Sunday 22nd May 2022

Living With Cancer & Uncertainty. 4/51. #LifeThisWeek. 5/2022.

Living With Cancer & Uncertainty. 4/51. #LifeThisWeek. 5/2022.

I go to BIG places to help get me out of my small place: in my head!

  • In the week leading up to World Cancer Day, I wanted to share facts from the website, and here it is….and to also add my update at the end of the post.
  • Each of us will be touched by cancer in some way: directly via a diagnosis, being a partner or in some way related to someone with cancer and maybe knowing of friends and acquaintances who have had cancer.
  • Sadly as we all know, not all of those people survive a cancer diagnosis and I want to say how sorry I am about that. I also know some people reading here have cancer and I want to wish them well.

World Cancer Day 2022.

 

Head and Neck Cancer.

Head and Neck Cancer colours are maroon & white

 
Today I want to share this:
 
1. I am now in my 5th year of recovery from Head and Neck Cancer (HNC as we call it)  and much is not the same for me now BUT I am alive and well
 
2. I do what I can, within my skills list and experiences, to share about HNC various symptoms which can be seen as often nothing to do with a cancer. My own diagnosis took over a year.
 
3. Every day people I know of or through others know about, are dying from head and neck cancer. This is the sad news. Always.
 
4. I can only share my condolences to their families and friends and can continue to do what I do, with a sombre heart.
 
5. There are friends here who are suffering….from the long-lasting and ill-effects of this brutal Head and Neck Cancer and yet, they live.
 
6. They, like me, “Live With HNC and its effects”. I for one am grateful for that and that they are here too.
 
7. I know of people too, who are not doing well at all now, and are unlikely to improve, and in fact, will succumb when the HNC or another type of cancer has destroyed the life within.
 
8. I reflect on this often and I am so, so sorry. And sad.
 
9. I am aware that there are friends who have had HNC who do not share their updates and who prefer, if they can, not to be identified “with” their head and neck cancer. I respect that so much.
 
10. I will continue, as I do today, to honour all who have had the personal challenge of head and neck cancer, and those whose loved ones have died because of it.
 
And please do not ignore what might be signs of cancer. Covid has impacted people getting seen by doctors and going to hospitals because there is a myth they won’t be seen or it is not safe. Sadly, that has been creating a cohort of cancer patients now being seen much later and effective treatment may be hampered.
About Uncertainty.
  • It’s everywhere we look and see today.
  • Not only about health and cancer but more so about what the Covid Pandemic is doing to us all.
  • We have been in various levels of uncertainty for almost 2 full years now.
  • I know I have started to feel somewhat more anxious playing the wait and see of maybe getting a covid diagnosis. 10 PCRs & 2 RATS in 2 years: No.
  • I thought I would be better equipped to manage my somewhat anxious self as I have needed to garner my strength and capacity to deal with around 3 years of pretty serious and life-changing times.
  • First a cancer diagnosis, then hearing about my surgeries and having them…and then SO much time for more surgeries and recoveries and check ups and treatments….and that finished in some ways because of Covid, so I only had 2 in-person cancer checks in 2021.
  • I have no signs of cancer. I am grateful
  • But then I have some of my way back anxious feelings creeping back…connected to health for other reasons, whether we get to keep renting this house (have you seen how much real estate has risen…in our street alone, over 45% in 12 months) if the rent is too high….and more…and I don’t like it!
What am I doing…and being?
  • I practise Calm meditation morning and night.
  • I get out into nature every day.
  • I have disengaged with twitter for now. I was getting very angry about how our leaders were/are behaving.
  • I talk with B about it
  • I tell myself “this too shall pass” and “I have been like this before and it ends” and I believe me
  • I am listening to helpful books I have downloaded and am enjoying learning some more about ageing….
  • I am seeing my GP again soon, to hear how my recent test results were and “what the heck” has been wrong with me since late Nov. (Dear readers, I think it was me overdoing the doing and then getting a bit sick and then more worn out and I did not recognise it till a few weeks back….)
  • I am reducing my exposure to crowded places like a supermarket and using the NSW Service Check In App
  • I know it will eventually be something I can live with more easily
  • I have found some of my better health & mindfulness  resources from years ago and giving them another listen and read.
  • And colouring my world of course..helps me heal and stay well.
It also helped HUGELY last week to have a treat day of almost all the family visit us. Some we had not seen up here for over a year. Filled our hearts.
  • May you all be as well as you can be in heart, spirt and mind today, and onward.
  • I send my best wishes to you and yours who have been, and are affected  by cancer.
Denyse.

Life This Week. #275. 24.1.2022.

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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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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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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