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.


Let’s Talk About Cancer…Again

Hello dear reader(s)!

It is October, and you all know what that means!

If you guessed Halloween, or Fall fun, you probably didn’t read the title.

It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, because, apparently, people only need to be aware that people get breast cancer in October.  So…you know…don’t go doing anything crazy like scheduling those mammograms any other month now.

It is also Domestic Violence Awareness, which is very convenient for the NFL so they can hide their lack of standards on domestic violence behind pink Susan G. Komen merchandise and ribbons for cancer merchandise marketing.

Now, unlike many cancer survivors, I do not have a problem with Breast Cancer having a whole month.  The marketing and profits off of it bother me, but not the concept.  Just because it wasn’t my particular type of cancer, does not mean I am offended mine doesn’t have a whole month.  You can screen for breast cancer, so be aware of that, and do it.  Just don’t pay $35 for a pink ribbon, of which very little goes to any actual curative efforts.

Anyway, this isn’t an anti-Komen post.  This is a post to, once again, educate all of you who have never had cancer about the realities of cancer that you may not understand.

  • Cancer is not a cold  Not everyone just gets over it once it is no longer in their body.  For me, my true battle didn’t even begin until there was no evidence of disease.  The damage done to the rest of my body from the treatment of this otherwise fatal disease did permanent damage to my body that I will never fully recover from.  I hear in one ear only, I have kidney damage, I have immunity issues that can be severe, I have periods of complete fatigue where just keeping my head upright can be a struggle, I have peripheral neuropathy which is constantly painful to very painful nerve damage, I have cataracts that have made night driving virtually impossible, I have low nutritional absorption and hormone production, I have a couple of related psychological disorders.  Just because some days I can walk, and lift, and look healthy, does not mean I am.  To paraphrase one of my former oncologists, I look a lot better in person than on paper.
  • Cannabis has not been shown to cure cancer  But make no mistake, I believe it was imperative in my survival.  I am very much pro-legalization and would still be using it today were it not very illegal here.  My ability not to, has also proven it isn’t addictive the way people claim, for all you anti-legalization advocates.   It’s a great medicine, but if you think you can not do any of the treatment your doctor recommends and only do cannabis instead, you’re gonna have a bad time.
  • It can still happen, no matter how clean you live  Vegans get cancer.  Vegetarians get cancer.  Nonsmokers get cancer, teetotalers get cancer, paleo diet enthusiasts get cancer, gluten-free people get cancer, anyone can get cancer.  I was super clean prior to cancer.  I don’t smoke, and I didn’t then.  I rarely drink.  It didn’t matter.  A cell division error happened, and I had cancer.  That doesn’t mean living healthy will not help to put the odds in your favor, it just means you should not assume that anyone with cancer had a lifestyle issue.
  • All the miraculous treatments you read about on the internet will not be available to most people for years, if ever, and probably won’t be so miraculous by the time they are  Immunotherapy may be the big exception to this one.  I really wish I could have been a trial subject on that one back when I was first diagnosed.  I’d probably have a lot more of my function, and would not have had the kind of insane fight and many near-death experiences that I had if that had been available to me.
  • You have no advice to give  Whatever you just read on the internet has already been researched by either the patient, their doctor, or their family.  Whatever methods you use to get through the things that you have to do does not apply to them.  No matter how much you think your tips for making sure you can get things done works for you when you are having lazy days, it isn’t going to be effective for someone having trouble keeping their eyes open that day.  That doesn’t mean you can’t help.

If you want to help someone with cancer, or with the sometimes very damaging and life-altering after affects, here is what you can do.

  • Ask, “Is there something I can help you with?”
  • Be understanding when someone is down  

If I need something, and someone offers, I will let them know.  Otherwise, not only do I need it, but chances are that I am going to get offended by the person offering things unsolicited.

This isn’t one size fits all.  Neither is cancer.  But with those two last bullet points, you are probably not going to go wrong with anyone.

May you never need to know any of this one day.

Getting Help

Hello dear reader(s)!

Today I am going to meet with my first psychiatrist since right after we learned I was physically stable enough during my post-transplant mess.  I am nervous, but for not the reasons you might think.  Most people go into some sort of mental health appointment worried that people will know.  I obviously don’t have that issue.  Many others worry that it will be a waste of their time.  I suppose that could be possible, if you get a “medicate, medicate, medicate only” doctor.  I suppose it could also be possible if the doctor is not someone who should be in that field.  If I encountered that, I would just look for another doctor.  Not everyone is good at their jobs.

My worries are much less deep.  Which I suppose must make me a little shallow, but I will leave that determination up to the doctor.  My worry, is that it is located on the other side of a series of road closures due to a HUGE Special Event.  I am not worried about what happens when I get there, I am worried about getting there in the first place.  Well, actually, I don’t have to be in first place…just on time.

I really don’t care that people know I am going to go to a psychiatrist.  I have tried in vain for many months to see one, and now, more than ever, I am thinking getting help will be the best thing I can do.  Honestly, I think most everyone can talk to someone removed from the situation, with no personal interest in outcomes; at some point in their life.

It isn’t like talking to friends, who even though some have been great and others have been phenomenal, are still friends.  They have a vested interest in the conversations.  Even if they are amazing at coming from a place of no judgement, they are still inclined to (just because they know you), take what you have to say to heart.  I have a friend who has been awesome during this time, and that just strengthens our friendship.  I want to talk to someone who, if they are good at listening and helping me deal with things; won’t become anyone close to me.  A completely clinical and analytical bystander.  I think everyone could use that in their life, Scientologists be damned.

It will also be nice to see if we can adjust my short-term anti-anxiety medications into long-term anti-anxiety medications that then can be tapered down so I don’t have a seizure; as I learn and hone the techniques necessary to deal with my anxiety on a medication-free basis.  That is the goal.  I want to be able to get through this life without having to put a pill under my tongue every time I am triggered, or in order to sleep at night.  I would also like a check on my own beliefs that I am grieving relatively appropriately and my desire to move forward and experience life is not some unhealthy escape mechanism.  I also have a little bit of concern with my willingness to take risks.  Luckily, since the immediacy of Hannah’s situation has calmed down, my road rage has vastly calmed down. Now instead of screaming what I will do to every member of their family represented by the stick figures on their windows; I quietly make fun of them to where I usually end up laughing.

This post has been very much about me, but there are two things I hope everyone can take from it.

  1. Sometimes talking about things can be helpful.
  2. I want to be an example to anyone who is afraid to get the help they need due to the stigma from society and that which we place on ourselves.  I am not afraid to admit that I need help with the events I have experienced.  I am not scared of what people will think of me.  People are going to judge you for any actions you do or do not take.  They will judge you for things that have absolutely nothing to do with you.

This is something I tried, unsuccessfully to impart to Hannah.  If someone does not like you, does not believe that you are trying your best to get through when you are trying, if someone believes that you do not need any help when you know you do, if the people who claim to love you think you are just trying to get attention, if the people who care about you judge you negatively for doing your best to survive; it is their issue, it is not yours.

They may still care about you.  They may still love you.  They may genuinely believe they are doing the best for you.  But trying to keep you from the help you feel you need is not what is best for you.  They are misguided.  You can check the statistics on suicides and addiction issues if you don’t believe me.

Help is out there.  Sometimes it can be way too slow in coming.  Sometimes the help you get may be unhelpful and you’ll have to look again for more.

Hang on.  Keep trying.  You do not have a weakness for realizing you need help.  Being willing to put yourself out there, to admit to any issues you may have…that is not weakness, that is strength.