Sunday, June 17, 2012

Going To Pot

Pardon my French, but this oral chemo medication is kicking my derriere. Lucky for me, I have enough derriere to be kicked and still plenty left for cushioning when I sit down.
The hot flashes, the nausea, the occasional panic attack, the joint pain in places that I didn't even know were joints, the sleeplessness, the weight gain...all of it has become much worse.
I live in Colorado, where medical marijuana is legal. Not to get on a soap box or anything, but this whole justification for legalizing pot for everyone because of medical needs is a crock.
Does that make it a pot crock?
Sorry, that was a mommy joke.
Most of the thousands of medical marijuana permits that were issued in the months following legalization were for young people, nearly all of the permits coming from only a couple of doctors, many of them having the reason of "being stressed out". One said "I get stressed out when I can't get pot". If marijuana is going to be legalized, at least tell the truth about why. If it is going to be easy for anyone to get it, then treat it as a controlled substance and put the same restrictions on it that apply to liquor and narcotics, and second hand smoke.
Okay, I am off my soapbox.
I met several people at the cancer center who used medical marijuana to deal with side effects. One was a young man who was dealing with brain cancer. He said he regretted smoking for 20 years before he was diagnosed, that he mostly liked the marijuana because he missed smoking, and that there were other medications that would be more consistent in treating the pain and nausea, but he liked smoking. Another patient was battling a second recurrence of breast cancer, had lost an eye to surgery during the first recurrence, was learning how to walk again after surgery for the second recurrence, and was using marijuana in pill form to deal with side effects. She had also been a long time smoker, and did not want to return to any kind of habit like it.
I appreciated them honestly sharing with me. The smell of pot makes me nauseous, and since there are few restrictions on where people can smoke it, I run into those fumes in many public places. I let them know how hard it has been for me to deal with that, and they assured me they were aware of how pot impacted them and those around them, and used it in private. I think we each need to find our way to safely deal with our burdens, and try not to add to the burdens of others while doing so.
My wonderful niece asked me, if it would really help me with the side effects of chemo, wouldn't I be willing to give medical marijuana a try? I told her that all my efforts right now are to try and extend my life. I don't want to do anything that dulls my thoughts or feelings, or checks me out of life.
One of the ways I see gifts of grace in my life is the reminders that what I am dealing with is not more than I can handle, that things could be much worse and I would still choose my own challenges, that when I need strength or help, it is there if I am open to it.
So I am glad for ceiling fans and air conditioning, for yoga breathing, communication and stress relief tools, for massage therapists, for really good shoes, for Vernors ginger ale and nutritional supplements, and especially for the ways I feel the kindness, prayers and support from others. My heroes are those who have been through this, even while I have known them, and done so with grace and courage.
And Michael, bless him, is right there through it all. Here it is, Father's Day, and he did more work on today's dinner than I did. On Mother's Day I didn't have to lift a finger.
I look in the mirror and see the full physical impact of all this. He wraps his arms around me and loves me no matter what kind of day it has been. Not always an easy thing to do.
And I get messages from friends at unexpected times. Here is a recent one from Melanie that gave me some laugh out loud therapy. I'm not sure I could enjoy it as much if I were stoned.


Daphne said...

I love you, my articulate, courageous, funny friend. You are in my heart and in my prayers.

nano*ink said...

I am off to Calligraphy Northwest on Sunday. I wish we were roomies.
I have been reading about feeding the brain you say marijuana dulls the brain and I think dulls healing as well, but that is just my feeling. You are brave and true.
and...I love you (what...poetry?) They just asked me to teach the 16-year olds in S.S. Scary but fun.
Next year the the Calligraphy convention will be in Colorado Springs! hugs, nano

Anne Wiese said...

You are totally amazing little friend! I hate that you are going through all of that, but you are truly a great example of grace and courage and I love you!

Unknown said...

Hi Jody,
You are so amazing ! Beautiful writing, Jody.
This is Mai Trâm Ho (Marsha). I would love to hear from you.
Mai Trâm Ho