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This Week’s Guest Blogger is by The Rev’d Canon Carl Fredrik Arvidsson

One day from being a very busy and active person I woke up and I new something was wrong. I was diagnosed within an a few months with an incurable cancer. Yippee! Working at Canterbury Cathedral and the King’s School I was very active and then for a year ended up in a wheelchair having had a stem cell transplant and now registered disabled.
Since being ill my healing garden has been my saviour in many ways and my fields where I created an acre for wild flowers. I remember reading that  ‘The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just the body, but the soul.’
Being in hospital for months and having very strong chemotherapy I started to plan my ‘Quiet Healing Pond Garden’ I am not in a wheelchair right now but I am in pain most of the day and can’t walk far and do much but with help I give orders and my wife and friends love me! I hope the do?
When diagnosed with cancer, your priorities in life have to change. It isn’t about work, money or how many branded goods you can buy any more.
It’s the simple things in life that can make you happy, like spending time in the garden, visiting NGS , enjoying delicious food that you grow from your vegetable patch and then sharing it with family and friends. I still have friends!
I am learning to accept my condition and move forward what ever time I have left be it a week or 10 years. Once you’ve changed your perspective, the hunger for fame or fortune diminishes or even disappears, and you realise you can be happy with much less.
It seems to me that cancer patients who live the longest have learnt how to be content. They have few wants and needs. They lead simple lives, they garden, eat simply and have zero stress.
I now don’t think of cancer as a death sentence. It’s not the end. There are many treatment options available today. Rather, treat it like a chronic illness. If you suffer a relapse, trust your doctor to keep it under control through surgery, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
As as a priest my first priority is to be prescribe a proven medical treatment based on evidence. It’s only after I have received evidence-based help that I will try alternative treatments. The garden is now part of my healing treatment and a bit of Forrest Therapy. Nature never lets you down!
Of course, the process isn’t easy. It takes time to accept a cancer diagnosis, usually about six months after treatment. In the meantime, patients should not put things off. They should should get out in the garden or nature, live fulfilling lives, so that when the time comes – whether it is today, tomorrow, five or 10 years from now – they will pass on from this existence with no regrets. Get out in the Garden!

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