Tuesday 24th May 2022

What IS Happening With The Weather? 22/2022.

What IS Happening With The Weather? 22/2022.

I admit I know little about the details of climate change, weather patterns and things not exactly being seasonal this year in Australia…and I write from New South Wales east coast of Australia. An area about 2 hours north of Sydney, called the Central Coast.

We moved to the northern end of the Central Coast in late 2015 and there have been some noticeable changes in waterways, beaches and the like over this time.

However, much much more in this recent Summer, (December, January & February) and I write this at the end of March. Autumn’s first month.

Using some of my images to track the weather conditions and effects that are relatively close to home.

January 2022.

I drove to the southern end of the coast, and also was around our local area, by the Wyong River, the lake at Gorokan/Toukley and the beach called Soldiers Beach at Norah Head where the Lighthouse is located.

Brisbane Water at Tascott

 

Brisbane Waters.

Over to Soldiers Beach on a summer’s day. Sadly there were not many of these.

Taking note of sand levels….for later photos

Some rocks are exposed but beach still has plenty of sand

Picture perfect water and lighthouse shot too.

Later on in January, some of the waterways looked like this. I visit them regularly and this is good for me to check how things are going….

February 2022.

I had begun some little drives to find more of the parts of the Wyong River as I love that it starts in the Mangrove Mountains/Wollombi area of N.S.W. and comes down in its many ways of staying with the land, to eventually places such as Wyong where I take a lot of photos, and it empties into the lakes systems at Tacoma where i also take a lot of photos…and the lake, when it becomes over filled is supposed to go out to sea at the Entrance. In theory.

The Entrance.

The ocean at The Entrance

Left: is where the waters of the lake enter the ocean.

I was determined, whilst the weather remained clear, warm and summer like to go back to the beach. Soldiers of course. But previous tides, and weather had changed the beach and the surf was rough, so I chose a quiet spot to get a bit wet and enjoy the sun.

The good weather held out for a while longer.

I drove to Dee Why in Sydney on the Northern Beaches to see Dad. It was a fine day. Things would not be so for some time after this, weather and health wise for Dad.

And kept up my routines of visiting nature locally to check on the waterways and more. I love doing this.

Marching…into March 2022. With gumboots needed!

March just was such a strange mix. Sunshine. Floods. Water, water everywhere. High tides. Sand erosion. Nature’s fury. And then, as if it was not yet done, the places such as Lismore in Northern NSW and other towns and areas were RE-visited by heavy, heavy rain and went through floods again. Honestly, it was even too much to bear watching it on media.

Sometimes we cannot work out what is fair when nature is in charge.

Sadly, for many of us onlookers, it was frustrating too, to have government INaction and it was each community and some help from the armed services and volunteers from State Emergency Services and more just getting in and helping people. Some were rescued from their rooftops, others from their houses at ceiling height before the water overtook them.

Just awful.

My Dad had a stint in hospital and then to come home, my brother drove through horrendous conditions on the Northern Beaches when the rains were so intense, local flooding occurred on main highways and road. Unprecedented….the word we are sick of hearing. Anyway, Dad was safely back at his unit, and my brother got home just before the roads were closed. Flooding and damaged roads. We are told over and over, not to venture into roads when water is pouring across it as conditions are no known underneath.

Here we were OK but stayed put most of the time. I ventured out on a couple of occasions to see the damage without being a nuisance to anyone…and the rain had stopped.

It really was a case of only leaving the house for urgent supplies. We postponed appointments which would have meant driving in hazardous conditions. This was the case for most of March, with some brief exceptions. I became used to carrying an umbrella everywhere and wearing a rain jacket and closed in shoes. We heard from my brother in law who lives in the affected (but safe) areas of the Northern Rivers and their rain gauge filled overnight (at 250mm) and flowed over. Unheard of weather.

STOP! I mean, this is the end of this post!

It’s 3rd April as I press publish and link up with Natalie.

Yesterday I drove to Newcastle a major regional city an hour north. The weather stayed DRY but the effects of the rain and wind patterns affected the ocean very much. In fact so much so, the a major surfing competition was delayed.

Daylight Saving ended in Australia today. We “fall” back one hour.

What’s the weather doing where you are?

More about my visit to Newcastle next Monday for Life’s Stories. Monday 11 April 2o22.

Denyse.

Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share today

Thank you Natalie.

https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

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

We Missed Mondays…..

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

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

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

 

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

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

BE   ME

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

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

More about that in the post that is coming.

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

Self Compassionate.

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

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

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

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

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

Link to course is here.

Some words from within the course.

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

What IS Compassion?

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

 

 

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

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

Self Compassion

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

I made a challenge:

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

Changing from less doing to more being.

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

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

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

I’ll use these hashtags

#selfcompassion

#selfcare

#timeforme

#takingcare

#healthinageing

#lifetransitions

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

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

and, 30 days is arbitrary.

Posting is as well.

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

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

How about it?

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

Let me know your thoughts,

with love, AND compassion,

Denyse.

Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share today

Thank you Natalie.

https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

 

 

 

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Grieving For My Body’s Losses from Head & Neck Cancer. 8/51. #LifeThisWeek. 10/2022.

Grieving For My Body’s Losses from Head & Neck Cancer. 8/51. #LifeThisWeek. 10/2022.

CW: images from my head and neck cancer.

This post talks about my grief and trauma before and following my cancer diagnosis.

There are images that may be confronting.

 

Links and phone contacts are here:

https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/cancer-information/advanced-cancer/grief/seeking-support/

Cancer Council: 13 11 20

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 46 36

https://www.lifeline.org.au/

Lifeline: 13 11 14

 

Before you read on, which I hope you will,  I am  doing well.

This post, however, has been one I have needed to write, probably for some time but it was not till recently did this need become apparent.

Warm wishes, Denyse.

 

It’s a shock to the system when you are told

we will be removing all of the upper part of your mouth and replacing it with a bone, flesh and skin from your leg“.

And to be honest, it has taken me till recent months in 2021 into 2022 to understand this has been a traumatic experience and that I am, in some ways, managing a post-traumatic event.

So here goes. Blogging and sharing has always helped me.

I hope it can be seen as a way to not only get something said but for me to now divulge what a struggle it is at times to live with the ramifications of my head and neck cancer.

May 2017: following my diagnosis the day before and meeting with the men who would form my team and perform the surgery at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.

My particular cancer, a verrucous carcinoma was in the upper alveolus. Explained here. And the cancer had spread to upper top lip – see left.

After the 2.5 hours of examination – lighted tube down my nose, examination of all areas where cancer might have spread and of course inside my mouth I received the news of how this cancer would be removed.

And that was too much for my emotional system to bear for then…so B and I had a walk along the short corridor to stand here and for me to take a 1/4 valium, a sip of water and to view this scene…

 

and then come back to hear more about the surgery and the ‘what comes next’. I was asked if I was fit to sign and yes I was. I had no idea of some of the words’ meaning but over time I would.

So about the grief then…..2017 into 2018 and when I got my upper prosthesis.

I actually felt relief as an emotion more because I finally had an answer to what was going on in my mouth for the past year or more. I also began to feel confident that this team of specialists was there to do the right thing by me always. My husband, my biggest supporter, agreed.

I blogged. And in June 2017, I wrote this….adding now, as it helps me recall the downright fear:

When I wrote this post I thought I was managing myself quite well. Since then, I have had some pretty horrid days (and nights) where I have become fearful, panicked, and so vulnerable I wanted to go into a corner and hide and never come out.

I am shitscared right now.

I am worried about losing what I valued: my mouth where I speak, eat, share my emotions and smile. It has been days of crying uncontrollably, being held until I calm down (thank you dear B) and taking some valium (which I don’t really want to) and letting out the fears  in words between the sobs. 

I fear: the loss of ability to use my mouth for at least 7-10 days, have a naso-gastric feeding tube down my throat for those days, having the skin/flesh/bone from my right leg inside my mouth after 3/4 (I did not know then it would be ALL) of my upper jaw/palate as been removed. Dealing with the not being in control.

I am, as I write, unable to really express what it means to be facing this loss of control of my body. I will be in ICU to start and may even have a tracheostomy to start if the mouth is too swollen. This is very scary to me, and I am admitting it now.

For me to admit how vulnerable I feel right now is to say “I cannot do this without help”.

  • I know I did some reflecting.
  • I also know it took me a while to get my paperwork done at home.
  • I also got ‘butterflies’ in my tummy each time I had the thought ‘I have cancer.’
  • I did some blogging about it too. However, I remember thinking “I don’t want to be known as a cancer blogger”.
  • I thought, and it was mostly correct, that I could write about much more than my cancer, and I did but I did not take into account some of the feelings I may have pushed away…because I wanted to look like and sound like I was managing very well indeed. Almost true but not quite. Sigh.

But I was confident, from the ways in which my professional team described their views, that my cancer was likely to be taken away and most probably not return.

I did not know in the early months, and post the big reconstruction surgery in July 2017 that I would face LONG times in recovery in hospital and at home.

Months

Into over a year.

Four surgeries in total.

Countless cancer checks and times at the prosthodontist : all requiring a 2 hour drive there and back. I did all solo from March 2018 and one with B in 2020.

I found I had more resilience and determination than I knew.

I found I had patience but it too wore thin as I was in a pretty constant state of:

hunger

for foods I could not eat…and so I had to become very creative. See posts here.

Counselling and Help For Me.

Before I was diagnosed with head and neck cancer I had been successfully managing my mental health with a wonderful psychologist in 2016 and into 2017. In fact I saw her before my first surgery and she already could tell I had the many tools needed to deal with what was ahead. I saw her some months after my surgery and we both agreed I was going so well. I was, and that continued for some time. In fact I did go back last year to check in with another psychologist and after two sessions she and I agreed, that with my working through my feelings and more, I would be OK. I was and I am. But…further on…see what can happen!

What a Time: Getting my Upper Prosthesis Fitted. August – December 2018.

Such a big day on 21 August 2018 when I left home with no upper teeth and arrived back with them fitted. I was tired but happy even though they felt weird and sore. There were days and weeks spent back and forth to Westmead for physical adjustments.

Of course I was HAPPY. And of course I SMILED a lot. And was complimented over and over.

That is so nice.

It felt like a reward from the many months of hard yards of surgeries and recoveries and very limited eating.

I don’t think I stopped smiling. It was so life-affirming…yet…

my love of smiling and my smile itself drew me many positive comments and I sometimes felt I needed to share that the smile is actually not the whole story…this IS the blog post I needed to write now. 

However, by myself, there were small disappointments.

I thought (and I had been told!) that I could eat like I used to.

However that was not true I had a limited ability to bit and even more so for chewing.

The amount of physical hardware that is in my mouth meant amounts needed changing as did how long it would take me to eat.

Oh yes, I was still having my memories of 69+ years of eating and at times it would be a very disappointed me who could no longer:

  • eat at a dinner table other than my own
  • go out for a meal
  • eat in front of others – excluding my husband and family
  • use food and socialising together
  • go away to spend a night somewhere (we did but it was incredibly challenging to take all I needed with me)
  • take it for granted that I could eat a meal/snack as I imagined.

So this was the beginning of grief.…yearning for what was and had been and could be no longer….

I dealt with it mostly privately and made excuses to people who asked me to events and outings. Coffee and cake of some kind was still OK. Some people were/are very understanding and accommodating but I still did not truly accept what LIFE was for me now until late 2021.

I realised I was unwell and it was an overload of self-expectations and an unrealistic view of what I was now, as a 72 year old, living with the effects of head and neck cancer surgeries could do.

My body told me it was time to stop. Took me a while to listen!

Admission Of How I Was Feeling. Grief and Sadness. 

With so much gratitude for my return of health, following the diagnosis and being able to accept the role of an Ambassador for Head and Neck Cancer Australia, I did get many opportunities to share the awareness, the stories and more to help others. That sure did appeal to teacher-me. I have been incredibly fortunate to have my cancer removed and doing well. In fact, I guess I even have some survivor guilt. It IS a thing.

I was going well in covid times, as I was able to adapt and work through helping others with head and neck cancer and whilst we could not hold events, I remained a participant where necessary supporting others who have head and neck cancer, and doing what I could to bring my messages of  personal experiences to federal politicians.

Then this year, I became determined to listen more to my body and take better care of my emotional health and I learned that I can say “no thank you”.

It’s been hard.

I am, by nature a people pleaser and an extrovert but I also wore myself out. A post about Being Me is coming soon…and what I have done.

But before I go:

This is the point of what I wanted to say.

  • I am managing my grief now in a better way because I know it is safe to share
  • My times in nature are helpful, as is my reading about grief and cancer, along with my daily meditations

I am also telling more of the truth about what is.

Acceptance of does not mean ” loving” or even “liking” something or situation but when there is no choice..and fighting it makes it worse…then I accept that I have had a traumatic event in my life, and I now share with greater honesty.

And that whilst I have had many, many compliments about my recovery and my smile, it has been a much harder time than even I was prepared to own up to...

till a night this week when tears overwhelmed me as I realised the brutal way in which my body had to be changed…to rid me of a nasty cancer.

This series of images and then the culmination of a graphic goes some way for me to share with the world…my readers and bloggers how it really IS to have had this cancer and the aftermath.

It’s coming up to 5 years in May, since my diagnosis and that is probably playing a part in my looking back and seeing how this has been. I will never discount it as a life trauma now.

I accept it is.

I also know I can admit how hard things are. No longer hiding it.

 

This is the graphic which I made when I was feeling less than understood about how my cancer was affecting me…because it really has been MUCH more than getting a smile back. Much, much more involved.

Life’s traumas are not always obvious until later…somehow we keep going. I did till I stopped.

There are number and links for support listed at the beginning of this post.

I do hope you are OK and that reading this frank account from me has been something that you can see why I needed to share it.

I am doing well.

Thank you,

Denyse.

And I am visiting 98 year old Dad at Dee Why today so will be back to see the post later today and comment as well.

 

 

Life This Week. 21.2.2022.

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.

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

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Love Is… 7/51 #LifeThisWeek. 9/2022.

Love Is… 7/51 #LifeThisWeek. 9/2022.

LOVE is making my husband his fave chocolate cakes, freezing them, and he gets to enjoy one a day! Recipe: NMAA Cooks: Simplicity Chocolate Cake.

What is love?

  • You can’t see it. Only in person and in expressions of it…maybe.
  • But you might very well feel it, hear it and know it.
  • I am sharing a trip of nostalgic love from my life…

and at the end there is a quiz.

Not about the post but about something B and I found interesting as a 51 years together couple!

Here are some memories of what LOVE IS for me:

Parents to our daughter. Learning about unconditional love.

First selfies I think…with Ms now 12.

 

Love the privilege of introducing H to the beach, 13 years ago

 

LOVE is meeting our 6th granddaughter and 8th grandchild. 2015.

 

Now: love of learning, love of teaching and love for these young people, our children, who followed career paths of difference and now are working in professions they love too.

Love the moments of connection with little people. Those we are fortunate to call our grandchildren, and to have time to nurture our relationship over the years during the times they spent at our house for day care and for sleep overs.

I LOVE this photo I took of H & R as they were about to meet their new baby sister back in 2013.

We had the privilege of picking them up from school & preschool to do this.

 

Early morning after dawn on ANZAC Day. Love of and for my country.

 

Then there is this love: Nature…in its many forms.

Long time ago now, but back in 2011 when I first met many of the Aussie Bloggers who are still  my friends, I found a love of a different kind. One where I was included in a different social setting to my previous life as a teacher. One where I became accepted and enjoyed meeting with and enjoying how much blogging would come to mean for me. Here I am at 2012 Digital Parents’ Conference in Melbourne where I was a speaker: “My Blog, My Story.”.

I also would not be blogging now if it was not for the friendships made way past that time here, and into the communities where I have been accepted as a fellow blogger. I love the connections and that you who follow me and add your posts are here today. Thank you. I love that.

Colouring My World…with nature, colour and appreciation.

I also have a love for those who have helped reconstruct my life…my mouth and more following my cancer diagnosed in May 2017. Forever grateful for their presence and care in my life.

Love Stories: By Trent Dalton. Wow. I am listening via Audible and even though I have the physical copy of the book, his voice (and his emotions) gives it far more in terms of life as he knows it. And I got to meet Trent at Newcastle Writers Festival in 2019 and HOPE that he may be part of the yet to be announced program for 2022. Would love to catch up again.

  •  Uplifting True Stories about Love from the Internationally Bestselling Author of Boy Swallows Universe

 

And last but never least, is the relationship of love I have with my husband.

We have our ups and downs but far fewer as we live more gently in this quieter retirement we have made, and generally we are very well suited. As they say “opposites attract” but we also share lots of similar interests and have the love of each other at the heart of our relationship.

But, there are still some hiccups of connection along the way so recently we did this quite short but interesting (for us) quiz.

If you have a partner, it may interest you too. We are very late to the 5 Love Languages which were first heard of way back via Oprah and the man who came up with this. Since then, it has helped countless communicate just that little better as we have too. Not sharing our responses! Between us but it has been helpful.

 

https://www.5lovelanguages.com/quizzes/love-language

A timely post on Valentine’s Day 2022. I know it is celebrated around the world in different ways. Some commercial enterprises do try to help us into spending our money! Our grandkids’ high school has a “buy a single rose” event which can be pre-ordered and I think the money goes into a fund for end of year events. I do recall seeing kids walking out of school with the cellophaned red rose!

May love be kind to you and yours.

Denyse.

 

Life This Week. 14.2.2022.

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.

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

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

* 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.

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Click here to enter


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