Welcome to The Naked Gardiner! Very exciting times for me as I start a new chapter in my life and guess what….? I am inviting you to join me as I discover the characters along the way!
From a very young age, my parents bestowed upon me the blessing of growing up with a veggie garden, a chicken coop, land to run around on and a love affair of growing up with animals and the responsibility that came with that! The garden came and went with the seasons but it prompted a passion for fresh food. Of course with any young person there is a love/hate relationship with a whole host of vegetables… pumpkin I despised, broccoli made me gag and the smell of brussels sprouts made me want to be anywhere other than a kitchen! If it was a pea or potato then you had a winner!
I remember being the first to rise and indulging in the many treats the cold white closet was willing to give me, before my parents woke up and my plan had been unmasked! I won’t tell you here what I use to eat for fear I would already lose some of my readers! hehehe! But even with this naughty mind of a child, there was definitely a love affair with food from a young age! Be it naughty or nice!
Dad use to get my older sister and I out in the garden and make us help him with tendering to the patch! Mum use to get us cleaning out the feed shed and sewing horses coats in preparation for the colder months (yes I know this is Queensland, but there are times the horsies get cold too!), but one of the most exciting things about growing up was going to see if the chickens had laid any eggs in the morning. The warm fresh eggs were delicious and my sister and I loved our chickens and named them fondly… you would laugh out loud at the imaginative names we came up with or lack thereof! Scrambled eggs with fresh parsley were my dad and my favourite. He would fondly tell me “you make the best scrambled eggs Kath”! Come to think of it he always told me I made the best of everything before I even considered to make anything that day… “you make the best pikelets Kath!” hahahhaaa! Dad always knew how to tell us what he liked and when he wanted it!
After leaving home, my sister and I discovered a whole new world of food! Spices and sauces and produce that we had never heard of but were keen to explore their capabilities. Its something that has always kept us extremely close; our love affair with food and its many possibilities.
Thankfully for me I have been bestowed one of those bodies or rather metabolisms that has allowed me to keep the weight off (maybe the 10 years of dancing helped too), but I think it is the conscious attitude we have had towards food, health and awareness that has kept the weight kind to us.
Now into my thirties, I have travelled the world, tasting foods and opening my eyes to new possibilities, senses and experiences. A lover of wine and food matches has probably seen me indulge on too many occasions in the grape varieties! I have had a fun and eye-opening life thus far! But I have also had a troubled health since I was 25. I think naivety when you are younger doesn’t make you realise that you have a whole host of possibilities, choices and options ahead of you. We all think that we are invincible but unfortunately sometimes the powers that be have other ideas for us. I have been struggling with melanoma for seven years now. My primary popped up around my 25th birthday, when my sister and I were off adventuring through Europe and I was making a life for myself in London. It brought me home to my loved ones and the care of Australian doctors once I had taken the initial treatment path in the UK. I thought I had a dodged a bullet. I continued to live my hard life of socialising, drinking too much and overindulging for the years to follow. I didn’t know any better! Many years of self doubting, low self-esteem and body consciousness followed. However, I always thought that I was healthy even though this had happened to me. Five years later I got the all clear and I counted my blessings of how lucky I was! A weight had been lifted from my very heavy shoulders.
I fell in love, things were finally moving forward with my life in a path I really looked forward to. Then a lump came up under my skin in my upper arm, it was melanoma, operated on, two more popped up, more operations. I was allowed to go overseas five days after my operation to go on a European holiday that my partner Anthony and I had been planning before this roller coaster ride had happened. Another lump came up while we were travelling; major surgery followed, nerves severed muscle tissue removed. A scar 13 cms long. A cluster I was told that thus far appeared to be isolated in my upper arm. Four weeks of intensive radiation treatment, physio and here I am sitting here writing my first blog post – with an arm as red as a second degree burn.
When I was first diagnosed of my reoccurrence in 2013, I was told by a doctor to go and live my life! I stopped and thought… but I have been living my life, I have been living it more than others and a whole host of questions started running through my mind. I was a “watch and wait” case… of course I kept escalating into a recurring “watch and wait” patient. From the early stages of my diagnosis this year, I made a pact with myself. A pact to change my life and get back to grass-roots. I decided to embark on a whole foods vegetarian / plant-based diet, free from refined flours and sugars, relinquishing my beloved friend… wine, and replacing it with the likes of green smoothies, juices and kombucha and removing any toxic products from my skin care/ beauty regime along with cleaning products! With each recurrence a little demon in my mind questions if I am doing the right thing by radically changing my lifestyle, but I stop and reflect that the lifestyle I have chosen isn’t a radical change, it’s the life that we were meant to live before toxins and chemicals were introduced into our ever busy and over complicated lifestyles and society deemed the ‘norm’. We have all evolved with these changes but unfortunately natural is no longer natural!
When I decided to change my lifestyle it was made for love, love for myself and the life that I want… what is now an unpredictable future. I’m taking a stand on cancer and fighting back. I am making my body a healthy fighting machine so that it can tackle the mutiny that my cells are instigating.
This isn’t solely going to be a blog about cancer but rather about my love for life, the foods that I enjoy and the people, things and objects that inspire me. It’s a blog about self discovery, reinvention and gratitude. It’s quite simple really isn’t it? But unfortunately it’s the hardest thing to do for oneself.
So join me in loving this life we have and taking things that one step further in loving yourself and your eyes will be open wider to the potential in everything!
[Since posting this story, my prognosis has escalated to advanced metastatic melanoma to my organs(in January 2014). Although this is a hurdle I have to face, it does not sway me from my original objective; to live clean, toxic-free and abundantly. I strive to live a holistic a lifestyle while incorporating conventional treatments where necessary in a love for myself and this beautiful world that we live in and that I want to enjoy til I’m old and grey!]
With love, light and gratitude!