Growing and Surviving in the Garden of Life

Before I started growing my own plants and vegetables, I used to think gardening was boring.  I didn’t get how people could spend so much time in the garden playing in the dirt.  I never gave it a chance because I thought that I was too busy.  But when I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, things slowed down.  My outlook changed on so many things, including gardening.  Watching the plants blossom and grow right before your eyes is amazing.  Nature is fascinating to me.

My introduction to the inspiring world of gardening started on my balcony three years ago.  I was going through a difficult time in my life and being treated for thyroid cancer.  I needed something to feed my spirit and knew that nature would lead me to a better place.  My thyroid cancer treatment was with radioactive iodine, which meant I had to be in isolation for at least three days.  I could not be within three feet of any animals or people.  I was literally radioactive!  So I planned ahead and bought lots of plants to repot, potting soil, gardening gloves and pots.  The first day of isolation was long and emotional.  By day two, I grabbed my gardening gloves and headed out to the balcony. 

I had no experience with gardening.  I started off with the status of “black thumb.”  I was too self-centered to spend time taking care of the plants in my home, so they never lasted long.  After my cancer diagnosis, I began to see all living things as miracles.  Each day of life became a gift.  I realized that I did have time to give.

Back to the balcony…I started with about a half a dozen plants of all shapes and sizes.  I repotted each one with my gentle, radioactive touch.  I could feel the connection to the living energy within each one.  The shapes of the buds, sweet smell and magical colors made me forget that I was in isolation.  I forgot that I had cancer.  Nature’s healing power took over and I started to feel alive!

Last season, a good friend gave me a packet of sunflower seeds.  I never grew anything from a seedling before.  Since most of the plants from last year survived the entire summer, I was up for the challenge.  I to made it through and was in remission.  I’m grateful to be a cancer survivor.  Things were getting better.  My black thumb had changed to a brownish green.  I planted the seeds.  Each day I went out and sat on the balcony with the other plants and pots of soil where the sunflower seeds were planted.  (I even talked to the little sprouts beginning to grow.)  A few weeks went by and I wondered if I planted the right seeds.  They resembled long weeds, not sunflowers.  I wanted to rip them out, but held back on the urge.  Instead of, I gave them more time.  A couple of weeks later, I was filled with joy to see sunflowers had actually blossomed from the top of the “weeds”.  I did it!  I was very impressed with my gardening skills.

This season my gardening confidence has grown.  I decided to buy organic tomato and green pepper seeds.  Yep, I’m gonna grow some organic veggies!  Tomato seeds are so tiny.  I could barely see each one that I planted.  I started indoors.  It took a couple of weeks before they started to sprout. 

I have found that nurturing nature in turn feels nurturing to me. 

Last week, I moved my veggies outside to the balcony.  It will take a couple more months of watering, repotting and tender loving care before my veggies are ready to be plucked.  And they will need to survive the outside elements before that time comes.  This falls in line with one of the main lessons that I’ve learned through my battle with cancer and gardening experience.  We never know what tomorrow will bring, so live life and enjoy every moment.  Be grateful for your health and existence.  It is the little things like watching flowers bloom and veggies grow have become so meaningful and fulfilling to my spirit these days.

Life Beyond Cancer Program

Hearing the words “You have cancer” is a life changing moment that most of us never forget. First there is the initial shock, numbness, fear and range of emotions that take over. Most of our time is taken up by the tests, scans, surgeries, doctors appointments, calls to insurance companies, treatments, and more.  It all seems to happen so fast. For some of us, the day arrives when the results come back clean. “Your cancer is in remission.”

You are a cancer survivor. NOW What?

Life Beyond Cancer is a new chapter in your journey.  Your outlook on life has changed. You have been given another chance. Some cancer survivors feel confused and stuck.  Others feel empowered and eager to make changes and try new things.  Most of us are not sure how to move forward and live life beyond cancer.

As a cancer survivor, I understand first-hand what it is like to go through this journey. I’ve combined my cancer experience and life coaching skills to create the Life Beyond Cancer Program.


This program is available for individuals, groups and as a combined program. It was created to help cancer survivors move forward to reach goals, follow dreams and discover what life beyond cancer really means. The Life Beyond Cancer Program is conducted through a series of coaching telephone calls, emails and coaching tools. You will find hope, strength, motivation and a safe space to share about where you are and where you want to be. Coaching will help you live life beyond cancer and get to where you want to be! If you are interested in learning more, please send an email to

Life Beyond Cancer GROUP Program
Cancer survivors understand one another. We can relate to the same feelings and emotions the cancer experience can bring up.  That’s why group coaching works! Group Coaching is conducted via teleconference calls between 5 – 10 people.  Each person in the group is sent a teleconference number and access code for the group coaching call in advance. There are three group coaching calls per month with various coaching tools and unlimited individual email. All calls are private and geared towards the combined goals and needs of the group. We are forming the next group NOW! Please send an email to if you are interested in being a part of our group.

Life Beyond Cancer INDIVIDUAL Program
Some cancer survivors prefer individual coaching. Individual coaching is one-on-one.  It is conducted via telephone, with three coaching calls per month, various coaching tools and unlimited individual email. All calls are confidential and focus on the client’s agenda and needs.  Individual coaching works! Please send an email to if you are interested in learning more about individual coaching and the Life Beyond Cancer Program.

From Cancer Survivor to Life Coach

One of the gifts I got from being a cancer survivor is a new perspective on life.  Life is full of changes and we never know where one path might lead. I learned how to face my fears and in turn found a deeper level of strength from within.  Through the scans, biopsies, doctor visits, tests, surgery, treatment and more I was not only surviving cancer, but I was also becoming a Life Coach.  Through the journey, I found the courage, motivation and empowerment to move forward in many areas of my life both personal and professional, including a new career path.

My prayers were answered and I got another chance to live my life. I’m a survivor of more than cancer.  I’m a survivor of life! As a Life Coach, I am able to use my own life experience when working with clients to guide them forward.  All of us have the answers within, but some find them easier and with greater clarity by working with a life coach.

Moving forward

That is some of the history behind what motivated me to face my fears, dive in and become a Life Coach.  I also started a blog called Thyroid Cancer SURVIVOR to share my journey from the cancer diagnosis to the cancer-free results.  Now it focuses on LIFE beyond cancer with inspirational posts.

Possibilities are only limited by our minds!


Jennifer Bridge
Life Coach & Cancer SURVIVOR
Ready to Change Life Coaching