Friday 28th January 2022

Self Care Stories #7. 47/51 #LifeThisWeek. 127/2021.

Self Care Stories #7. 47/51 #LifeThisWeek. 127/2021.

The Last Of These 2021.

With images and some a lot of words, I will bring you, my readers, up to date with self care!
Here we go.
Mental Health
I got to do this after lockdown ended on 11 October for us here on Central Coast N.S.W….and second day in a row made it even better.
Celebrating wellness, and cafes being open..and sitting to have a coffee (double shot small latte) was a joy.
 
Had my final visit to psychologist too- had 2 in total this time round – as I had already been implementing quite a bit I had learned via my first psychologist (2016-17) and “life” experiences, reading & listening, AND having a trained counsellor husband for some “tips” and listening…
 
My own words as takeaways for me:
 
Allow time to pass. I learned this over & over again between head and neck cancer treatments…
 
Some voices and messages from so-called authority figures in my past told me information that was not helpful and fed the shame I carried about parts of my life….
 
I have the tools I need in my toolbox of strategies
 
My time in Covid was made ‘easier’ because of what I learned as a head and neck cancer patient
 
Allowing myself to feel the feelings…acknowledging them and letting them go is good practice for me
 
My self-awareness and understanding of what can be holding me back is improving as I acknowledge it too
 
That’s about it.
 
Oh and there is no shame in seeking psychological help at any time. I did this via a GP Mental Health Care Plan.
Making slow and minimal changes for me (no-one else!) re weight and activity.
And How Life Went for Us in Photos!
We used to have morning tea dates way back, now, each fortnight, we are trying out mini excursions. The one overlooking M1 is from a back road which wends from Ourimbah through rainforest! This is less than 25 mins from home. We continued to explore last week, driving to Terrigal (about 45 mins from home) to experience the new Boardwalk from the Haven to Terrigal Beach. Lovely! Not crowded as a school/work day and drizzly.

Self care is not selfish. We know that, right?

I would like to admit how much I feel the benefits of cutting back my blogging and my commitment to some of the social media groups and more that I think I felt far too much pressure (me, internal) to continue. As stated in last week’s blog post, I am making changes to 2022 plans for blogging and and thanks to you, the readers and sharers of your blogs, for understanding my ‘why’.

The Ageing Thing. 

It’s true for me, and my husband, that turning 70 and beyond has brought new issues to deal with in terms of physical health.

Ones that need check ups, some that need (different/new) medication and other test and referrals. We have a fantastic GP team where we have been going since April 2017 and in the very unlikely event that we ever had to move, the worst part would be if we could not continue to see this group. Mind you, no plans to move AND hope to continue renting here for as long as the owner allow.

Recently I’ve had an opthalmologist changeover as the person Mr W and I had been seeing since our 40s, finally said “I’m retiring”. Fortunately the practice we go to remains at Morriset, about 30 minutes drive away and they have all our records. I had some reassurance when I thought I was having a sight problem. Dad has macular degeneration so I keep up to date with how my eyes are going. The new Doctor told me there was a little bit of tissue behind the right eye that had its cataract replaced in March 2020 (left eye too) and he lasered it away in the surgery, and whilst I had some reactions with light sensitivity and still some blurring, I know my eyes and sight are in good order.

Annual Bloods and Other Tests. I always wonder how these will be as low iron has been a problem till the iron infusion in February 2021. Results are in: marvellous in all areas of health. I am incredibly grateful for wellness and, even with my cancer, to have good health. My iron, was 11 before infusion in February, rising to 200+ in March 2021, and now at 170 ish.

Feet! The podiatrist sees me every 6 weeks and things are going well with no dramas. I have had to accept the fact that the skeleton and muscles and tendons in my feet are ‘in pretty poor’ shape so shoes/walking wise I must always wear something, even around the house. Barefeet, my previous practice, can over time, and walking on hard floors cause plantar fascitis.

Hair. Well, now that I knew it was back to good health and thick (or so thick!) before I had it cut, I am relieved my hair health is back to good.

Breasts. I had an unexpected mammogram and ultrasound because of some pain but all clear, and strangely enough, pain went too. Now next one is in 2 years.

Any Follow Up For Rectopexi? Nope. Best decision ever to have that long-delayed surgery and to never be worried about bowel incontinence again. IBS has basically disappeared in the nasty diarrhoa form I used to get so very pleased with change in life style this brought.

Ears. I probably have some hearing loss but not needing testing at all…yet.

Heart, kidneys, lungs etc. All good via my GP’s test.

Cancer! Oh that. Mouth goes well. I hope to see my prosthodontist in the new year as he hasn’t seen inside my mouth for 7 months. Pretty sure my care is fine. And, my “last” (sob!) head and neck cancer check will be in September 2022. Why sob? Love my Prof and Nurse. Will Miss Them!!

Teeth. Yes, the remaining 8 on the bottom are going well thanks to me and my dentist up here.

Emotional Health.

My cup is already full of love for and love of our family.

Our daughter, solo mum, relieving Assistant Principal, turned 50 this year and just keeps on going. Very caring person and her three adult children benefit from her love every day. Miss E, aged 9 does too of course..when not asking a million questions!

Our son, solo dad, and psychologist, doing all he can to work on his new business helping Dads, maintaining a terrific physical health program via his local gym, and being the best dad to his four kiddoes aged 14 to 6.

We missed seeing them all, as did all people with loved ones in covid, and so our daughter and her youngest visited the first weekend of freedom, our eldest granddaughter the following weekend, and then we drove to Sydney to see our son and his four at his place.

This is how hearts are filled with joy, wonder and love…..

Minding H & R in 2011

 

Now here they are…R is off to HS in 2022, her brother into Yr 9.

And it was, as always good to see my father even though his sight is not great and he is weary, he can still enjoy a chat (it’s inherited by me) and we enjoyed some reminiscing and some morning tea. Afterwards, I drove to Manly to enjoy the views from the Wharf end. Growing up here was not even seen as anything special back in 1950s and 60s but as time has passed, I know I am grateful to have this as part of my life’s history.

And I will leave, with this… a great horizon shot!

How’s your self care coming along?

Share in the comments.

Thank you for reading and commenting!

Denyse.

Link Up #267.

Life This Week. Link Up #267.

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Mindful Art Helps To Heal Me. 91/2020.

Mindful Art Helps To Heal Me. 91/2020.

Since way before my cancer diagnosis in May 2017, I used art – my generic term for all things visually & kinaesthetically creative – as a distraction and mindful way to help me focus on ‘just one thing’ and to reduce levels of anxiety and stress. I have written quite a few posts about this and some can be found here.

What I have been doing lately.

I always have a few different sizes in art/display books to work on. I tend to use different sizes for mandalas, patterns and for drawing. However, this is no rule to this. I like a variety of choices.

Choices in books, materials and media. The following three photos are from my post-2017 recovery from surgery times.

And now here’s more: Self-Care is first.

This from a small book I carry with me right now about Kindness. I read and reflect on its words when I have my solo coffee time.

Why Art?

For me, it’s tactile and as a visually-oriented person it appeals greatly and I can get lost in it. That is my version of calming down and becoming mindful. In fact, when I may be waiting on news – health or otherwise- I will often make up something very intricate to work with, and leave it on my art desk to return to over and over. It sure does focus me on JUST ONE THING.

Some examples here of projects which have helped me focus and in doing so I have been taken away from the worries and fears and into this world that helps keep me on a greater emotional even keel.

Update of what it’s been like for the past year or so.

 

  • In recent years I have tried to emulate others’ works by using their materials such as stamps and stencils and cut out figures.
  • What I found is that this kind of trying to be like another’s work was both frustrating and limiting.
  • I found some of the physical materials: paints, stamps and more very expensive to buy and then not using them as I had hoped.
  • I admit stamping is not my forte. In some ways I can stamp but not in the complicated ways of specialists.
  • There are some creatives too who only enjoy seeing their work reflected back to them.
  • I learned I am not that kind of artist. In fact, I gave some of my items away and stopped following those pages.
  • I know I enjoy the annual Index Card a Day Challenge from the US. It’s for 61 days of June and July. Here are this year’s completed cards.

Grateful for art and creativity

 

What might I be planning now?

  • I admit that whilst I love going back to enjoy some of the more familiar art activities like mandalas and patterns, I still need a challenge or two.
  • I learned above that my skills lie in other fields.
  • I know I am far more tactile than I realised but I also do not like messes on my hands. Mmmmm.
  • This for me then means cutting out and using glue sticks. I don’t like getting paint on my hands. Maybe too it’s because of where I have my art activities and this house is not ours. Nevertheless it’s good to know my limitations.
  • In my recent clear up and clean out of my art area I found many more blank books of differing sizes and this is exciting as our budget is limited. Actually it probably was limited when I bought these. Yikes.
  • Quality of materials means I do not get frustrated with what I am working with so I have, ahem, spent a lot of money over the past 18 months and I am well-stashed!!

Working with words and more.

  • I enjoy finding quotes that appeal to me and printing them to use in a page
  • I am very fortunate that most days the Daily Calm quote from my daily morning meditation has a great quotation I believe in and learn from so am saving them as photos for future use.
  • I have a series of small books like these below. They are the idea size for me to take in my little art kit and re-read and reflect.
  • I have bought most via book depository (free postage) but they may also be in smaller bookstores.

These books are really helpful.

About the healing part.

Whilst my cancer recovery has been excellent, I have also had several surgeries both minor and major in 2020. In times of needing to be at home…much more in COVID times of course, and to remain physically rested, then to distract myself from any feelings of deprivation (coffee, driving, getting out!) I used (and use) my art space.

From what I know of my physical recoveries which have been for the main part, excellent, I know that my emotional and mental outlook play a great role too.

Coming to my space for art and play is a way of winding back from many thoughts and just focussing on what is in front of me. This strategy has helped me more than I ever might have thought.

Since 6 October I have been released from all of my treatments and surgeries..by that I mean, no more regular visits to the GP for dressing changes and wound care from the second abdominal surgery. My prosthodontist saw me briefly when I had some mouth pain recently but he doesn’t want to to come back till around May 2021 and my head and neck surgeon said ” see you in September 2021″.

THAT is an awesome feeling...and in its own way sets me a new challenge.

How to enjoy myself even more creatively!

What do you do to help you heal?

Do you have any creative outlets?

Denyse.

Joining with Leanne and friends here for Lovin Life Linky.

 

 

 

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Self-Care: Share Your Story #5. 34/51 #LifeThisWeek. 89/2019.

Self-Care: Share Your Story #5. 34/51 #LifeThisWeek. 89/2019.

The past few weeks have been less about self-care and more about caring what others think and say.

I “know” that is not the ideal way to live my life going forward but in some ways I think it’s connected with a major life-experience which was about to occur at this time of year in 2002. I wrote about it here. I get to this time of year and ask myself ‘what’s wrong?’ when I have nothing much happening to make me feel a little less confident and emotional. Then I look at the date. So, knowing this helps and it reminds me to accept that I still have sad feelings about how I had to walk away from my principal’s role but that I also got on with my life as best as I could once the first 12 months of being treated for the effects had helped.

I have written about this in a series of posts last September if you would like to read them.

September Stories 1. September Stories 2. September Stories 3. September Stories 4.

I also used my story for my Women of Courage post, here.

Self-Care and What It Looks Like Now For Me.

Appreciation For The Support & Love. Moving On.

 

Doing this more. Getting Outside.

 

If I do not care for my mouth and prosthesis properly then I am not self-caring for my physical health. My daily routine.

 

This was something different. Very small pizza, takeaway. Two meals! Worth it? Not really but I gave it go.

 

Using some of my me-time for creating and liking the results.

 

My daily coffee, treat and using my mini art journal. Getting out every.single.day. whether I feel like it or not IS the best self-care I have.

 

Letting others know of my appreciation for them. Self-care is shared.

 

This was important to me from a self-care and love viewpoint. Top images this year, bottom ones a year ago. I was so pleased, despite some weight gain (with teeth!) I could still wear the clothes.

So I found some examples in the end. Thank goodness. I haven’t really lost the ability to self-care, it’s just a blip in the progress I am making and I am honest enough to share the reasons as I see why.

How is your self-care going?

What’s your best tip for when you are least feeling like being self-caring?

Denyse.

 

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Self-Care: Share Your Story #4. 28/51 #LifeThisWeek. 77/2019.

Self-Care: Share Your Story #4. 28/51. #LifeThisWeek. 77/2019.

This week I will be completing week 8 of a ten week “moving for wellness” from the N.S.W. Department of Education as part of the Premier’s Sporting Challenge. I was kindly allowed entry as a retired principal …and it has been such a good boost to my physical and emotional health. I got a pleasant suprrise last week…I am doing better than I ever thought I might.

 

For this week’s self-care story it’s about:

  • finding a better balance between ‘doing for others’ and ‘doing for me’
  • learning about something new to help me use my phone with greater ease
  • making myself get into the outdoors more..no matter what the weather
  • allowing  time for morning teas out and meeting people and loving it
  • daring to go somewhere challenging & despite some difficulties emerge from it with greater self-confidence
  • accept that to grow, I still need to remind myself to do the hard things. Posts about that here and here.
  • returning to art-ing as a daily and creative habit after some time away and loving it more because of that
  • being well….because I have such a great team who have cared for me since I got cancer two years ago (posts here) and it’s UP TO ME to stay this way

What’s been your level of self-care lately?

Denyse.

 

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * 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 by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!

Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 29/51 Winter: Like/Loathe 22/7/19. 

I will not be following the optional prompt as I have been remiss in updating Telling My Story, so I will write the next post for that instead.

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