Saturday 25th June 2022

Scenes From Where We Live (For Now). #LifesStories. 37/2022.

Scenes From Where We Live (For Now). #LifesStories. 37/2022.

I do enjoy sharing stories with images, and this post for the second last #lifesstories link up is just that!

Those who have read the blog for some years will know that we both decided, after selling our Sydney house, and having SOME money left, to buy new cars, and rent a place on New South Wales Central Coast while we consider life ahead and where we might live….

Oh how we think we are in charge of our lives but there are many forces at play aren’t there?

As it turned out, not quite the end game we imagined.

Not in our wildest dreams…OK, maybe an exaggeration but let’s say if we had “expected the unexpected” then maybe there would have been some more to consider. But nope, here’s a bit about where we live now…and some of the story. In photos. Mostly.

BUT before I start, this IS the second last link up here on a Monday. More info here, and for Monday 20 June, the last of the #LifesStories I hope you will join me in a bit of a sentimental journey that I have called Endings and Beginnings.

What we left and where we moved to settle (we thought) 

The reasons for moving house included:

  • I could no longer work. I was 65 and again, heading towards an emotional overload if I did not stop work. That was a big reason.
  • My husband had decided that Sydney was too busy with traffic and that it was time to live in quieter areas, which we then thought would be the southern end of Central Coast of NSW.
  • We needed to use the money from the sale, to pay off the mortgage, and have enough left for us to get two new vehicles (very important for the driving up and down the M1 as it would turn out in 2017…) and have a solid amount behind us to supplement our now part aged pensions and my husband’s super.
  • The extended family dynamics were changing and we had been told there was no need for “grandchild care” in 2015…and to be honest, it was somewhat of a relief, even though we knew a new (8th) grandchild was coming….

And we moved here: a decision made quickly, and with hindsight far toooo quickly. But I will say, it was also because we had a certain time to be out of our house and “I” needed to know where we were living next.

The House That Was a Mistake…And Expensive to Rent (even then).

What We Did Next. Sigh! 

My health suffered as I did what I could to try to transition to my ‘new life’.

My husband was actually very busy and loving what he was doing. Studying for his counselling degree, volunteering at lifeline and doing renovations at his brother’s house.

I did go back to Sydney quite a bit initially but no longer living there proved both sad and strange but we had made this choice, so “on with it’.

Except it was no easy with me getting more IBS, and the house being very uncomfortable so, a decision was made once we saw a single level house at the northern end of the coast for about $200 LESS per week, and we moved. Still had to keep paying rent on the old place as well until lease ran out.

Happ(ier) Life, Happ(ier) Wife?

We were both pleased with the new-to-us place, which was a similar vintage to one we had sold in Sydney. It was in Gorokan. And I admit there were a lot more places to explore for some time in late 2015 and into 2016.

We even celebrated our 45th Wedding Anniversary with our kids and their kids not knowing that life, as an extended  family, was going to change for some of the members and that it would not be great. It’s all settled to a certain degree but massive changes are hard on all.

In fact, 2016 into 2017 was a time of distress for me. B was still doing some of his study and had a counselling role with Lifeline, and did occasional work at his brother’s down south.

Unfortunately my health changed for the worst and cancer was diagnosed. There is all about that here.

The Central Coast And Scenes of Beauty Which Abound. 

I’ve been so fortunate in the past 7+ years to have places of natural beauty to visit, become part of, and enjoy in all the various weather conditions.

Nature is indeed healing and for me emotionally and physically it’s played a big role in distracting me from what my current health status was, and in healing.

I now seek refuge in nature to explore feelings which include appreciation for all that is good too.

So, a range of images from both the south and northern ends of the N.S.W. Central Coast and beyond. In all seasons!

So much has changed in the recent years for so many of us.

The escalating house prices meant that even ‘future us’ could no longer afford to even consider buying. What changes there have been in real estate. This year, our rent for this modern 4 bedroom home has risen $90 a week. And whilst we accept we are fortunate to be living in a comfortable house, other matters have made us consider:

  • Is this where we want to live our ‘older years’ lives? Not sure, specifically, but it is highly unlikely it will be continuing here.

 

  • Has our time here on the Central Coast been valuable to us both of the years? Yes. In some ways.

 

  • In our future years, will we be better moving closer to our extended family for some support. From us and for us, maybe?

 

  • The isolation of us from those we love most has been exaggerated by the two+ years of Covid and the resultant lockdowns and lack of ability to travel to and from family in Sydney. For example, my elderly Dad is on the Northern Beaches, and our adult kids are in places spread far apart but in a general area called ‘nor west Sydney’ and ‘the hills’.

 

  • As grandkids grew and their weekends became filled with sport and parental visits and more it was clear we would not be seeing them drive the almost 2 hours to and from our place to visit . We had hopes for most school holidays to have one visit but it was not always possible.

 

  • Seeing my elderly father in his independent unit and calling on his family only as needed made me think about our needs. This may not be a need for us for some time but up where we live, we have each other and that is it.

 

  • One catalyst for change and thinking our future health needs though was when our GP of over 5 years announced he was moving away and to an area at least 30 minutes drive away. This made us think carefully about our current health needs being met with a new group of G.P.s or what did we need to do?

 

So, how about popping back in two weeks to find out what we are now planning to do!!

Thank you for joining in this second last of the LifesStories link up too.

See you on 20 June.

Maybe add an old post if you choose, it’s going to be fun send off…except I cannot promise anything other than virtual fireworks…etc!!

Denyse.

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Out & About: Head & Neck Charity Ball 12/51 #LifeThisWeek. 24/2020.

Out & About: Head & Neck Charity Ball 12/51 #LifeThisWeek. 24/2020.

Regular readers and followers know I was diagnosed with a head and neck cancer in May 2017. Posts are here.

Then, in 2018 I was invited to become a Community Ambassador for Beyond Five. More about that here.

In my role helping share awareness of head and neck cancer facts and more via social media, this blog and in person, I really find it satisfying to give back:

  • to offer my skills and experience as an educator
  • and to feel and stay connected with other patients and their families/carers with a head and neck cancer,
  • attending meetings on-line and off relating to head and neck cancer support
  • to be part of social network head and neck cancer groups
  • to assist professional teams including my professor, speciality nursing staff and allied health professionals by sharing my experience on-line and in person
  • a recent interview for a Beyond Five project on nutrition
  • and then this……

Attending The Head and Neck Charity Ball at Avoca Hosted by Four Amazing Junior Doctors on Saturday evening 7 March 2020.

 

Here is the post from Beyond Five: the organisation to benefit from all the fund raising from attendance and silent auctions:

Beyond Five

Last Saturday night Caitlin Frede, Grace Swain, James Shannon and Catherine Zil, a dedicated team of junior doctors working within Central Coast Health hosted a #HNC Charity Ball https://buff.ly/37Aiejn at the Avoca Surf House in NSW to help raise awareness of #HNC and funds to support Beyond Five.

Over 100 people attended including Caitlin’s family, who lost her father Peter Frede to #HNC in 2015, and healthcare professionals from the Central Coast Cancer Centre.

Caitlin shares the stark and moving story of her father here. Thank you Caitlin for sharing your perspective in this cancer which has cost your family the presence of a husband and father…and a wonderful human being….

Dinner guests listened to powerful speeches from Caitlyn and former patient, Central Coast resident and Beyond Five Community Ambassador, Denyse Whelan who talked about her treatment for #HNC. Dr Puma Sundaresan, Radiation Oncologist at Western Sydney Health and Beyond Five Director also spoke about the need to raise awareness of #HNC and the importance of early detection.

Thank you to everyone who supported this fabulous event, helping to raise over $4,000 for Beyond Five. We are incredibly grateful!

My social media recount of the evening. 

A glorious evening at Avoca beach hosted by a group of junior doctors currently working on Central Coast to raise funds for @beyondfiveorg

As a head and neck cancer patient I know information shared helped me.

This is why I am privileged to be a Community Ambassador for @beyondfiveorg

Tonight I shared part of my story with over hundred guests many of whom were in

health medical dental allied health fields.

My thoughts during and after this event.

  • How fortunate we were as a group to be able to come together as this preceded the coronavirus restrictions, even though at this time, everyone was become familiar with what would be our future without handshakes and hugs. I was so honoured to be asked to speak about my head and neck cancer experience and meeting with Caitlin for coffee as part of her planning I was even more impressed with her initiative of that of her colleagues. They are working on the NSW Central Coast as part of their medical training.

 

  • Lisa Shailer, pictured above, is the Head and Neck (and Lung) Cancer Nurse who oversees new and on-going patients at Central Coast Cancer Centre at Gosford Hospital. She, along withe some head and neck cancer patients, started the Central Coast Head and Neck Cancer Support Group. Lisa is the person who ‘found me’ via my article on-line with local MP Emma McBride and invited me to attend the inaugural Soup for the Soul event at Gosford in July 2018. Since then I have been an active member of the group, in my role as an Ambassador for Beyond Five.

 

  • Dr Puma Sundaresan and her husband attended the event and whilst Puma represented the board of Beyond Five, she was there for sentimental reasons as she was a radiation oncologist on the Central Coast before taking up her current roles in Sydney. She spoke about the fact that the rise of head and neck cancers in younger people is becoming greater and there is a connection with HPV. She outlined too, that the Central Coast has a high rate of head and neck cancer cases relating in many cases to smoking and drinking.

 

  • For me it was an evening where I felt privileged to be amongst people who cared about head and neck cancer and getting the messages out there. One person came up to me and told me she is a dentist in the practice where I attend and where, along with my dentist, I first was told we were looking for cancer. What is was we did not know, but I am very grateful she showed support as does her workplace.

 

The future is bright. 

Yes I said that! We are, at the time of writing, in a pandemic state thanks to coronavirus or COVID-19 of course. I know there are going to be more restrictions imposed on many of us soon, For some, travellers and others, some cannot even get home. But I know, with the air of care, professionalism, hope and generosity I witnessed on this evening with the focus on helping others with head and neck cancer support, we have excellent people in our health professions. These times ahead are going to test them. However, if they can remain true to themselves using the skills, talents and more I was privileged to witness the future will be bright.

Notes on the fundraising experience.

These next months are going to see no gatherings for meetings and fundraisers for any cause.

Head and Neck cancer charity Beyond Five usually hosts a Soup for the Soul Fundraiser in July.

Whilst we do not know what that month will bring for getting together we may assume, like the Head and Neck Patient and Family Forum now moved from June to October, there may be flexibility in fundraising.

Maybe like my last two years, a virtual Soup For the Soul!

Recent update from the Head and Neck Charity Ball is that $4.400 was deposited into Beyond Five’s account. Yay.

Lastly….

What a beautiful scene from this event place at Avoca Beach N.S.W.

Take time to notice nature is always calming…and for  many of us in uncertain times, this can help.

Go gently and stay well everyone.

Denyse.

Link Up #181.

Life This Week. Link Up #181.

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