On March 9th of this year I gave birth to my fifth child, a little girl of miraculous nature. You see, I almost died shortly after the birth of my fourth child. I had had terrible migraines during my entire pregnancy with him, I also had fainting spells, and extreme challenges with managing my blood pressure.
When my new son was just 10 days old I was finally sent to the Edmonds Swedish Hospital ER where a physician gave me a quick CAT. While waiting for results we chatted about newborns, his new little one who was six-month-old. The nurse called the doctor to look at the results, while I waited and nursed my sweet baby.
After some time the doctor returned, I remember him pulling up a chair, sitting down and taking my hand; I thought to myself at that moment that it wasn’t going to be good; my physician had tearful eyes. He then told me they had found a brain tumor deep within my skull.
In such shock, all I could think of was this poor man having to tell a new mother such a finding. He informed me I could not go home, that it was an extremely large tumor. He had an ambulance waiting outside to rush me to the Swedish Cherry Hill Hospital, and I couldn’t take my baby with me.
I arrived late in the evening and the medical staff immediately began hours of MRI’s and other testing. The next afternoon I met my team of specialists, and was given the results. They confirmed that I had an enormous tumor, in the right ventricle of my brain, requiring immediate attention.
I was to be operated on first thing the next morning; more testing was completed throughout the afternoon and into the night. My prognosis was very grim. I was told I had a 5-10 percent chance of survival.
I remember at that time wishing for death because the pain was so horrendous. I would be leaving behind children ages, 11 days, 2, 4, and 14 years old, and I accepted it.
Amazingly, I survived the surgery; however it left me with extremely uncontrollable epilepsy. I was prescribed medications to treat it, with limited and poor success. We tried around 25 different medications, up to six different types at a time, in maximum doses; none of these medications managed my new epilepsy. Instead, these medications left me with unfortunate side effects and complications such as GERD, Fibromyalgia, IBS, sleeping disorders, pain, and multiple other issues.
I’ve had to have multiple medical procedures, and more surgical procedures to treat the barrage of damaging side effects these medications have caused.
The worst outcome of my “recovery” was my uncontrollable epilepsy. I had 15-20 seizures a day while awake, and I have no idea how many occurred while I was unconscious. The physician treating my epilepsy gave me approximately two years to live, predicting one of my Tonic-Clonic seizures would kill me.
While I suffered with epilepsy I was admitted to the hospital 1-3 times a month seizing. I bit off part of my tongue and repeatedly injured myself while seizing. I was not able to go outside or even leave my room for long periods of time due to the stress and possibility of triggering a seizure. During this time my children suffered from the loss of a functional mother.
I met a man who told me about oral medical cannabis; through him I learned about THC and CBD. After careful consideration, and the sense of hopelessness I felt from my prescription medication falling short of treating my epilepsy, I decided to try a combination of THC and CBD along with my prescription medications.
In the first day my epileptic seizures dropped by 50 percent, and within a week the frequency of my seizures dropped another 25 percent. With a 75 percent decrease in my seizures, a significant improvement in my health management, I felt confident I could go outside again. I could play with my children.
Unfortunately in 2012 I was diagnosed with an Intrinsic Brainstem Glioma. That is an inoperable terminal tumor in the brain stem. I have lost friends who suffered from chemo medication treatments in an attempt to save themselves.
Not wanting to endure chemo, I researched the use and success of cannabinoids in cancer treatments and I decided to increase my medical cannabis use and initiate a complete lifestyle change. After the ongoing complications with my health I found myself extremely overweight and generally unhealthy.
I switched to an organic vegan diet, and organic household products, which helped me in amazing ways. My brainstem tumor stopped growing and began to fade from MRI screenings. I also shrank, dropping from a dress size 24 to a size 6. I went from sleeping all day on my couch to competing in Sprint Triathlons.
In 2014 I got pregnant again, I was delighted by our growing family; however the prescription medications I was taking, along with the seizures I was still having caused me to lose my baby. I was utterly devastated.
From the grief of my loss, I decided to quit all of the prescription medications, to focus on finding the most effective medical cannabis treatments for my survival. It was a very difficult battle to cease those medications yet I did.
Amazingly by cutting the medications and increasing the use of cannabis oil I was able to control my seizures. Eventually I was able to stop taking all of the prescription medications treating my GERD, Fibromyalgia, IBS, sleeping disorders and pain. I went from taking 30 pills a day to three, which are prescription potassium.
In 2015 I again became pregnant; anxious for a stable pregnancy and concerned for my own health, I continued using cannabis and rejected offers of prescription medications from my doctors. My pregnancy was closely supervised and monitored by doctors at the University of Washington Medical Center, where my cannabis treatments, my health and the health of my developing baby were carefully guided.
On March 9th, 2016, my daughter, Ahyoka was born, all her fingers and toes intact. All of my previous children had been born early and she was no different, she was five weeks early! Initially she was considered “Premature” and I was told she would be kept in hospital for two weeks, after just three days of observation she was re-categorized as “Preterm” and released to go home to her loving family.
She is currently 11 pounds and happily suckling breast milk regularly. She is perfect in every way, she is growing and developing exactly as expected for a normal newborn baby, our doctors are pleased that her development is right on course with the pediatric chart.
My epilepsy and tumors are controlled, and I have a happy healthy baby!
The blessing of our lives is due to the radical lifestyle change I committed to in 2014 and the treatment of my maladies with medical cannabis oil. Without medical cannabis neither my daughter nor I would be alive today.
Cannabis has been a wonderful medication for me, and a blessing to us all. Medical Cannabis plant strains and the use of cannabis oils saved my life, and will continue to save my life every day. My children will grow up with a mother who is physically fit enough to care for them as they grow, play with them, and teach them to be healthy active people.
I need it to be understood how new restrictions of plant numbers effects my ability to maintain my health. Patients have different needs of the cannabis medication and require different doses.
Having extremely sensitive epilepsy I require a specific type of cannabis to maintain a stable and seizure free life. A limitation of plant numbers greatly inhibits me from doing so. I have had to kill perfectly viable plants because of these limitations. Reducing strain access and restricting ways to purchase seeds and plants containing correct CBD/THC levels to treat patient illness is wrong.
To produce enough cannabis for myself I would need to grow with a coop and then am required to register as a member. This relinquishes my privacy and is against HIPAA compliance. As a user of cannabis for my health needs, I am not given the same privacy as “regular” medical patients; I am in the same bracket as a prescription opioid patient but more controlled.
State I-502 stores do not provide me with the medication I require to control my epilepsy. I explored 30 stores in my area and failed to find any carrying the medication I require. When I did find one which had oral medication with viable CBD and THC levels it had caffeine infused into it. Caffeine causes seizure in sensitive epileptic patients.
State 502 stores are inadequate and inconsistent in their testing of their cannabis. This is extremely bad, especially in view of their use of chemical pesticides. Chemical pesticides are in no way beneficial to patients battling any form of cancer.
Pricing in state 502 stores is unattainable for a fully disabled patient such as myself living on Social Security. It would cost me about $5000 a month to purchase enough cannabis to control my epilepsy. I in no way come near those numbers financially.
We must continue to investigate, explore and research medical cannabis and cannabinoids in the state of Washington and for the United States. We must have realistic and reasonable guidelines for managing commercial crops, as well as personal health maintenance plants.
We must work towards safe organic pesticides, clearly labeled packaging, accurate testing, and allow doctors to treat patients with medical cannabis without restrictions or threats to their licensure.