My wife, my two sons and their wives, and children
In 2016 I was diagnosed with terminal cancer, but I survived due to the love of my wife, family and friends and the expert medical care I received. However, my lifesaving cytotoxic cancer therapy left me with peripheral neuritis affecting mainly my legs and feet, which was highly disabling.
Before my illness, I was semi-retirement, a regular golfer, a canoeist participating in sea skull rowing in the sea off the coast in Simons Town, just outside Cape Town. In addition, I lectured medical students in public health medicine, my speciality giving back for what I had gained during my career. I was also active on a public health board to improve healthcare quality in hospitals and clinics.
My unexpected illness and the resulting disability had left me depressed and a feeling of worthlessness. I was wheelchair-bound but determined to continue contributing to society and my family as much as I could. I continued lecturing and attending board meetings in a wheelchair while actively participating in physiotherapy.
After many months I started to improve and learnt to walk again and started play golf again. My golfing friends support also helped me in my recovery. I also started to grow organic vegetables which also played an essential part in my recovery and still does as I continue to strive to sustain and gain on the physical and psychological aftermath of cancer.
The challenges to developing a flourishing productive colourful, and flavourful organic vegetable and herb garden continue to give me a sense of awareness and inner peace. There is a sense of joy and mindfulness when being close to nature, watching its life-giving properties, and growing its bounty if you understand and obey its rules.
I felt a need to share my experiences with people with similar interests and possibly at a similar life stage to learn together.
To achieve this, I decided to set up a website with my nephew, Wayne de Jager, an expert in the field who lives in San Francisco who has kindly helped me set up the site and now manages it.
I cannot thank him enough.