Tuesday 13th April 2021

Floral. 11/51. #LifeThisWeek. 33/2021.

Floral. 11/51. #LifeThisWeek. 33/2021.

So, dear readers and bloggers, have you realised yet that these optional prompts are in

A

L

P

H

A

B

E

T

I

C

A

L

order?

  • I like lists.
  • I like order.
  • So, in choosing the optional prompts that were not covered by Share Your Snaps, Self Care Stories, Taking Stock, I did the list and selected just ONE word and made the list alphabetical.
  • Teacher me likes this.

FLORAL.

Until I considered how to use this prompt it took me a while to realise I enjoy floral patterns, in the garden, in designs I make and in clothes I wear. I enjoy colour, mixed together in harmony, and even those in contrast. So, in photographic evidence here are some photos!

Nature:

 

Creative Art:

 

And in clothing:

Late 2017 into 2018 I did “outfit of the day’ posts to boost morale as I recovered from surgeries. Here I was after a 3rd reconstruction inside my mouth (early Feb 2018) and a week of pics. Smile was still a long way off….not for another 6+ months but I did not know that then.

2020 and a smile in my floral top!

 

And some floral joy I made: 

I hope you are enjoying the optional prompts if you use them.

Thanks for joining in.

Denyse.

Link Up #231

 

Life This Week. Link Up #231

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do!

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive  in nature.

* THANK you for linking up today! Next Week’s Optional Prompt: Good. 12/31 22 March 2021.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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Scenes From Nighttime. #SundayStills. #2. 6/2021.

Scenes From Nighttime. #SundayStills. #2. 6/2021.

After the warm welcome I received to the #sundaystills blogging community I am back! Last week I posted here.

Every 5 weeks on my blog, I offer the optional prompt to #shareyoursnaps for the Monday link up called #LifeThisWeek and that is why I have also included my image from there.

When I saw this prompt for week commencing 10 January 2021 from here: 

These are remaining prompts for January.

NB: these are from the Northern Hemisphere, I will need to be imaginative here in the Southern Hemisphere in Summer.

And yes, I changed the spelling in two words. My computer told me to!

Jan 17 Colour Challenge: Glacier Blue
Jan 24 Fog and Clouds
Jan 31 Your Favourite Landscape

I was not sure I had any photos to fit as I do not typically take photos at night nor at night time…but then I remembered these!

In early March 2020 before COVID restrictions began, I was the guest speaker at an evening function at Avoca N.S.W. Australia to help raise funds for a head and neck cancer charity where I am a volunteer Ambassador. I shared some of my story with the audience. It was just on dusk in daylight saving time and the beach looked so tranquil as did the view. I remember stopping on my way up the stairs to take this photo.

And here’s what I did and the audience reaction to my story, along with the host (in white) a young doctor and a member of the board, a radiation specialist.

The very next week saw me, at night, out on a balcony of an apartment we stayed in post-cataract surgery, taking photos of evening-time arriving in Parramatta!

So good seeing familiar places from when we used to live in Sydney from a different perspective.

Looking west, across Parramatta Park, the western suburbs to the Blue Mountains.

 

Urban Parramatta at night. Old hospital to the right, and police precinct in the middle.

In 2020 I sure did get some time in medical and surgical facilities….Gosford Private Hospital twice! This is from the first stint. Four night stay. Night time really is the ‘worst’ time in hospital.

Not in chronological order but in May, it was the COVID night time 21st Birthday of our second granddaughter. Only her nearest & dearest allowed at her home. Still have restrictions now unfortunately.

Birthday girl is 3rd from left. A Butterfly balloon seen here is because she has always been known as “our beautiful butterfly” from birth!

So I found images and used my imagination too.
Great combination for a blogger I reckon.

Please follow this blog via Bloglovin  see my home page for link in which to add your email address.

You may prefer to follow the updates from here on my Facebook page for the blog.

I am on twitter as @denysewhelan1

My instagram account is private: ask for follow @denysewhelan_blogs

Each Monday I hosted a link up called Life This Week. There are optional prompts. They can be found on the home page too.

Have a great weekend and week ahead everyone,
Denyse.

Linking up here for Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Catch Up this week.

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Retrospective In Photos: Our Life in 2020. #SundayStills. #1. 3/2021.

Retrospective In Photos: Our Life In  2020. #SundayStills. #1. 3/2021.

Nothing like a new year to try new ideas.

Deb from Deb’s World here, shares her #SundayStills via this blog which I am now following, a photography challenge hosted by Terri  and I am giving it a go. Here is her wrap up for quite the year of 2020.

As we in Australia say, “you never know till you give it a go”.

The prompts for January 2021, should you wish to follow as I am are:

Jan 3   Your 2020 Retrospective (share your year in images)
Jan 10 Night
Jan 17 Color Challenge: Glacier Blue
Jan 24 Fog and Clouds
Jan 31 Your Favourite Landscape

I think for me, I will be kind of a week behind…but let’s just see!

Looking Back: Moving Forward!

2020. Here We GO!

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Great way to recount the “year that was” and surprisingly to me, the positives have far outweighed any negatives!

  • Gratitude being ‘my word’ for 2020 helped me see life from a different lens from time to time.
  • We felt safe here even in COVID times
  • I had successful surgeries – to my eyes and for rectal prolapse and even with a wound debridement later and longer recovery I feel well and glad it has all worked out for me.
  • I got the news that my head and neck cancer surgeon did not want me to return for a check for a year. Unbelievable.
  • We may not have seen as much of our extended family as we wished but so many are also restricted so the few catch ups we had made us even more grateful.
  • Both of us have been well supported by our local GPs and their crew even in telehealth times
  • The roof we have over our heads in this rental house is very strong and we enjoy living here.,
  • I got to visit my Dad a few times and he has remained well. I will be seeing him on Mon 11 January for his 97th birthday.

We are about to celebrate our fiftieth, Golden Wedding Anniversary and despite, COVID limitations, we are hopeful some of our family can visit.

 

Please follow this blog via Bloglovin  see my home page for link in which to add your email address.

You may prefer to follow the updates from here on my Facebook page for the blog.

I am on twitter as @denysewhelan1

My instagram account is private: ask for follow @denysewhelan_blogs

Each Monday I hosted a link up called Life This Week. There are optional prompts. They can be found on the home page too.

 

Here’s to 2021.

Denyse.

 

 

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Grateful For This. 38/51. #LifeThisWeek is 4 years old! 76/2020.

Grateful For This. 38/51. #LifeThisWeek is 4 years old! 76/2020.

  • I am forever grateful to be a blogger.
  • I am always grateful to have bloggers link up here.
  • I am feeling the gratitude that through this computer of mine we can connect!
  • So, today: celebrating 4 years of this link up, I offer you my gratitude. In abundance for coming here, reading, commenting, linking up and sharing!

 

If I could reach out to you all, here’s what you might have to celebrate the blog’s 4 years of link ups on Mondays. Big on cake and biscuit cooking at my place.

Where did it all start?

Back in August-September 2016. Gosh, I hadn’t even known I had cancer back then. Lovely Kirsty from here, decided to close her Monday link up called “I Must Confess” and I approached with an idea for Mondays and she was delighted to support and promote….we ARE good mates!! Thanks Kirsty.

This post tells some of the story too.

Here is the first blog post about it. With the first set of optional prompts.

M E M O R Y    L A N E :  September each  year.

2016: see above

2017: 

LTW is ONE. #LifeThisWeek. 35/52. 2017.105.

2018:

Have You Ever? 38/52. #LifeThisWeek is 2! 2018.93.

2019:

What Is Love? 37/51 #LifeThisWeek. 95/2019.

About the Optional Prompts.

I admit they can be easy to decide and then, I can find some weeks harder than others. I do use a calendar for some, for example recent post on Sydney 2000 based on the Sydney Olympics Anniversary. Some are personal because I have some views I want to share but they can apply generally, for example “birth order”. Then in 2018 I made a plan to help sort out the year by adding:

Each 5th week: Share Your Snaps (photo-based post)

Each 7th week: Self-Care Stories

Each 9th week: Taking Stock

This meant for me I “only” needed to come up with prompts in between those intervals.

The reality of the blogging calendar is there are 51 weeks of prompts, and often the last one or two is free choice.

Why Optional Prompts?

Sometime we can sit at the computer and draw a blank but we still want to write! I know this helps me to have a prompt but to ensure no-one felt if they had not blogged based on the prompt they could not link up, I call them optional prompt.

2020.

What a year 2020 has been. Nothing like any of us expected when we made our first of the year posts and mine was this!

Word of Year: Gratitude. 1/51 #LifeThisWeek 1/2020.

I admit when I set out to make a daily gratitude post on Instagram, I thought it would be easy. I knew I could find, feel and notice gratitude all around me. I was ready! Bring it on. Then…the year changed as we know, for all of us. My go-to daily activities were curtailed via the big C (not cancer, the other one) and I also had some surgical procedures. I really HAVE had to seach for gratitude far more deeply and note it even on the worst days for me. I continue to do the daily gratitude on Instagram (see the right hand side of the blog) until 31.12.2020.

2021.

I have no particular hopes nor dreams for 2021, given how 2020 has played out, but I do know one thing: Hamilton, the Musical, has been on repeat for me.

This sums it up…the title anyway, for 2021 and Life This Week!

Thank you for linking up today and commenting too. I will read your post later this week, as always!

Denyse.

 

Link Up 207

Life This Week. Link Up #207

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do!

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive  in nature.

* THANK you for linking up today! Next week’s optional prompt: 39/51  Healthy. 28.9.2020

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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Women Of Courage Series. #54 Leanne @DeepFriedFruit. 73/2020.

Women Of Courage Series. #54 Leanne @DeepFriedFruit. 73/2020.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid-May 2019: Wednesdays: each week and now the series concludes today with this post. Over the next two weeks there will be a look back at those who have shared their stories. Actually 56 women. The link to all of those stories is here.

Here is the introduction to the series and each woman’s story.

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.

 

Leanne, also known by her blog’s name of Deep Fried Fruit, has been blogging FOR ever..no, not really. However, I believe she started for a significant ZERO birthday and now admits to being at the next decade. Not one to hide away from her celebrations of life, she calls her birthday a festival. In real life, and yes, we have met, this person is warm, funny, generous and very caring. In fact, she stopped off on her family’s trip to Queensland two years ago so we could meet up!

 

Let’s get on with Leanne’ story…and I admit, she has written more than was asked but all good. The more we get to know about the ‘why’ of this lady!

 

Background

  • I look back and think of all the things in my life that took great courage and I guess most things do.  Every new experience requires some amount of bravery.
  • I used to be timid and shy.  As an only child I found safety in the walls of my own home with my tiny family.  Then one day my mum was told she only had two weeks to live and suddenly my safety was about to be stripped.
  • Her bravery of fighting the disease and winning, changed who I ultimately became.  Being timid in life was no longer an option. I learned if you want to achieve results you have to stand up and take responsibility for your existence. You had to find courage.
  • As a result, I’m someone whose meta programming is set high on the “challenge” meter.  Some people take the path of least resistance in life, others take the path of most challenge. I’m the latter.

 

My favourite quote is by Sarah Henderson:

“Don’t wait for a light to appear at the end of the tunnel, stride down there and light the bloody thing yourself.”

That’s how I live my life. I spend a great deal of time striding down great big long tunnels to turn that bloody light switch on. Which means I need a fair bit of courage I suppose.  Although I don’t necessarily recognise it at the time.

 

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

My mum’s leukaemia, backpacking overseas alone, buying my first home, completing my degrees, creating a career, marrying into a readymade family, having kids, dealing with fibromyalgia. The standard stuff.

 

I think there are some major milestones that took more courage than others though.

  1. “Retiring” from a well-established career at the age of 36 to concentrate on my family
  2. Becoming the creator/founder of several small business initiatives
  3. Deciding to self-publish my children’s book series
  4. Watching helplessly as cancer took our (my husband’s) eldest child
  5. Re-entering the workforce at the age many retire

While point number 4 is probably the one jumping out as the most challenging event anyone could possibly face, it’s still too hard to talk about.  So, I won’t be talking about the loss of a child today.

Instead, given it’s current, I’d like to chat about number 5.

 

Re-entering the workforce.

 

How did this change you?

  • For the past 15 years, skipping merrily outside the boundaries of the paid workforce as a sole trader and finder of cool projects, I’ve been striding through many tunnels turning on a shitload of Sarah Henderson-esque light switches.
  • You’d think that with all the results I’ve achieved when I was out there on my own, re-entering the workforce would be easy. I mean, I’ve done so much! I’m a force to be reckoned with, aren’t I?
  • I would have thought so too, but no.
  • Going back to work” has honestly been one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.
  • Why? Because I discovered something when I went back to work in corporate Australia.  I’m old!
  • I know right.  Shocking revelation.
  • I thought I could waltz right back in there and just be amazing. But it turns out I’ve got a bit to catch up on in the corporate world and apparently my brain isn’t quite what it used to be.

 

Re-entering the workforce changed me.  My confidence, resilience and emotions hit an all time low.

According to the numbers I am fifty years old, but my heart says I’m still a vibrant, intelligent and energetic 35-year-old who knows everything there is to know about everything. Hell, there are days I’ve got the mindset, energy and frivolity of a 20-year-old and the smarts of a 70-year-old Harvard professor.  Lingo and all.   Yet despite my love of life, my readiness to be challenged and the wealth of experience under my belt, the fact is, I’ve been out of the workforce for a bloody long time.

 

Is there something you learned from this that you could recommend?

  • Every single challenge in life presents an opportunity for growth.
  • While wallowing in self-pity, I realised I’d bumbled into this job without much thought nor planning.  Somebody needed me to fill a gap, so I filled it.  Then somebody else needed me to fill another gap and I filled that one too. That was my re-entry. I didn’t create my new work life; I simply fell into it.
  • It’s hard to stride down a tunnel with purpose when you’ve fallen into the tunnel.
  • So, I downed tools, re-wrote my resume, contacted recruitment and said, “hello world, here I am, and this is what I have to offer you”.  I took back control and started striding forward on my terms again.
  • I guess I’d like to say out loud for all to hear, if you find yourself in a job you aren’t enjoying, or that doesn’t suit you, or that makes you feel less-than, then do something about it.  Don’t stay there for staying sake.
  • I’m now focussing on my strengths, adding value where I know I can and not putting so much pressure on myself to be able to do everything.

 

I have decided to create my job, rather than have my job re-create me. Or more specifically, rather than have my job deflate me.

 

 

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

  • Absolutely, 100%, without a doubt. Our challenges make us stronger.  My challenges have made me stronger.
  • Facing problems can be hard. At the time it can even feel like the end of the world.

But looking back at the times where courage has been required is a fantastic reminder that we do survive them, 100% of the time, because we’re still here!

 

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

 

  • When you’re younger you tend to put up with a lot more heartache in order to get your foot in the door, particularly when it comes to jobs and careers.  I know I did whatever it took to show my value. I worked hard from the ground up.
  • When I re-entered the workforce, I thought I’d waltz back in without that need to go back to grass roots, and it was quite a dent to my pride to discover I wasn’t as shit-hot a I thought I was; or perhaps as I used to be.
  • When I hit rock bottom, I thought “wow, does this mean I have to start again? Has my experience over the last 30 years meant nothing?”
  • No.  We don’t need to start again. Everything we’ve done previously is still part of us, only we’re even better off because we not only have that experience, we also have a proven track record of resilience, growth and acquired wisdom.
  • If like me you don’t like your job, and the light at the end of the tunnel is dimming, then just stride down there and light the bloody thing yourself.

 

Anything else to add?

  • This “being back at work” thing is new, and I am still finding my feet.
  • But if there is one thing I know for sure; I still have a good 15 years of work life left in me in which to create something that suits my strengths.
  • I may well create my dream job or a whole new career, or I may just decide that my current income generating activity is simply that, an income source.
  • The bottom line is, if the world feels dim, I’m now old enough and wise enough to know where to find the light switch.

Denyse offering me this WOC interview has been a fantastic exercise in recognizing where my inner lion has been needed in life and how I can apply it to my current situation.Thanks so much Denyse for this opportunity to reflect and to remind me where to find the light.

 

Thank you Leanne, you are an amazing friend and definitely a great woman of courage and it’s my privilege to share your story as the final one in the series over the past 2 years.

Thank you to all of the Women of Courage.

Over the next two weeks, there will be a farewell and appreciation for those who shared in 2019 and in 2020.

 

Denyse.

 

Social Media:

Blog/Website:  www.deepfriedfruit.com.au

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/DeepFriedFruit

Instagram: @DeepFriedFruit

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends.

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Taking Stock #4. 36/51. #LifeThisWeek. 72/2020.

Taking Stock #4. 36/51 #LifeThisWeek. 72/2020.

To new-to-this-linkup bloggers:

W E L C O M E !

Add your post, old or new, on or off prompt below. Come back to comment here too.

You can be assured of a  visit from me to your blog later in the week, and for others who link up, popping in to read and comment too.

Taking a detour from my Taking Stock in photos as I have here, here and here in 2020….

to reviewing where I am now, 3 years and 6 months on from this Taking Stock Post. 

Back then I used all of Pip Lincoln’s Prompts from here.

Now, for just this post, I have adapted my own list as well…in the interests of being easy-to-read!

The black print is from February 2017.

The blue print is now: September 2020.

 

 

Making: art every single day in one form or another.

Making: this continues! I have changed some of what I do, but consistently I do create on paper daily.

Cooking: much less these days and loving that more.

Cooking: whilst I like not having to cook each day, I do enjoy the satisfaction of batch-cooking and freezing meals for each of us.

Drinking: water and some soft drink

Drinking: back to coffee…yay. However, since COVID, I am learning to make myself a strong coffee at home. I dislike sugar-based soft drinks now and enjoy water, soda water and ginger ale.

Coffee: double shot small latte

Reading: a long list of books..none of which have been completed (yet) almost all non-fiction.

Reading: I have to say, this has not changed much & I tend to buy the physical copy of a book I love from Audible to have that as well.

Wanting: to have a greater level of concentration to continue to read “Victoria” by Julia Baird

Wanting: to continue to be satisfied with the life we have now, 3.5 years on, post-cancer and more….

Looking: always looking around me

Looking: I still do this but I also look into some people’s behaviour to try to get some insight into the ‘why’. 

Wishing: I had some of the insight into me earlier than now!

Wishing: This continues to go well. Is this a wish come true??

Enjoying: the company of my husband each day as we have never been ‘alone’ till past 2 years

Enjoying: as above,  a more relaxed at-home lifestyle now that many of the health issues are receding…stay there, ok! 

Waiting: to have enough money to buy a house

Waiting: this one (as above)  has now faded into the background. Knowing where we live now suits us and maybe, it will be something we consider to be renters in our future. 

Liking: that we do not have enough money to buy a house (yet) because it gives us more time to consider.

Liking: how life, as above, sometimes works out…

Loving: that I surprise myself with my art every day

Loving: that our family is more connected even though we live a fair way from them. We miss them but feel connected. That’s great.

Hoping: that I can continue to accept that I have a chronic condition called IBS and learn to live with it

Hoping: that my overall health continues to be OK. I “have” had some big challenges but I do manage my IBS even better than before.

Marvelling: at the way anyone who has a brain is….

Marvelling: that I have no idea why I wrote that above response. OK..maybe it was about D Trump??

Needing: to be as kind a friend to myself as I am to others and I am getting better at it

Needing: this is getting much better and I am very grateful for how much I can be self-compassionate and kind. So much better.

Smelling: frangipanis on the large tree right outside our back door

Smelling: not these any more…we are living in another house. Fresh air. Enjoying outside as there is a clear air and not that awful smoke from last Summer. NO more bushfires, please.

Wearing: retirement coastie clothing of coloured shorts and sleeveless top and birkenstocks

Wearing: similarly if it were Summer but in late Winter, early spring, it is likely to be jeans, maybe sneakers and a short-sleeved top. And a mask. None of us knew what COVID would bring to our lives.

 

Following: lots of interesting friends who blog

Following: same as above: also twitter and facebook too, along with instagram. I admit I am on social media frequently but know when to stop. For my mental well-being! 

Noticing: the days are shortening and the mornings are getting cooler

Noticing: the opposite for above…as the season moves into Spring. 

Thinking: that I would prefer not to think so much

Thinking: that I am much better at recognising and acting upon over-thinking and ruminating. It certainly pays dividend for my mental health that I can and do recognise it and act upon it.

Feeling: more positive than the last time I did a ‘taking stock’ post

Feeling: that I can see the differences in me and my progress in terms of mental health and well-being over the past 3.5 years.

Opening: my blog each day and seeing who has commented so I get ready to chat

Opening: my eyes each morning and beginning with the Daily Calm Meditation. It has made an enormous difference in my life. 

Have you ‘taken stock’ recently?

Denyse.

Denyse’s Taking Stock Prompts: from the original by Pip Lincolne.

Making:
Cooking:
Drinking:
Reading:
Wanting:
Looking:
Playing:
Wasting:
Wishing:
Enjoying:
Waiting:
Liking:
Wondering:
Loving: 
Hoping:

Marvelling:
Needing:
Smelling:
Wearing:
Following:
Noticing:
Knowing:
Thinking:
Feeling:
Bookmarking:
Opening:
Smiling:

 

Just did an update to these two optional prompts: they are in correct order now. Changed on home page too.

38/51 Grateful For This. 21.9.2020

39/51 Healthy. 28.9.2020.

Link Up #205

Life This Week. Link Up #205

You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week! NOT a link-up series of posts, thank you.

* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do!

* Check out what others are up to: Leave a comment on a few posts, because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere, or on your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Week.

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog & the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. These may include promotions, advertorials and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive  in nature.

* THANK you for linking up today! Next week’s optional prompt: 37/51 Remembering Sydney 2000. 14.9.2020 (20 years since the Olympics were held in Sydney.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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Women Of Courage Series. #53. Yvonne McClaren. 71/2020.

Women Of Courage Series. #53. Yvonne McClaren. 71/2020. 

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid-May 2019: Wednesdays: each week until the series concludes in 2020.

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.

Whilst I have not ‘met’ today’s Woman of Courage in real life, as they say, we have most certainly connected by the common (and not ever-welcomed) diagnosis of Head and Neck Cancer. Yvonne, who is 54, has shared her story below via the responses to the questions but to know even more about her and how she is facing life full-on these days, check out her links! Recently she appeared  too as part of the Beyond Five live video segment relating to food preparation and eating for those affected by head and neck cancer, particularly as in Yvonne’s case and others, relating to swallowing.

Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty in swallowing. This includes problems with sucking, swallowing, drinking, chewing, eating, dribbling saliva, closing lips, or when food or drink goes down the wrong way.

The link to the video is at the end of this post.

Thank you Yvonne for sharing.

 

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

There are a few times in my life where I have had to reinvent myself both professionally and personally. I think my latest challenge with finding a large tumour on my left tonsil has been my greatest challenge.

There have been other life-threatening situations – involving motorbikes, but this was really out of my control. Once diagnosed I responded with ‘silence’ – I went into myself I realise now.

It was a difficult time as I had relocated countries, left my full time job to start a new life and career and had my heart broken all in the space of 8 weeks, then a cancer diagnosis.

Suffice to say, I had little time to grieve anything, it was get on with it and start the treatment. Everything was put on hold in terms of dealing with loss of income, loss of love and in some respects the loss of my beloved father a year earlier.

It’s only now, 18 months after diagnosis, that I am starting to mentally deal with some of the other issues going on in my life at that time.

 

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

I had no time to consider anyone or anything else really.

I was on my own and thankfully had my mum still in her own home where I could live whilst going through the treatment.

I had had a sore throat for many, many months and jokingly said to a friend “I think it’s cancer” not really believing it, turns out 6 months later I was right.

How has it changed me?

I listen to my body really closely now, I use to before, but this has made me very aware of what thoughts I have running through my head, what niggle is going on and why… it also made me realise that every second you spend worrying about some insignificant thing is wasted time.

Get on and do it and do it now. Whatever it takes.

I lost the last five kilos I couldn’t budge and then some, so that was great for me, not an ideal weight loss programme but it started me back on my fitness journey 15 kilos lighter.

I now have to learn how to eat again and for a foodie I have found this the most distressing, depressing and difficult side effect.

Food was/ is my world and I have had to retrain and rethink what that looks like now. It also made my fledgling idea about teaching culinary pursuits in a foreign country come to fruition.

 

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

 

You always have choices, for me, I sat with it and the implications and thought about the worst-case scenario.

I was also told by a well meaning nurse that my cancer treatment had not worked and there was nothing more they could do for me. That sort of puts things in a very stark perspective, it’s humbling and it’s frightening.

It’s also incredibly motivating when I discovered that was not the case.

Learning to manage emotions is something you also can practise and become the master.

I then figured well if that’s as bad as it gets (death / inability to function normally/ disability) then make the most of what you have now.

I also discovered that you lose “friends” along the way, whether they can’t handle the new you, or who you have become or are becoming is too hard for them I don’t know.

I have had to make an entirely new circle of friends and have reacquainted myself with ones I have not had much to do with for years.

What I can say is, you are innately very strong you just don’t know it yet.

 

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

Yes, I am doing things now that are very much out of my comfort zone, although some would say riding through Vietnam and Laos on the back of a motorbike during a typhoon is getting out of my comfort zone too, but this disease and its side affects have made me realise that everyone has a message and a story.

In many ways this disease has focused my life’s purpose, I had all the scaffolding ready but now I have the ‘reason’ to hoist the flag on top of the scaffolding.

 

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

Don’t spend time worrying about things that might happen, focus on the now and take it one step at a time.

There is literally  someone else worse off than you, I’d hate to be that person by the way whoever they are, I guess it’s all relative.

 

Do add anything else that you think would help others who read your post. 

 

My job as I see it now is to spend my time doing what I love, what I love is cooking and if I can help others with eating difficulties as a result of HNC and its treatment then that’s what I am going to do.

I come from a family of teachers so it is not surprising to me that ultimately, I want to use my skills to help others.

I have set up The Food Manifesto and Soup hug as a way to bring a community together that suffer from this debilitating side effect.

I like to think of myself as the food curator for dysphagia, the link between your dietitian and your kitchen.

 

What a story of resurgence here. I can say that because I did not know Yvonne until she found the friendly facebook group for Head and Neck Cancer Patients, Carers, Professionals and Families. It is here, too, where I ‘met’ another Woman of Courage Maureen whose story is here.   There is another Woman of Courage called Tara Flannery who shared about her head and neck cancer here.

And this Woman of Courage shared her story. She is Julie McCrossin AM, who is also a Community Ambassador for Beyond Five and is part of the webinar Yvonne appeared in below.

 

Thank you again Yvonne. I am so pleased you are doing all you can to be well and help others too.

This is the penultimate post in the Women of Courage series.

Denyse.

Beyond Five, where I am a Community Ambassador released this video live just before World Head and Neck Cancer Day 2020.

Please take some time to view…and see what Yvonne shares from her kitchen and share with others who may benefit.

Thank you.

Social Media Links for Yvonne:

Blog/Website:  www.thefoodmanifesto.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/McclarenYvonne

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sustainablefoodandtravel/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/the_food_manifesto/?hl=en

 

On Thursdays I link here for Lovin Life with Leanne and friends.

Copyright © 2020 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

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Women Of Courage Series. #52. Stella. 67/2020.

Women Of Courage Series. #52. Stella. 67/2020.

A series of blog posts on Denyse Whelan Blogs to be found here from mid-May 2019: Wednesdays: each week until the series concludes in 2020.

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.

 

I welcome Stella, who is 70 years old, to share her story as a woman of courage. However, I also need to share that ‘we’ have known each other for decades. In fact we grew up in a similar area of the Northern Beaches in Sydney and ended up being in the same classes from time to time at Manly Girls’ High. We are both in this photo. Can you find us? This was an image I shared in N.S.W. Education Week a few weeks ago. Stella and I ‘found’ each other again via facebook and another friend from that time, who has shared her story too. Ann Thanks for the nostalgic trip!

Stella Shares Her Story In Her Words, Here. 

  • This year is the 20th anniversary of the scariest time in my life. I was 50, really healthy, working full time and bringing up my two teenagers. Life was good and I had no worries.

 

  • One afternoon after work, I lay down to read, and saw in the wardrobe mirror that I had a very swollen abdomen. It was big enough to make me head straight off the bed and to go down to the doctor.  He was very off-handed, and said “So you’ve gained weight – what do you expect ME to do about that ?”

 

  • Until that point I’d always been a very shy and diffident person, and his words would normally have made me apologise for wasting his time  – and gone home feeling stupid.  Which could have been a death sentence for me.

 

  • For once in my life, I knew that I had to be courageous and speak up, advocate for myself and demand that he  pay some attention.  He did that , and sent me for an ultrasound which revealed a very large malignant ovarian cancer.

 

  • Within 24 hours I was in the hospital and had had a very long and serious operation. A week later I started having chemotherapy.  I faced all of that alone, since I had downplayed the situation to my family. My Dad had recently died, and I couldn’t bear to tell Mum and my kids that I might be going on the same path.

 

  • I plucked up all my courage, and did the whole thing solo. Every day I would meditate, and go for walks around the hospital, thinking positive thoughts and just enjoying little things like a new flower growing in the ward garden. I read good poetry , words to give me courage to face another day. The staff remarked on how calm I was, but it was really courage which was keeping me in that serene frame of mind.

 

  • One night my doctor popped his head around my door and told me had news. All the results had come back and as far as he could see, my cancer was in remission. It was great news, and I was able to go home  and back to work without too much stress.  The courage which I’d found within myself on that first day, stayed with me and gave me a very positive outlook.

 

  • Since that experience, I’ve become a spokesperson for women with ovarian cancer. I also trained as a phone counsellor, talking to women who’d just been diagnosed with the disease. I think that the courage I found on that first day, gives me a good inspiration when I talk to women – encouraging them to dig deep to find their courage, to demand good treatment and good communication with their doctors.

 

  • Ovarian cancer used to be called “The Silent Killer” because women didn’t know they had it until it was too late. 80% of them used to die. I’m one of the fortunate 20% , and with some courage in my back pocket I can speak for those 80% of sisters who didn’t survive to tell the tale.

 

Stella Burnell 2020 .

 

https://www.ovariancancer.net.au/

https://www.facebook.com/OvarianCancerAustralia/

 

 

 

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

  • I’ve had many experiences where courage was needed – in my work as a nurse I’ve often had to pull up my “big girl pants” and tough it out, but it was really my own experience with cancer which used my courage to heal myself.

 

 

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

  • I’d say that since the day that I first got the diagnosis, I’ve never again been the shy and retiring person that I used to be. It was a defining moment and I often use it when talking to other women, to illustrate how courage can help you to assert yourself in health situations. I am no longer the “invisible older woman” but have found my voice and I help other women to find theirs.

 

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

  • I learned that you don’t always need other people to support you, when the going gets tough. In the particular instance that I mention, I had to “fly solo” and in fact I found that it was easier because I didn’t have to be around other people. Solitude was a great healing factor !

 

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

  • Yes, I am. I found my courage at that time, and it stands me in good stead every day now.

 

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

  • In a health situation like mine, I’d say that education is a great thing. If you find out everything you can – as scary as that can be – you will be able to face up to any eventuality with courage.

 

Thank you so much Stella, education is so important in keeping our health under some person control and if not, then to know who to go to for more help. You did this is so many ways and as I know, via the links above, have most likely helped many women who have faced a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

Denyse.

 

 

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.

Copyright © 2020 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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