For-Profit

Hello dear reader(s)!

Watch any sports lately?  How about a cooking show?  See any commercials?  Were any of them for alcohol?

In a few minutes, I am probably going to have a special (cannabis infused) brownie.  (Tomorrow I have shit to do, or else I might tomorrow too.)  Part of it will be for my chemotherapy-induced neuropathy pain that is acting up.  Part of it will be to help my anxiety that is so strong this month.  Part of it will be to give me the appetite I need to eat dinner tonight.  Part of it will be because it seems to (seems to because I have no actual studies that show causation) keep my blood counts a bit higher than they are when I have not had any in a while.  Part of it will be to try to prevent some of the nightmares I get this month from coming tonight.

But part of it?  Part of it will just be to help me relax a bit.

And yet, on the federal level, this is a crime.  Jeffy-boy and company do not care for it one bit.  That’s fine, they don’t have to have any.  More for us.

Why is this a problem?

Do you know what I have never seen?  I have never seen a person under the influence of marijuana (and only marijuana) hit their spouse.  I have never seen a person under the influence of marijuana start a bar fight.  I have never seen a person under the influence of marijuana think they are invincible and can drive one hundred miles per hour even though they are too drunk to stand.  And most importantly, I have never seen a person turn yellow and die a slow, horrible death from liver failure because of marijuana.

Guess what I’ve seen from people under the influence of legal, advertised alcohol?

I use cannabis for pain.  I use it to help me relax.  I use it for many reasons.  Because of that, I don’t feel like I need many prescription drugs I would have no problems getting legally.  I had a prescription for heavy opioids before I started realizing the full benefits of cannabis.  You will never catch me at a park with a needle in my arm.  You will never catch me with a brown bag over a bottle.  I have something much safer that is so much more effective with fewer side-effects.

I think it is hilarious that the supposed free-market loving Republicans are against legalizing marijuana.   Taking money from the alcohol lobby and the pharmaceutical lobby to keep it illegal in order to protect the inferior products that are marketed and pushed to us like all the processed crappy food was when I was growing up.

And let’s talk about that food.  Remember when people thought butter was horrible, and margarine was the healthy way to go?  Or the “Low Fat” food was a good thing?  Or avocados were bad because they were fatty fruits?

We are living in an age of capitalism out of control.  When the need for more money puts a large number of people, even entire societies at risk, maybe there needs to be a different way.

It’s no secret that I have considered myself a Democratic Socialist long before I knew who Bernie Sanders was.  But as I see the horrible things companies are doing with our food, our medicine, our healthcare, and housing all in the name of profit, I am digging in even more than ever.  I wonder how these fucking pieces of shit sleep at night.  Maybe on all those dangerous drugs they bribe your doctor into prescribing.

I am not anti-medicine.  I do not believe cannabis cures most things.  I do, based on my own experiences and the studies that have been able to be conducted, believe that it treats and can help prevent many things.  And I am certain that it is only being kept illegal at the federal level in order to protect the profits of industries that trade off of inferior substances.

I choose not to participate.  I will do my own research, and I will try what I choose.  And if something works better for me, that’s what I will do.

I will not eat the artificial everything plus preservatives if I can find fresh and real.  I will not take the synthetic, physically addictive, mildly effective, side-effect prone pill if I know my natural medicine would do a better job of treating the condition.

My life is not for the profit of others.

Legalize

If you are not 21 or over, please leave this page for now.  Thank you.

Hello dear reader(s)!

And greetings from Washington state, one of the few states in the nation with legal recreational marijuana.  Oh, and one of the best economies in the nation.  A place where the biggest problems facing the people are traffic because the people in charge have decided to make life impossible for cars, while failing to replace those cars with adequate public transportation, and high housing prices because everybody and their brother’s sister’s mother’s father’s cousin’s former high school sweetheart wants to live here.  Is it because of the legal recreational marijuana?  Doubtful.  But that could be part of it.

I am not a major pothead.  Do I use it occasionally?  Yes.  It is a very effective anti-anxiety medication, and much safer than the Ativan I was on for so long.  It is an effective pain-killer.  It is the best anti-nausea medication I have ever used, and it is one hell of an appetite stimulant.  When I was fighting cancer, I went from 220 lbs to 140 lbs.  I was dying, and had no strength to attempt to live.  I could not eat from the GVHD in my throat, my digestive system issues (which still plague me), and the nausea.  Nothing they could give me would touch it.  Nothing.  Medical was legal here at the time.  I asked my doctor if she thought marijuana would help me, and she followed the DEA approved line of bullshit and told me it would be too dangerous and there wasn’t enough evidence that it would help.  (This is before cancer.gov admitted otherwise.)  So, without the card, I broke the law and obtained it illegally.  Trusting my supplier to give me the oil and only the oil in hopes it would help.

I got lucky.  My supplier was a stand-up person and the oil was as advertised (not in actual ads, or course).  And I tried it.  And at first, I got high as fuck and I hated it.  I almost stopped.  But I got hungry.  And the pain was less.  And I could eat again.  And pretty soon, the sharp high I was getting became a calming peaceful sensation.  I started to gain weight.  I started to be able to fight off all that was happening inside of me thanks to my newfound strength from the calories I wouldn’t have been able to take in otherwise.  The treatments actually began to work better, bolstered by a body able to help it fight.  And I started taking less pain meds.  I was on a ton of narcotics there for a while.  I started making a plan to draw off both the narcotics and the Ativan.  I stopped the narcotics cold.  Suffered three weeks of vicious withdrawals with the help of marijuana.  Stopped the Ativan in a safe taper.

Do you know what can happen when you stop Ativan (something they prescribe like candy until they decide you’ve been on it too long)?  You can die.  Do you know what can happen when you suddenly stop marijuana?  Um…not much.  I guess when I have and had an anxiety attack I kinda wished I had some with me.  The horror!!!!

My doctor didn’t want me to use marijuana for a valid reason, however.  With my weakened immune system, smoking marijuana can lead to fungal infections.  Up here, where I could obtain the oil (even if it was illegal without a medical card at the time), not an issue.  I don’t want to smoke anything.

But when I lived down in Reno, and friends had it?  Guess what I did once or twice?  And that fungal infection in my lungs?  It’s possible it could have been from that.  If it was legal there, when my friends were around the bonfire, I would have already been sucking on a candy made from the oil and it would have never happened.

Legalization brings safety.  Legalization brings knowledge of trusted supply.  Legalization brings an end to turf battles between cartels.  Legalization makes a life saving medicine available to all without much risk.  When I used during my cancer fight, I didn’t know what I was getting, but I needed something.  I was willing to try anything.  Anything.

I still use that medication occasionally. But now, I walk down the street, pass the sign waver (really, a sign waver for a store that sells a drug that people are currently in prison for, talk about surreal) and into the store.  I find the candies inside the case that are manufactured in inspected facilities, using marijuana that is only organically grown by state inspected and licensed farms, and then tell the person behind the counter what I would like.  Some people get the pieces of the plant, I get the edibles.  It is all sealed and safe for someone like me.  I pay for my candy, put the tin in my pocket (looks like a tin of breath mints) tip the budtender for handing them to me and working in an industry that is still unnecessarily dangerous due to cowboys from the DEA who still like to occasionally raid the places that provide a legal avenue of supply to something they simply could never stop anyway.  And I walk back down the street and go home.

My organic, vegan medicine comes with warning labels, sealed containers, and a supply more strictly enforced than the peanut butter you obtain from your grocery store.  I get 5 mg of THC in each candy.  (Most people take two, one is fine for me.)  I can choose the strain (I prefer a hybrid.)

Everything negatively associated with marijuana in studies is either correlation based on the underlying issues of those who need to self-medicate, or is associated with the fact it is illegal.  It is not a gateway.  For me, it actually got me off legal mediation that is far more dangerous and worse for society.  Do people who need to self medicate occasionally try other drugs?   Yes.  Is there anything to suggest that marijuana was the cause rather than someone who needs to medicate so badly with no legal means and a broken mental health system that they will try what they can?  Absolutely not.  Do people who use marijuana have a higher incidence of depression?  Sometimes.  Was it the marijuana?  Probably not.  They probably turned to marijuana to medicate the existing depression.  Can marijuana cause cancer as suggested by one single, unreplicated study that made headlines recently?  It might alter the DNA.  Might.  Can anyone find a single case of non-smoked marijuana that has led to cancer?  Anyone?

And since just about everything is a carcinogen, would you rather get cancer from something that helps you survive it?  Or from your shitty, polluted drinking water?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a tin of candy to use before I move to a place with draconian laws against this medicine, and I have a headache that needs medicating.

 

Have I Ever Mentioned How Much I Hate Cancer?

Hello dear reader(s)!

No, this post isn’t about Alan Rickman, despite the fact that I loved all his work and the one time I decided to act (when it wasn’t compulsory in elementary school plays) I chose, read for, only wanted, and got the role of Sheriff of Nottingham because he made it so cool;

Screenshot 2016-01-14 at 8.21.47 AM
I’m the one with yellow star. Because I was the sheriff. It was a comedy.

it is not about David Bowie; it is not about Lemmy.  This post is about the fucking piece of shit classification of diseases that killed them, and more specifically, about our ineptitude as a society in dealing with it.

For those of you who are new here, I am a cancer survivor.  If that’s what you want to call me.  Because cancer has messed me up pretty bad.  Cancer killed the person that I was, which may be a good thing because he wasn’t near as cool as the person I became; with the exception of the fact that because of cancer, I can’t be around a lot of people, I still have days where I just feel like garbage, I have chronic kidney disease, I have cataracts, I can’t hear out of my left ear, I have PTSD from the multi-year, extremely close fight for my life, I have neuropathy in my feet that puts them in constant pain and makes it hard for me to stand for long periods, I have a bad back from lying in the hospital for literal years of my life when added up which makes it hard to sit or lie down for long periods of time, my GI system is still all messed up from all the antibiotics, and I still experience a fatigue that most people my age would not understand.  There is more, but that’s what I can think of right now.

The biggest issue is my immune system.  Everything else is slightly manageable, but with anti-vaxxers, people who work sick, idiots who can’t even be bothered to wash their hands after they go to the bathroom, and so many other things, that is my biggest challenge, one which no amount of physical training will help with.  I just have to hope that certain cell lines in my bone marrow decide to grow.  I was hospitalized just last month for getting pneumonia, where I got even more harsh antibiotics.

So, as you may or may not be able to tell, I’m not such a fan of cancer.  It came very, very close to killing me many times.  And it kills way too many people.  And it doesn’t have to.

New treatments, even cures for some cancers are being discovered all of the time.  Immunoptherapy is so promising for so many types, but is still in the early stages of being explored.  Many insurance companies are still considering it experimental and won’t pay for it.  And the FDA wants trial after trial after trial.  And while clinical trials are usually paid for by the provider, the associated costs are not.  This slows down potential life saving treatments.  The years-long ban on embryonic stem cell research certainly didn’t help anything either.  Abortion is legal, whatever your beliefs on that don’t matter.  What matters is why waste cells that could save actual living lives?  Go debate abortion in some other place.  And let us not forget that the vast majority of your tax dollars go to propping up a military that for decades has been nothing more than a tool of the corrupt to push their corporate imperialism.  No offense troops, I know you think you’re doing the right thing, but look at the results.  You’re being used.  It isn’t fair to you, or us, or anyone.  How about we start funneling money away from the creation of death and toward the enrichment of life?  Actual life, non-parasitical life, as already recognized by the law and the fact you get a goddamned birth certificate and every age law is based on when you were born?

And now let’s talk about cannabis.  Does cannabis cure cancer?  NO!  Nothing cures cancer.  Cancer is not one thing, and no one thing will cure all cancer.  Could it possibly cure some?  Doesn’t really look that way.  But it has been shown to reduce some solid tumors in certain cancers in conjunction with standard treatment verses standard treatment alone.  It has also been shown to potentially prevent the recurrence of some types of cancers.  And more cancer fighting properties might be found, if the government wasn’t working so hard to block research into it.  I can tell you from experience, there was nothing that worked better for me as an appetite stimulant, anti-nausea medicine, and anti-anxiety/anti-depressant.  I was 220 before I got sick, then lost way too much weight.  Cannabis took me from 140 completely swollen with water to a healthy 190-200.  It also helped me lower the doses on my insanely strong narcotics until I just decided to stop altogether because they were doing more harm than good.  Cannabis has been legal in both Washington and Colorado for over a year now.  Do you know how many people have overdosed from it?  Zero.  That is fact.  The only reason this drug is still illegal on a federal level is because of the lobbies of the tobacco and alcohol industry.  More dangerous and legal drugs that have both been proven to CAUSE cancer in many people.  Could smoking marijuana cause cancer?  I’m sure smoking anything could.  But if you think smoking it is your only option, then you are living under a rock.  Could ingesting it?  Maybe, but I’d be willing to bet no more than ingesting the apple you get from the grocery store.

Cancer will always probably kill people.  And if we find a way to totally beat it, something else will.  People are going to die, and they should.  The world is overpopulated as it is.  However, so many cancers could be treated or cured if the attention was given, and the gloves were taken off.  (Not in the literal sense, especially for those who work with patients.)  The lives cut too short, and the amount of suffering it causes, should make it a priority.  The economic costs of fighting it alone should make it worth a massive public initiative to find ways to eliminate as much of it as possible.

But instead, we continue to spend our money making bombs, jets, and drones so our companies can continue to exploit the cancer causing resources of other nations for profit when alternatives do exist.  We continue to spend our money on corporate tax breaks instead of research.  We continue to make potential treatment, or at the very least, proven methods to help fight it illegal for the sake of cancer causing drug lobbies.

Every time we mourn someone who dies of cancer, we should mourn the fact that life has been made into a for-profit, capitalism at all costs, broken society.  We need to mourn our crumbling idea of civility.

#FuckCancer

20151208_175845

Screenshot 2015-06-09 at 8.48.36 AM
No more Hickman.
Screenshot 2015-06-09 at 8.54.17 AM
Transplant Day!
Screenshot 2015-06-09 at 8.49.54 AM
Sneaking outside with nurses, but not Infection Control Doctors’ permission.
Screenshot 2015-06-09 at 8.55.27 AM
Couldn’t even get out of bed.

 

Medicines

Hello dear reader(s)!

I’ve been avoiding writing this post for some time but it has come up in conversation or the news so much recently that I have decided to add my two and three-quarter cents.  The topic is medicine.

Usually I leave my points to the end of my posts, but I want to emphasize this one, so I am going to just say it now.  And I’m going to put it in bold.  Are you ready?  Use whatever works.

Something I find hilarious and also scary is that people seem to either be for pharmaceuticals, or against them.  There doesn’t seem to be any middle ground.  Conversely, people seem to be either for non-traditional medicine or against it.  Again, no middle ground, no examination of the evidence, and a lot of preconceptions.

If you are a supporter of medical marijuana (and let’s be clear here, I am) then you are automatically pegged as an “alternative cure” supporter.  On the other hand, if you support vaccines, certain medications, and traditional, successful western medicine, then there is a whole crowd willing to belittle you.  It is similar to the religious and strict atheist crowds.  You either believe or you don’t.  Neither side likes if you look at things logically and use the available data to form your own opinion.

Marijuana saved my life.

Or rather, Cannabis oil did.  And no, for the record, I don’t believe it cured my cancer.  My cancer was gone before I even tried it.  The complications were set in before I tried it.  I was dying, and I was dying from the medicine that was saving me.

I would never advocate anyone forgoes their cancer treatment in exchange for cannabis, or any other treatment that is not proven to cure or treat any illness or ailment.  People do that, and they die.

But it is proven to do some things.  It stimulates appetite.  It controls nausea.  It helps some people relax and rest.  And all of that is critical in fighting cancer and the effects from some of the most powerful chemicals designed to put into your body.

One of the worst crimes our government continues to commit in my opinion is the classification of Marijuana as a schedule 1 controlled substance.  There is so much proof, so many valid, peer-reviewed studies of its effectiveness in those areas, that to claim it has no medicinal benefit is simply a fraud.

I never told my doctors I was taking it.  I did ask about a card for medical purposes but they told me about the fungal infection possibilities and how it could trigger GVHD of the lungs.  As if smoking it is the only (or even the recommended) way to use it.  I researched it, learned not to handle the plant, and used it cooked only.  I was about 140 at the time, and I am 215 now.  It is a very fortunate thing that I lived in a place where it was legal when I needed it.

Cure?  No, I don’t think so.  Life saver?  Absolutely!

Between people’s morning cup of coffee, their glass of wine before bed, their beer at the barbecue, their cigarettes, their donuts…it is time to admit that we humans self medicate.  Some of the medicines we choose have a lot more risks than benefits, some are the opposite.  Maybe instead of fighting a war on the medicines that are not endorsed by powerful industry we should be looking at the risks and benefits and allowing ourselves to make the decisions that we are going to make anyway.