Tuesday 24th November 2020

Taking Stock. #5. 47/51. #LifeThisWeek. 94/2020.

Taking Stock. #5. 47/51. #LifeThisWeek. 94/2020.

Introducing my new collage for Taking Stock. Nothing like a small change to brighten things up!

I admit, that because of the 1000s of images I have in my photos and significant numbers in the media section of the blog itself, I spend far too much time trying to find the images, so made new ones! Hope you like it.

Remember, prompts here for #lifethisweek are ALWAYS optional. For me, and some, they are a good way to start a thread for a post.

A reminder that here’s how things work with the regular optional prompts:

Every 5th Week: Share Your Snaps:

Every 7th Week: Self Care Stories: 

Every 9th Week: Taking Stock:

And, before the end of the year I will have the first 9 weeks of optional prompts for 2021 on the home page AND mentioning them in a blog post. Let me tell you, I am feeling pretty clever finishing all 51!!

Back to Taking Stock.

Making: plans, so many plans and loving it too.

Cooking: some meals for us, Dad and the freezer.

Drinking: coffee, tea, water and prune juice with fruit drink.

Reading: Rick Morton’s Book On Money. Highly recommend it.

Wanting: a Certain Ex-President to wave (ok, don’t wave) BYE-BYE. Now. Thanks.

Looking: at so many ideas for celebrating 50 years of marriage. 

Playing: Hamilton sound track more often than any music. Have not even STARTED on Christmas tunes yet.

Wasting: more money than I should have purchasing a crappy Ipad cover with blue tooth keyboard. Got some of my money back & told keep the product. 

Wishing: I had taken more time over above purchase. Now using an old case.

Enjoying: Schitts Creek. I loved it so much once I survived Ep 1 of Season One. Now it’s about to join Downton Abbey in my ‘comfort-go to’ watching.

Waiting: for ….not much at all really.

Liking: that the community is still making an effort where possible to be socially distant in this COVID year.

Wondering: if it’s possible for Australia’s Prime Minister to actually DO something to HELP people who NEED it most. OK, yes, I am shouting a bit. Sorry.

Loving: the images out of Melbourne in particular where people who did it so very very tough in lockdown for COVID are getting out and about. Safely.

Hoping: that Australia and its near neighbours (and actually our states too) can open their borders safely.

Marvelling: at the incredible fortitude of many people who are in the hands-on caring profession. I am sorry many have become ill themselves.

Needing: very little at all. 

Smelling: the ocean when I get out of the car to view it.

Wearing: shorts and sleeveless tops more these days. Suddenly (almost) Summer is here.

Following: the state of American politics with much shaking of my head. 

Noticing: when some people I know in my social media feed  are not there.

Knowing: those people are likely to have a personal or private reason to be so, but a kind check in does not hurt.

Thinking: how much we need to stay connected even if it’s not in person.

Feeling: that generally I am pretty careful not to exceed friendship bounds but also that I can care at a distance.

Bookmarking: I literally am these days! Reading a couple of chapters each night of Grown Ups by Marian Keyes, and 

Opening: the app for Audible to listen to her narrate her story.

Smiling: at myself because I am currently listening to two Irish accented people (Graham Norton and Marian Keys) on audible and my inner thoughts are with an Irish accent! 

 

So, I went with a traditional post today for Taking Stock. But I did find some photos from recent weeks. They are not matching the prompts but here goes:

I admit, I am finding the writing and posting in these last weeks of 2020 tiring. I think it’s because of the topics!! I know, who set them? No actually it’s the Telling My Story Posts. I wanted to get more out in 2020, and the final one for this year will be week after next. It’s a bit of a challenge to write them to ensure I am telling the story with some accuracy that will not offend people. So far, so good.

Denyse.

Link Up 216

Life This Week. Link Up #216

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!

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* THANK you for linking up today! Next week’s optional prompt: 48/51 Self-Care Stories #7 30.11.2020 And it’s my birthday! 71 next Monday. 

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Exams. 46/51. #LifeThisWeek. 92/2020.

Exams. 46/51. #LifeThisWeek. 92/2020.

Exams!

Exams, examinations, tests, testing, assessments, checking, observing …..all are seemingly similar in purpose:

to assess a student’s learning. 

But are they? And do they?

This post is actually not about that…because:

  1. I have no time for the pages of writing I might need to do
  2. I have been part of an education setting for over 65 years: student, teacher, assessor and I am done!

Memories of Exams.

Let me count the memories as a student of high school and tertiary years!

Before:

  1. A fluttery tummy at the prospect
  2. Sleeplessness the night before
  3. Concerned I have not read  nor studied enough
  4. Getting to the venue safely and surely
  5. Trying NOT to engage in conversations with others also waiting to get into the venue for the exam
  6. Making sure I had the requisite pens, pencils, eraser, water bottle (unsure if we could take this in, but I know I would have had one)
  7. Actually making sure I WAS at the right rooms, buildings
  8. Looking around the room, convinced everyone there looked much better prepared than I was
  9. Watching the supervisor/invigelator (weird word) as they set out the rules for the session and noting the clock.
  10. Seeing the papers handed out, and one landing in front of me.

During:

  1. Reading the paper as best I could and ensuring I could do at least one of the questions
  2. Taking my time to consider this without losing time
  3. Hating the multiple choices because TWO always seem right
  4. Preferring an essay style
  5. Keeping an eye on the clock
  6. Nervous glancing right and left at fellow examinees
  7. Hand hurting from writing so give it a stretch
  8. Encouraging myself to keep on going and F I N I S H
  9. Listening to time left warning
  10. Head down again and…..”Pens down”. Breathe again.

After:

  1. Out into the warmth of the November day
  2. Checking with others, if I know anyone there, about how they thought it was
  3. Not engaging in any post-mortems for long
  4. Home but first lunch or a snack
  5. Approach my desk and move the papers relating to today’s exams away
  6. Getting out the next exam’s papers and notes
  7. But first….a chat with a friend, a drive to see someone
  8. Go to the beach to relax – it IS almost Summer
  9. Count the ways in which I will spend my days once the exams are over
  10. Return to the study area and ready to repeat processes again!

 

But what did I do as exams?

As told here in Telling My Story Chapter I was in the first cohort in New South Wales to be part of the Wyndham Scheme (6 years of high school replacing the 5 years) where the previous high school years of attendance were 3 and 5.

After Third Year (Year 9 now)  was the Intermediate Certificate and most students left then to pursue trade and other training type careers. Only those, including teachers-to-be, went on to Fifth Year ( Years 10 and 11 now). My husband was one of those.

My high school education started in 1962 and in 1965 I did the first School Certificate at the end of Year 10. It was formal, gruelling and quite stressful.

I then did the Higher School Certificate in 1967. Being guinea pigs was not all fun and we were put through some very heavy testing/examination times.

At Teacher’s College we did all the subjects we would need to teach in Primary Schools and I recall with great stress, the onerous task of 18 examinations to graduate as a qualified teacher. I actually failed Science but was allowed to graduate and re-sit the examination in my 3rd year. I still hated it but scraped through.

I was exam-free until I was encouraged to do my Bachelor of Education, and then after that my Master of Education. There were many assignments but only a few in-examination room exams as I was doing my degrees as a distance education student and I could sit an examination at a church hall in Parramatta.

I did a TAFE course in sign making and ticket writing back in the early 1970s and did an at-home test which I think my husband supervised as he was a teacher.

Then there is this sign…about exams in Australia.

It is said, that by the time you see the jacaranda trees bloom, if you have not started your study, it’s too late. Examinations are ON..now!

 

Let me add, as a teacher, mum and grandmother, it’s hard to do exams for many.

In fact there can be so many reasons why an external examination  is not helpful for many students who may have a number of factors affecting learning. That said, so far, not much has been touted as fully replacing them. It seems, even at the highest level of tertiary study and beyond for specialist doctors there are huge pressures around both oral and written examinations.

I am also aware there are many practical examinations too. For example, music, drama and dance.

So, how do you remember exams?

Denyse.

Link Up 215

Life This Week. Link Up #215

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Share Your Snaps #9. 45/51. #LifeThisWeek. 90/2020.

Share Your Snaps #9. 45/51. #LifeThisWeek. 90/2020.

Every five weeks, it’s time here for me and others who join in to “share our snaps”. It may be the in thing to be wordless using photos but as a talker, I tend to always add something to my images! What about you?

BUT, before we get going. I might not want this blog to be political that is true but I, like many friends here in Australia and around the world, breathed a little easier on Sunday (our time) when we heard or read that a certain incumbent President of the USA was on his way out thanks to the winning number of the Biden/Harris combination. My little collage from Sunday’s instagram and twitter:

 

Let’s go on a tour with Denyse. Some of the Central Coast N.S.W.

Those who live in New South Wales or Sydney may know this area from living here, coming for a day trip or as we did back when our grown kids were teens, coming here for a holiday in January school holidays.

We sold our house and moved to the Central Coast back in early 2015. Then we moved to a “not so suitable for us” large 2 storey place on the water at Empire Bay – the southern end of the coast. Within that year, we moved to the northern – and not so expensive- end of the coast to rent firstly at Gorokan and now at Hamlyn Terrace.

To perhaps make greater sense of where my images have been take for this post, I have added this map! It’s of the Central Coast from parts of the south to the north.

Terrigal and Terrigal Haven.

The parking in Terrigal is shocking…well, I say so. Whenever I go there to view the water, I drive around to Terrigal Haven, seen here, which is picturesque and just nearby on the way to the view I took of Avoca and beyond, is the Terrigal Skillion. Many have climbed it, including me, and it’s a bit easier thanks to the stairs. The views are worth it.

Terrigal Haven looking back to Terrigal Beach. Structure is a new ‘boardwalk’.

The Skillion: to the right.

 

Toukley and Gorokan Area. 

This is more our local now and whilst the lake can be smelly, it is always interesting. Something I did not know is that it is relatively shallow. Boats can be used as can kayaks and there is usually someone fishing near the bridge too.

On the southern side of Toukley Bridge. The Entrance in distance.

 

Soldiers Beach and Norah Head.

Over the years on this blog I have posted many photos from here as it is a place I find comfort and joy in no matter what the conditions!

 

 

Then there is my part of the Wyong River.

Every Sunday, for the past 3+years I have driven into Wyong to have a coffee at my favourite place made by the kindest lady and then after a bit of grocery shopping, I will meander along Alison Road to this part of the Wyong River at Porters Creek Bridge. I now regard it as a spiritual spot or my ‘church’ to engage with my senses and to send silent messages of love and care to others.

Love the curve

 

 

Now, to The Entrance.

This was a holiday spot for our family back in the 90s. We enjoyed its easy ambience then. It is now, a sad place to me, as so much has closed down. Nevertheless, the Pelicans are still fed at 3.30 daily, the caravan parks fill each summer and the gentle stretches of water are hypnotic. What is not well-known is that part of the Entrance waterways can give way – they are sand based- and there have been drownings even when close to the shore.

From the eastern side of the bridge.

 

 

A View Called CrackNeck!

In between the beach side suburbs of Bateau Bay and Shelly Beach, high on a hill is Crackneck Lookout. The views are amazing. There is even a launch point for hang gliders!

Off you jump…into the air with the right breeze behind you.

 

To Long Jetty.

The name of the beach and lake side suburb is this! Named after the many long jetties now used for photography and walks. Back in the day, when my parents were very young adults, they would remember, as holiday makers,  there was much more activity here on the water via boats and even a ferry type too. I think.

Too good not to take a selfie here!

This touristy tale is now told.

Have you been to any of these places?

Denyse.

P.S. I may not be commenting until later on Monday as I am driving to Sydney to see my Dad at Dee Why.

P.P.S. Just casually adding, that there are ONLY 6 more posts till Life This Week has a wee break until the New Year.

Link Up 214

Life This Week. Link Up #214

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

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Outside. 44/51. #LifeThisWeek. 88/2020.

Outside. 44/51. #LifeThisWeek. 88/2020.

We promised ourselves a NSW country mini holiday once I was well and  COVID was not a really big issue so away we went, on Monday 19 October 2020 on a trek to where we had met, exactly 50 years earlier.

We had literally had no trips away other than for my surgeries for well over 5 years so we both looked forward to a different scene from the coast and to be away just for us.

The laws in NSW do not allow for phone use inside a car. I found that a challenge as I wanted to record scenes from the car, so….on the wide and open roads…with me checking for cars…I did a few pics. No harm was done. I say anyway!

New England Hwy. North West N.S.W.

The trip from our home on the northern end of the N.S.W. Central Coast to our main destination of the major inland north-western centre of Tamworth took us 4 hours. This included comfort and coffee stops. Thank you Maccas. We shared the driving.

From the car, on the move, in the passenger’s seat. Loved seeing effects of some recent rains.

Where We Met. Literally!

On Saturday 17th October 1970, we met at a N.S.W. Teachers’ Federation Conference at a club in Tamworth. We found it, actually my husband did because he had lived around Tamworth for some years before we met. Outside for a selfie. No, we did not go inside.

Up To The LookOut: the view is spectacular.

 

Then we went to Barraba. My first school. Appointed in 1970. My husband, even though we were born in the same year, had already been teaching in his small (one teacher) school since 1968. His High School years ended with the Leaving Certificate in 1965 whereas “I” was part of the new 6 years at High School cohort. But to get to Barraba from Tamworth, it’s a one hour drive via Manilla. We stopped there for a photo – to Boggabri the sign says – and it was along that road my then boyfriend would drive wearily home after seeing me in Barraba. Ah love….

An addition to the entrance to Barraba: these silos have been painted. How amazing! Great tribute to the rural area that makes Barraba the town it is.

 

We stopped in town, which sadly, remained depleted of many shops. Sad because even before COVID, many country towns had suffered. The drought being for one reason. Nevertheless we found a cafe, and enjoyed some morning tea. Such a quiet main street.

I remember in 1970 there was a public holiday to celebrate 200 years since Captain Cook ‘found’ Australia. The school made a float and we were part of the celebrations. I cringe now, because I am not aware that back then we made any references to the Aboriginal community in the area. Now, as I saw when we visited the outside of the school where I taught, there was evidence of traditional owners and tributes to them. I am pretty sure there would be quite a number of indigenous students at the school too.

It was, and is, Barraba Central School. The High School section is now on a different site but when I was there, it was a K-12 school campus. Wonderful social experience at that school. The teachers and all of the staff were invited by my parents to my 21st in Tamworth late in that year. Still somewhat embarrassed  by that, and as I had already met B, “we” knew there would be a wedding coming up in the New Year!

For a visit to a special place for us both in Tamworth we went here: it is called Tamworth Base Hospital but we couldn’t find a sign which said that. However, this one was close to the carpark where we both remembered my husband meeting our then week old daughter for the first time. That’s how it was back then.

There are a few chapters in Telling My Story related to our years of meeting, marrying and having our first child.

Here they are:

Telling My Story. Chapter Four. 1970. 2018.68.

Telling My Story: Chapter Five. 1971.2018. 79.

Telling My Story. Chapter Six. Becoming Mum. 1971. 2018.100.

Thanks for joining me OUTSIDE today!

Denyse.

Link Up 213

Life This Week. Link Up #213

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!

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Inside. 43/51. #LifeThisWeek. 86/2020.

Inside. 43/51. #LifeThisWeek. 86/2020.

Having some fun with the word I N S I D E via some photos and memories. Enjoy!

Denyse, aged around 5, off to her first class at school.

There was no official uniform for the seasons but I recall this was the tunic, and I see my mum’s influence there with the bow…the smart blouse…and what was I N S I D E that carry bag of mine was likely to be playlunch and maybe a cardi. I came home for lunch as we lived in the same street as Gwynneville P.S., Wollongong.

 

 

Denyse, aged around 63, decided as part of her retirement from K-6 education to become an independent consultant to pre-schools and teachers.

This is I N S I D E her part of the front room of our former home in Glenwood which we made into two office areas for us. Sadly I gave away or sold off most of my resources but the move to further places was already on the cards, and I admit, seeing my resources go to grandkids, schools and pre-service teachers was a good thing.

 

 

Denyse’s two grandchildren who were cared for by both grandparents in 2008-2014.

This photo, taken by me, is a firm favourite in our family. In fact, the enlarged version sits behind me right now, As to what was going on  I N S I D E   H’s mind as R placed her hand on him, we will never know. He too loves the pic now, as does she.

 

 

Denyse is/was a HUGE Christmas fan.

When the grandkids came into our lives, then much fun, planning, shopping, spending and hanging up of Christmas bags from us was the BEST. What was I N S I D E…no-one knew till Christmas Day. Sometimes Grandma forgot too. 

 

 

Denyse had her one and only OS trip to the US west coast and Hawaii.

Here’s she is I N S I D E Alcatraz. A highlight of her trip, and booked before leaving Sydney. This was freezing cold San Fran early January 2006.

 

 

Denyse with her 2nd youngest granddaughter.

She was, until a few days later, the youngest granddaughter, looking I N S I D E our then Sydney based GP’s fishtank. She is holding the Teddy we gave her on the day she was born. This child is now in Year One! 

 

 

Denyse. looking to smile and do her best to be well, cheerful and all.

However, she actually knew something was very awry I N S I D E that mouth, behind that top set of false teeth. What I see in this photo more than anything, however, is courage. It was the first time I had driven to see Dad after a long absence because of being anxious about driving on the M1. Thanks to my inner resources learned from my psychologist via exposure therapy I DID this. I was not, however, to know that it would be a long time before I drove to see my Dad again. Within 3 weeks of this photo my cancer had been diagnosed.

 

 

Denyse’s memories of the grandchildren care at Glenwood is aided by so many photos and little videos.

The photo of the two above, much older, is of them I N S I D E the kitchen eating the fruit kebabs they had made. 

 

 

Denyse’s Dad turned 90 in January 2014 and he wanted to celebrate.

Along with my brother, daughter and more, we made sure his celebration was indeed one to remember. Looking to decorate the tables for the lunch with a little thank-you, I made these….with little chocolates I N S I D E.

 

 

 

Denyse now lives about 20 minutes drive from Norah Head Lighthouse.

I totally love visiting and have been I N S I D E the building but not up top. I am pretty sure COVID has stopped tours. The glass and the light have saved many ships over the years. Our weather forecast and conditions comes from the weather station in the grounds. 

 

 

Denyse has a mammogram every even year birthday.

I am pretty sure this is my one from last year. Stepping up I N S I D E the pink van reminds me that it is a privilege to have this service and usually I am treated with respect. However, and I will mention it next time, the radiographer was pretty rough in her handling of one of my breasts, resulting in an abrasion underneath. It hurt on that thin skin. 

 

 

Denyse loved being part of an on-line Secret Santa one year.

I knew the recipient well, and that she has a very very busy life raising her challenging kids (yes, she would admit that too) so I N S I D E this I made it like a pass the parcel of presents and I know from her response, she loved it. The kids did too, apparently!!

 

 

Denyse is I N S I D E the lift at her Dad’s building after a visit with lots of food and goodies and spending some time with him. He talks. I listen. Mostly!

It’s a regular thing to visit like this but during COVID happened a lot less. I just went recently (not this pic)  and will be back in November I am sure. All being well.

 

 

Denyse is a very grateful head and neck cancer patient.

Here, from over a year ago, is a photo taken by my prosthodontist (his hand there) explaining how the I N S I D E of my upper prosthesis and the skin near it (my under top lip which is part skin graft from my leg and part what was there)  is progressing in terms on health and stability. I saw him in mid October 2020 and all is very well indeed. 

 

 

Denyse’s Sunday treat and nectar!

Getting one of these coffees by Randa I N S I D E me is so good.

 

I hope you enjoyed my little journey of memories based on I N S I D E

Thank you for visiting, reading, commenting and I always hope, linking up!

Denyse.

Link Up 212

Life This Week. Link Up #212

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* 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.

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I Have Never. 41/51 #LifeThisWeek. 82/2020.

I Have Never. 41/51 #LifeThisWeek. 82/2020.

How to respond to this? I am doing it under  headings…. let’s see how this works.

I Have Never:

Been

  • in a physical fight.
  • a particularly brave person.
  • into a nightclub.
  • on a bar/pub hop.
  • into getting into drinking…ever.

 

Eaten

  • any offal. at all. intentionally or unintentionally.
  • dishes from other countries of origin – not an adventurous eater. Fried rice and pizza is my limit. Not together.
  • spiced anything. Chilli…noooo
  • a full menu from a restaurant: entree, mains, dessert for a very, very long time. In fact I wonder how I ever did!
  • something that might be ‘dodgy’ for example, use by date is passed.

 

Done

  • much that is brave or adventurous in some people’s eyes at all.
  • any type of sewing other than a button onto a shirt or maybe a small hem adjustment. By hand. Never a machine.
  • any true labour in the sense of manual labour. Some gardening maybe and some house cleaning. That’s it.
  • anything to deliberately harm anyone
  • much at all to dissuade anyone from being who they are. I really think that is true. I hope so anyway.

 

Found

  • someone who is a liar and then remain friends with them.
  • gold in ‘them thar hills’.
  • peace that is ever-lasting.
  • the above is impossible because we constantly change and grow.
  • bitching about anyone and anything is actually healthy.

 

Seen

  • a sunset at the beach in Australia.
  • a blue fairy wren in the bush.
  • any iguana/dragon/large bearded lizard in real life I hope I never do.
  • someone after they  have died.
  • Some states of Australia: Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania & Northern Territory.

 

Had

  • a true broken heart.
  • the desire to have an affair.
  • all my hair cut off.
  • radiotherapy and chemotherapy and hope to keep it that way.
  • the chance to travel to the UK thanks to no dollars and no planes anyway these days!

Interesting to me is the fact that I am, from this small sampling, a conservative and definitely not adventurous person ….ah well. To each her/his own.

I did have a think and I have to add examples of doing/being where some others may find they have not. I am fine with public speaking, and leading a school, along with travelling solo by driving to events away from home.

What have you never?

Denyse.

Link Up 210

Life This Week. Link Up #210

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: 42/51 Self Care Stories. 19.10.2020

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Share Your Snaps #8. 40/51 #LifeThisWeek. 80/2020.

Share Your Snaps #8. 40/51 #LifeThisWeek. 80/2020.

Dear Bloggers and Readers,

Please note: “this post” is letting us know there are only 11 more weeks in 2020 for #LifeThisWeek.

Yikes.

But also, many of us will be glad to be saying “bye bye” to 2020 too.

This version of #shareyoursnaps is a photo from every day in September. Remember the rhyme? 30 Days Hath September, April, June and November.

In September 2020, I have been pleased to be back on recovery trail after a second surgery as my abdominal wound had opened up in one spot. I had the nurse visit twice a week to change the VAC system and mid-September, the wound was good enough to be dressed by the local GP’s nurse. “This” however is still on-going and it will likely be well into October before I will be free of this. It’s been a long, long haul. However, the alternative would have been worse. I loved having time to appreciate Spring in my garden as a result of being at home more than ever and most mornings awoke to a new bulb opening its beauty. I finally got my independence back and went for a couple of bush-area drives where nature does so well in Spring, I had a coffee out after many weeks of not being able to. We celebrated birthdays and Father’s Day in low key ways, and my husband has been the most patient of carers ever. Some of the pics are self-explanatory.

I hope your September 2020 has been kind to you.

From today: 86 days left till 31.12.2020.

OK, I will stop now.

Enjoy.

Denyse.

 

Link Up 209

Life This Week. Link Up #209

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: 41/51 I Have Never. 12.10.2020

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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Healthy. 39/51. #LifeThisWeek. 78/2020.

Healthy. 39/51. #LifeThisWeek. 78/2020.

When I was blogging more frequently, health and mindfulness were a category for blog posts. These days, like many, my posts are limited to twice a week.

This is good for my health in some ways as I am not feeling too much pressure to perform, aka write posts, and can enjoy the writing of the two I do more.

About Me.

  • Being healthy is a relatively new idea for me…I was raised to be healthy and was…I am talking about lifestyle & choices
  • For many years I balanced my life …in a not so good way…with eating for comfort and doing less as I was quite worn out by life
  • I knew limited ways in which to care for myself because…as many do…I was too busy caring for others: at work, and in my family life.
  • I do much much better now in the self-care and health stakes as I have learned much in my years living following head and neck cancer.

Then I Was Diagnosed With Cancer.

Those who have followed me before and since this diagnosis know that I found out I had a head and neck cancer, specifically squamous cell carcinoma of the top gums (maxilla) and under the top lip. All about that, and many more posts outlining the years of surgeries and more are here: Head and Neck Cancer.

But Before Then.

My emotional health was at an all time low from 2013 into early 2017 for a number of reasons:

  • ageing and becoming somewhat disenchanted by some of its effects
  • retirement from all of my meaningful and paid work over this time
  • my weight was the highest it had been and with encouragement from my GP and my own determination, I lost some kilos over a year with greater awareness of why I ate, and ensuring I moved more
  • finishing up grandparent care at our house and actually being glad because I was finally tiring and becoming worn out by it
  • making a move from all I knew: Sydney, our family, friends….to the Central Coast
  • this move was one I thought I wanted (and still agree it was the right move) but my emotional health brought me down into spirals of anxiety and fear along with the dreaded Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • the health professionals I saw then all said it was reactive depression and anxiety was part of the transitioning. Not a diagnosis of either. I do take a low dose anti-depressant now to help with IBS more than anything and getting off to sleep
  • I admit I am one of what is known as the “worried well”.

SO….in some ways I was not surprised that I had cancer diagnosed in May 2017 …I can see that others may have felt stress was a cause. That it is not a direct link, but from what I know about cancer, it is random.  Some people thought my immune system was down due to the appearance of my mouth. THAT,  was actually the beginning of cancer…but no-one thought that till April 2017 when I insister my dentist remove the bridge from my upper gums.

This quote sums cancer up. From an Australian surgeon:

Head and Neck Cancer Requires Frequent Checks.

From the diagnosis on May 18 2017, to the big reconstruction surgery on July 6 2017, through to further surgeries for skin grafts and checking inside my mouth, glands in neck area and many visits to the prosthodontist, I had:

  • post-surgery checks after a few days to a few weeks to see my head and neck surgeon and his surgical assistant, nurse specialist
  • three monthly checks for the first year
  • any time where I may have seen/felt an issue, such as additional skin forming, and my surgeon saw me within weeks
  • four monthly checks for the next year
  • weekly and fortnightly visits to the prosthodontist as he continued to work on the making of the upper prosthesis
  • then monthly to two monthly visits to him, until COVID. Last time I saw him was February 2020 and I am returning in mid October as he is now doing regular checks again
  • this year, the visits to Sydney’s Chris O’Brien Lifehouse were at 6 month intervals.
  • THEN, at my recent early September visit, after clear CT scans of my head, neck and chest, and after visual examination and more, I am now on:
  • a 12 month check up..so will not be back until September 2021.

“MY” Prof…as I call him, Professor Jonathan Clark AM recently became chair of a new program at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and Sydney University where this grant will enable him and his team create software and 3D models for head and neck surgery on the spot. My surgery, over 3 years ago, meant a delay as my team here in Australia  and the software developers in Europe made the program for my surgery and the model for my  mouth which had to be flown in from Belgium. Here’s the announcement of the donation for the funding so this program goes ahead.

ALWAYS happy to have a photo….

How I Manage My Health Now.

Interestingly with greater ease, thanks to a limited ability to eat a lot and to a better attitude to moving more.

Photos tell that story too. It is a way of keeping myself accountable too.

However, I never feel that I am missing out either. I have a better understanding of my need to nourish this body and to also enjoy the treats when I can.

And Then I Had to Do These Things.

Have both of my eyes’ cataracts removed and lens replaced. This happened on the cusp of COVID restrictions and I was glad to be done. In Sydney, over 3 days. Then of course, I had recovery but my opthalmologist has rooms up here so visits for checks were OK. I was quite shocked that from one annual visit to the next, it was cataracts time. This turning 70 was not quite what I thought. Now 6 months on, I use readers of a lower strength and no glasses for driving. Love the clearer views everywhere.

Left Eye Cataract Done

After hiding FROM myself and my problems with rectal prolapse* and the ways in which it impacted my day to day life, in May 2020, I was forced to face the matter as I could no longer live in pretend land. I look at it this way though, in managing my recoveries – physical and emotional – from those years of head and neck cancer I could not face more investigations into what is wrong. But dear readers, there was a lot wrong. Google rectal prolapse and what it means. Let’s just say, I paid a small fortune for incontinence aids, and suffered a great deal from shame about this condition.

Grateful to be ‘out of’ another surgery.

Getting One of the Things* Above Fixed…and Added Complications. 

Again COVID changed a few things but from my GP’s referral to a colorectal surgeon who insisted on a colonoscopy “no cancer or polyps but def need rectal prolapse repair”…and then needed surgery I became resigned to what needed to be done. From early May to late July I waited for the  surgery called rectopexi. The surgeon did a great job, especially complicated by my inners where he also found (surprise) a hernia needing repair. This necessitated a horizontal incision AND, the best (not) news, a vertical incision. Meeting in an upside down T at the bottom of my abdomen. The surgery, has worked. He took the slack inner workings of my rectum and has stitched them to a bone low in my back. I have no prolapse and normal (for me) bowel movements for the….first time in perhaps a decade…and…

My recovery in hospital and at home was slow as expected but at my first post-op appointment he told me I was a star for recovering in exactly the way it was best. I liked that. Especially as I did not quite hit it off with him at my initial consult…I was scared.

Three weeks into post-surgery recovery I noticed a section of the upside T section of the wound was kind of not staying together. I showed my GP and he thought it would be OK. But take this anti-biotic and apply this cream…and let’s hope it resolves.

It did not.

Within 2 weeks of seeing my GP, I was ‘astonished to see and feel liquid forming over my nightie as I got up out of my chair. Eeek. Got an urgent appointment to the GP, who was ‘so sorry, Denyse’ but…It was called wound dehiscence and sometimes a wound will not stay together. My colorectal surgeon saw me the next day, and pronounced “can fix, back into hospital for wound debridement and we will put a VAC system on to help heal the wound over less time.”

Wound Debridement and the VAC. 

One month post first surgery for rectopexi I was back in the same hospital and cared for very well. Surgery was less than an hour. I stayed overnight so the surgeon and wound nurse could see I understood how to live with the VAC system. The best part of having paid for our private health insurance since the late 1960s it means either of us can get the best care, when and where we can. I know this is a two-part health system in Australia but I am very grateful.

Each week I was visited two days a week by the Wound Nurse. This was all covered under ‘Hospital at Home” care from our Teachers Health Program. A machine was supplied, each of the changes of dressings and the costs of visits from the Wound Nurse. This lasted just over 3 weeks.

Since then, our GP and his practice nurse is taking care of my wound dressing. The progress is amazing on the wound. I have so many photos, none of which I will add here but they give me and my husband (the photographer) updates. The medical and surgical teams appreciate my dated photo collages.

Is that IT?

I don’t know but I sure would like to be free of appointments for  the above. This is likely to occur in the next two weeks or so. At least I have no VAC on me and have full independence.

I am back to my prosthodontist in October but I am pretty sure my mouth care will be praised.

Emotionally I am getting there. I know I have gained a great deal of resilience through much of these past 3+ years but am looking forward to a some respite from health professionals for a while,

THANK you…if you got this far.

I hope you are healthy and well.

Stay that way!

Denyse.

Link Up 208

Life This Week. Link Up #208

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: Share Your Snaps. 40/51. 5 October 2020.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


 

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