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Gardening is my therapy: It helps fight the surging depression caused by cancer

About me

Hello everyone! I’m Dang.

 Thank you for dropping by.  Welcome to my humble zone.

I’m a breast cancer patient fighting for my rights to live. I created to show that BIG C is not the end of the world. But a beginning of a fight and a new life. I encourage those who are at the same shoes to fight even if you feel exhausted, even your wallet was drained. That, there are reason to fight back and a reason not to give up. Cheers!

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After a series of chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and hormonal therapy, what else I can do to assure that I’m healed? Aside from maintaining good eating habits and staying active, I found out that having a joyful heart is also a therapy.

There is an underlying effect of being a cancer patient and for me it was DEPRESSION.

Yes, I have depression. It was proven by my psychiatrist when I visited her. At first, I just came to ask for an assessment needed for the application of PWD Id. Then I found out, that I have severe depression. It was caused by a filling incident that happened to my life from my younger age up to now.

The doctor advised me of a hobby that will make my mind busy to prevent overthinking. I found myself happy in gardening and keep it as part of my therapy.

You may be interested how I propagate Moringa plant.

In this article, I want to show you how I manage depression through gardening therapy.

Gardening is my therapy, but how to do it in a limited space?

I’m living in a fourth-floor apartment and maybe 10 meters high with a limited space to start with. I looked everywhere to spot a place that the sun may shine for an hour. I was lucky that our balcony is facing east and can catch the morning sunlight from 7 am to 12 am. It was a great spot for my mini garden so I started planning how to set it up. It comes out that hanging garden is the best way to use the balcony.

I started getting some thick wire to use as a hanger for the plants. I make sure that it is properly installed, so my plants will not fall. By alternating the wire, my hanging planters look like a layered hanging hook.

Preparing the gardening soil

The soil mixture that I used was 60-20-20. It was a proportion of soil, rice hull, and compost. So if I use 6 can of soil, I have to add 2 cans of rice hull and 2 cans of compost.

This proportion was proven effective for my plants. They love it and they grow faster. The rice hull helped to drain the water to prevent root rots. I prefer to used carbonated rice hull so that the worms and ants will not feed on them. I found out that ordinary rice hulls can be a breeding ground for pests and ants but they refuse to stay if the rice hull is carbonated. The soil mustn’t be a breeding ground for insects so that the plants will not suffer. On the other hand, earthworms are good for our plants. It produces vermicast known as organic fertilizer. But if they grow too much in a pot, they will produce too much vermicast causing the soil to become sticky and the water my stock in the pot causing the root to rot.

Preparing my pot

As I wanted to use the best pot, like ceramic and terracotta, I can only use a plastic pot because it is thin and light. As I said, I will hang the plants, 10 meters above the ground. I used thick wire that can handle the pots with plants and make them secure. Otherwise, it may fall on the ground.

My Plants. My Therapy.

I can say that Gardening is my therapy. It diverts my mind in thinking of many negative thoughts. It clears my mind in overthinking about cancer. I started to grow herbs for my cooking needs like rosemary, thyme, tarragon, basil, celery, onion leeks, and tomatoes. I also tried plants that may help me to recover from my surgery like aloe-vera and serpentina, oregano, and mulberry

 How these plants helped me to recover naturally?

The benefits of serpentina for a cancer patient may not be supported by medical science. But I believe that the bitter taste of plants can be useful for our health.

Though Aloe vera is just an ordinary plant, its healing benefits saved me from the side effect of radiation. After some shots, the affected area of my skin was dried and burned. The doctors recommended a hydrating and moisturizing lotion that can ease the pain.

My aloe vera

But after some application, my skin got irritated and itchy. I decided to stop using the said lotion and tried aloe vera because of its cooling properties. And to my surprise, it heals the skin so fast without the sticky feeling and itchiness. I also used aloe vera for my hair growth. I was I’m so amazed by its medicinal effect so I decided to propagate aloe vera as many as possible to share with my plantita friend and told them my story.

gardening is my therapy
Some of my Vegetables from hanging garden
Gardening is my therapy
Gardening is my therapy

Celery is one of the most important vegetables that a cancer patient should take. It is an excellent source of potassium, calcium, vitamins A, C, and K. It also cleanses the blood and helped the liver for detoxification.

More information about celery click here

Oregano to the rescue. And because we are living in a higher place, the cold weather is not new to us. And if the cough and colds attack, the oregano juice is my first choice to suppress the incoming cough and colds.

And of course, I can’t eat without Chillies. It helps boost my appetite after chemotherapy. Foods and water may taste like metal after a session of chemotherapy and chilies are one helpful herb to gain the appetite.

Pansit-pansitan (Peperomia pellucida Linn) 

Sometimes this plant is disregarded by some people because they are not aware of its use. But pansit –pansitan is a powerful herbal medicine providing health benefits for gout, arthritis, and other inflammatory conditions. I started caring for this plant to prevent arthritis due to the side effects of letrozole. 

Mulberry. This plant gives me a berry fruit every day. The small branch that I just pierced into the pot always provides me an anti-oxidant berry fruit. It is easy to grow and very resistant to sun and rain. Some organic chicken farm grows a lot of mulberry tree to use as food for chicken. It makes the chicken grows naturally and organic.

How gardening became my therapy?

Beng a plantita during lockdown is another way to spend your time while at home. For me, gardening is the therapy that helps me in diverting my mind to a positive perspective.

Planting and or farming is my greatest dream that I neglected. To have a farm is my longtime dream. I want to raise my organic fruits and vegetables, free-range and native chicken, raise some native pig, goat, cow, and duck. Have my supply of organic egg, abundant supply of coconut juice, a banana that a cancer patient must-have.

I love gardening when I was young, I enjoyed making my hands dip into the dirt, and my feet to feel the ground.

I realized that gardening is my therapy since then, but I admit that I disregard this dream. It was my hobby that I have forgotten because of my situation. My mind was occupied by my problem and financial burden. Maybe someday I can buy a piece of land to start farming while allowing myself to heal from cancer and depression.

But for now, I want to sit and enjoy my hanging garden.

13 replies on “Gardening is my therapy: It helps fight the surging depression caused by cancer”

I am happy that we share same thoughts about Serpentina plant. We have one and is my go-to herbal drink whenever I have a fever, LBM, colds and other tummy problems. Gardening is indeed a relaxing activity, plus a good exercise too, and you get to have a dose of the “Vitamin Sun”. One of the safest activities during these case surges.

I will include you in my prayers for healing. Gardening is indeed therapeutic. I’ve tried it once and it was relaxing. This is my father’s long-time hobby and he’s really good at it. I do love that you included pansit-pansitan in your post. It’s delicious and healthy. I used to make a salad out of it but we ran out of pansit-pansitan in our yard.

Gardening is a good hobby and being around plants gives you so much joy and energy, especially when you see your flowers blooming or when they are bearing fruits. Sending prayers your way.

I love this post so much! I felt like I got to know a complete stranger a little bit more and you seem like such a lovely person! My mom has a heart condition and isn’t allowed to move much, but before she had her attack, she used to garden sooo much. Even the inside of our home was filled with plants! This is very encouraging. Thank you for sharing a part of you!

This is the hobby that I always have in mind but can’t start because of limited open space at home. Wanted to plant herbs and vegetables sana. hopefully soon magawa ko din to.

Gardening is a great therapy, and sometimes a good companion too. Sometimes you never realized the time coz you are enjoying tending your mini garden. It also gives great happiness and satisfaction.

I think it’s a therapy to everyone kahit na dun mga taong this pandemic lang nila na discover how gardening makes us really calm and brings peace and nagtuloy-tuloy na like me. I’d say, plants have saved me. Marami nako sa room ko eh! 😀

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