Never in a million years did I think I would venture off into the world of medical marijuana (MMJ) or medical cannabis. Never in a million years did I think it would be so effective and never, Ever, EVER did I think I would write a blog post about it. But I also didn’t think I would ever, ever have cancer.
In my very first blog post, I mentioned medical marijuana to try to keep things light and make readers chuckle. I thought that would be the end of it. But after chatting with some fellow cancer patients, my oncologist and advocates for medical cannabis, I thought, why not apply for my MMJ card? For those who aren’t familiar with medical cannabis, the state of New Mexico allows citizens with certain medical diagnoses (such as cancer) to apply for and obtain a special card (kind of like a driver’s license) that allows them to purchase cannabis products from qualified dispensaries. The process can take up to 45 days, so early in my journey I applied. I figured that if I was going to explore cannabis as a treatment option, I wanted it to be on the up and up. I’m a mommy, a wife, a professional and quite opposite of a pothead. If I was going to purchase cannabis I wanted to know exactly what I was purchasing and that it hadn’t been sitting in someone’s closet for three years. I don’t want my money supporting cartels or to live in fear of having an illegal substance in my house.
A couple months ago, one of the two anti-nausea meds that had worked so well in the winter started to give me side effects. Now, I really struggle sharing this with my blog audience–I am a lady after all–but it made me constipated, okay? Like really, really uncomfortably backed up. Whew, I feel better admitting it. Now, not only was being backed up a problem, but I have liver cancer. Keeping the body flowing is important for everybody, but even more important for someone in my compromised health situation.
So, I decided to purchase medical cannabis edibles since I wasn’t fond of sneaking outside to puff away. The last thing I wanted was for my son to see or smell that. The first month I only ate a small square of chocolate when I had three to four symptoms at once, and only when my son was in bed. The last thing I wanted to be was a high mommy. I quickly noticed that the chocolate edible relieved ALL of my symptoms; nausea, pain, anxiety, and was an appetite stimulant. The only real side effect was being happy and occasional silliness. And is that really a side effect?
One Saturday night when I thought my son was asleep, I ate some chocolate, but to my surprise he was awake. After spending an hour of 100% mommy/son quality time where I was engaged with him and not dealing with pain or nausea, I realized that I needed to get over my fear of medicating while he was awake. It was the first time in months that I had really been present with him.
The main symptoms I struggle with are nausea and vomiting. Without meds I would throw up 75-90% of all meals. And it’s slippery slope into a vicious cycle. Since most people don’t have this problem, let me try to explain how it works. I wake up and have approximately thirty minutes to eat before my body starts to self destruct. I get shaky, my stomach aches and I get nauseated. If I eat in time, I have about a 50/50 chance of keeping it down. The same thing happens about 5 more times through out the day. Now let’s say I don’t keep one of the meals down. I get tired, my appetite sucks, my body gets dehydrated, my mind starts to become less sharp. Out of fear of throwing up again, I skip the next meal. That just leads to more fatigue and leaves me more brain dead. Get the point?
Because of that vicious cycle, I started upping my consumption of MMJ to stay “ahead” of the nausea. Since then, I’ve been able to partake in more activities. I can make my family dinner, go to outdoor concerts, fundraisers and my son’s baseball games without living in fear of throwing up. My husband, who has seen it’s positive impact on me, believes it’s improving my quality of life. So do I. FYI, my husband is total white bread. Now the one side effect that it really doesn’t help me with is exhaustion. When I’m tired, I’m tired. Sleep and rest is really the only way to deal with it.
I’m handling my consumption of medical cannabis delicately and cautiously, just as one should when taking any medication. The last thing I want is to be a stoner with red droopy eyes saying, “Ya man. This stuff is bad ass bro.”
Recently, I’ve started learning about different strains of cannabis and how they can be used for different symptoms. There is also an entire world of ways to inhale/ingest. Who knew? I’ll soon be trying a new form of medical cannabis with low THC that won’t give me the “high” effect but will hopefully still help with the my symptoms. Right now I am taking such low doses that it almost isn’t enough to even feel or act high, although occasionally I do.
I know medical marijuana can be a controversial subject and everyone has an opinion (or three!) about it. The last thing I want to do is push my agenda on you. Although I’m studying and reading about the many benefits this plant has, I’m definitely taking all the claims people make about it with a grain of salt. That is to say, cautiously. But I can speak to my experience. And I can say without a shadow of a doubt that medical cannabis is helping me with my quality of life, and I’m glad that New Mexico law allows for its use.
PS – If you were wondering if I had “been under the influence” the last time you saw me. The answer is yes. I take it everyday. Bet you wouldn’t have known, huh? Since I started the new regiment last night, I am going to lean on the cannabis since nausea and vomiting are the biggest side effects. Because the chemo is taken orally in pill form, keeping the meds down is the most important. Throwing them up does do me much good. Although I’ve enjoyed sharing this part of my journey with you. I will jump this ship and head right over to my mini Walgreen’s home pharmacy of anti-nasuea meds if my Mary Jane fails me. I think I am up to five different types prescriptions. Not that MMJ isn’t, that is absolutely how I am handling it.
PPS – Please don’t ask me if I can “hook you up.” The answer is, “No way, Jose!”
PPPS – It’s awesome stuff man!