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My Story

posted Dec 16, 2011, 12:15 PM by Mariajuana San Diego

Cannabis Education Project Members Speak About Why They Fight For Cannabis Policy Reform

My name is Carolina.   I am 32 years old and I am a cancer patient in remission.   In late 2009, I was diagnosed with HPV- cervical cancer, and was immediately referred to an oncologist, who said when he saw me was that I needed a hysterectomy.  He explained that because my cancer was caught in an early stage, chemo and radiation were unlikely, a fifteen-percent probability.  I was extremely overwhelmed with my diagnosis.  I was confused so I did a little research on the disease and its side effects.  It turned out I was experiencing most of the side effects.  I have two children that need me and I need to care and provide for my kids.  So I followed the doctor's orders, and accepted the procedure, where I had to sign multiple papers, agreeing to surgery and no more babies, then actual surgery. 

After the surgery, I remember waking up scared.  I will never forget that moment, and the frightened feeling that continues to be engrained in my head and mind.  But that was just the beginning of what was around the corner waiting for me.  I was immediately discharged, and given a prescription of pain killers and antibiotics.  After a day of puking a dark green liquid, not being able to hold even water down was extremely alarming.  I asked my family to return me to the hospital, where I ended up staying for two weeks, with an IV stuck in my vein and a suction tube inserted through my nose and into my stomach.  That experience alone, where I was on the clock, every couple of hours I would page the nurse for my pain meds, morphine! I couldn’t eat food or drink water, and being away from my kids, there were moments when I wanted to get up and just walk out.  Yet I held back because I knew I would end back in the hospital ER room or probably worse.  The staff and my doctor were very supportive and understanding but then again they weren't the ones in my position.  It turned out there was an obstruction-infection-where the surgery was conducted that was interfering with my organs' function, and I don’t even want to go into how that was extracted.

You would think I have endured all that anyone may think possible, but no.  The worst was yet to come.  That fifteen percent of probability was there, so my specialist then referred me to Dr. Weinstein and Dr. Song who specialize in chemotherapy and radiation.  My biggest mistake was not doing the proper research on alternatives and different approaches to treating this disease.  I submitted myself to the radiation and chemo.  The radiation was a Monday through Friday and the chemo was once a week for approximately two months.   The doctor recommended that I drop out of school while in treatment because she said the treatment was going to wear me out so I dropped all but one class. I decided if I was going to be feeling lousy, I didn't want to sit around the house doing nothing because that would just make matters worse.  Aside from the chemo (which every second that that fluid ran through my veins, a cold liquid that made me shiver as it ran through my blood across my body-- the thought of it today still makes me teary eyed as well as making my skin crawl), the doctor prescribed some meds—for insomnia, nausea, and to protect the liver.  These meds were not working.  Therefore, I approached the doctor and asked about Medical Marijuana (MMJ).   His reply was "don't ask-don't tell". 

I was nauseous, always a terrible feeling of disgust and without an appetite.  At night I couldn't sleep, and what was worse my kids would just see me lying around without any motivation.  I would get up because I had to attend class and go to treatment, so what kept me going were my kids and school.  That motivation kept me on my feet.  That was when I decided to go to another doctor and told him my case and that was the best thing I could have done.  One dose of MMJ and the nausea was gone, and my kids definitely enjoyed my company more. In addition, about half an hour later I have an appetite going, and would be able to sleep restful nights. 

To this day I have no appetite and I need MMJ to trigger it, so that I am encouraged to eat.  I am a single mother who is currently going to school and looking for employment, and I am always on the run, so if I didn't have this I could go throughout the whole day without anything to eat, and go on like that.  To this day I haven't been able to recover loss of weight, but I am able to maintain thanks to medical marijuana, and my awareness on being a healthy food consumer.