Sunday 29th May 2022

‘Being Me’ In The Month That Was May. 35/2022.

‘Being Me’ In The Month That Was May. 35/2022.

Since I decided to join in this link up each month, I am also adding my post for ‘the month that was’…and what a month it turned out to be!

MAY 2022

Word Of the Year Link Up Party.

Joining in with these kind bloggers:

hosted by friends Deb, Sue,  Donna and  Jo too.

You too can join in, clicking on one the above links:

Look for this image, and add your post.

Those who follow this blog, and know me from either on-line conversations or in real life, will know that my highest (in terms of importance) value in life is ‘honesty’. And that has seen me make some choices to live better with ME!!

I guess another way of putting it, is to be ‘true to myself’.

I have been blogging for well over 11 years and seen so much change in this time. I have always reflected on what I want my blog and me to represent and along with honesty, comes vulnerability, truth telling and giving thanks.

So BEing ME has meant some reflection and change making…

Saw a recent Instagram hashtag  about ageing and owning up by #speakingyourage (words to that effect) and I have never been someone to hide my age…so this is something I do easily. Here:

 

And then just this week, to be honest, the work that was having a blog link up suddenly (or maybe stealthily) was not anything I wanted to do any more. I could have been someone who soldiered on, but that’s not me either. So, without anything else to add, here is the message to my blogging community…..

Well, now what has that meant for BEing ME?

A few changes within and they feel good.

I have reduced my in-person involvement with Head and Neck Cancer Australia and feel better for this.

I have decided to blog when I want to…and there have been examples of this recently.

I am allowing myself to feel uncomfortable too as changes like these are made. Instead of the old thinking of must get everyone’s approval I am being my own best friend and remembering what I REALLY want to do and be…and again, it’s part of my value system.

MAY MEMORIES.

FIVE years on from my cancer diagnosis was always going to be remembered and celebrated! I added a memento in the form of a bracelet with hearts on 17 May 2022 at 9.35 am. And wrote a post here. 

 

The feelings and experiences here are part of why I am very grateful to be well…following 5 years of recovering from a rare oral cancer…and I make the very most of all the in-person connections we can have with family. We had a lovely catch up here after 4 months.

Our son’s 4. We cared for these kids for years…sadly not Miss in heart top as she was born after we left Sydney.

Then there is this photo which means so much for my healthy recovery and emotional connections. Our four grandkids visited me just after surgery #1 (the big one) in August 2017, so I asked them to do a re-creation with me in May 2022. Love this!!

And that will do for now. I have been to see Dad in Dee Why twice in May and am enjoying the frank chats and helpful conversations we both have to better understand and appreciate each other and our similarities and differences. No more photos from him though. Fair enough! And no, he does not want to live to 100…..I get that.

How was your month of May..not quite finished of course…

And are you  using a word or words in 2022 like I am?

Denyse.

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My A-Z. Taking Stock. 5 Years. #HNC. #LifesStories. 34/2022.

My A-Z. Taking Stock. 5 Years. #HNC. #LifesStories. 34/2022.

This is my first Taking Stock post in 2022 and I am taking the chance to recount the “adventure” that has been having had oral cancer, a form of head and neck cancer, for 5 years.

Here is mine. And the new-to-me logo and the list is at the end of the post for copying if you choose, along with this image being in the side bar of the blog.

 

But first, a story that is funny. Well, at least “I” think so.

When I saw the kind blogger Deb from here: Debs World paying tribute to my version of Taking Stock recently I was chuffed. Deb has been doing Taking Stock, the traditional one from Pip Lincolne , found here, along with my new-to-some A-Z version. I checked my list of prompts out, and the image I had on the blog…..and counted: 1 to 22…ummm there ARE still 26 letters in the alphabet, Denyse…so, oops, I have now amended!

And as I am off to see Dad again today in Sydney, I will be back to read and comment later.

2017 to 2022. Taking Stock of my Head & Neck Cancer. 

admiring the amazing ways in which my head and neck cancer team reconstructed inside my mouth

becoming more at ease now with the idea that my five years since diagnosis and surgeries and all are coming to an end in September 2022 at my final surveillance visit to my head and neck cancer team

curious to see how my continued mouth and prosthesis checks will go each 6 months for the rest of my life I am told

delighted that, in the course of head and neck cancer journey I have made many new friends and connected with them virtually or in real life so we support each other

excited to see my Professor Jonathan Clark AM and his surgical Nurse Assistant Cate Froggatt in September but 

feeling quite emotional as it will be my last ever surveillance check with them at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse

going is a useful word to use post cancer recoveries because I always say “I am going well” …covers a myriad of possible answers but requires little response because quite honestly, HOW MUCH do I really want to tell people..not a lot. I fear it may not be 

helping me or them to be perfectly honest because in the end sometimes a polite response is the best

imploring those who follow me to get a mouth check at each 6 monthly dental visit. Please do get to your dentist every 6 months. And also, see your GP about any suspicious pain/lumps/bumps too:

See here, and at the end of this post….

 

joking at times is an Aussie way of dealing with some really tough times isn’t it? We tend to play down what we find the most threatening. I admit, I was told, now I realise it was a joke, four years on, that when I got my upper prosthesis (teeth attached to the jaw that was made for me from my leg), that I couldn’t leave till I bit into an apple. Seriously. Nah, it wasn’t and no I cannot even do that these days….

knowing I was in the best place for me with the best people possible for my cancer filled me with both hope and confidence. Always.

loving that I could always get my surgeon into a selfie with me at our visits…

Prof Jonathan Clark AM.

making the most of my understanding of good health nutritionally as well as enjoying the food I can actually eat by paying attention to my health professionals after the first BIG surgery because they knew more than I did.

Ready….for the video made for head and neck cancer Australia with me sharing what I had learned from the dietitian.

next is to note how very proud I am to have come through such challenging health times (they were!) and yet I know now so much more about myself as a woman of strength and courage that may not have come about as they have…

observing that there is a fine line between being grateful for life lessons (this was a major one) and also that it has been so fortunate too that my cancer is as I understand it rare of rare (thanks Prof JC) and unlikely to return

posting on the blog has been a great way in which to let me share my feelings and experiences and also for others to support and cheer me on, and it is now a bank of posts under this heading for others looking for head and neck cancer information

questioning that this cancer is so not known and yet it is very much more common than realised, and many people die of a head and neck cancer because symptoms may have been ignored or dismissed by a medical or dental professional, so it’s why I continue to share, and hopefully a person …

reading this or a tweet or a facebook update may have information that is relevant to them or someone they know

staying  vigilant about my mouth care. I need to see my regular dentist every 6 months and the prosthodontist in Sydney too

trying to be less head and neck cancer focussed in my day to day life, which is why, when I became somewhat burnt out last year doing too much physically and emotionally sharing HNC news, that my…

understanding G.P., husband and CEO of HANCA were very kind in helping me see that I could still help and have some roles but no longer in person

viewing my images. I remain pretty obsessed with my changing face, smile and mouth over the years.

2017. July Major Surgery. Nov Day Surgery

2018. Day Surgeries: Feb & May. Upper Prosthesis August.

welcoming the ways in which people who don’t know about my oral cancer story can be informed more if they show some interest

X – you choose and mostly they do, and with my education love at the heart of what I do I am always there to say,

yes what would you like to know more about

Z – you choose and if there is no interest of course, I am respectful of that person. And, I sip my double shot small latte quietly!

Love this again: coffee sitting at a cafe. 2021.

Sunday 22 May, at Porter’s Creek I made this little 13 second video of gratitude:

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/WlluRTC6OhM

 

 

That’s my Take for Taking Stock.

Here is the list for anyone who would like to try it.

  • admiring
  • becoming
  • curious
  • delighted
  • excited
  • feeling
  • going
  • helping
  • imploring
  • joking
  • knowing
  • loving
  • making
  • next
  • observing
  • posting
  • questioning
  • reading
  • staying
  • trying
  • understanding
  • viewing
  • welcoming
  • X – you choose
  • yes
  • Z – you choose

Thank you for reading, commenting and also linking up a blog post if you had the chance!

Denyse.

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Denyse Whelan.

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What Am I Reading/Listening To For ‘What’s On My Bookshelf’ May 2022? 33/2022.

What Am I Reading/Listening To For ‘What’s On My Bookshelf’ May 2022? 33/2022

 “What’s On Your Bookshelf?”

Thanks to Jo, Deb, Sue and Donna who host this.

What Am I Reading/Listening To Lately?

Quite a mix but then again on careful analysis, the topics and themes of my reading/listening are quite similar.

I am curious about life and its many challenges, how we age and human behaviour generally, so this is my update.

And this time round, I have included links to podcasts that are related to the books as they have been an integral part of my experience.

My reading/listening habits:

  • every day some listening is in the car thanks to Audible and any CDs I have for a book
  • every day, usually in the time between evening meal and doing to bed, I put on a podcast as I create something art-wise
  • every night, at the end of my TV/Netflix/DVD viewing or social media, I take a page or three and read it from one the books here beside my bed.
  • Comfortable with Uncertainty by Pema Chodron is SUCH a challenge but I am really softening in my acceptance and understanding. With 108 (same numbers as on a counting necklace or string in some buddhist traditions) there are 1-2 pages of tightly but well said words to challenge and take in. I first read this BEFORE my cancer diagnosis in 2017 and struggled but now, some 5 years on, coupled with my own practices, I am better attuned to the teachings.
  • Trusting the Gold by Tara Brach is a dip in and dip out little book of wisdom gleaned from her life experiences. She tells of all her perceived human failings and understanding in a self deprecating way but with self compassion. Tara’s voice is a favourite of mine from her other books which of course I have! And she is now hosting some meditations and sleep stories on Calm.

I like variety and that I can choose!

Atlas of the Heart. Brene Brown.

Atlas of the Heart.

Well..here’s the thing, I have the book, I have the Audible version and I have listened to podcasts with Brene Brown and others.

I am overwhelmed .

I thought I could tandem read and listen.

No. I thought I could just listen…not really. I think it’s partly to do with how HUGE this content is and it would be Brene herself who would admit to it.

I have become a Binge (pay tv) subscriber just to watch the series she made for US on HBO. So far, one episode in, and she is in teaching mode with an audience and I like it a lot.

I now feel over time, it will be more like a dip in and out of experience for me..and the book is freaking heavy to hold!!

Oprah’s SuperSoul:

Atlas of the Heart with Brene Brown

https://open.spotify.com/episode/0tc4spLul60Bh1eTtXOe2W?si=2L7Z7yguSiSglUlYdUIInA

Watching in Australia:

https://binge.com.au/shows/show-brene-brown-atlas-of-the-heart!14634

 

The Space Between The Stars by Indira Naidoo.

I enjoyed this book but it was not a huge new life lesson for me. The story, told eloquently by Indira, a well-known ABC Australia figure, as part love story to her sister and family, and how nature, particularly one tree in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens helped her immensely, was a light read in many ways with some great lessons for love, dying and appreciation of the green, nature and trees all around us. I admit, I saw trees differently after starting the book.

 

With The End in Mind and Listen by Dr Kathryn Mannix.

I freely admit it, I am a huge fan of Dr Mannix’s work. We have connected via social media too. Her work history as a doctor in the UK, eventually took her down the career path into palliative care and following her retirement she went onto help more people.  Now in a career helping train others and be a counsellor in CBT: Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, she IS the doctor I would love caring for me or a family member.

Whilst that cannot happen, her words, so generously share on this podcast as great indicators that the world of those who are facing end of life, and death are being cared for much better as a result of this person’s work and that of many. In no way is this work done, but the conversations (Listen is an EXCELLENT book for any challenging conversation, not all about death/sickness)

I started with these books on Audible and now have the actual copies to refer to (see my ‘post its’ and book mark! Dr Kathryn Mannix is on Facebook too.

In finding her on this podcast (highly recommend it too) I have added links to both of her chats with Andrew G Marshall.

The Meaningful Life Podcast. Andrew G Marshall

Dr Kathryn Mannix with Andrew G Marshall

With the End In Mind

https://open.spotify.com/episode/1DYFG8fc9u0RgLh6n34OV7?si=cf53d51198c644f4

The Meaningful Life

Dr Kathryn Mannix with Andrew G Marshall

Listen

https://open.spotify.com/episode/29ichQxYdBvDZt4r3M1jfj?si=78fec487852240ab

 

 

The Inner Work of Age. Shifting from Role to Soul. Dr Connie Zweig.

Now, regular readers know I am doing what I can to learn more about ageing…for me to accept the inevitabilities and to enjoy some of the riches it brings and self-discovery. I first found Dr Connie Zweig’s work by accident or maybe I was meant to…and first listened to her words via Audible. It is via a podcast with Andrew G Marshall I found her work of even greater interest and have now bought the physical book.

I will be reading it over a fairly lengthy period I think as there are activities to do to delve more deeply into the ‘inner me’. Might even be a blog post one time as well.

Role to Soul: Dr Connie Zweig with Andrew G Marshall

https://open.spotify.com/episode/5U4L77vQp5RQ6fFGwux3Ye?si=dd7025da63804196

 

Ten Steps To Nanette. Hannah Gadsby.

 

Now, I am just learning more about Hannah Gadsby through listening to her book. What a listen. And a huge number of life challenges have certainly occurred for Hannah. Rather than me share more, I have included a clip from the promotion for her show “Nanette” which is still on Netflix and explains so much about “her story” and its title. I have also included one podcast where Hannah is in conversation with Glennon Doyle.

Hannah Gadsby with Glennon Doyle

We Can Do Hard Things

https://open.spotify.com/episode/6cVlrd5mRHdx5AlFJyXRAG?si=ec00322afca64866

From Netflix:

And for this month…that’s it! Photo following is of me in front of our family room bookshelf..made by my dear husband.

What have you been reading, and/or listening to in May?

Denyse.

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What Is 17 May All About? #HNC. 5 Years. 32/2022.

What Is 17 May All About? #HNC. 5 Years. 32/2022.

It’s 17th May 2022 as I write.

I wasn’t planning a post but this date “made me do one”.

It’s because 17 May 2017 was a hugely significant day in my life, as it was the day I was told I had squamous cell carcinoma in my upper gums.

The story has been told in a few places, here for the first post,  by me, but today I want to use pictures more than words!

Marking the time I knew I had cancer.

 

My progress: 2017 into 2019

 

2019: 2 years ‘reward’

And going to Sydney to see Hamilton as my 4th year ‘reward’…very special:

 

Each May, I have both remembered and because of my relatively good progress with recovering from this form of cancer I had, I like to appreciate my teams and my healing body too. And to my husband and family and friends (on-line and off!) : you all help my healing with your kindness, love and care. Thank you.

And now: 5 years on.

I admit it feels somewhat surreal. Perhaps I couldn’t ever see it coming? No matter, it has arrived. I am here. I am very glad to be well. Here’s my photos from today: Tuesday 17 May 2022.

Special way to remember:

The word ‘heart’ means a great deal to me after using the song, Heart, as part of my self-care and courage building on my many, many drives to and from Westmead for long stays in the chair…and of course, heart is connection to those I love, and who love me…and the universal message of love is about caring.

My ‘gift’ to me is this: a bracelet with links of hearts and infinity symbol because love is forever….

Thank you to everyone from my heart.

Denyse.

17.05.2022.

Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share later this week.

Thank you Natalie.

https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

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