Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Evita Peron

In early February of 2008, I had a tea party.  About 12 of my closest female friends gathered at my house to drink rooibus, green and black tea, eat little salads, hummous, and olives, and lend me some support.   I had been diagnosed with stage 1B cervical cancer in January.  February 28th was my scheduled hysterectomy with lymph node dissection. I was feeling nervous.  And sad.

Each guest brought a plant.  After the tea party, I gathered them all up (not the guests; the plants) - the witch hazel, the white sage, the lemongrass, the lavender, the creeping thyme and all the rest- and planted them in a little patch of dirt in my backyard that I named the Evita Garden.  All spring, I watched it bloom and tended to it.  In the summer, I harvested some herbs and sat by the garden,  my eye often drawn to the little patch of vibrant purple flowers closest to the front, on the left.

This winter, we had some snow.  The garden leaned back and pulled closer to the ground, its green triumph hidden by the cold.  Most of the plants went brown for the winter and I will wait patiently until spring for them to come back.

Oddly enough, the little patch of purple flowers never really missed a beat.  The patch seemed to shrink and close up under the snow, and then miraculously reappeared some days later, as though unscathed. I walked back there yesterday to be sure, and there they were in full purple vibrance.
The Evita Garden:
Evita Peron is known to have died of cervical cancer in July of 1952.  As research indicates, she was never told of her condition - and believed she had "vague female problems."  The cervical cancer was kept secret due to her husband's political campaign and the Argentine government.  

Cervical cancer research has come a long way since the 50's.  Some people don't like talking about it because of it's association with the virus HPV.  But when close to 70% of the nation possibly is carrying the virus, with symptoms of its existence sometimes never surfacing, it seems logical to talk openly about it and to take serious measures to stop it.  There is an HPV vaccine for adolescents out now called Gardisal.  Also, it has been determined that women with mild dysplasia (something I was told I had on 3 occasions during my very Regular annuals - "it should go away on it's own," they said) have depleted amounts of certain Vitamin B and folic acid in the cells of their cervix.  Taking extra supplements could be a preventative measure worth demanding research about.

Off my cervical cancer soapbox now.

Here's a link to an article about Evita Peron:


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