Sunday, June 11, 2006

Marijuana and Chemotherapy

I am going to make this simple……

Yes. Yes, YES, YES. Again… YES.

There is a good reason why, during that first, fateful, fitful chemotherapy session that the health care practitioners, hmmm, well, actually why the nurses (I suspect the doctors aren’t allowed to do the deed themselves due to legalities) ask you if you have considered using pot during this phase of your cancer treatment. That is because it works. It’s just that simple.

I inadvertently conducted a controlled (as controlled as I am capable of getting) experiment on this topic over the course of my 4 rounds of chemo. Because I was heading down to the US between my 3rd and my 4th rounds (something that I didn’t know would completely freak my doctors out until I actually got there – seems that the recycled air of planes can be a receptacle for all the bugs that can creep up on me and wreak havoc when my nadir is nigh) I was reticent to be smoking a whole bunch of dope. I am a bit inexperienced in the ways of all of this (in other words, don’t laugh your asses off at how naïve this is about to sound…), so I didn’t know if there would be some left over evidence of my foray into the illegal (well, in my case under these circumstances it is legal, bless the insight and compassion of the Canadian government for that, but since it is still illegal in the US, and I don’t know how they do their sniffing…), and since I really, really, really wanted to make this trip to my leadership program, I decided to not take the risk. And I spent the first 3 of my rounds of chemo with my new, ever-present friend, nausea. Not so fun. Not terrible either… chemotherapy is cumulative and so the effects build, the first time the nausea only lasted a couple days after the treatment, the second time I was up to 3 or 4 days, but by the time I got to my third round it was really getting uncomfortable for me (I am not great with nausea, plenty of things I can handle well, but nausea, not so much).

So you can imagine my great joy and relief when about a day after round 4, knowing that I had no threat of being turned back from the US border, I tried the sacred weed, and within half an hour the claw of nausea released my stomach. It was like a new lease on life. The relief was incredible (or maybe that was just the high speaking), but boy was it nice not to only be thinking about whether or not I could make it through the day without throwing up. I can’t even describe the peace. Which has me realize how much the nausea had gotten into my bones and really was running the show even when I thought I was doing ok and had it semi-handled. It is quite gross to have a constant reminder that you are in treatment for a devastating and life threatening illness (well, the hair loss kept it front and center too). There is no way to put the awareness of the attack on your life aside; to ignore it or pretend it is isn’t there for a day. At least after surgery there is a feeling of being done, and successful completion and an option to start “recovering”. This is a whole different beast. And really, any relief is a welcome friend. That night I got to bed easily and early too. Also not something I had known I was struggling with. And it would seem the effects of the pot are also cumulative, because over the next few days of treating myself to The Great Relief, things got easier faster. And maybe knowing that this was my last round and so I would get a chance to start “recovering” from this phase before I was plunged into the next great unknown helped ease things as well.

So I will say it again, if you are given the option, hell even if you are not, just say yes to drugs (well, the gentle, herbal ally sort of drug, akin to dandelion and burdock, during this extenuating circumstance – but you knew what I meant!).


At 1:20 AM PDT, Anonymous Chemotherapy Treatments said...

Fine information, many thanks to the author. It is puzzling to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Very much thanks again and best of luck!


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