and report back. Exposure therapy continued to be resisted by me even though I had the knowledge, and a counselling-trained husband encouraging me. What to do? Nothing was improving, so I did some of the challenges at the easier end:

  • go out in the car about 15 minutes and not go to the toilet just to check I am ok,
  • go out again and not take an immodium in my bag just in case
  • go out for a longer time and not race home because it is too hard not to be sure about my IBS.

What does any of this have to do with my remembering the time two years ago?

It is a reminder for me, via the words and pictures, of how long it took for me to get my cancer diagnosis AND how hard it was for me emotionally to manage much of my day-to-day life BEFORE cancer came along.

What I see now, is how I did garner the strength and the courage, over time, via the help of so many:

  • People who had been through their own life challenges and as a result trained in psychology and mindfulness – these people are part of my “inner team” now as I did so much work with them on-line, via CD and streaming their podcasts and videos. I mention them here.
  • My husband, on-site caring and most knowledgeable person, who was not only training in counselling via a degree prior to me becoming very unwell but already had managed his own health issues over decades to the point of self-responsibility for his well-being and care.
  • My GPs and a psychologist who enabled me to see I “had this within me” but also gave me guidance and some appropriate medication to make my path a smoother one.
  • My friends on-line via blogging and other social media who supported my blog and the link ups, made connections via following and keeping me engaged at times I may not have wanted to but did anyway
  • Family and friends who understood this was a big transition I was going through – probably more than I would admit to – from 2014 to early 2017 and with added worries/issues I could not discuss, that worsened my reactions and ill-health for some time.

Thank you for your interest as I have found compiling this helpful for me to judge how far I have come!

There will be a final one in this series…sometime in early May 2019.


Joining  With Leanne on Thursday for Lovin Life link up here

AND with Alicia on Fridays for Open Slather here.

Thank you all for your link ups.



  1. It’s amazing what fears we can overcome if we try. I can’t believe it’s been almost 2 years! #TeamLovinLife

    • I literally had to, over and over again, and that’s what happens when we face those fears and even though they may remain, they lose their power.

      Thank you for your support over this almost 2 years too.

      Denyse x

  2. Two years strong, Denyse!

    SSG xxx

  3. I found a really interesting quote when looking for pics for today’s post and I thought of you immediately. I suspect it’s one you’ve seen before.

    I was about the amount we’ve learned in the last year and how it’s helped us grow as a person. I could relate to it myself – though there have been a lot of highs for me (as well as the lows). xx

    • Thanks Deb, I will be interested to see it.

      So much learning in our lives and we don’t always appreciate it at the time.

      Denyse x

  4. This is a really good post. I think we quickly build in rules around our fears (tho often practical and very understandable). Interesting that you can take control back too, with determination. Great example and ideas.

    • Oh yes, don’t we? All about keeping safe and within our boundaries.

      Well in my case, I knew the boundaries were causing me more stress so I literally had to break through.

      I have learned so much since then as well.

      Thanks Lydia!

      Denyse x

  5. You are truly amazing what you have been through, and it was all inside you all along long xx I need to take a leaf out of your book regarding fears and anxiety.

    • Thank you Alicia. Yes we do have it in us and until we really need to use it perhaps it remains dormant. You have had to be courageous recently. In a small community that takes a lot of courage.

      Denyse x