Why I support Medical Marijuana
Article by NORML Randall
Shortly after celebrating New Year’s Day in January of 1989, I was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease (lymphoma) at the age of 17. I celebrated my 18th Birthday in March, I remember thinking if I would live to see my 19th Birthday. I had no idea at that time what I was going through not only would change me as a person; but it would affect me for the rest of my life, in numerous ways, especially my health as sadly I’m still finding out suffering from long-term side effects from the chemotherapy and radiation treatments I endured from 1989 i.e. RICAD/Radiation Induced Coronary Artery Disease, HVR/Heart Valve Regurgitation, Vertigo, Internal organs damaged, Dysphagia, Hypogonadism, Hypothyroidism, Esophageal Reflux, Esophageal Stricture, Esophageal Dilation, Abnormal Blood Chemistry, Neuropathy, Hiatal Hernia, etc.
I still remember little moments of being awake and projectile vomiting during my chemotherapy treatments, writhing around and filling the adult diaper I wore with everything my body had to give, from the poisonous internal destruction being pumped in through my Hickman Catheter tube that was inserted through my chest into my heart. Every now and then a new toxic syringe was delivered by the nurse and released into my IV; she wore gloves and a mask just handling it due to the toxic nature of its ingredients.
By end of the third round of chemotherapy, I was nauseated and not eating/drinking anything, I was losing my hair, eyelashes, and all hair all over my body. My skin and body kept puffing and swelling up larger and larger. The doctors told me I needed to eat and drink fluids in between each chemotherapy session in order for my body to help flush out and eliminate the toxicity of the chemotherapy from my body. They warned that if I didn’t eat and drink fluids the chemotherapy sessions would have to be put on hold to help prevent further damage to my internal organs. I told the doctors I was too nauseated to do anything and my depression of the whole situation was spiraling worse and worse; the horrific reactions to the chemotherapy had led me to feeling suicidal after the 4th round, I no longer wanted to continue with the chemotherapy.
Around the time of my fourth chemotherapy treatment, a friend told me of an Uncle of his that went through cancer several years before me. He smoked Cannabis to help reduce the side effects of the chemotherapy and this allowed his body to have an appetite for food and fluids; thus he got some temporary relief. After speaking with my parents and doctors about smoking Cannabis, the doctors supported my use, telling me that it was still a smoke I’m inhaling so not to smoke more than I needed. The doctors at the University Hospital in Madison allowed me to discreetly smoke small amounts of Cannabis inside my bathroom, inside the Hospital.
My doctors also gave me a prescription for Marinol, the pill form of Cannabis. These I immediately threw up after taking, it’s difficult to swallow anything when you’re sickly nauseated. When I was able to swallow them, I had to wait 30-45 minutes for some form of relief. With Cannabis, the smoke becomes infused with the blood instantaneously, thus offering an immediate form of relief and no waiting period, which is one of many important crucial parts of Medical Cannabis; The ability to deliver medicine, instantaneously with the blood, and immediately provide some form of relief for the patient, without harmful side effects or toxins…and causing zero deaths in the process.
The doctors kept upping my anti-nausea medication, before each round of chemotherapy was given to me, that by the time I was nearing the end of my twelve sessions I would literally “pass-out” before the chemotherapy session even started. I would then wake up and ask my Mom if we started the chemotherapy session yet and she would reply by saying “It’s the next morning; we’re all done with that round”. Shortly after waking I would then smoke some Cannabis and instantly I had an appetite and was able to drink fluids, and thankfully leave the Hospital to go back home and recover for the next round of chemotherapy.
My Mom took a year off of her work just to help with me. She also drove me to Madison to receive 3 months of radiation. She has clearly seen me at my worst and helped me get out of that horrific time in my life alive. Family is important, and it’s sad to see those who have nobody. I thank GOD for my Mom for caring for me when I was down and fading out. I also thank GOD for my lovely wife Britanny, whom also helped get me out alive again later on in my life, as my health problems continually challenge me with long-term side effects from the chemotherapy and radiation treatments, as above mentioned.
Even though Medical Cannabis is finally getting the respect and credit it deserves for helping those who “truly” are sick. my full support of Medical Cannabis since 1989 has cost me some of my family and friends along the way, Sadly, sometimes people cannot understand what another person goes through unless they experience it for themselves. I would not want anyone to experience the suffering I had to go through to gain the understanding I have for the suffering destitute sickly ill; I just HOPE others can learn by reading or seeing what others that have suffered or are currently suffering have to say, without spiraling to the depths of torment as some patients repeatedly do on a daily basis.
I will always continue to be involved in bringing some form of health and relief to the sick and dying. I had access to Medical Cannabis when I was gravely ill with cancer; why shouldn’t anyone else that is “truly” suffering from various illness?
To read more about Randall Prazuch, visit www.randallprazuch.com