Saturday 25th June 2022

Women of Courage Series. #1. Sam. 55/2019.

Woman of Courage. #1. Sam. 55/2019. 

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid May 2019: Wednesdays: each week.

Here is the introduction to the series.

Courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. It’s doing something that frightens you. We face situations that demand courage every day. These situations provide us with choices, and the way we respond to those choices determines our future. Dayne Shuda

Let’s meet Sam who is 48 (nearly!)


What have you faced in your life where you have had to be courageous?

I find myself mustering some courage in a lot of everyday situations because I’m a born worrier/scaredy cat.  However, some major health issues, both mine and of those nearest and dearest to me really had me digging deep into my courage reserves.

Just before and just after I turned 40 I received cancer diagnoses (two in the same year!) and that required not just courage but resilience. I was very fortunate in that I had a great medical team behind me who cared for my physical and mental health. In many ways, I found my treatment (surgery followed by radioactive iodine treatment) relatively easy (if inconvenient and a little bit ouchy) to deal with. I definitely needed some courage to jump through all those cancer hoops – endless appointments, surgeries, treatment, special diets, drugs and although my prognosis was excellent – facing off with my own mortality. I wanted to be strong and support my loved ones because in many ways my diagnosis was hardest on them.

Having a loved one with a serious medical diagnosis is heartbreaking because all you want do is make it better but you can’t. I learned this the hard way in 2014 when my husband had a minor stroke. I think being the carer was so much harder than being the patient. I had to reframe all my negative thoughts into positive ones and focus my energy on being positive.


How did this change you in any way? Please outline further if this has been the case.

I sometimes think being courageous is like a muscle, the more you use it, the better you get at it. I think courage leads to resilience and that’s one of greatest life’s tools. These days, I’m a lot more resilient. When I face tough situations, I always think to myself, “well if you got through X or Y, then you can get through this.” Just like muscle memory, I think I have courage memory!


Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend to help others who need courage?

I’ve learned that I can’t control what happens to me but I can control how I deal with it. Bad stuff happens but the way I think about and act upon it can really make the experience a positive or a negative one.


Do you think you are able to be more courageous now if the life situation calls for it? Why is that?

I know I can deal with difficult things, everything I need is inside. I also know that if I can’t deal with something on my own, that it’s OK to ask for help either from my friends and family or from a mental health professional.


Is there any message you would give to others facing a situation where courage could be needed?

Think positive! I really do think that the body achieves what the mind believes. Some of us are able to draw on our own courage and some of us draw on the courage of others so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes asking for help is the courageous thing to do!


Thank you for sharing your story, Sam!

Find Sam here:



Facebook Page:



If you would like to share your story of being a woman of courage* please let me know in the comments and I will email you. That would be great! *There are no men included as I  think we women do not talk or not write about our stories which is why I’ve  called the series: Women of Courage.


My story was last week and is found here.

Next week’s Woman of Courage is Megan Blandford. 

Joining each Wednesday with Sue and Leanne here for Mid Life Share the Love Linky.

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends and on Fridays, it’s Open Slather here with Alicia.

Copyright © 2019 – All rights reserved.



  1. Thanks for bringing us Sam’s story – she absolutely is a woman of courage.

  2. So honoured to be included in, and the first of this series. Thanks for including me Denyse and for summoning your courage and being such a guiding light for others!

    • My pleasure and privilege to have you (and soon others!) share your story of courage.

      Loved having you kick off the series so powerfully too.

      Thanks so much

      Denyse x

  3. I love the mind-body connection and that what we think really does affect our bodies. I also like the idea of courage as a muscle and the more you use it the stronger it gets. I know I need to stretch my courage muscle!

    • Oh yes it sure does Michele.

      I know that from my IBS symptoms and how they can be affected by what’s going on with my emotional health. Fortunately I am more understanding of myself and therefore more self-compassionate. In fact I needed to remember that today!

      I hope you can continue to stretch that courage muscle. Sam has coined a good one there!


  4. Hi Sam – really interesting to read more of your back story – and to see what has helped make you the strong, upbeat and positive woman who writes those great blog posts! Thanks for sharing your journey and what it took to get through it. I’m loving this new series of Denyse’s.
    Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

  5. Hi Denyse & Sam what a wonderfully inspiring post. You certainly are living your life with courage and always with a smile on your face. I love how you described courage as being like a muscle – ‘use it or lose it’. A great start to the series Denyse and thank you again Sam for sharing and inspiring us all. #MLSTL

  6. Veronica Wong says:

    Denyse and mentioned your journey, Sammie, but I’ve not checked it out till now. Your upbeat and inspiring attitude comes through so strongly and I love “muscle courage”. I to feel that resilient 3, 5, 10, 20 and more years from now. I also relate to your term “shadow of cancer” in response to Denyse’s last post. Going back to the COBLH is when it’s especially present for me. It’s strange and unexpected that the place that felt to hopeful last year, helping to cure/treat my cancer, can evoke such opposite feelings this year now I’ve been given the 1 year all clear. Truly yin and yang.

    • Oh that is so understandable Veronica. I feel like I am still in the learning mode managing a cancer diagnosis and getting on with my life as best as I can. And I am a year ahead of you since diagnosis.

      You, on the other hand, have been through a HUGE set of life changes and I know that even with ‘getting it done, dusted and over’ is a goal I identified with and continued to be positive about, reality has set in.

      I found that when I was told cancer can come back of course I worried. Then, I had to stand back and look at the ways others manage this kind of news. I think, more than anything, having a glimpse into someone else’s life as they travel a path like ours helps.

      The Women of Courage series is about this. How people manage, cope and realise their capabilities despite awful times: not always cancer of course.

      Thanks for sharing too V.

      Denyse x

    • Yay for the 1 year all clear – here’s to many more happy and healthy years ahead!

  7. Yay Sam! And you really are positive. Your comment on my instagram really did make me smile.

  8. Hello Sammie and Denyse. Sammie, I’ve always thought very much that you’re a woman of courage so its wonderful to see you here as part of Denyse’s series. Thank you for sharing your story and thoughts with us. I can’t imagine the strength and courage that would be needed to face a cancer diagnosis and all that follows. I hope that I don’t ever have to find out because I don’t know that I could be as brave and strong. I didn’t know about your hubby’s stroke Sammie – that would have been very scary but I’m sure you looked after him so wonderfully and I’m very glad that it seems he has recovered well. Great series Denyse! xo #TeamLovinLife

    • Thanks for visiting Min.

      I used to worry about getting cancer and how I would ever cope.

      Funny what life throws at your to show your true strengths.

      Sam and her husband have conquered much as a team and continue to do so.

      They are inspirational.

      Denyse x

    • Thanks Min, that is so lovely of you to say. I definitely needed to dig deep for those two diagnoses but I think I had to dig deeper when David had his stroke. Somehow it seems so much more scary when something bad happens to someone you love. Lucky we all have those courage reserves to tap into and those courage muscles to flex!

  9. Thanks Denyse for introducing us to Sam. She definitely is a courageous woman. Looking forward to more in this series.

  10. Reading about the courage of others rubs off doesn’t it?! It makes me feel a little more courageous and not so alone in the world x #openslather

    • So true and whilst we may not ever meeting those who share, learning about them this way also helps us connect in a more caring way. Thanks Alicia!

      Denyse x

  11. Hello Denyse and Sammy!

    Such a lovely person to kick off the series with Denyse! You are both amazing women in my eyes. Always, always so inclusive and supportive of others on the interwebs (and I have no doubt in person as well).

    I love your message Sammie that asking for help is sometimes the courageous thing to do. It’s definitely not a sign of weakness. Vulnerability and courage go hand in hand and I know I have danced around on eggshells with both of them. Drawing on the strength and courage of others can be so meaningful and beneficial for both parties. So yeah, love the message to ask for help.

    Thanks so much for sharing pieces of yourselves with us Denyse and Sammie! Xx

    • Thanks Sandra, I agree about Sam. Such an awesome woman who had more than one health challenge to deal with and overcome and did it. She is my role model for cancer recovery!

      Denyse x