Letter Re: Prepping and a Terminal Cancer Diagnosis

We’ve been preppers since the late 1970s when we were living in a New Jersey seaside apartment and our long term food was stored under furniture in a 400 square foot apartment.  After that a job relocation to a more rural area enabled us to buy a 35 acre fixer-upper farm where we lived for 16 years and learned how to garden, raise livestock, heat with wood, and become generally self-sufficient.  Then we bought our second rundown farm in upstate New York (we were suckers for fixing up dilapidated farmhouses) and started up a commercial sheep operation on 360 acres.  There we learned to farm on a larger scale for ten years, and became more prepared for a SHTF scenario, including the addition of draft horses to help with some of the work.  Now we’re on our retirement farm in northern Vermont with the horses and a small flock of sheep, along with the dogs, cats and chickens.  We’re both in our sixties and have been hoping for the best but preparing for the worst.  Now I’ve been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer and I’m faced with survival of another kind.  We all know we’re going to eventually die, but we like to think that it’s so far out into the future that we can forget about it.  Being diagnosed with a potentially terminal disease pulls that eventuality back into the present.  This can really throw a kink in your SHTF plans because the S has now HTF in your own life and makes everything else seem pretty irrelevant. 

If you see financial, commercial or social collapse as potential emancipation from the status quo, as I have, you’re jolted into seeing the world from a new perspective since you may very well now need the existing infrastructure to support your ability to survive.  This includes the potential need for grid-based medical treatment or nutritional therapies that require foods not native to your geographical area.  So far I’m able to keep doing what I’ve been doing on the farm, but now as I get ready to battle the disease there’s the strong possibility that illness and/or treatments will soon impact my ability to do strenuous work, hopefully just temporarily, but possibly for extended periods of time, and possibly until death.  Wanting to be ready for a world without luxuries and in order to better prepare ourselves for a world that might lack many of the things we now take for granted, over the years we’ve prepped by weaning ourselves from a lot of tools that require fuel from outside sources.  We walk and use the horses instead of owning an ATV, split wood by hand instead of a power log splitter, garden without a tractor, shovel manure by hand, you get the idea.  Much of that work is beyond my wife’s physical capabilities, so my inability to do those types of work could leave us pretty helpless.  In retrospect it looks like making ourselves ready for TEOTWAWKI has left us very exposed and without the financial resources necessary to retrofit our farm to one that’s more mechanized.  I write this simply as food for thought for those who may find themselves preparing in a similar manner.

From a preparedness perspective, societal collapse and a grid down scenario could spell the end of my life unless my disease results in total prolonged remission.  Actually, under those circumstances and without a healthcare infrastructure, I wouldn’t even know if I was in remission.  Nature would just take its course.  Yes, I would be able to consume anti-cancer herbals and foods from storage along with whatever we grow or is available in our area.  We always read about increased die-off in this situation, but we all think it won’t be us.  Unfortunately, in many cases it will be us, no matter how prepared we may be. – Northern Vermont Shepherd

JWR Replies: Cancer has touched the life of nearly every American. You will be in our prayers!

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