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My name is Penny Castle. I live in Johannesburg with my husband, Shannon and two teenage sons, Joshua and Christopher. I started this blog in November 2016 with the intention of documenting my adventures in growing veggies. I wanted to share my stories about the garden, happiness and to do a little boasting about my younger son, Chris, and all the useful garden structures he builds for me.

Shannon, Penny, Josh and Chris

On the 21 January 2017 all that was forgotten. My elder son, Joshua, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer: cholangiocarcinoma. He was initially given 60 days to live and was sent home to enjoy what little time he had. We are now in “extra time”.

Josh modelling hats knitted for a local childhood cancer charity

Cancer has changed our lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined.

Aged just fourteen Josh has had to face his own mortality. He has to manage the indignities of an illness which leaves him nauseous, low in energy and frequently in pain. Chris started high school in January 2017 just two weeks before his big brother was diagnosed. If I am honest he hasn’t had nearly the support from us as he deserved.

I initially built the blog to boast about all the garden structures Chris builds for me

Not every change is bad. As Josh put it, “If I survive, I wont be sad I got cancer. I’ve learnt so much about myself and about people.” Cancer has taught us too eek out every moment and to enjoy slower, simpler pleasures. We are better people for it.

Our lives have had to change and so has the blog. These days I write about the garden and happiness and cancer and hope. And despair. And hope again.

 

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I still write about the garden but now I also write about happiness and cancer and despair and hope

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