Did My Father Miss Out on a Miracle Cancer Cure? by Jean Marie Keenan-Johnston
When I was diagnosed with cancer, I did as I was told. I went to the breast surgeon my gynecologist recommended, and that led to treating with a string of other doctors just as well-known in our area in the field of cancer. I had my evaluation with my oncologist, and in about two hours, I was educated on the chemotherapy drugs they would be using, the side effects to watch for, the possible dangers of such treatment, and lastly, that I was to look at myself as a cancer survivor every day. Because that’s what I was…every day I continued to get through was one more day I was surviving this dreadful disease. I was already at Stage 3 and since I had a fast-dividing form of breast cancer, I was unsure how long it would be before I would find myself at Stage 4 if I stalled in any way. I was really freaking out because I already had a delay in diagnosing the lump I had found…a history of a different condition that had created lumps other times, the first being as early as my early twenties, led me to be only slightly concerned. So I didn’t race to get yet another mammogram and ultrasound, a decision I immediately regretted upon hearing about the certainty of my cancer the moment after my ultrasound was finished, almost three months after I found the lump. So needless to say, I was ready to move forward. I wanted the tumor removed much quicker than would actually happen. I had a tremendous amount of confidence in my medical team, and my support system – in particular my husband and parents – agreed that I was in good, trustworthy hands. I felt there was no need to question any aspect of my treatment plan, especially since I didn’t feel like I had time. And so just weeks after my diagnosis, I found myself starting chemotherapy on my fifth wedding anniversary. I was scared and I was nervous, but I was positive and confident.
Sadly, I wasn’t as positive about my father’s treatment plan when it started last summer. Unsure of whether it was my father’s choice or the scheduling wishes of his physicians, my father’s treatment for his cancer (supposedly the same stage as mine) wasn’t as quick to start as mine was. My siblings and I worried terribly by how slowly we felt steps were being taken to start treating his esophageal cancer. My father calmly tried to reassure us that he felt he was in good hands, but our doubts were never completely gone. When we lost him a month after his diagnosis, our doubts were renewed and this time combined with strong feelings of anger and grief. We were left with many questions. Did my father take his time making the necessary arrangements to get him through his cancer intentionally or accidentally? Was he really at Stage 3, or had his cancer progressed further? Did he pass away from his cancer, or instead did something go terribly wrong during the surgery for his port or feeding tube, the surgery that took place only a few days before he passed away? For months after we lost him, these were the questions we each asked ourselves. It wasn’t until tonight, while channel surfing for background noise while blogging, that I found myself asking a new, unexpected question. And that question is this: did my father miss out on a miracle cancer cure? If my father had been given cannabis, would he still be with us?
I had seen these two episodes advertised other times I watched shows on this channel, and while I was interested, it wasn’t like I made a note to myself to make sure I didn’t miss it. I have friends who openly support legalizing cannabis use for medical purposes. These are people like me, women who suffer from chronic pain conditions, whose pain can get to be pretty severe, who are trying to care for families and raise children while trying to nurse themselves back to good health. I actually never really considered the possibilities enough to come up with my own opinion on legalizing medical cannabis use. While I have days that I’m housebound and very limited in my activities due to severe pain of which I can find no relief, I guess I felt like I would have to be much more desperate for relief to decide to use something like cannabis. And I thought I knew enough about the subject to know that it wasn’t legal in my own state. (At least I thought I did…I figured if it was an option, one of my many dozen doctors I had consulted for either fibromyalgia or cancer would have mentioned it at least in passing if not during my examinations.) Tonight after watching two television shows on Wealth TV network, I wish I had been more educated on the matter at least for my father’s sake.
I was definitely NOT educated on the matter of cannabis used for medical treatment. The facts these two shows shared were truly eye-opening…enough for me to feel like in addition to my two blogs on living a productive life with fibromyalgia as a mother and a woman I might need to visit the idea of trying to support those who are working on behalf of legalizing this treatment! One woman who was interviewed had lived over TWENTY YEARS WITH ALS! This was unheard of! In addition to extending her life way beyond her “expiration date” (she had to prove to the government that she was still alive!), she was able to “kill” a cancerous tumor by ingesting cannabis oil. She took the substance orally, and when her surgeon performed her surgery for the cancer, he found the tumor had cut off its own blood supply. Amazing! It’s not only unheard of for ALS patients to live so long, they don’t usually survivor surgery like she did.
Here’s a bit of what I learned in case you too would like to educate yourself, or at least have a springboard to start your own research, either for yourself or on behalf of a friend or loved one who may be battling a health condition that cannabis can help. According to experts on the show, particularly doctors in our country who talked about research all over the world, as well as doctors in Spain and Israel where the research is taking place, a new body system has been found. The endocannibinoid system (which I may have spelled incorrectly) exists in the human body and could be the key to keeping the body healthy. Receptors and other substances that are part of this body system can treat cancers, mental diseases like schizophrenia, and autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes. CBD, one of the “substances” (I apologize for not having the correct term) found in cannabis, can help anxiety and ADD with a dose as low as 2-3 mg once or twice a day. It’s also being looked at for treating post traumatic stress disorder. Some concerns against using cannabis as medical treatment have been shown to be unfounded. Some worry about overdose, but research has shown that in order to overdose one would have to take 20,000 to 40,000 times the normal dose, something that’s practically impossible. The only risks mentioned were improved mood and cutting one’s appetite for sweets. I’ll take those risks to the ones the come with the medications my doctors have me on any day! While people worry about cannabis killing brain cells, it actually saves them! The scientists on the show discussed the anti-inflammatory properties of these substances and using them for healing brain injuries in injured hockey players reporting that this is one of the few compounds that will pass through the blood-brain barrier proving to be immediately helpful if given on the spot of a brain injury.
I’m not necessarily jumping right in and signing up as an activist. But after watching a woman with lung cancer that had the quick potential to be terminal report she used cannabis oil to nearly eradicate her cancer in about three months time – hearing her report success with cannabis preventing the spread of her cancer and causing cell suicide as the tumor cuts off its blood supply and dies – I don’t know how else to react but to say many of us need to take a closer look at this possible miracle cure. Had my father been prescribed cannabis, maybe he’d still be with us…maybe he would have celebrated another wedding anniversary with my mother a few days ago. And maybe those of us who have successfully fought cancer ourselves wouldn’t worry so much about a recurrence taking away the precious life we fought so hard to save the first time around.