Farmer Focus: Country people are overwhelmingly good

A year ago I was diagnosed with liposarcoma, a very rare form of soft tissue cancer. It was in my left thigh, the last place I would think of to have an aggressive, deadly cancer. I am sharing this now as a “teachable” moment.

Lesson number one is pay attention to your entire body, even if you feel fine. I never felt bad, this cancer so far has not caused me any pain.

When I did finally notice what turned out to be an enormous tumor on the back of my thigh, I was told by my first doctor it was a hematoma, and he would drain it.

Waking up two hours later, for what was supposed to be a 15-minute procedure, I was greeted by a nurse I knew who had tears in her eyes and said: “You’ll be okay.”

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My wife was in the hospital room as I was wheeled in and she said to me softly: “They think you have cancer.”

Lesson number two is that doctors can sometimes make mistakes, so never let a doctor do surgery on a mass without testing it first.

Lesson number three is that it turns out that painless growths are very often the most dangerous. Lesson number four is much less depressing. It is that country people are overwhelmingly good folk.

For about seven months of the past year, nearly all my farmwork has been done by people other than me, for no other reason than I live among some of the finest people in the entire world.

After two surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation, I recently learned I am not winning the battle so far. As soon as that news got out, eight of my neighbours showed up to finish my haying.

I have always been one to help in a crisis. The final lesson is not only does that make you feel good, it brings tremendous payback when the unthinkable strikes your family. Believe me, that can happen in the blink of an eye.

Brian Hind farms 1,250ha of prairie land, of which 960ha is family-owned and the rest rented. Of this, 330ha is arable cropping with maize, soya, grain sorghum, alfalfa plus a mix of rye, triticale and turnips for grazing his herd of 400 beef cattle. Grassland is used to produce hay.

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