I’m Melissa DeSa and I’m a 40 something year old Canadian, but Gainesville, Florida is home and I’m a US Citizen too. I survived cancer (sarcoma) that visited me briefly in 2012-2013. A profound experience indeed, learning to cope with a deadly disease that came out of nowhere. Through community, food, nature, and modern medicine, I beat the odds. Which were not good odds.
It’s a new world, learning to live post-cancer. It’s been over 8 years now since doctors cautiously gave me the “c” word (cure), but it’s become frighteningly easy to forget all the details and pain.
The point of this website, was to meet the (unfortunate) demand for the many, many requests I have received asking about what I did and how I coped, so that someone may share it with someone they love going through cancer. Honestly, it’s hard to re-live it every time so it’s more helpful for both of us that it’s in writing. Plus it’s easy to forget hard things as time passes, so I’m glad I shared my thoughts while they were fresh.
If you read my cancer stuff, please know that I am NOT a medical professional. My stories and actions to combat cancer are unique to me. I do not intend to imply that because I was cured, that someone else will be too if they copy what I did. Cancer is unique to each individual and their circumstance. Certainly the things I post here are just my opinions, and not advice. Generally, they are healthful things for anyone to consider, whether you are sick or not.
Since I don’t feel like I have too much to say about cancer these days as it seems to be in my past, I have used this blog to share my personal joys and curiosities about nature, gardening, seeds, and art.
A bit more about me.
I have a masters degree from the University of Florida where I studied wildlife and ecosystems. I worked as a biologist for years, loving the great outdoors and finding an intimate connection with the flora and fauna that call Florida home. This work gave me two important life skills: I can drive an airboat and back up a trailer!
I love gardening and having my hands in the soil. I’m fortunate to more or less be a professional gardener, or my preferred title of SeedEO! I am one of the co-founders at an amazing non-profit called Working Food, where we work tirelessly everyday to make our local food community better.
My hubby Mike is awesome, and supports my entrepreneurial insanity and non-stop activity. We have a small zoo, that currently includes Huxley the Hound and Okra the Pitty. Our house is always full of life: local veggies stuffed into the fridge and on the counter, fermenting vessels in action, drying seeds, and dogs running in and out as if they owned the place.
I love art and will say so myself- I’m good! The beach is how I chose to spend a mental health day. Sandhill cranes make me cry when they migrate to and from Gainesville. I like to rollerblade and ride all over on my newish e-bike.
Despite being a relatively recent cancer survivor, I have to remind myself every day to take care, and remember what is truly important.
Post-cancer life is interesting, challenging and deeply rewarding. I’ll use this blog to share my adventures and stories, for those that wish to follow.