Thursday 2nd December 2021

Gratitude. A Word & A Feeling. #Head&NeckCancer #Recovery. 82.1/2021.

Gratitude. A Word & A Feeling. #Head&NeckCancer #Recovery. 82.1/2021.

I occasionally add a post in between planned ones as I am doing today, 6th July 2021.

The reason is how grateful I am feeling and wanted to express this on the blog as I have already shared via my social media updates.

Today is a special day in my life.

6th July 2021.

It marks the 4th Anniversary of the first, and very complex, surgery for the cancer in my upper gums and under the top lip to be removed, along with ALL of my upper jaw and palate.

Yes, what an occasion. Oh, and in case you did not know, I also had a reconstruction in that same 11 hour surgery which harvested my right fibula, flesh and skin from my right leg and added those to make me an upper mouth. Much more to it than that, but I am here to tell the story that it did, for me go well.

I had no idea really how I would go in recovery but the fact that I had complete trust in my team and their planning and their work, and could see that I was in the best place possible for this to happen all helped. Greatly. I am a worrier by nature but over time, learned that with that my job was to keep the healing going, taking care of my emotional health and doing all I could physically to recover. There are many blog posts and they are all here.

Today though is a sharing of my updates from yesterday and today.

5th July Memories.

The day of pre-admission to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse for my head & neck cancer surgery & reconstruction the next day. Never forget how it was. A relief in many ways. It had been 7 weeks of waiting. For planning, software & 3D model for my mouth. Not much sleep that night. 4 years ago. I already felt I was going to the best place for what was to happen. That instilled so much confidence in me and my husband having been here for the discussion of my surgery with my Professor and team.

Before AND After Images: 4 years apart.

One very special place I have visited over the 5 years we have lived here is the Bridge over Budgewoi Creek at MacKenzie Reserve.

The first image of of the hair-prepped for long time between haircuts, late June as I contemplated and considered what was ahead. Yes, I was scared but I also knew there was nothing else but to be putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward!

The second image, is from today (I do go here quite often but made a special trip today) to give my thanks for how my recovery and wellness is. I did not smile deliberately as I wanted to show my top lip for how it really is. Smiling of course is better…but I acknowledge that cancer took quite a bit of under that lip and 2x skin grafts have helped.

Today I shared this collage first.

It’s made up of four progress images from July 2017, July 2018, July 2019 and July 2020. Don’t my surgeons do an amazing job? And of course, my prosthodontist and my own body in recovery. Very, very grateful.

Selfies are great for monitoring progress for a visual person like me who needs evidence, as I waited… learning that TIME does indeed heal but patience is also necessary!

This impatient person learned, mostly to be a patient patient over the many months, trips back & forth to Sydney: Westmead Oral Sciences & Chris O’Brien Lifehouse

The person who helped me through these trying times… to learn patience is my husband!


Thank you Bernard for your patience & time given to me for “selfies”💙


Today we marked my 4th anniversary with some pics & a gratitude letter to my HNC surgeon & nurse… then I drove to Budgewoi to “exercise” but to mostly give thanks. This bridge at Mackenzie Reserve is a special place for me.❤️


About gratitude. Again!

I have posted many times about gratitude. I have found it a practice that when I use it, I am helped greatly by finding at least one thing to be grateful for in a not-so-good situation. Today though I feel full. In a good way. Emotionally. I feel well, and I really could not ask for me. It’s a feeling for me. My husband knows I remember days and dates and he wanted to know where today stood in terms of day, birthdays, Christmas etc and I said…after some thought:

Today is on top.

It is the best.

I am so grateful and I am sharing this gratitude in my way here by blogging, telling people I love and sharing as best as I can. From my post back in early 2020.


My 2020 Word of the Year. I Still Have It in 2021!

Thank you dear blog readers and commenters too, you all make a contribution to my healing and wellness.




Taking Stock #2.18/51 #LifeThisWeek. 55/2021.

Taking Stock #2.18/51 #LifeThisWeek. 55/2021.

I wrote about the changes I have made to how I will blog when it’s time for Taking Stock. You are, of course, welcome to use my new version of the prompts or ones initially devised by Pip Lincolne. This optional prompt occurs every 9 week.


This time round, I am going to respond to these prompts relating to my head and neck cancer, diagnosis, surgeries, treatments and continued wellness. It will be marking the 4th anniversary of diagnosis on 17 May 2017. May will always remind me of this!

Admiring:  the skills of all those who helped to do my upper mouth reconstruction

Becoming:  such an advocate for spreading the awareness of head and neck cancer because it IS rare but it is also growing in numbers of people diagnosed in Australia and around the world

Curious:  about how I ‘got’ this cancer …at times

Delighted:  to be well in my recovery at almost 4 years down the track

Excited:  that my world is opening back up again for me personally as I take steps towards getting out there to share the awareness news

Feeling:  proud that I have come so far in my emotional health recovery that was at an all time low before my diagnosis in May 2017

Going: out each day as part of my health recovery

Helping: other head and neck cancer patients, families and carers where it may be appropriate

Imploring: everyone to “get your dentist to do a mouth check at your regular 6 months check” please

Joking: not. About the importance of knowing how to check your mouth yourself too

Keeping: up with my 2x daily practice of water pik use and caring for my upper prosthesis

Loving: that I have my smile

Making: changes which are working better for me as I adapt how I eat, e.g. using smaller utensils and remembering my mouth is a smaller space inside

Next: no longer waiting for what is ‘next’ in my treatment, seems all good at present

Observing: that I am a changed person inside thanks to this life-altering event in 2017…

Pleasing: …to note that the change is for the better

Reading: fiction, well, listening to it as I could not concentrate much on anything in recent years

Staying: well

Trying: to be more mindful and in the moment as much as I can….

Understanding:…that is not always possible but forgiving myself when I retreat to old habits

Viewing: my progress in terms of head and neck cancer with awe….still!

Welcoming: the ways I am learning to s l o w myself down to take notice of what I see, feel, hear and smell

X- You Choose! Xtra kind support from my blog followers and social media friends makes my recovery and wellness easier because I do not feel alone

Yes: to letting go of my past thoughts about appearance and….

Z – You Choose! …speaking kindly to and about myself. Always. Almost Always

And some more…

Gratitude to these people including me!

And finally:

Thank you for being part of Life This Week today.

Next week, I WILL be here but the words will not be mine.

The clue is at the bottom of the Link Up instructions.


Link Up #238


Life This Week. Link Up #238

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