Water Your Own Garden: Practical Tips

Following on from last week’s post about how and why to take charge of your own recovery, we’ve collected together a series of practical tips for you to use in your own recovery journey:

advocates for breast cancer_south africa_horticultural therapy

Ensure that you have the right relationship with your treatment team. 

REMEMBER: you have the right to be treated as an equal partner in your health care management.


To make sure you become part of your treatment team, it is important to let them know:


  • how you are viewing your situation — and the way you are choosing to deal with it
  • how much information you want to be given
  • how hard you want to fight your cancer and to what lengths you are prepared to go medically
  • if you prefer not to have medical treatment or to stop treatment you are having
  • how you are reacting emotionally to your situation and how well you are coping (or not.) 



ASK = Attitude + Skills + Knowledge




  • take COMPLETE ownership and charge of your situation, never allowing yourself to be rail-roaded into any treatment decision!
  • ask for understanding and flexibility and help if at any time you feel too vulnerable to have treatment
  • ask for the support you need
  • try to explain to your team your values which underpin your approach and beliefs
  • ask your team to be tolerant of the choices you are making with regards to your health care.



  • To get ALL the appropriate information about your situation
  • be given time to digest and react to this
  • gived informed consent to treatment
  • prepare yourself for treatment – and then embark upon your treatment fully confident that YOU have picked the very best course of action for YOU!

NB: if you are unhappy and uncomfortable with your consultant and their opinion,

it is your right to ASK for a second opinion!




Here are some seeds to plant in the garden of your heart to grow hope and a healthier, more resilient you: inside and out!


(Please note that one or two of the articles are quite scholarly – but we thought you would still find them helpful!)

Healing Gardens

The Healing Garden

Home Gardening: An Effective Cancer Therapy  by The Journal of the Cancer Institute

Growing Hope: Horticultural Therapy & Restorative Gardens by Cure Today 

Advocates for Breast Cancer - Laetitia Maklouf - Gardening Therapy for Cancer


And for those of you who fear their thumbs could never be green, then the delightfully darling Laetitia Maklouf will be just the right cup of tea for you with her book, The Virgin Gardener, which comes wonderfully recommended by one of our bloggers who herself experienced the therapeutically grounding and growing benefits of getting her hands down ‘n dirty!




PHOTOVOICE: Braving The Storm

“I chose this photo because it shows my breast that isn’t there any more. This is my scare, but also my reminders that I conquered cancer.”

~ Margaret, 73 years old (Bonteheuwel, Cape Town)

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To submit your own story to People Living With Cancer‘s Photovoice Advocacy campaign, click here.

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