Tuesday 28th June 2022

Confidence & Why I Need It. 29/2022.

Confidence & Why I Need It. 29/2022.

Quite some time ago, in late 2017 and into 2018,  I was recovering from a very invasive and nasty cancer which resulted in all of my upper mouth being removed (to make sure the cancer in both the jaw, gums and under top lip was gone…and it is!) and I needed to make myself a routine of sorts once I was back into more independent living.

From May 2017 until around late October that year I was fully present …in learning how to eat, drink and speak following my oral cancer diagnosis and treatments of surgeries, AND to be able to ensure I was OK to be well and truly independent outside the house.

I was so ready for this but in October, after seeing some posts relating to Outfit of the Day and Dressing With Purpose, I decided to adopt those plans and incorporate them into my day:

  • Get Up, Make Bed & Have Breakfast
  • Take some time to enjoy social media and blog and chat with my husband
  • Plan to go out somewhere for a coffee each day
  • Use this to Dress With Purpose
  • And show my self to the world via Instagram…..

I admit, it was so helpful for my mental health, and as the skinniest* I had been since early 20s, I did enjoy finally being confident enough to buy good fitting underwear and clothes for this new-to-me body.

The very first outfit shot. Off to hairdresser’s.

I use this term* with slight reluctance as I hate being defined by weight..life history is part of this. My need to show my body to the world had two motivations back then…1. I was going OK and 2. I could dress with some confidence again and took pride to be able to do so.

Now, as I write in May 2022, I see I looked ok but also getting well was a hard lot of work that I needed to let my body do.

What Happened Next.

Into 2019 I decided to stop the regular posts.

I think it was about not flooding the instagram account with same old same old…but now I think about it, I also was having some negative thoughts coming back into my inner life. 

Ones like:

  • Oh you can tell you have put on some weight
  • Are you sure you look OK…
  • I wouldn’t be sharing these as much as you will be noticed for negative reasons….

The Why and The What of 2020 into 2021.

Covid happened.

I got to have some surgeries…not cancer related and they had some challenges for me personally as recovery from the major abdominal one was complicated. I had some negative feelings about my appearance. That I was getting too fat and I became hooked on this negative thought.

Sigh.

I found my view was skewed. I had certainly added kilograms to my face and frame from those very early post cancer surgery days. Not eating much because you can’t will do that…. But I also knew that with some covid times, I ate more for comfort.

What did I do? I actually cut back some of the amounts of food without sacrificing nutrition or treats because I do not do deprivation! And over a few months a few extra covid kilos were shed and I was back to my days of 2018-19 weight wise. So, go me. And I am not scale dependent any more on how I feel about myself.

It was hard though to have reasons to dress with purpose during lockdown and then afterwards but just recently, with more confidence mustered I wrote this on facebook and instagram and received kind and positive responses.

My Facebook & Instagram Post. 1 May 2022.

Amazing what some confidence returning will do for a person.

I’ve been less than confident about my ‘appearance’ most of my life. But when my oral cancer diagnosis happened, and then surgeries x 4, I made myself #dresswithpurpose #takedailyphoto and get out into the ‘world’ for a walk, a catch up, a coffee and it didn’t matter that I had no upper teeth till August 2018.

I lost some confidence to continue this practice consistently thinking it had served its purpose for me: – letting people know I was doing OK – getting out and about – enjoying wearing ‘new for me’ clothes and styles.

Then came 2020 and into 2021 and now, we are one third of way into 2022. I needed to remember how confident it helped me feel in my “less than wonderful” days following surgeries and treatments, to dress well…and have a photo and go out.

Now, I have re-started it. Coming up to 5 years since my diagnosis on 17 May 2022 and I am using this month to celebrate my life, my changes and my health.

I am very grateful. Always.

Now I am putting me, the 72 year old version, out there again. And quite enjoying it. Even for a morning doing mundane things, it helps for me anyway, to look OK. Thanks for your support too friends and family. Always appreciated. The photographer is B who is not on FB. When I smile, it’s at him! That is LOVE!!

Why I Need Confidence Now.

I won’t be believing those intrusive and untrue thoughts any more

As an older woman I will continue to champion myself as I age.

I will, from time to time, add posts of my daily outfits on social media.

My budget may be tiny but I have a sense of colour and style so I will do well at making some good combinations.

I will remember this time in my life and appreciate that I can make changes for good.

Now, do you have confidence about your appearance?

Do you like to dress with purpose?

I am very interested in your comments!

Denyse.

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

Thank you Natalie.

https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

 

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What Is Your Legacy? 25/2022.

What Is Your Legacy? 25/2022.

 

This post contains some thoughts of mine about old age, dying, regret, love & old familial relationships. I know some people may be affected by reading my thoughts. They are just my thoughts. I tell my story with my truth and honesty. Always. However, to protect certain people there are no names or situations/settings mentioned. Denyse.

 

 

 

I really never gave this question, ‘what is your legacy?’  much thought until I watched Hamilton and then knew the lyrics so well I was stopped in my tracks when I heard Alexander Hamilton speak (Lin Manuel Miranda credit) these lines almost at the end:

Wow.

Had I ever thought of what my legacy might be? No.

Had I ever considered that I might share with someone what HIS/HER legacy for me has been?

Well, yes, I can.

What happened next?

After seeing visions like these

 

and remembering Lin’s amazing words…..

Masked Up for Hamilton in Sydney May 2021.

I decided to share with my 98 year old Dad, what his legacy was for me.

But wait.

It is about the richness of the individual’s life, including what that person accomplished and the impact he or she had on people and places. Ultimately, the story of a person’s life reflects the individual’s legacy. Wikipedia.

Now, read on!

I have been at odds with my father over the years. But always knew he loved/s me and cares for and about me.

I have also known how much he welcomed me into his life when he and Mum had me in 1949. Not a familiar pose for us, but here we are on my wedding day 1971.

 

A memory of Dad, Mum and my brother for his special zero birthday in 2002.

Mum died in 2007 and Dad has spent the past 15 years alone. He moved from the family home in 2011 to an independent living unit where he remains. Mum’s dying words, were, to an extent “look after your father”….and of course, whilst he IS independent I have tried to do this.

 

But for his 9oth Birthday above, he actually had to pass on much of the planning and organisation (to me, my brother & sil, and his grandkids too) for this event to be as special as it was. He STILL refers to the emotional reaction it caused 8 years later.

Dad did have a lot happen in his life, not least, when his Dad died in 1935 leaving him, his older sister and younger siblings with no father. This part of Telling My Story tells more.

Personality types that are similar will often clash. Yes, that is us. Both Type A and want to be in control and in charge. 

Has it helped my relationship with my dad that I continued to hold old memories of being judged?

No not really. Nor has it helped my conflict within me.

 

Easy to read…and to say…harder to do but OH so worth it!

Lessing judging, and comparing and BEing…where you are

 

What did it take for things to thaw and to change?

I can truthfully say that I needed to accept my responsibility for my behaviour, thinking and feeling. 

This is not an easy thing to do BUT it requires:

  • acceptance
  • self compassion
  • kindness
  • examination of any evidence
  • and love….

Most of my thinking was concerned with perceptions of what “he” thought about me and I acknowledge that I “believed” this too. I cannot really rehash those details because they no longer serve me. I had some parts of  rubbish thinking  to question (is it true? how do you know?) and to examine and then let them go.

It has taken me the past five years to do this. And, the most recent 6 or so months for it all to come together in my mind.

Naturally my practice of meditation each day and night has helped change my thoughts and beliefs, as has some of the reading and learning from many sources.

Having a serious illness called cancer diagnosed for me in May 2017 was a game-changer of sorts because I had much to do to get myself well, and Dad would let me know how much he considered me both brave and strong.

In fact, even lately he has told me: I don’t think I could have ever done what you did. And he also told me that about taking on the principal role as he said I was offered a CEO role, and knocked it back. I didn’t want to be away from home.

What Did I Share With Dad? 

Dad, you’ve left me a legacy of:

Music and singing along with it….we know how much you enjoyed music in your life, as Gran played piano and taught it too. And yes, dear readers, I am a music lover from the war years, sentimental tunes and songs from musicals. Dad was the person who organised for me & bro to see the Beatles.

Enjoying socialising and the company of others for a meal, coffee and catch up.

Education Oh how much I am glad of this life long love of it that I have been so fortunate, Dad, that you encouraged and insisted on getting tertiary qualifications and we all know how that went. Very well indeed. Dad actually has what he refers to as history lessons each week with friends where he lives. He loves keeping his mind active

Love & care for family. At times it may not have been done subtly and at times I may not be as patient as I could be either Dad, but we know how much we love and care for our family…and in their ways they love us.

Interacting .…reading,  news watching, listening  and engaging with some topics. I also cannot engage with dad on some, so we leave that!!

Organisation and planning. Yes, thanks Dad.

With My Dad, His Mother (Gran, left) and her Mother, Nana (r)

And it’s not what WE think may be our legacy that matters, it’s what others consider to be the legacy.

I know Dad was quite chuffed and taken aback when I shared this with him recently.

Have you got someone in your life that you’d feel sharing the legacy they have left for you is important to share? As Mum used to say “tell people what their lives have meant to you BEFORE their funerals!” Good one, Mum. And yes, we did for you!

Denyse.

Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share today

Thank you Natalie.

https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

 

 

 

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Remembering & Moving On With Gratitude. 23/2022.

Remembering & Moving On With Gratitude. 23/2022.

It’s April 2022 and I am remembering, with some vivid emotions, how I was feeling in April 2017.

Back then, I had just had my upper bridge and teeth removed….and although neither my dentist nor I admitted it out loud, we both suspected I had cancer. Yes, this was found.

Image from late March 2017 into April:

However, to get to April 2017 I had been through a LOT of emotional stressors….

and pain.

For a feeling person like me, I am prone to re-living emotions that are negative. Sigh. Humans are like this.

And because a CANCER was growing in my mouth, and I had been through ENORMOUS life transitions it was:

S T R E S S F U L.

Yet, despite that I know I tried my best to continue my daily life, managed via a background internal noise…you have cancer, I.B.S. is awful, my family is away from us and I miss them, my husband is busy learning and helping others….and I am WORRIED.

Why Write This Post?

I had some stressors re-emerge this week.

Health related ones. By the way, I am OK….but still hard going for more tests/biopsies, follow ups….

I asked myself “what is going on?”  and then I realised:

A LOT has happened to me in the past 5 years…and it kind felt like a burned out system I was operating.

I asked myself a few questions, as I am always looking for a solution and here’s what I found:

  • Yes, on top of Cancer in 2017 and 4 surgeries…
  • Two major abdominal surgeries in 2020
  • Cataract surgeries too
  • Oh, and a colonoscopy and endoscopy (both OK)
  • and a MILLION (ok about 45) drives back and forth to Westmead for checks of my upper prosthesis
  • I am tired…and yet more health suff comes up, and I get weary and wary until….
  • I remember GRATITUDE & I:

OFFER myself kindness and self-compassion

ALLOW a few tears to fall

CHAT with my dear husband

CONTINUE my daily & nightly meditation practices

ENJOY a coffee & treat by myself

FIND some ART to do

ENJOY nature each time I can

AND allow time to pass.

Nature reminds us of this EVERY day & night

And I said this to myself:

“I am no longer 5 years ago Denyse. I have made so much progress in my emotional strength building and resilience from 2017, and even though I have small concerns and worries, I CAN manage these by acknowledging them…and using some of my skills from the “Denyse Emotional Health  Toolkit” *

Re-reading a post from Telling My Story, I found this. Always good to have a reminder.

This List Was Something I Kept for Me in 2016.

Here are 20 things you can control:

1. Talking to yourself positively

2. The way you talk to those around you

3. The amount of physical exercise you give your body

4. The food you nourish your body with

5. Your level of honesty

6. Whether you are a listener or a talker

7. How often you smile every day

8. The time you spend worrying about irrelevant things

9. The amount of love you give your children

10. Whether you see the glass half empty or half full

11. How mindful you want to be

12. How you make other people feel about themselves

13. Having a generous heart

14. Allowing yourself to ask for help

15. Offering help in return

16. Whether you judge people or accept people

17. Having an open heart to receive true love

18. Whether you believe in yourself

19. Your words

20. Your thoughts

 

And in the months ahead I am seeing my psychologist again for a chat about this and how, even though we think we are getting through a major life event, it is still, in its way unique to us: a trauma.

  • No such toolkit exists in reality but it sure helps me to know and recall the skills I have within my experience. 

I use an image to remind me of the confidence I have and can find when I may forget! This image is from last week’s visit to Newcastle.

Just after this post was published a favourite doctor and author of mine Dr Kathryn Mannix, (link to her facebook page is here  )wrote a post and it resonated with this that I have been outlining so much I commented.

Oh Kathryn…how do you “know” that this is exactly what I needed to read today. It’s occurred to me that having successfully come through from a nasty rare oral cancer dx in 2017 I have been, in many ways, traumatised by it, and that unless I “own” up to the feelings that were/are scary and continue to post “just the smiles” and good news, I am doing myself a disservice by not acknowledging its impact. I wrote a post on my blog just tonight about it. Your words, as always, resonate! Thank you.

Denyse that must have been such a tough ordeal, and a life- changing experience. It has shown you how fragile we are, yet it’s also shown you how resilient you are. Life afterwards is different: that ‘both-and’ thing of having been afraid, distressed and uncomfortable shows us so much about ourselves, both fragile and strong, both afraid and committed to persevering, both relieved and anxious about the future when treatment is over. Let’s be our whole selves. Because we’re pretty amazing, troubles and all!

Kathryn’s two books. I also listen to her books via Audible:

 

How is your resilience and courage?

Do you too practise gratitude regularly?

Denyse.

Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share today

Thank you Natalie.

https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

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NEWS! #LifeThisWeek: Becomes #LifeThisMonth. #LinkUp. 12/2022.

NEWS! #LifeThisWeek: Becomes #LifeThisMonth. #LinkUp. 12/2022.

News from Denyse at Denyse Whelan Blogs.

Since September 2016, I have been hosting a link up each Monday of the year, except the last week of any year, called:

Life This Week.

It became a part of MY life as a blogger for sure as I had no idea that within 8 months of this event, I would be diagnosed with head and neck cancer in May 2017.

My blog, my link up and the community that is OUR community here at Life This Week has meant the world to me…..and then

in

2022

I began

to feel the effects of

doing so much.

Even though I had chosen to reduce my blog output to once a week, I started to feel tired and that I had literally run out of stories but it was more than that, my energy to keep the link up in the way I always intended was waning.

What to do?

I considered a few options.

I even started trimming my blog’s posts so that I could see the end of an era in sight as I have been blogging since 2010 and then I stopped.

I was caught up in a mood from my revelation last week about grief. The post is here.

I was also physically and emotionally still in recovery from doing so much towards the end of the year so I….

  • Gave serious thought to closing the blog.
  • Giving away the link up.
  • STOPPING what had become a regular and valuable routine in my life.

But now I know that the thinking and planning was all for a good reason, because there would be a way of working things out, and with some advice and support from blogging friends

and my husband ( I think he was wondering, what the heck will D do if she doesn’t have blogging….) I let time pass (my great strategy) and decided that:

YES. I did want to continue to blog.

YES. I did want to host a link up.

YES. I did want to self-care too.

YES. A new link up ONCE a month was just right!

Now it’s the FINAL #lifethisweek link up on 28th February 2022….

 

And it’s welcome to Life This Month, where the first post will be on the second Monday (of each month):

14th March.

There will be the same ways to add your post, via my link up.

I will be commenting back at your blog later in the week.

The ‘rules’ for the link up is for you to comment on my post that month, and so on.

The dates for the rest of the year are here:

Life This Week: Becomes Life This Month.

Second Mondays each month.

10 Link Ups for 2022.

14 March 1/10

11 April 2/10

9 May 3/10

13 June 4/10

11 July 5/10

8 August 6/10

12 September 7/10

10 October 8/10

14 November 9/10

12 December 10/10

For your information for the first Monday’s link up and those each month afterwards) this is part of the link up from 14 March.

Welcome to Life This Month.

Denyse Whelan Blogs Is a Community

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

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

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

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

*You are welcome to add my link up’s image to your sidebar or let others know somewhere you are linking up to this blog’s Life This Month

*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.

*This link up opens at 5.00 a.m Australian eastern time on the second Monday of the month, and closes at 5.00 p.m. on the Wednesday of that week.

*I commit to visiting your blog and to  comment on your post.

Denyse Whelan.

 

Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share to share my news. Thank you Natalie.

https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

Denyse.

 

 

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