My name is Melissa DeSa and I’m a 42 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 about 8 years now since doctors cautiously gave me the “c” word – cure and it’s become frighteningly easy to forget all the details and pain.
The point of this website, is to meet the (unfortunate) demand for requests I get constantly asking about what I did, so that someone may share it with someone they love going through cancer. I also get lots of questions about my recipes. There aren’t many but a few of my favorites are here. I also love gardening and saving seeds- it may have been what saved me. So I write about that too.
Please, please, please understand 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 my opinions and not advice. Generally, they are healthful things for anyone to consider, whether you are sick or not.
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.
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 three 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 of 10 years, is awesome, and supports my entrepreneurial insanity and non-stop activity. We have a small zoo, including our crazy and loving dog Huxley, who keeps us busy. Our house is always full of life: local veggies stuffed into the fridge and on the counter, fermenting vessels in action, drying seeds, and crafts in progress.
I love doing art. The beach is how I chose to spend a mental health day. Sandhill cranes make me cry when they migrate to and from Gainesville. Rollerblading is my favorite way to de-stress lately. 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.