My mother is 92 years old. In her forties she developed rheumatoid arthritis in her legs. She also has idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Then she got cancer.
I look after my mother and this is her journey.
She has lived with me since she lost my father 13 years ago. When she was in her forties she developed rheumatoid arthritis in her legs and also swelling around her knees. In her sixties the arthritis went into her lungs and she was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Slowly her condition deteriorated and she had to go on oxygen. As the years went by her oxygen intake had to be raised from 2 to 3 litres. She was unable to walk a couple of yards without stopping to get her breath and would need to sit for 5 minutes before she was able to speak. Even if she caught a common cold she would have to take antibiotics as it would have weakened her enough to kill her. Because of the arthritis she fell over regularly, it was very worrying and she was always covered in bruises.
The medication she was on is as follows:-
Oxygen – 3 litres, 24 hrs a day
Mucodyne tablets (to keep her chest clear) – 2 tablets, 3 times a day
Furosemide (water retention) – 40 mg, twice a day
Spironolactone (water retention) – 25mg, once a day
2 years ago she was diagnosed with renal cancer. The news wasn’t good because the treatment the doctors wanted to perform was to remove her kidney but because of her lung condition she would not have survived the surgery. So all they had to offer was to wait for a severe episode of haematuria in order to perform an embolization.
My attitude to cannabis, I must admit, was not very good. I myself had never tried any sort of recreational drug and totally disapproved of my son smoking it.
But he finally wore me down and I gave my permission for him to grow some in the garden. He was always trying to educate me but I would have none of it and believed the propaganda of cannabis being a demon drug. He started to tell me about it being able to cure cancer and at first I didn’t believe him, but then he showed me the Rick Simpson story and I spoke to my mother about trying it. My mother knew she had a lump on her kidney but to this day is unaware that it is cancer. Even though she has never taken any drugs in her life my son, who was growing for himself, said she could have it to make the oil. By this time my mother was suffering from nausea so he suggested canna butter to help her.
We bought some cannabis and made the butter which helped her with the sickness. Then we started to notice the swelling in her legs start to go down and when the oxygen nurse called in to check her she was able to turn her oxygen level down to 2½ litres as her SPO (SpO2) had gone up. When she checked her fingers, which had been blue and flat for a long time, she commented on the fact they had started to turn pink and fill out again. I must admit that this amazed me as I didn’t believe that the cannabis would do anything for her lungs, although my son had said it might, because I knew that they had gone hard and scarred.We then noticed that she was talking to us as she walked and was able to walk without falling over. A month later I called the oxygen nurse in and by then my mother’s SPO had gone up again so she reduced the oxygen intake further to 2 litres.
After being on canna butter for a couple of months we were finally able to harvest the cannabis and make the oil. Just after starting on the oil she had a bad haemorrhage and had to go into hospital, while she was there we were told that her SPO was so good that she no longer needed oxygen. That was last November and she hasn’t needed it since. She even manged to climb the stairs on 2 nights when the stair lift malfunctioned.
That wasn’t all, she didn’t need the mucodyne tablets or the water retention tablets anymore.
She was admitted to hospital in November because she had cut her fluid intake and become severely dehydrated, so much so that she was seeing things. Her hair was falling out, she was talking gobbledygook, she was haemorrhageing very heavily and was being sick every time she ate or drank anything. She didn’t really know what day it was and we worried that she would be put on the Liverpool care pathway. However the dehydration was treated, she was given tablets to stop the bleeding and allowed to come home.
We took her home after a week and then the long fight began, which is still on going. She had developed anorexia and had reflux too. She also had pain in her kidney region. My mother had a scan when she was first diagnosed with cancer which showed a 6 cm tumour on her right kidney. I’m not sure how much the tumours had grown between the first scan and the last, being the one and only MRI scan to date, performed in April this year. However the later MRI scan showed the tumour was in fact 10 cms and she also had a growth on her adrenal gland and yet another on the vein going from the kidney to the heart.
She had 3 severe haemorrhages from November to April, treated with tranexamic acid tablets. She also lost 4 stone in weight. Each time she has been discharged she has gone straight back on the oil, a gram a day, which has been supplied by some wonderful guys and since the last bad haemorrhage in April the bleeding has started to subside.
The guys also talked me into starting an indoor grow, which I would have been horrified about before learning that the herb isn’t the evil plant that we had been led to believe by the papers and government.
She is now taking no pharmaceuticals, she is pain free and has started to gain weight. The doctors keep offering palliative care, which is end of life care, but she now gets herself out of bed, washes and dresses herself and comes downstairs unaided. She also takes herself up to bed and undresses herself. To add to this she also enjoys days out every week and has not long returned from a short holiday. Far from being at the end of her life!
The cannabis has given back her quality of life.
She has just been for another scan and we are waiting for the results but the Radiographer told me that the tumour appeared to be smaller than in the previous scan, so we have a lot of hope now.
Without cannabis and the help from the cannabis community my mum would be dead by now, but this wasn’t about prolonging her life. Seeing someone unable to eat, struggling to breathe, in pain and losing blood is not something I would wish on anyone. This herb will allow her to die with dignity when the time comes. My attitude to cannabis has changed during the past year. I have read up on its history and the government is the ‘evil one’ for withholding this miraculous little plant from people who really need it. I now spread the word on all the benefits of cannabis to anyone who will listen.
Thank you to the Birmingham Cannabis Club member for sharing this very personal and positive life changing story about medical cannabis, not to mention her grandson for being persistent in telling the truth about cannabis. It has helped save her mother’s life. Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below and if you have a story that you want to share get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.