Things are a changing this month.….I started this blog in 2010 as a photo blog to document what I was growing and, well, it has changed over the years…. I have been thinking about the direction of where I want to go in 2015…..In 2000, I was Dx with incurable indolent cancer and it changed my life because it could, but now I am changing my life, because I can…Being diagnosed with an illness in your early or late 30’s to early 40’s, which is mid-career time, for most people, changes a lot of stuff in your life. It did for me. My career goals were pushed to the side, I had to change directions, due to my health + what mattered to me after my illness changed….I changed over time, and what appealed to me before, no longer seemed to capture my attention….
The changes did not happen all at once, but they were gradual and cyclical in nature..for example, the past 10 years, I lived in 6 months increments and the same things happened in those 6 months and they never veered to the right or left for me for a decade, but over time they had less control over me and were less predictable in nature. This past year, they are no longer cyclical in nature because I have the ability to change them now….. I no longer have CT’s done annually, but in 2003, I was told I would more than likely have to receive tx every 2 years due to my outcome from CVP+R, but as the years rolled on, that changed.
An important component to my survival was an experimental drug that the FDA approved in 1997( Rituxin) which I was given with my chemo in 2003…. we are blessed to be living in a time in history where new drugs are being discovered every 6 months to fight illness. If you can keep yourself healthy and alive, you may see a new drug come across your path that can help you in your battle…it happens every day to many people battling an illness.
I have observed over the years as soon as people get treatment for their chronic illness, or medication to fight their disease, they just keep on doing the same things they always did. You really cannot continue with the previous lifestyle you had before your diagnosis. You have to become your own advocate and attempt to”identify” those factors that may have contributed to your situation. The bottom line….. doctors treat symptoms.
I have a wonderful oncologist and he “treats” my symptoms based on current research as to what works best, but never discussed with me over the years possible lifestyle changes that may contribute to battling my disease. It is not his speciality and also,it really is a crap shoot since you really never know what caused your illness, but we need to try! We need to look at our lifestyle and figure out what ” may”of contributed to our situation, for example, if you have a lot of stress, smoke, eat poorly, do not exercise, well, maybe you need to change what you can change. The Serenity Prayer fits in here as a foundation of where one must start in battling an illness…
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference
At first, It can make you obsess about your health ( which is something we all go through, but this part does pass!), for you are desperate to try anything that you hear will “cure” your illness. Believe me some “theories” as to “why” you got a particular disease are far-fetched and just plain quackery, so the final sentence of the Serenity Prayer is one you want to memorize…”wisdom to know the difference” …..for there are quacks everywhere!
I have become distracted this year from my first goal of Palm Rae Urban Potager, which was to discuss how to grow more healthy food closer to home on small city lots, creating a sustainable oasis for myself and nature to heal, and finding healthy foods best to grow in small spaces to help us ALL stay healthy.
As the years roll on, you make changes in your life while you live with your “chronic” disease and learn to listen to your body. You make choices daily, weekly, and over time you see the positive changes. Life after a health crisis has to change, for if you go back to the way you were before, you will find yourself there again.I use to grow a few tomato, pepper or salad greens before my illness, but now I grow a wide variety of food mixed with flowers to create an escape from daily stresses in our world today. I hope when you visit Palm Rae Urban Potager that you get some ideas on how you can create a place to escape and de-stress as you grow more food, herbs and flower to keep yourself + nature healthy right in the middle of the city everyday!!!