For my first article writing about cannabis, I want to reflect on my own poignant and personal testimony demonstrating how this amazing plant can be a healing medicine.
My mother moved to Northern California to settle down and begin her golden years in a place of beauty, and to be near her daughter (that’d be me). She and dad found a place, and jobs, and were getting excited about summer hikes and adventures when, six months into the new chapter of our lives, mom was diagnosed with stage four anal cancer. A very rare cancer that is usually removed via surgery when found, but mom’s cancer had spread to her lymph nodes and it was too late for surgery. (Side note of relevance: the reason for this is that she was living in a state that, at the time, did not have health care and therefore she could not afford and get the recommended colonoscopy screenings. So, hey people over 50 – get your colonoscopy, it can save your life!)
I cannot express to you in words what it feels like to witness a loved one go through the suffering, pain, and fear that mom went through. Memories flood my brain as I recall the countless hospital days and nights, the chemo and radiation treatments which made her so sick and frail, the piles of pills she had to take every day, the time her feather light blonde hair all fell out except a few clumps which dad had to shave off, the time she held my hand praying to die, the regular vomiting and nausea, and, eventually, IV dripped morphine and only a skeleton of mom lying for weeks in bed, only waking to use to the bathroom and to whisper “I love you.” She died in May of 2014, screaming and writhing in pain and morphine-induced dementia. Yes, horrible beyond belief; unfair, traumatic, unreal, and completely fucked up.
I can, however, express to you the gratitude and joy I have for the cannabis plant. It was a positive ray of light – hope – that we cherished throughout mom’s cancer journey.