Monday 18th October 2021

Share Your Snaps.#8. 40/51#LifeThisWeek.120/2021.

Share Your Snaps.#8. 40/51#LifeThisWeek. 120/2021.

Every 5th Week on Mondays

This is the month just past of September 2021 where I determined I needed a challenge. I thought of this:

#ShareSeptember

#oneword

#onephoto

I invited friends and bloggers to join in to #shareseptember as part of Instagram posts and these lovely people did: Thank you!

Their instagram handles are next to each name.

Debbie: @debs__world

Sue: @womenlivingwellafter50

Jo: @jotracey

Christie: @christiehawkes

Jennifer: @jenniferalisonjones

Marilyn: @downmarilyn

Susanne: @susanneguitar

Leanne: @leanne_d_b

One Word Selections. One Photo Too.

I had the idea to do this after reading Comfort (not yet finished) by Matt Haig where he wrote of taking time to notice, or be or find one beautiful thing. I included that page in this photo challenge.

Every one of us will find meaning in words and the challenge was to find a photo which meant something to you about that word. I know I looked inward quite a bit and sought photos from less recent times as I had tended to have already shared them.

I also wanted to add more creativity to my #ShareSeptember and chose to print each photo and then mount it onto a square card of my art work. I photographed that and then, over time using two different photo apps I added the frame and the print out to look like dymo tape. It was good to have more to distract me in lockdown so the complications I added were for that very reason.

In the instagram post I would add my details about the why of the image, and I also used an art journal to add them, and then write more. In other words, I kept a record that is more than just about photos.

And what came together well on-line, because following social media can be a challenge (ha! that word again!) so the use of #ShareSeptember by all those who took part and some who kindly added my name so I saw your images daily meant we got to connect.

Thank you all.

It was fun and I enjoyed connecting. By the time this post goes live my instagram account where I had this challenge is being deleted. I explained last week. However, I have the records here and I am grateful for that.

If you wish to follow me on Instagram it’s @denysewhelan_blogs and this is my avatar while the change is happening from two to one.

 

 

Thank you to my friends from social media who took part in #ShareSeptember.

Did you know my instagram account for @denysewhelan_blogs links to the right hand side column of the blog?

I am, as I promised myself, slowing down to take more time to connect in person and have more time to enjoy outside and whilst there will be photos shared…I wouldn’t know who I was if I did not, I am not making up any new challenges!

Update: Over the past days I have been oh so slowly deleting MANY of my photos from social media: Instagram and Facebook, including the Facebook page Denyse Whelan Blogs. Why? I have shared many images over the past few years. More than anything, to connect with others and to share my progress with head and neck cancer. I also need connections. However, in my new goal of going more slowly and blogging less, I will be sharing on social media less…for ONE very good reason. Every image shared on Facebook and Instagram becomes theirs until “I” delete it. And, to delete it, there is only ONE way…one image at a time. I have found after about 15-20 times, the system stops deleting. I found I had high 100s of photos which were duplicated because I shared to Facebook as well as on Instagram. Now, I am much wiser…and over this detailed action. Believe me, there is no multiple ways of deleting. 

Take care,

Denyse.

P.S. This is now Daylight Saving in parts of Australia. Where I live in N.S.W. we have just put the clocks forward one hour for next 6 months. It creates a lot of confusion at times and I am pretty sure my Queensland friends have an opinion on “not taking part” in Daylight Saving. And I know those in Western Australia …and perhaps NT, are maybe happier without it. It IS all an individual’s response!

Link Up #260.

Life This Week. Link Up #260.

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, or multiple 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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* 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, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

Next week’s optional prompt: Water 41/51 

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Taking Stock #4 37/51 #LifeThisWeek. 5th Birthday Edition. 112/2021

Taking Stock #4 37/51 #LifeThisWeek. 5th Birthday Edition. 112/2021.

This Taking Stock is different as I am using images from the 5 years of this link up….

for which I am grateful  and that you, dear blogger and reader  play a very important part…

as it shares some of my stories…

Because back on this day in September 2016 where I posted this…I did not know what lay ahead. I

f you do open the link, you will see it’s a bit like a time capsule. 24 bloggers linked up. Sadly some no longer blog.

Is your name or blog there I wonder?

Present: September 2021.

My focus as a blogger who loves to connect is  summed up in these images on the home page.

I’ve chosen the months of May, September and December for 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020….to take stock!

Whilst  I am not using my A-Z list this time round, I am pretty sure I am using images which spark:

GRATITUDE

LOVE

HEALTH

CONNECTION

APPRECIATION

CARE

MEMORIES

(no meaning in the colours…just used rainbow colours to give headings a different look!) 

Back to: September 2016. When Link Up Began

My dear friend Tanya who makes my blog the colour-filled one it is, and helped me refresh the blog at the beginning of 2016, made this for the link up. Always grateful to her:

Started Life This Week Link Up. Sept 2016.

September 2016.

December 2016.

May 2017.

September 2017.

December 2017.

May 2018.

September 2018

December 2018.

May 2019

September 2019

December 2019

May 2020

September 2020

December 2020

May 2021

September 2021

On 7th September 2021 I had great news from my head and neck cancer surgical team that because my mouth looks good inside, I don’t need to return to them for another YEAR and that visit will be my last. I can scarcely believe it. Yes, so grateful of course and yes to all the support many here have given me….so here’s to good health for us all: Click on the link, please:

https://youtu.be/N91kCMHTzEA

Thank you for being here, whether from the start of the link up or as the years have gone on.

Delighted to announce that I will continue my Monday Link Up for 2022.

I have the plans in readiness for a different set of ‘optional prompts’. I have shared them with one blogger already to get a feel for how they might work out and they should do well. As usual they are optional. I will publish a separate post about this in October-November.

Meanwhile:

Stay well

Stay covid-free

And Be Fully Vaccinated (if you can and health permits)

May we all have greater freedoms of places to visit and be in the near future.

Denyse.

Link Up #257. 5 Years Old.

Life This Week. Link Up #257.

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, or multiple 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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* 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, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

Next week’s optional prompt: Unusual. 38/51. Mr Whelan is back with Time. Part Two So Optional Prompt Not Used.

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Self Care Stories #5. 36/51 #LifeThisWeek. 109/2021.

Self Care Stories #5. 36/51 #LifeThisWeek. 109/2021.

 

I think I will sub-title this with:

  • More of the Ways In Which I Spend Lockdown.
  • And Try Not To Be Too Covid-Cranky. It IS a Thing!
  • That’s Because….We ARE in many ways over it but Delta Strain of Covid has not yet finished…and so:
  • I will be continuing to find ways to Cut Parts of My Hair….Husband can help a little but right now, resisting…

Onward! 

Celebrating 3 years of having my upper prosthesis fitted…it sure does make eating AND smiling AND talking so much easier. Very grateful for that.

But before I do, I have made a small change to my commenting policy on those who link up their posts  for Mondays.

I am someone who wants to diligently comment on her blog. I do, as much as I can, comment on the day in which bloggers comment on my Life This Week posts.

Then I would aim to read and comment on every linked up post on Wednesday evenings once the link up closed.

Now, in the interests of self care, I have given up that rigid practice and now choose to take more time and do it sometime over the next 24 hours or so. Releasing internal pressure! Try it.

And next  week, it’s the link up’s 5th Birthday! Hip Hip Hooray for you all who make it a pretty regular habit of linking up!!

It will be a special Taking Stock from me.

Started Life This Week Link Up. Sept 2016.

Getting Outside Every Day. Somewhere, even if it’s the backyard. If I don’t see and experience some green of nature and some of its colours and shapes I feel deprived and sad. So the fact that I can, legally in Covid times, still drive somewhere to do this is a MUST. I do love it and am so much better in mood for sure.

And I am arting and crafting my way through emotional self care…because this IS always my go-to and makes a difference. Sending the bookmarks to friends (on-line and in real life) has been a personal project I have enjoyed so much. And it’s still happening. Nothing like connecting.

Then there is my responsibility for self care that’s an every day must or I soon feel not great and my poor husband has to put up with my ….whingeing.

Physical care.…and all that means these days.

  • I am going well with my keeping active in walking most days.
  • I have reduced my goals on the apple watch as lockdown brought fewer places where I could walk.
  • I am eating well for my age and mouth restrictions.
  • I have almost given away the notion of the food intake concerns and being obsessed by any kind of difference in my appearance.

I say almost because life-time habits take a long time to diminish.

  • I accept that my mouth and its insides limit my food intake and quantity and I am much better at ‘eye balling’ something and know I can eat it safely.
  • It doesn’t mean I don’t get ‘hungry’ looking at some people’s food posts!

My head and neck cancer seems to be gone and I have a tele health appointment tomorrow.

I have had my dentist and my GP check my mouth out, and have sent images to my team at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. Fingers crossed they too agree.

The rectal prolapse surgery was the best thing I could have done for my health last year. What a difference it has made to  my life and confidence. Highly recommend it.

Mind you, I mentioned a couple of things to my GP recently and he said..but didn’t quite get the word “ageing” out….for a couple of things but if they worsen do come back

This is the most vital relationship of all, after caring for my health, and that is of my long time husband and best friend.

This is the man I share most of my day with but little of my night. Why is that?

We found many years ago we are both far better at sleeping if we maintain separate rooms and bed.

We have completely different tastes in TV…another reason…and Netflix offers more for him than I…

but in recent times we now have a 30 minute chat and wind down each evening in the bigger bed (mine) and play word games on our I pads and chat.

It’s become a time we both treasure.

Laughing together is a fave!

There it is, my accountability for self care written and shared.

How is your self care these days?

What’s the easiest part for you?

What about the hardest part?

Tell us in the comments.

Warmest wishes to all,

Denyse.

Link Up #256

Life This Week. Link Up #256

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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* 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, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

Next week’s optional prompt: Celebrating 5 years of this Link Up with Taking Stock. Optional Prompt. 37 /51

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Shopping. 33/51 #LifeThisWeek. 100/2021.

Shopping. 33/51 #LifeThisWeek. 100/2021.

I hate love shopping.

It’s something I inherited. From Mum. See us in this family photo where we celebrated Mum’s 80th. With my brother and father. That’s nearly 17 years ago.

I like the seeking out, the browsing and the finding of whatever it is I am looking for. Dad tells me he has spent many a time (back in the days when he & Mum were active retirees) sitting on a bench in a shopping centre while Mum ducked into a little….(insert name ) shop . She would often emerge with something and often at a good price.

I do not have my mother’s budget skills and can overspend. Think: reformed impulse buyer. But I do enjoy shopping…Read On.

Shopping Then.

I admit grocery shopping got awfully repetitive as a busy Mum and teacher and sometimes my husband would do it. Sometimes (and I admit I am still like this) he might not get exactly what “I” thought.

Shopping for us, in 1970s before moving to Sydney had to be done at a nearby country town on a Saturday morning (all shops closed by lunchtime, not opening till Monday) or ordered for delivery to us by the mailman from nearby very small town. Once a week.

As Time Moved On.

Shopping became something to do on a Thursday evening by the time we had moved to Sydney, and then came the big one, shops could open all day Saturday and into Sundays. It made life as a working parent much more flexible.

How Did We/I Shop?

With a list, mostly, and with a view to getting specials that we would normally eat. Menu planning helped in busier times.

Shopping Experiences.

I like to shop solo. I really dislike having another person with me, unless he/she does what I want…..mmmm.

Shopping Changes.

I had to really take note of our limited budget in past few years and be more careful of on-line and so-called indulgent or impulse buying. We have a “rule” for us now that on-line shopping is 24/7. We may look at items we like to think about buying but we don’t if it is night time or a Sunday. History has shown us both that we are more impulsive then. And here’s the good news, by the nest day or so that impulse to buy has often left or diminished.

Images from Shopping! 

And some more: These are some of the purchases for me during my life’s transitions when I was learning so much about mindfulness, mental health and more. I also had some favourite authors publish books…and I admit it, craft and art take took quite a bit of our money in the last 7 years.

Then when I had lost so much weight pre-cancer and, once recovered from the BIG surgery in July 2017, I  needed clothes. I admit I actually enjoyed this shopping..in person and trying clothes on. Then when Covid19 stopped access to shops and most went on-line I did not get to enjoy the process but still couldn’t always pass up a bargain. Very little of this happening at all now for me. I admit I overdid it (shhh, don’t tell B) and it was fun.

Now of course, we (I) can only go shopping for essentials. And that is once a day when one of us can leave the house. So it’s groceries and the chemist. We decided as our area became more impacted by the presence of Covid 19 cases (thanks, no thanks UNvaccinated people from Sydney (we heard)  leaving their trail) we would go to only stand alone supermarkets and not into any centres. So far it’s OK.

Here’s what a local street looked like recently.

Wanting to get back to whatever normal might be for our future does depend on more people being vaccinated. I actually used this image last Friday because…I was getting frustrated with progress on vaccination numbers. Update that day is that 25% of Australians are fully vaccinated  and that is about 6 million.

My last image….

Back in September 2017 I gained independence. I was able to drive following the big surgery which cut my leg to reconstruct my upper mouth using my fibula and skin/flesh from the right leg,  and to go to the local shopping centre. I remember it well. I was a little concerned someone might bump into me but all went OK. I really want to go here again and see the businesses re-open. I haven’t been for at least 5 weeks as it was a covid spot recently. I think of those who have no work. The hairdressers and beauty places, coffee shops, even JB Hi Fi et al. May we be able to get back safely soon.

 

Are you a shopper?

What’s your fave on-line trawling…?

Tell us more! Make me feel better!

Denyse.

P.S. Mr W is back next week for his post on TIME. I know very little other than he is spending a lot of TIME getting his post ready on TIME.

Link Up #253

Life This Week. Link Up #253

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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* 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, sales and any that are overly religious or political or in any way offensive in nature.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


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Questions. 31/51. #LifeThisWeek 94/2021.

Questions. 31/51. #LifeThisWeek 94/2021.

I am a question-asker.

I tend to ask a lot.

I am also an answer giver too.

However, I remain naturally curious and so, as a result have asked a LOT of questions over my 71 years on earth.

When I was seen by my head and neck cancer surgeons on 18 May 2017 I may not have had many questions because to be honest I was in shock as I had only learned of the diagnosis,the day before.

So, in the weeks that followed I found I did have specific questions, that I did not want to try to navigate on-line and my husband and GP did not have knowledge, so one of the kind surgeons answered them for me after I sent an enquiry to my head and neck surgeon’s office. His words helped me so much and reduced my worries.

I also found out then:

Do NOT be afraid to ask questions. There are no SILLY questions.

It’s now over 4 years since I was that very worried woman in a clinic room at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, where the head and neck team met us: me the patient with B my (now) carer.

August 2017

I have, over the years, also had the help of a psychologist to get my somewhat faulty  thinking and ideas sorted. I was not a 100% emotionally well in the years 2014 into early 2017 but I am also a problem solver. However this was one problem I could not solve by thinking my way through. I needed to both accept the emotional upsets I had and why along with the BIG life transitions I was coming to terms with. I have written about some of those experiences in past posts.

Before I continue. Last year, this head and neck surgeon from Adelaide tweeted his explanation for cancer. I have always felt there is an element of ‘blame’ attached to some cancers. These words resonated. Thank you @guylrees.

 

This year I was sent a copy of a book which I said I would review. There was a throwaway line by me when I saw its title via social media when I said to the publisher, send me a copy and I will review it. Exisle Publications were serious. They did.

I have read the book by Dr Toni Lindsay and it answered even more questions for me.

  • Questions I did not know I even wanted answers for.
  • That is the thing about a cancer diagnosis, sometimes it takes a long time to determine what you need or want to know next.
  • This then is my summing up of the book: from a Head and Neck Cancer Patient At Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.

I have never met Dr Toni Lindsay but I do know of the many other professional services that are offered where I had my surgeries.

 

The Cancer Companion: How to navigate your way from diagnosis to treatment and beyond by Dr Toni Lindsay.

My Views As a Cancer Patient.

  • This is a well-written and set out guide, and its name suggests it can accompany a person (cancer patient, family member, carer) throughout the cancer experience.
  • It’s easy to read, and divided into sections:

Part One: On Treatment.

  • And then it was cancer
  • Normal
  • Finding your purpose and meaning. Part 1.
  • Preparing the treatment and having a plan
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Surgery

I identified strongly with ‘hearing you have cancer’ as it still comes as a shock even though I had guessed. Of course, for me, like all, there were fears and worries. Lots of days when I know I would be doing something, and then it would hit me like a punch. “I have cancer”.

So, what I got from this part, as someone who remembers how it was, is that all is perfectly within an expectation as a newly- diagnosed patient.

Having a plan helped me but the plan often came in the form of a check list from me, to prepare for trips to Sydney where I would need to have surgeries, treatments at the prosthodontist and for the first year, my husband would need to drive me and stay somewhere close by while I was in hospital.

Even though we no longer lived in Sydney where everything I needed for my on-going treatment, we felt fine with the drive, and sometimes a stay overnight. My husband bore the brunt of times waiting…sometimes visiting our family, other times going for long drives until he heard he could pick me up.

We are also fully retired (aged over 70) and so making a plan was relatively easy as we did not have to take work and family priorities into account. There is quite a bit in this part for carers too.

Part Two: Off Treatment.

  • Finishing treatment
  • What if it comes back?
  • Finding your purpose and meaning. Part 2.
  • Why is everyone behaving like I am back to normal?

My reactions to what I read here were as if Dr Lindsay was in my head!

It did help ‘normalise’ my thinking and my progress.

For that I was grateful to have confirmation from someone professional.

I have a husband who is a trained counsellor and his help was good in that he could sometimes ‘calm my farm’ as they say when my emotions when a bit awry.

I am now, almost 100% able to do this for myself.

Ah. The advantages of time passing and experience as well as cancer free results at surveillance visits.

 

Part Three: Living With Advanced Cancer.

  • Living with advanced cancer
  • Finding your purpose and meaning. Part 3.
  • Planning and decision-making (even if you don’t need it!)

I read this section with feelings of sadness because I know of friends with head and neck cancer, and other cancers, who are living with advanced cancer.

I do know, however, that if there can be others support systems for example, psychologists and/or palliative care team with experience of helping people through, the prospect of what MAY lie ahead could feel less fear-based.

I would highly recommend not only reading this section but acting upon the help offered too. 

 

Part Four: The Psychology Part: How Can I Manage All of this.

  • Mood vs treatment
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep
  • Appetite
  • Fatigue and exercise
  • Body Image
  • Relationships and sexuality
  • Working
  • Being present
  • Being grateful
  • Managing other people
  • Pain

I have a great G.P. He started being my G.P. about 6 weeks before my diagnosis in May 2017.

Like my husband, he has been what I call a ‘cheerleader’.

Someone in my life who helps, encourages and supports me.

In the various times when I have been worried and scared, and this was prevalent a LOT in the first year, he was a voice of reason and reassurance.

I also have a professional team in Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and at Westmead Oral Sciences who I can call or email. Their help, at the other end of the phone after I have sent a photo or text has been exemplary.

In turn, all of the above has helped me see my way through.

Having a rare cancer: both statistically and type, I often found “I” became and still am, the expert in my mouth and its care. I

have learned a lot from those who helped reconstruct my mouth, along with my local dentist, but from my 4th year of recovery (about this time in 2020) I became the ‘one who knew’ most about my cancer and my recovery.

Some Final Thoughts.

This is a section in the book…

and I will add mine.

Knowing how I felt at the beginning of my diagnosis and how hard it was to concentrate with the spectre of an 11 hour surgery ahead of me, I could not have contemplated picking this book up and reading it.

I did ask my husband though and he says it would have been ok for him to have it at that stage.

Now, as I review my reactions and responses to my cancer in over 4 years, I would have been ready by about a year in.

That was for me.

Oh, and about the red balloon on the cover. It took me a while to find out about its significance. Dr Lindsay uses the balloon the illustrate how when holding a balloon on a string, it may occasionally pop back onto you, just like the occasional anxious thinking about cancer. In other words, the thoughts do come and go but they are not there forever. Or indeed they can be batted away. No longer controlling us. 

Others may see it differently.

Thank you to Dr Lindsay and those at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse who support patients and families and carers on the psychological path of a cancer diagnosis.

Thanks too, to Exisle Publishing for the book. No payment was made to me for this review, it was the gift of the book only. I am a truth teller and this is my review.

I give my permission for Exisle Publishing and Dr Lindsay to use my words within this post.

Denyse Whelan.

Blog Disclaimer:

My stories and photos along with suggested links and websites must not be seen as medical advice.

I write this blog from my experience as a head and neck cancer patient.  Denyse Whelan. 2021.

Link Up #251

Life This Week. Link Up #251

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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* 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, sales 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: 32/51 Remember

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Cancer: Patients, Family & Carers.#ShareYourSnaps #6. 30/51 #LifeThisWeek. 91/2021.

Cancer: Patients, Family & Carers.#ShareYourSnaps #6. 30/51 #LifeThisWeek. 91/2021.

Cancer does not have a timeline.

It can just appear.

Often times there is NO reason nor cause.

Many who have been diagnosed with a cancer with known risk factors but none apply to them, will be puzzled.

I am one of those but I have also learned to let go…because as my wise husband says “in the overall scheme of things, does that matter or help?”.

This month, on the blog I am focussing on cancer: head and neck cancer, because it is the one I know best.

I WAS excited to announce a community-held event as a fund raiser for Soup For The Soul at my local cafe but, nothing can happen so, I changed to a VIRTUAL Soup For The Soul Fundraiser and this is my POST where there is a LINK directly for donations. Thank you in advance! 

It also is the month when World Head and Neck Cancer Day is held: 27 July.

This year, because of Covid Restrictions a lot of what we took for granted in getting our messages out there to the community have changed. But my blog is still here.

Sadly not much is happening fact to face right now, and I post this image when we were very hopeful we would be able to take the head and neck cancer message to Canberra. But again, that has been postponed.

This Sharing of My Snaps is About a Number of Subjects.

See below for blog disclaimer. 

Cancer Help.

There is, in Australia, a Government website here . 

Of particular interest to me is to find and share more of the cancer I have. Try it if you need to find out more.

https://www.canceraustralia.gov.au/affected-cancer/cancer-types/head-neck-cancer/what-head-and-neck-cancer

Head and neck cancer occurs when abnormal cells in the head or neck grow in an uncontrolled way. These cancers usually begin in the squamous cells that line the inside of the mouth, nose and throat.

Head and neck cancer is 1 of the 10 most common cancers in both men and women in Australia. I have heard it is rare. However now I realise it is not well-known at all. Perhaps my descriptor needs to change.

What are head and neck cancers?

Head and neck cancers occur inside the sinuses, nose, mouth and salivary glands down through the throat. Although these cancers are different, they are treated similarly, so are considered as a group.

It is estimated that there will be 4414 cases of head and neck cancers diagnosed in Australia in 2021. These figures include cancers of the tongue, gum, mouth, salivary glands, tonsils, pharynx, nasal cavity and larynx, but not cancers of the lip.

The five year survival rate is approximately 64.7%.

source: https://www.cancer.org.au/cancer-information/types-of-cancer/head-and-neck-cancers

 

Cancer Council has sites throughout Australia too.  Ours in New South Wales is found here. I have booklets from my local Cancer Council shop at Erina Fair to help me and anyone else with a cancer. These books are free and I highly recommend them.

There is the second volume of which is a series of stories co-ordinated by The Swallows on Facebook : found here.

The Swallows: Booklet

Other information about head and neck cancer found here too:

Julie McCrossin AM, Australian Ambassador for Head and Neck Cancer Australia has copies. Tell me in the comments if you would like one.

Beyond Five. 2018. Now HANCA. Julie McCrossin AM holding a radiation mask. Nadia Rosin CEO & Me.

Marty Doyle, fellow Head and Neck Cancer Australia Ambassador, also wrote this book about his experience with head and neck cancer. He is going well some 17 years post his diagnosis.

I also bought a compilation of cancer stories directly from the author as I wanted to read more stories of others’ going well post-cancer. And I include some other books which have helped me.

Now…some more information can be found here at Head and Neck Cancer Australia (formerly Beyond Five) where I am an Ambassador.

I have taken part in a video series on nutrition, shared my head and neck cancer story on this site, and that of Chris O’Brien Lifehouse where I had my surgeries.

For more information about the special aspects of treatment for those with any cancer, go here to Chris O’Brien Lifehouse. This is in Sydney and is a private hospital specialising in comprehensive cancer care. That is, all under one roof as was the vision of the late Professor Chris O’Brien AO. His daughter, Juliette O’Brien was a recent Woman of Courage. 

And now to this information and more from me, about cancer progress and living with the results of head and neck cancer. My posts are here. 

 

The book I am reviewing. Written by a Psychologist from Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.

Review is coming soon.

This story: The Big Hug Box.

I have written about my connections with Lisa Greissl who founded the Big Hug Box in 2018. She too, was a patient at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse and in recovery wanted to do something to both help cancer research (hers was a very rare cancer) and to give back something to those who saved her life. She knew, in recovery, a BIG hug was always appreciated but not everyone can give or get one in person as they recover from or go through cancer. Find the Big Hug Box here.

Lisa’s idea has moved forward and there is much happening locally in the Newcastle region of N.S.W. Companies raise funds to share Random Hugs of Kindness boxes to Cancer Centres in some states and cities. The latest news is found here. I got to know Lisa personally when I offered to make bookmarks for inclusion in the early versions of The Big Hug Box. I must have donated over 400. I also saw someone I know who received a Big Hug Box and she saw that she knew who made the bookmarks! Lisa has also shared her story as a Woman of Courage.

Whilst this is a much more wordy post for a Share Your Snaps, I wanted to give the space to what has helped me in terms of cancer so that readers and bloggers here may have better ideas and reference points.

This is an Australian based blog and all of my links are to places within Australia, other than The Swallows in the United Kingdom.

There are many places and site for help in the U.S.A. where Oral Cancer is often mentioned separately to head and neck cancer. World wide, the associations and professional bodies relating to all cancers do all they can to improve outcomes for patients.

And, I share my story learning to eat again here: from Head & Neck Cancer Australia. Made February 2020 just before Covid shut things down.

Thank you for reading and commenting.

Denyse.

Blog Disclaimer:

My stories and photos along with suggested links and websites must not be seen as medical advice.

I write this blog from my experience as a head and neck cancer patient.  Denyse Whelan. 2021.

Link Up #250

Life This Week. Link Up #250

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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* 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, sales 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: 31/51 Question.

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Self Care Stories#4. 28/51 #LifeThisWeek. 85/2021.

Self Care Stories #4. 28/51 #LifeThisWeek. 85/2021.

Self Care Stories are a regular feature on the optional prompts selection for Life This Week, occurring at 7 week intervals. Keeping myself accountable to me…and for your interest as readers and commenters is what my posts are about. I am also doing my best to respond under a few of my chosen categories.

Every 7th week

Covid 19 and Lockdown.

At the time of writing this post, where we live is included in a lockdown for two weeks. Of the school holidays! Grrr. No family visits. However, I am not one to be annoyed for too long these days and am grateful that we are both fully vaxxed against Covid, I had a Covid test because of a slight sore throat and it was negative. I gave myself a project/challenge to do for the lockdown period and here is a group of the photos. I hope you are well wherever you are living right now.

Gratitude.

I have gone back to being more regular at writing some things to be grateful for each day.

I am also noticing that if I have some days which do not feel so agreeable emotionally, when I call on gratitude I can do a pretty quick change of pace and attitude.

It surprises me how much I remember this now, so I guess I am integrating it better than I thought.

Health and Mindfulness.

I never need a reminder to be considerate of my mindfulness practice as doing a Calm meditation each morning, the Daily Calm, then ending my day with the Daily Trip, pays me dividends each day. I have now completed over 555 days in a row. This image from that day.  Not all days have an original meditation but that’s OK too…and why it’s called practice. We keep on doing it to learn.

 

 

And add to that practice is my art and playing with materials creatively.

Photography Shared.

There is no doubt about it, for me, have an eye into the world around me and using my iphone to capture it gives me so much joy each day.

When I review the photos I am kind in my self talk and I now have a pretty good photographer’s eye. Thanks to lessons way back in Sydney, AND now having a wonderful iphone ProMax 11. 3 lenses!

I also am glad I took so many photos and movies (little vids on the phone) of our grandchildren when we cared for them and when they had little holidays with us. Those days have passed now but my husband and I do enjoy some reminiscing and it’s a great time we share(d) together.

Mind you, we have few ‘easy to access’ memories of the pre-iphone times of the older grandkids, and I must, at some stage, get a quote on having some old video cassettes converted. We do have photos in albums, but listening and looking at the fun the get up to is priceless.

This is from a recent post. I only just noticed the HEART shape in the tree.

Stories About Ageing.

I am old(er) than I was. Ha! That is a fact.

I am more accepting of some of the physical changes happening to my skin  that cannot be “fixed” but can be better cared for, so I have some good quality sunscreen, moisturiser with tint to wear every day.

And, I am remembering more to actually add some moisturiser to my scaly legs. And I have some hormonal cream to use as well. Not stating the obvious  about where it’s applied.

My hairdresser and I agree my ‘thinning’ hair has stopped and we put it down to the 5 anaesthetics in 2020 as did my G.P. but it is still a part of ageing so I will be grateful for what I have. Brilliant hairdresser who does such a symmetrical and pleasing haircut every 4 weeks.

We are also getting to enjoy life as older married people. By that I mean we actually LOVE the times we are having now. Not 100% concerned with work anymore, care of little kids, worried about family members…we are loving and living our life mindfully each day. Lots of laughs, time for solo interests and shared time each evening talking and relaxing after our day.

We had morning tea out again recently, before lockdown, and used the NSW Government Dine Out Vouchers.

Neither of us can manage a meal out anymore so morning tea is ideal. As we have aged – and it’s not just my post oral cancer restrictions, we eat smaller portions.

Relevance is something I think about these days. Back in years of education, I had a title. I knew my role. I did it well. However, I am retired from that role as a school principal. But I am still relevant to my friends and colleagues via social media and in real life. This image of me here with a colleague at a Sydney primary school is when I was Relieving Principal there. Now, over 22 years later, someone I have known in school education since 2013 is the newly appointed principal. I am so proud of him. He’s invited me to visit too once Covid is calmer!

What I Wore.

Goodness me, it has been a long time for one of these. I have stopped doing daily photos but every so often I might ask my husband to take one.

I know now, and this might sound weird, but bear with me….that I actually look ok.

I used to scour my daily photos for ‘what’s wrong’ and that is/was a problem for me.

I have had to accept that whilst I may not like my large upper arms and my double chins, they are are much a part of me ..right now…as my hazel eyes, and great nose and ears.

To pick on parts of my body is something I am doing all I can to reduce. I am never dieting again. I am accepting that I have actually remained around the same weight now for almost 3 years. I still “can’t” believe this at times but each of my clothes tells me that’s correct.

I am a work in progress here. I am proud that I can let the voice of criticism go much more than I ever could.

Word of The Year.

Well… leaving best to last is a good plan.

I smile most days a great deal.

In fact of course I have reasons to smile.

I am well.

I am alive.

But mostly, I smile to connect and communicate with others.

And my reconstructed top lip looks much better as a smile!

That’s my self care post done.

How is your self care progressing?

Denyse.

Link Up #248

Life This Week. Link Up #248

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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* 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, sales 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: 29. Please. 19.7.2021. My Post Is About Head & Neck Cancer Eating & Drinking Challenges.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Copyright © 2021 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

 

 

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Taking Stock #3. 27/51 #LifeThisWeek. 82/2021.

Taking Stock #3. 27/51 #LifeThisWeek. 82/2021.

I wrote about the changes I have made to how I will blog when it’s time for Taking Stock. You are, of course, welcome to use my new version of the prompts or ones initially devised by Pip Lincolne. This optional prompt occurs every 9 weeks. Before I start, some information:

July: World Head and Neck Cancer Day. 27.7.2021.

As we move into July, I will be publishing posts relating to Head and Neck Cancer as 27 July is World Head and Neck Cancer Day. It only started back in 2014 I think, with Michael Douglas the actor making the speech to open the world congress for all Head and Neck Professionals. Michael has had #hnc as its often abbreviated. In my role as an Ambassador for Head and Neck Cancer Australia, I will share more on-line and links about it too. In fact, the only fundraiser held by the charity where I volunteer (HANCA for short) promotes  Soup for the Soul events for people to arrange and then with any funds raised, to donate back to HANCA for the continuation of the support of supplying materials and information to GPs and to Dentist.

My local cafe BluJ’s has agreed to hold a Soup for The Soul Day and will be donating 100% of their takings on two soups. This place is one which I have been doing to for my much loved coffees since 2017 and I am stoked they are wanting to help raise awareness of Head and Neck Cancer along with me. Update: still hoping to go ahead once lockdown is over.

Now: Taking Stock for July 2021.

Admiring: those I see going through really tough times themselves supporting others. Examples I see: from cancer groups, from women in need of assistance and generally those who seem to need it most, reach out to help others.

Becoming: better at self-talk. I know, I know I know. By 71 I would have thought it may have gone completely but the good news, she has a much more gentle and compassionate voice and only every so often goes down what my husband calls the slippery slope. I know enough about my health and moods to recognise this so much more quickly.

Curious: about the ups and down of the blogging world. By that I mean what has obviously happened to many here in Australia there is reduced interest and reduced if not curtailed following of blogs. Maybe I am still naive enough to still think getting my words out there is good for my health…and I am always….

Delighted: that those words are often of interest to fellow bloggers who link up, and others who sometimes read and comment because….

Excited: is how I still am when I see something I have written and shared has a positive reaction.

Feeling: that I am well. It’s an amazing feeling alright and I am loving it.

Going: nowhere in particular beyond our normal neighbourhood and for good reason as we believe it’s….

Helping: to reduce our contact with any Covid 19 clusters and so we are….

Imploring: people to take this whole Covid 19 pandemic and its health and economic reactions and responses seriously even though we still see people….

Joking: about its impact. Maybe I am being super sensitive (yes indeed I can be!) but we Aussies have a tendency to make light of most things. May this time, we need to be serious and conscientious in taking personal responsibility.

Keeping: my life in perspective these days as much as possible and trying not to take on new ventures even though I can be tempted. 

Loving: the ways in which I can find simple joy in my day. It might be one colourful flower amongst a pile of weeds spied as I sit in the traffic queue at the lights or it might be turning the sound on when a friend’s baby LAUGHS with delight and it is shared via Instagram.

Making: the usual batches of meals and cakes and the like, because I only have to do that amount of cooking and baking once and get some nights off as a result. We often cook an individual meal or snack type meal for ourselves and we eat far less in quantity now we are…O L D er. It’s true!

Next: is probably what many of us are thinking about Covid19. There is so much uncertainty despite vaccinations going ahead around the world. And as I wrote above: we are still in Lockdown. 

Observing: that there are some things I notice more when I look down: a tiny leaf in a beautiful red, or a wee shell with a heart shape, or…what do you observe I wonder?

Pleasing: that my inner-self talk border far more on the forgiving and understanding side rather than its predecessor in black and white.

Reading: price labels on everything much better now I have my reading glasses with me in my bag. I don’t need glasses to drive, walk around but when it come to details I do! 

Staying:here as renters of this comfortable for us house as long as we are allowed to by the owners.*

Trying: to understand that even if we had to move (again, she says!) that our real estate agency would always take care of us. *In fact, they have told us that. 

Understanding: that years ago I could not have been this accepting of change. In fact, when….

Viewing: my posts for Taking Stock a few years back my constant refrain was about being housed securely.

Welcoming: your comments on this post.

X- You Choose! I am choosing to add some excerpts from previous Taking Stock posts as I can see that…

Yes: I have changed and for the good in term of my equanimity.

Z – You Choose! What say you? Have you noticed changes in yourself in recent years?

 

I have added these excerpts from 2017 when I was posting about taking stock. The dates are indicators of what was happening to me in 2017! A big year indeed. Interesting to look back.

Feb 2017: unwell with high levels of anxiety.

Waiting: to have enough money to buy a house

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

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

Questioning: why…about quite a few things that I now realise is futile

 

May 2017: just before I was diagnosed with head & neck cancer.

Trawling: Realestate dot com dot au with NO hope of buying anything but getting sad about how big the prices of houses are. Bad news.

Wanting: To be settled in our own affordable house one day. I hope.

Looking: Up at the sky every single day. It never fails to impress me.

Deciding: That going for a walk is better for feeling anxious than sitting feeling anxious. So I do.

 

July 2017: days before my first cancer surgery & reconstruction

Wishing: that my surgery was over, that I recover very well and that my year ahead will be a smooth path to have my mouth reconstruction over and there is no cancer found anywhere else. (quite a few wishes I know, but that’s my focus!)

Loving: the enveloping of care, concern and attention from many people since my cancer diagnosis and even though many of these people have never met me I know I am loved

Hoping: that Sydney house prices eventually settle as it’s a cray-cray scenario there (and in other cities I know) and I fear for those with a mortgage who are living  week by week

 

 

Sept 2017: waiting to heal & be ready for surgery #2.

Trawling: the internet for houses that we might buy ONE day …I think it is an obsession but I always want to be prepared.

Wanting: not much at all. No, that is a lie. I want to be planning something like a great holiday in my  our future.

Looking: quite self-conscious because of my mouth – post surgery – but….

Deciding: that is a small price to pay for being as cancer-free as any doctor can predict. 

 

Late November 2017: after surgery #2.

Thinking that the surgical team who care for me are very competent in their roles.

Feeling a lot more confident than I used to be about getting out and about up here and even taking myself to Hornsby recently.

Bookmarking all the wonderful comments that people make to buoy me up when I am feeling a bit down.

Waiting as patiently as I can for my long recovery and reconstruction of my mouth to be finished sometime in 2018.

Liking that I am learning, from my cancer experience, to be more patient than I was.

Wondering from how much my grandchildren have special memories of us, their grandparents.

Loving the blogging community I am part of and follow.

 

And to right now….happy and well…and ageing gracefully, I think, here we are: The Two of Us.

Do you think you’ve changed over the years too?

I guess it would be boring if we did not!

Denyse.

Link Up #247

Life This Week. Link Up #247

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. It’s a kind connection I value as a blogger! 

* 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, sales 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: 28/51 Self Care Stories. 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Copyright © 2021 denysewhelan.com.au – All rights reserved.

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