I have been on a journey for the past 20 yrs. It all started back in 1999 with a routine doctor visit. I had no symptoms, but they started checking me out for lymphoma. It was after an echocardiogram for a heart murmur; I had it since I was a small child. My doctor wanted to make sure it was okay. At the time I thought, geez, I’m 39 yrs old and have had this my whole life, why now? After months of back and forth to various doctors, they finally diagnosed me with indolent ( slow-growing) non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2000.
My life was hectic; I had a house full of kids, animals, and busyness! We just moved to a new home so my daughters would have their bedrooms finally after years of sharing, I finished graduate school and was looking for a full-time teaching job. That echocardiogram for a heart murmur changed my life. It has never been the same.
Primarily with indolent Non-Hodgkins ( follicular) lymphoma, they leave it alone until it progresses or you develop symptoms. Since I had no signs, they let me do “watch an wait” which is standard for indolent cancer, you wait until it needs treatment. In 2002, some of my tumors were getting too large. They needed to shrink them to reduce their size to minimize problems.
I was very blessed in 2002 to have access to a new drug approved by the FDA in 1997 to use with Lymphoma patients. It was called Rituxin and combined with chemo ( CVP+Rituxin) it was being used as a first-line treatment. I will be forever thankful to those cancer patients that went before me to trial this drug for it meant I would benefit from this drug. I was invited to participate in a drug trial up at Mayo in 2000, but I had three kids at home and lived 5 hours away. I was unable to attend due to my family life. It would have been too disruptive to my kids and husband. I responded well to the chemo combination and got a partial remission.
I have remained stable since 2002. A few scares here and there, but pretty much I have benefitted from this new drug. For me, the Chemo + Rituxin was a good choice, but I realize then and MORE NOW after much research over the years, that my body was not as healthy as I thought it was back in 1999; since I got cancer.
Before my diagnosis of slow-growing cancer, I thought I lived a relatively healthy life. I ran/biked during the week and ate healthily. I was not overweight or sick often. I thought I was in great shape. I have learned over the years, that cancer is a “symptom” of something very wrong with the host( my body) it meant I was not as healthy as I thought. I believe I am starting to sound like a broken record! Since I got cancer, I needed to change some things in my life.
The past 20 yrs has been a journey that I would never wish on anyone. This past year, I have watched good people in my community die from cancer and other illnesses. It breaks my heart. I don’t have all the answers, but I do know that changes can make a difference. We are all unique and what works for one person may not work for another. If we listen to our bodies, we can figure it out. Part of my healing since 2000 has been to grow more of my food in healthy soil right out my backdoor. I live in the city in your typical city lot. I don’t have acreage, but what I do have I try to work with each season.
I called my garden “Palm Rae “Urban” Potager’ back in 2010. Before that, it was known as my kitchen garden and pretty much filled with kids playing soccer or hitting baseballs until my son graduated from high school back in 2009. I no longer needed to share my backyard with my kids. It was mine to do what I wanted to with since they were off starting their lives. I did have food growing such as tomatoes and salad greens all those years but relegated to the back of the yard. Silly me!
I started blogging and sharing some of the things I was doing to our city lot throughout the years at Palm Rae “Urban” Potager since 2010. I am in the process of creating “Modern Day Kitchen Garden” as my primary place to share ” technical information ” on health, plants, or how to information.
My old blog is now my photo journey with stories from the urban oasis. It seemed weird to share my more technical stuff in that blog. Since 2010, I have been giving tours of my garden to help educate our local community. They are not formal just people that want to learn and try to create the same kind of healing on their city lots. I share a lot of plants and love to help others as they try and create an urban oasis.
The healing begins right below your feet! I’ve learned along the way that the ground surrounding our homes is a wealth of healing for all of us and we need to spread the word!
Robbie Palm, Quad Cities, Illinois
Organic Gardner, M.S. education, former Modern Dancer ( before kids!) now Modern Gardner that loves to share seeds, talk about how to turn our lots into places people can help each other heal while nurturing nature right out our doors in the heart of our Cities. Let’s get growing everyone!!!!