Tag Archives: resilience


This morning, I woke up feeling …… hungry.  Dare I say, normal. Disregard the fact that it was just after five and still dark.  I was on the hunt for some food. Something specific.


My rising coincided with the return of the night herons from their nocturnal feeding grounds. Quiet and purposeful in their arrival, three of them moved from branch to branch until they found a roosting spot that was just right. They are stoic birds, used to ignoring the chirpers, mynah birds and lorikeets and other honey eaters who would have them move on and out of their neighbourhood.

As the sun rose, I photographed some of the lorikeets feeding in the grevilleas.

sunrise lorikeet - Gritty 13

Then off to the stove, where oats and bananas with yoghurt topping became my morning feast.

Nearly four hours on and the burst of energy is over. The fact that it was there, even temporarily, lets me know that my body is starting to rally during this first cycle. Go you good thing!

I’m off for a nap.


family, friends, food and films

After receiving yesterday’s blood count results, I apparently need a cheer squad to coax some of my white blood cells to get active.

It’s not really that big a deal in the scheme of things. I just need to keep laying low for a bit longer than hoped. By Saturday I hope to be on the climb back up towards the next chemo date. That’s about half-way through the first cycle and only three days away.

I’m now armed with a super-duper mouth wash to ward away/manage potential ulcers.  Yay!

This week, I’m grateful for:

cooler temperatures for sleeping and dozing;

the ability to record movies I haven’t seen and watch them at any time (Hitchcock and Haute Cuisine have featured thus far);

a live-in chef who concocted a delicious mashed potato and garlic on request last night;

calls and cards from friends and family;

stop/start medicines 😉 ;

chocolate; and most of all,

my wonderfully wacky big-hearted cousin who, yesterday, took to the clippers for me and others, and in memory of her dear Mum.  Looking good Marg! ❤

Marg Mac


hair today

head of hair - Mosaic 24 March 2014This is a mosaic aerial selfie of my head of hair. Not a real representation, I grant you, and here comes the shocking truth, neither is the colour.  Oh. You knew that?

Under normal circumstances, I would be due for a hair cut (and colour) about now. It’s a thick head of hair on a big head. Come time for a cut, the waves get past a point where they refuse all pleas and considerable force to take direction.  Every visit to the hairdresser and her magic thinning scissors is accompanied by a happy dance into the salon in anticipation of lightening the load.

A few years ago, I gave considerable thought to shaving my head.  It felt like it would be a bold statement (of what I’m not sure), more risky than stepping out occasionally in brightly coloured socks. Unsurprisingly, the thought came to nought.

In a few weeks’ time, my hair will throw in the towel. There’s a pun there waiting to find better form, but I’ll move on.  Some time before that happens, the ‘careful what you wish for‘ bare head will happen.

When it does, I will remember the words of Mary Anne Radmacher who cut off her own hair during a presentation she made last October in Georgia.

“It grows back”.

Resilience includes recognising the gifts you receive along the way, even though you don’t know they’re gifts yet.


unmet DEXpectations

Dexmethasone9.00 pm – Chemo Eve  What happened today?  Where’s that burst of energy that was promised me?  I’m struggling to stay awake at 9.00 pm, having been heavily tired all day, notwithstanding the doses of DEX.  I have a dull headache and slight tingles in my hands and feet, but otherwise so far so good.

DEX did his job well as far as the appetite stimulant was concerned. Let’s just say I had a hearty serving of dinner tonight. (Note to self – don’t do that again!)

I’m off to bed. The book I’m reading is going to be disappointed in me. Why do I have the feeling that there’s a rude awakening sometime in my near future?

Tuesday  3.00 am

Awake.  Retreat to the couch for some online time and then dozing under a throw rug.  Nocturnal birds are in good voice until, in the dawn light, the Night Herons, our seasonal residents, return after grazing on the shoreline in the dark.  The mynahs are early with their taunts to move the herons on. They hold their ground and settle in to sleep.


deliberate resilience – a new blog

For the past five years, I’ve been blogging in some way, shape or form. It’s become an automatic response for me to collect and record, to muse and create, to write and reflect, then muster the courage to put it all out there.

You’d think with these babies on the go (SentioNow and Then, Monoculus and The Adventures of Trig the Triceratops), I’d have enough nets to capture a relatively broad cross-section of interests.

Until now. I was diagnosed with breast cancer on 4 March, four short weeks ago. A random and fortunate self-discovery. Found early (enough). Already, there’s a treatment plan in place (chemotherapy, radiation, and tablets) to knock it, and presumably me for a short duration, for six. I considered incorporating what will be the content of this blog into Sentio.  But this writing will serve a different and specific purpose.

It’s about taking a deliberate approach to building and sustaining resilience. I had few options available to me on the medical treatment plan. I have much more choice over my personal approach to what falls out of that treatment. It won’t all be smooth sailing, yet I know that if I approach it as though it’s going to be six months of hell, no useful purpose will be served.

So, whether you’re in the same specific boat as me or not, let’s see how a deliberate resilience approach will work. There is no plan. Just an intuitive feeling that I need to hang on to what sustains me  under ‘normal’ circumstances, open myself up to what’s ahead and write about it.

a deviation

cakesTen days ago we were heading back from Stradbroke Island with the knowledge that I was more than likely going to receive a diagnosis of breast cancer on the following day.

Here’s my attempt to make sense of the last fortnight. With gratitude to Patti Digh for the last line.

figs and sugar plums



a soak in the bath

liquid surrounds

random self-examination

an anomaly

that’s what we’ll call it for now

a rescheduled appointment

a confirmation

the anomaly has a new label

the biopsies

the waiting

two days on the island

beach camping

nature offers welcome distractions

wind, rain, birds, sea, sand

the GP visit

another confirmation

sleeping tablets suggested

red wine substitutes

liquid sleeping draft

the alcohol free zone can start tomorrow

calls made

commitments cancelled

the surgeon

a date

admission forms

gratitude for insurance

the airport

the family rallying

afternoon tea cakes

totem selfies

shopping for sleepwear

fresh vegetables and fruit for juicing

liquid green

a photo walk to the point on dusk

the hospital

gift packs, flowers

a cushion for afterwards

compression stockings

information pack overload

making blue people from surgical gloves

the glare of theatre lights

an anaesthetist with a Scottish accent


liquid sleep


eyes open

clock on the wall

rating the pain

liquid comfort

ice chips

sandwiches and rice pudding for dinner

half-hourly observations

normal sleep position unattainable

late night television

black and white reruns

a hungry plea before the breakfast run

honey toast and coffee delivered

liquid sweetness

morning shower

surveying the battle ground scattered with blue dye

more of a skirmish really

two incision scars, new shapes to learn


social groups on offer

introvert wants to run for the hills at the very suggestion

new phrases join the soon-to-be common lexicon


well wishes from all quarters

temporary restrictions dawning

new routines necessary

the vegetable garden is getting an extension

as loved ones focus on the ordinary

maintain a piece of the normal

the waiting

in between the surgery and tomorrow’s conversation

and now, just today

liquid salt

hello moment, I’m here

Lynn Buckler Walsh

mangroves 1