I left the garden for the longest I have ever left it this summer. Two whole months. Early August I came home to a mass of overgrown plants, dead plants and weeds.
Retirement came shortly after we started the gardens in 2001, and we began to travel, so I was used to leaving it for 6 week intervals and the work involved in getting it back in shape again. But I was not prepared for what came next.
Within 3 days of our return I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then 3 days later crossing the corner of the pool I miss-stepped right into the pool resulting in some significant injuries to both my legs and an ambulance trip to the ER. Now I couldn't go out into the garden at all.
|Oxblood lilies begin to bloom|
My life had changed for ever. It has now been more than 7 weeks since this all began and much has happened. I have a team of people working on saving my life so I can garden again. Two surgeons, oncologist, incredibly dedicated nurses and staff at Texas Oncology and St David's hospital, radiologists, geneticists, pharmacists. I have already had two 'chair days' as a young friend calls them, which is usually my best day as it is the end of a 3 weekly chemo cycle when some of the side effects have started to subside. I will have 6 in all followed by a further 6 less toxic infusions with some kind of surgery in the mix. It will take a year. As the doctor said, "We have our work cut out for us" but the prognosis is excellent. Last week I lost my hair. It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. In fact it was a relief. I found a lovely wig which is so easy to take care of and I am now more comfortable walking around the house with my shaved head. Rather like old Scrooge I wear a night cap.
|The Mandevilla vine is starting to bloom too|
|Clematis climbing the lime tree|
Texas Oncology even took care of my footwear needs when I forgot my socks last week. A little note inside said " You are toe-tally strong! The stars at night in Texas are big and bright and so are you!"
|cancer patients keep their feet warm with socks donated by Triumph Warrior|
And for those with no garden or housebound a simple plant to care for inside the house is a good substitute. A friend of mine, who is not a gardener and is currently in hospital, was looking at photographs on Instagram this morning and saw my photo of the oxblood lilies. She emailed me about how uplifting it was to look at photos of flowers rather than hospital walls.
I hope to spend more time in the garden as the weather cools. I am not going to miss one of the best gardening opportunities of the Texas year.