Sunday 26th June 2022

Dear 2015 & Beyond D….Love From 2022 Me. 36/2022.

Dear 2015 & beyond D….Love From 2022 Me. 36/2022.

 

Blogging has given me the chance to share some of my life’s story to date in the form of Telling My Story (my memoir, found here) and Head and Neck Cancer ( my story, found here) and as my link up called Life’s Stories draws to a close, I thought I would give myself a timely reminder of

all

that

I

have

learned

since

2015

about

me….

and life!

Dear D,

2015

You did it. You made the physical move from Sydney to the Coast, as planned after selling the Sydney house.

It would feel ok but also very strange at times.

One such time, was on the day of moving when you realised as you crossed the Hawkesbury River, that you were headed NORTH to home, not back home to Sydney in the south.

You made use of the new area for take photos, find beaches and return to Sydney as “grandma” when you were asked for school assemblies, care and on one very special occasion, meet the youngest granddaughter on her birthday.

You were torn inside a lot, in fact it played havoc with your gut so that you had many I.B.S. incidents which did not help your confidence at all. In fact, the stress grew in you so much, you stopped a lot of what you thought you could continue. You let go of any remnants of your last work life. That in itself brought more grief.

You did make one promise to yourself and kept it. You would blog daily no matter what and that continued for the next 2 years or more.

Life was full of very mixed emotions. And sadly, you did not accept them well, because to be honest, it would not be till 2016 that a psychologist would help you understand that feelings take a lot longer to catch up to actions.

Doing my best to ‘look’ OK but feeling anxious

2016

You loved your blog and it did give you a feeling of connectedness when there was no-one you knew in your new area. That was true. The blog got revamped thanks to Tanya & by September you had your link up called Life This Week start every Monday!

Your body was changing. From the very overweight one to a trimming down one but that was coming from the stress and concern about your anxiety AND I.B.S. As someone who FEELS so much, it was also very hard to absorb family issues and many challenges where you could do NOTHING about them.

You didn’t mind that you were no longer so overweight but you also did not feel well and that took any shine off  ‘wanting to look good’.

Despite learning so much through reading, meditating, art, getting into nature, you were still stuck somewhat and unsure of what it was about.

Your mouth’s soreness increased and you would need to find a decent dentist, after the last one in 2015 was like the others, telling you that not cleaning properly was part of the problem. Dear Reader: it WAS NOT. See 2017.

To Terrigal to see A.N.Z.A.C. display

2017.

Again issues within the family that you could do nothing about were very hard on your emotional health. Very.

It was getting worse for you. I know. Nothing seemed to get better, in fact despite all the medical and psychological help, and a kind listener in B, things went downhill stress wise…until

You could stand it no longer, and it was TIME for that mouth and its issues to be examined and in April that year you were so brave, using all your exposure therapy learning. You had the upper teeth and bridge removed. And then waited for healing of the gums that did not come.

And when you got the diagnosis of a cancer in your gums and lip, you were able to deal with SO much….despite the fear…and get on with things!

Family began to reconnect and it was likely that your cancer diagnosis helped with that and slowly, as with your recovery in the rest of 2017, things settled.

Your very much slimmed down body (hello, IBS and then oral cancer) became a great distraction and you re-discovered a love of clothes, colour and having photos of yourself taken that had probably last been seen in your 20s!

The blog continued but you stopped the daily posts as that was no longer practical. However your link up flourished and you found new bloggers and communities there too.

First haircut in 8 weeks and wearing a bright new colour

2018.

Having moved twice in the 3 years, you were very pleased to find a modern house and make that rental place for home…for then and now (2022) as it happens.

Your mouth needed two more surgeries and LOTS of patience (which you found mostly via gratitude) to wait for “teeth” for 14 months.

But your love of a coffee each day and somewhere to go and sit, after a photo of the day helped pass that time. You found solace in art and creativity.

Meanwhile, family life  back in Sydney kept on going of course, but the longer we had been away, we all found it somewhat easier to be feeling settled here.

You got disappointed from time to time that family did not visit but with heavy workloads and other commitments that was hard for them.

So, you accepted much of that, and turned your attention on your Dad, as he aged, visiting him more frequently, AND forming a more relaxed and adult relationship with him.

Your head and neck cancer story was shared with some places on line and you were invited to become an Ambassador for a head and neck charity.

You reached out to friends who might meet you for a coffee and your time on the coast was more relaxed.

Social media was a good friend (still is) as is the blogging community which would sustain you for years to come. And you shared stories on others’ blogs too.

And via a social media conversation, you ended up getting the farewell from NSW Dept of Education you should have had back in 2003.

You and B hosted family Christmas — first time since we lived in Sydney.

21 August: from no smile to smile.

2019.

You dealt with quite a few health challenges in 2019 but not yours. So, you were able to be more helpful and understanding of your dear husband on a couple of occasions.

You became far too concerned about the weight (healthy!) increase…vanity, thy name is Denyse!!

You have, by 2022 improved big time. ‘Nuff said!

We both turned 70.

You wanted, and got a wonderful celebration and are very grateful to have had those memories.

We planned to see our family in Sydney at Christmas but had to go solo as B was not well. Fortunately his health improved.

Late 2019: Ambassador.

2020.

None of us knew, of course what lay ahead in early 2020 when we got news of a ‘China’ virus.

You needed an eye check and had to get it in Sydney, where you saw your family for lunch at the shops you used to frequent when living in Sydney. Weird wasn’t it, to find your way around again!

Needing cataract surgery, that would come in March, over 3 days, just as Covid dramas and restrictions began.

But before that you appeared in a video for head and neck cancer…and you were the guest speaker at a fund raiser.

You would not have guessed about these back in 2015 would you!!

Covid did change so much, and you know that.

You and B got the vaccine. And fingers crossed now, so far have its eluded you.

You did need more surgery, one you had put off for ages but once it was done…and it worked, YOU were pleased, right?

Yes.

The rules and routines around covid were OK (ish) and you and B were your sensible selves.

Blogging was changing but you continued and did your best to showcase the various series including Women of Courage.

You decided if you couldn’t see the grandkids, you could send them little boxes of fun and treats.

Christmas? Just us, at home, after Sydney had quite a large covid outbreak.

Beach walks sustain me

2021.

More of what was almost familiar happened. But in-person anything was missed by you if it involved family.

You were OK about Covid but sometimes the social media about was very vocal and you needed to come away from it for a while.

You blogged. But your enthusiasm was waning but you did not want to stop either.

Your blogging communities were changing for sure. But you were (and are) a loyal blogger and supported others’ link ups too when you could.

In between Covid restrictions, you drove to the beach (to see the sea) and did not miss the city at all but you missed family.

You shared special birthdays via Zoom, sadly not a great compensation at all.

You cooked and sent treats to your 50 year old daughter. They were MUCH appreciated. She was teaching remotely, overseeing a grade and helping her youngest through on-line teaching.

You slowed down. You might not have realised you needed to but by the end of the year, your I.B.S. (or something like it) returned and it appeared, Dear D, that you were OVER doing things.

So, you slowed right down and took the change into early 2022 to review how you wanted your 72 year old life to be like in retirement.

My word for 2021….

2022.

You had a quiet January and reflected on a LOT.

You actually enjoyed the slower pace and your physical health improved too.

You learned to please yourself before anyone else.

Who knew?

You listened to your heart more than your head.

In fact, a ‘gut feeling’ really is true, you found!

Blogging lost some of its appeal for you. You felt like you had written and shared all you wanted to…but yet,

You would eventually close down the link up that lasted almost 6 years but you are keeping the blog open for reasons like NOW…when YOU have something to share!!

(NB: 2nd last link up Mon 6 June, and last one, 20 June. See you there?)

And on June 2022 you went to your fave place to give thanks for all your life’s changes that have helped heal you.

It was cold but hey, smile was there, as you were wrapped up in your new warm jacket.

So, continue to go well…

Lots of love,

Me.

P.S. Have you ever written a letter to yourself?

 

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

Thank you Natalie.

https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

 

 

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The Month That Was : March 2022. #LifesStories #LinkUp. 21/2022.

And look what’s back! A Link Up HERE.

New(ish) Name: Life’s Stories.

Publishing Every Second Monday, from today with Link Up.

 

The Month That Was : March 2022. 21/2022.

As I am now doing an end of month catch up for my word of the year, posts for end of month will focus on  images and some experiences that have been part of this month.

 

Let’s go: March 2022.

Early March is the anniversary of Mum’s death. I paid tribute here to her life, fifteen years since her passing. Gosh.

Mum would have loved this camellia. Grown by dear B. Autumn time is ace.

You started out with a lot of rain and that was NOT fun in many, many places. Severe flooding and more. It did not directly affect us. We also stayed off the roads around here which can be severely affected by water and run off from paddocks and streets. Yes we still have paddocks!

I managed to visit places to check the Wyong River and it was both amazing and terrifying. When I saw its speed and force coming down from the hills, to the lake and then eventually into the ocean, I saw its power. No-one could survive in that water…and I saw debris and even a whole tree!

I went back to Soldiers Beach where I always find some grounding and this was no exception. Whilst it is a shame to see the beach erosion and rocks exposed, it “is” what nature does over time. And an east coast low is one that caused much havoc and heartache further north and west of us and I cannot fathom the awfulness of having the levels of water which inundated homes, schools, public buildings, churches and shops. And it is still threatening more. AND people are no longer in their homes…it’s tragic.

My Dad went to hospital after a cut on his leg turned nasty and an infection developed. At 98 he DID not find hospital comfortable event though his treatment was excellent and he was home after 2 days. I visited him 10 days later and whilst he was recovered from the infection, the experience left him shaken. He shared lots with me. And I did not take any photos.

Dad has decided against that, and he hates seeing himself (limited anyway these days with macular degeneration) as he looks so old. He does. It was too dangerous on the roads for me to come immediately he was home. My ‘pit’ stop here at St. Ives.

I also had another trip back down home town Manly memory lane, enjoying some beach shots after the awful rains and heavy seas. I ventured to North Head for a scenic lookout but it was closed! I managed a couple of shots from the side of the road. I slowly wended my way back down steep hills where I did my driver’s licence test in 1967, to land at Little Manly Cove. A lovely spot that is still special and in my memory from the 1960s.

 

Schools are doing it tough with Covid being the main reason.

In our family, adults and kids have been affected with doses of Covid (despite being fully vaccinated) and the virus has affected all in different ways. The places for gathering of crowds are doing a “great job” of spreading covid it seems, and the public officials and governments are doing little in year 3 to care or cater for changes. 

Yes there is a Federal election coming and we shall see ‘the promises’ of the parties unfurled. In N.S.W. we have another year to wait thanks to fixed terms.

Meanwhile, we as over 65s will be getting a 4th vaccine, along with our flu immunisations. Neither of us want/needs to be sick as we have underlying health conditions. Fingers crossed we stay OK.

This shot, from harmony day at school, delighted Grandma to see her 2nd youngest & youngest granddaughters.

Our youngest granddaughter celebrates her 7th birthday and I think with great fondness and excitement of the pre-dawn drive from the Central Coast to her parents’ then home, where her siblings awaited with their Aunt, on the homecoming of their father to catch us all up.

A very early morning…driving back to be Grandma on a baby’s BIRTH day

And I have had some health procedures…as they say, not related to my head and neck cancer, but to parts of me where there is skin…I cannot say anymore. However, what I did find out OUCHIE is how much local anaesthetics hurt. I thought the one in my cheek was awful but that paled into comparison by the one(s) in a place I cannot say. And the gynaecologist told me “I have never had to put so much local in….” sorry, I didn’t say because “OUCHIE x 10”. Biopsies for face/arm seem OK as have no news (as in the good news part). Second procedure I will hear more about soon to confirm what I have. I may decide to share privately because I had never known of it. Sigh. Being a woman..of older year, not fun…NO photos!

And we had a bit of a cull of books, texts and more. Some people are coming to pick up quite a few and it is pleasing to share these as we no longer work nor volunteer in the places.

 

Some fun with messages to and from my fave Aussie author: Trent Dalton. I bought my tickets to the Newcastle Writers Festival on line and had to share the news with him. We met there 3 years ago after Boy Swallows Universe’s publication. This time, he is there to talk about Love Stories (which I AM trying to finish by next Saturday) and in the book he mentions the Dalai Lama…hence our chat!

 

I have spent some time reflecting as March ends and I am reminded of what I like to do most:

  • stay connected with others, including via social media and blogging
  • have a cup of coffee somewhere most days
  • chat with my husband, especially at our night time catch up around 9 p.m.
  • enjoy being in nature which is pretty easy to do where we live right now
  • make something art/design wise that is just for me and the process
  • reduce my attention (hyper vigilance) on health matters…a tough assignment but I know I need to do this, as my G.P. and I talked about it recently.

And during the weekend before this post goes live, we attended a one year old’s birthday morning tea. His family lives next door and it was cool to catch up with them. During the one year of his life, as the family was in lockdown as we were, this family got some of the packs of little cakes that our grandkids couldn’t enjoy. It was special to be able to connect and share the joy of a little’s one birthday!

And some more from nature. Love the chance to get out into nature that is relatively close by…and before it rained some more!

The two of us never have a reason to dress up much at all these days in retirement with a social and work-type life non-existent (it’s fine!) so we did for the birthday party and I just had to capture these…

And even thought it is not quite over, March, you can march on.

Bring on April where I will be sharing more about my goal to be more self compassionate.

So pleased to have found “the middle ground” for my link up and hosting.

Yay for changes of mind, kind blogging friends and a patient Tanya who helps make my blog images. Thank you!

Denyse.

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.

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Denyse Whelan.

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Self Compassion: My Healthy Life Challenge: April 2022. 19/2022.

We Missed Mondays…..

I had some nostalgia last Monday, wondering “what do I do on Monday mornings now?”

I thought I was caring for my health by stopping the weekly link up at 280 for Life This Week, and that stands….

But for me, and it seems a few/most of my blogging friends, the ‘once a month’ thing wasn’t feeling all that friendly. So, as I said, we I can change my mind…and with that…Mondays, every 2nd week, will be blog link up time again. A slight name change so it’s a bit different. Life’s Stories and the link up will be open this Monday at 5.00 a.m AEDST. Denyse.

 

Self Compassion: My Healthy Life Challenge: April 2022. 19/2022.

In my post for Word of The Year March 2022 I will be writing more about how hard it has been in some ways to:

BE   ME

This got me looking back to my Self Compassion course done via an app in January 2022 (see this post for more) and continuing my progress to become more self compassionate.

I have had some emotional and mental turmoil take over parts of my being and I need(ed) to challenge and ask what was going on.

More about that in the post that is coming.

For now, and into the 30 days of April, I offer to others a  Healthy Life Challenge about being:

Self Compassionate.

An example from recent weeks and my self compassion (inner talk, self kindness, care, criticism and so on):

Left: been to skin doctor & had biopsies taken. I felt somewhat sorry for myself…..and took myself out for a coffee and consider how that had unnerved me a bit.

Right: an ordinary every day selfie. Pointing to where the skin was biopsied. What IS it about me and selfies, my husband recently asked…I said

“I have never felt confident at all about my appearance, especially my face, until post-head and neck cancer surgeries, and I like to get reminders, in the selfies that my outside is looking good, even if, at times, my inside tells me different stories”

Having completed the January 2022 course, I was pleased with my growth in self compassion, but it takes so much reminding and practice to learn!

Link to course is here.

Some words from within the course.

“our human compassion binds us to one another – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future” Nelson Madala.

What IS Compassion?

  1. We have a brain and body that has been built FOR is, not by us – our brain and body evolved with emotions (such as fear and anger) and behaviours (such as fighting, avoiding and running away) to help us survice. But these can cause us a lot of pain.
  2. We grow older and eventually our lives come to an end – not writing this to make us sad, just that this is a reality of life. But for many of us, knowing this will happen can cause a lot of distress.
  3. We’re shaped by life experiences, which are not always in our control – those experienced shape the minds we have, and the people we become. For example, if you were raised by your next door neighbours rather than your family, it’s likely you’d be quite a different person, with different interests, lifestyle and even political and religious beliefs.

 

 

Over the years, via this link to Kristen Neff’s Self Compassion quiz, I KNOW I am doing well.

Yet, because of the habits of life till recent times, I have forgotten or remembered too late about

Self Compassion

So, as I make big shifts in my life, changing from doing (less)  me to being  (more) me

I made a challenge:

(and I always seem to like one of those!)

Changing from less doing to more being.

  • 30 Days
  • Instagram (@denyse.whelan -ask for follow)
  • Facebook (@denysewhelanblogs)
  • and Twitter (@denysewhelan1)
  • What does my self compassion look like, feel like today
  • Share with an image or representation of self compassion done your way
  • Share a quote or image that sums up how you are helping yourself be more self compassionate

Do you know that we are far more likely to be self compassionate to friends and family than to ourselves?

I would highly recommend some books that you can read, borrow or listen to, that have helped me in many ways:

I’ll use these hashtags

#selfcompassion

#selfcare

#timeforme

#takingcare

#healthinageing

#lifetransitions

The RULES….for this challenge…there are no rules.….

other than to learn to be more self compassionate, and to forgive yourself on each occasion you forget.

and, 30 days is arbitrary.

Posting is as well.

Make this something that works for you, with self compassion at its core.

I will be continuing to review my days via the app, using gratitude as the base and to write to help me heal and grow. All within the app, and private for me. It’s a discipline to remember as I have another diary app but I am enjoying the value of both, along with the writing reflections I do after each Calm meditation.

How about it?

Are you thinking you could be helping yourself with some self compassion?

Let me know your thoughts,

with love, AND compassion,

Denyse.

Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share today

Thank you Natalie.

https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

 

 

 

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