In my battle against breast cancer, I’ve chosen to take the road less traveled, and I am excited and grateful to have the opportunity to see what cannabis can do.
No spoonful of sugar is necessary to make my medicine go down, medicine that also happens to be a delight to my palate and senses.
Side effects include happiness, eased anxiety and increased creativity.
The Diagnosis That Changed My Life
The cancer presented itself seven years ago in my left breast, found in a routine manual exam by a nurse midwife. Cancer was later confirmed and staged 3B due to lymph node involvement.
As a news journalist, I knew it was crucial to consult multiple sources before reaching conclusions on my treatment options. I took my time, investigating both natural and conventional approaches before making any decisions.
Terrified to tears, and telling few people of my dreaded diagnosis, I went from doctor to doctor, denying recommendations for surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and hormone-blocking drugs. It just didn’t feel right to me.
We are all entitled to our opinions and paths. We all have choices. For me, I looked at my breasts in the mirror and knew that cutting even one of them off was not the answer.
The Surprising Road to Cannabis
As I continued my research I found something that both amazed and infuriated me as I read reports and watched video evidence of the effect of cannabis on cancer.
Why would the benefits of such a miraculous herb be kept from those who were suffering? Why were the women I met unaware of this option? Why was it illegal?
Just as a plant reaches for sunlight, I moved to Florida from Long Island, NY in October, 2014 for a strong dose of vitamin D, and to await the legalization I believed was imminent.
Sadly, the constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis for medicine in Florida did not receive enough votes that year. Even though I was crushed, I continued my research, diving deep into the mysteries of this plant.
Diving Deep into the Research
Part of that research involved writing an article about Charlotte Figi, whose life was saved thanks to cannabis. Intrigued by the interviews and information, I joined Facebook groups and saw thousands of parents wishing they could do the same for their children, kids who suffered from debilitating and deadly seizures and side effects from medications.
I also found groups of cancer survivors sharing information about cannabis and supporting each other virtually, through social media.
I read that both Cannabidiol (CBD) and delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the plant are useful in preventing the growth of tumors. I also learned that our bodies have endocannabinoid receptors, which work perfectly with cannabis!
Still, our federal government maintains that the plant is unsafe to the point of limiting research, forcing me and my acquaintances into experiments filled with black market scams and dangerous preparation procedures.
Struggles to Gain Access and Support
Aside from my trusted online partners, I was alone. There were few who understood my desire to defy conventional medicine and choose the cannabis route. Men were afraid to date me. I was stereotyped as a pothead. My mother feared my decisions, believing the lies that the herb leads to brain damage and is a gateway to harsh drugs.
Seeking support and wisdom, I confided in strangers whom I suspected might share my strategy and met a man who barely survived chemotherapy. He was written off by doctors who were later astonished by his complete remission from stage-4 colon cancer. His holistic protocol included daily doses of cannabis.
I then considered purchasing the flowers illegally to make my own tincture or butter, but then read that too much THC was dangerous for estrogen-fueled cancers and “independent contractors” could not tell me the ratios.
Wanting this God-given medicine in my body, I sifted through shady sellers online, and purchased what I could obtain legally, a CBD extract from the hemp plant. Unfortunately, even high-quality brands of CBD from hemp are far less effective for my condition than the whole plant.
New York Legalizes Medical Cannabis
And then I read amazing news! New York was legalizing cannabis as medicine. A dispensary was to open in Riverhead, Long Island just minutes from where I had lived most of my life. I couldn’t believe it!
With a click of the mouse, a phone call and a plane ticket, I headed north for an appointment with a doctor who was certified to recommend the plant. Legal qualification required three visits and three urine tests, to be sure that I was clear of any illegal substances.
A few weeks and a few hundred dollars later, I was approved for treatment under the Compassionate Care Act. I became a New York resident again, filed paperwork with the federal government, and received a medical card in the mail.
No insurance would cover this treatment, so I used the money I would have spent on insurance for my actual healthcare. The doctor prescribed a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC in a liquid form.
My dosage protocol involved taking two droppers’ full under my tongue in the morning and evening. Breathing and believing, I immediately felt a sense of well-being. At what cost? About $50 a bottle, which lasts about five days.
Legally chained to New York by law, I visit the certifying doctor monthly and pay him $100 to check my vitals and my urine (to ensure I am taking the medicine and not selling it). Then off I go to the dispensary for my monthly rations, not to exceed the prescribed 2 ml per day.
The Cancer Is Shrinking
Six months into treatment, an MRI shows shrinkage and no spread. I feel healthy and hopeful for more good news.
This year Florida finally legalized medical cannabis, which means I can eventually return to the Sunshine State. I can also now choose to live in half of the American states and still legally medicate.
I look forward to this continued pursuit of truth and health and invite others to come along. And I hope to soon find topical cannabis to apply externally.
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