A Year in my Garden

The cancer came.

I sat in the garden and cried into the asparagus, wondering if I would live to eat the tender spears.

Through chemotherapy the garden offered up ginger for nausea and watercress for soup. I had no energy. I resorted to weed killer, leaving the garden bald and barren.

When the fever came I rode it, hoping it wouldn’t become life threatening neutropenia. There was too much rain and the garden became waterlogged. I sweated. The fever broke. Three of my four tumours were gone.

Before surgery I hurt my elbow when, with a sudden rush of adrenaline fuelled energy, I pruned the apple trees and set aside the wood for smoking. After surgery the rain kept coming all through summer and the garden became wild and overgrown. I looked at the vegetable garden and remembered that chick weed is good for healing.

I started daily radiation therapy for six weeds. There was no time for the garden. No energy for the garden. I fought fatigue to dig the miracle of untended potatoes and to harvest joyful mandarins. The brush turkeys dug holes in the lawn. The wallaby ate the day lilies.

Slowly I recovered. I felt a little stronger as autumn arrived and the claret ash turned the same shade as my irradiated skin. I made soup from Jerusalem artichokes and fed scraps to the worm farm. I shared tamarillos grown from seed beside the compost bin. I made jam. I harvested pumpkins and put them on the corrugated roof to sweeten. The pumpkins rotted out from the base and I fed them to the worms.

My one year scans showed something unexpected. Probably fat necrosis said my surgeon, or dead cancer. Maybe something in-situ. Nothing to worry about. Take another slice like the magic pudding and all will be well.

I wondered if this scar would be as good as the last one. I tried to do some mulching but I was sill too tired. I went to the nursery and wasted money on plants that died. I surrendered. I organised for someone else to come and help. I went for surgery. This would be the end. All would be well.

The pathology said the cancer was back. The doctor said mastectomy. I sat in the garden and cried. The garden cried with me. Both of us, poisoned, flooded, burned, pruned and neglected. Both of us desperate to live.

I woke up without my breasts in a room without plants. I opened the shutters to look at the sky and the trees. A crow came every day to sit on a TV antennae outside my window, broadcasting a message I didn’t understand. The pathology came back. I was cancer free.

After eight days of care I go home tomorrow. There is a storm outside. The wettest day all year. The wind will rip through my garden. When it stops I will go outside and start rebuilding. I will put my feet in the soil. The magnolia blossoms will be destroyed. The daffodils will be ruined.

It doesn’t matter.

I can enjoy them next year.

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4 thoughts on “A Year in my Garden

  1. Loved this post Meg ………..funny thing is I have been thinking of you and your garden this last week and can picture you back there………….it has so many memories , your garden…….enjoy it for many years to come………….lots love xxx

  2. I am back. The follower I was trying to help unfollowed me.Since she was my first, I will never unfollow her. She exercises a lot but no change in diet. Maybe blogs like yours can help. as she had the same diagnosis! She got a couple of mets but not to vital organs. Have a nice summer!

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