Sunday, January 2, 2011

Even I Can Be Amazed

This isn't really an update. It isn't even a story with a happy ending, nor a sad ending as the story is far from over. Nor is this an excuse for not updating more on my MS and recovery from the CCSVI procedure. Actually this isn't even about MS. But it does explain why I haven't been updating as much as I and others would like.

I have no job. I have no money. But I do have a thirst to keep people from suffering. I should have become a doctor but I didn't. (Probably would have had my license pulled for caring about patients.) So I help by passing on knowledge and contacts. I am a consultant. I consult to a number of patients, groups, and doctors.

I do not sell drugs. I don't even give them away. I help patients and their families secure a safe supply, and I provide the information on how to best administer. I work with the patients and their doctors on filling out the required paperwork for Health Canada as well as educate.

A week before Christmas I was contacted by email about a patient needing some assistance and the referral came from a doctor I work with quite often. The one requesting my help was her husband and I will call them Mr. and Mrs. H. Mrs. H. was diagnosed with breast cancer last spring. She underwent a double mastectomy and 30 different radiation treatments. This fall during the last of the radiation treatments she was advised that she also had a brain tumor that was spreading rapidly. The morning I was sent the email the family were just advised that there would be no way that she would make it home for Christmas and being that their family lives overseas, it might be time to start making some of those calls no one wants to get.

Quickly I realized I wasn't going to have a very good Holidays if she was suffering. By Monday morning, Mr. H had all of the paperwork filled out and signed by both his wife and a doctor and were sent priority rush to Health Canada. On the Sat. Mrs. H. had her first ever medicated cookie. Then again on Sunday, then again on Monday when I got a call from Mr. H. that his wife was doing much much better as she was eating again and joking with the nurses, and they expected her to be home by Wed.

So the family that was told they better start calling the rest of the family on Friday brought their mother home on Wednesday so she could spent Christmas at home with her family. Even I was stunned. Her husband told me that she was a strong woman, but I was still shocked. And of course extremely excited and happy for the family. But I have also been around long enough to understand the Prednisone "Superman Effect" and any drug including cannabis can do this. If you get relief from pain, you may just feel like Superman, but you will hurt yourself if you are not careful.

I wished them well, made them well aware that even though she felt good, she had to take it easy, and made arrangements to meet with them at their home today. Except things never work out as planned. Instead of getting to meet her at her home, I am rushed off to the hospital to meet her.

Over the Holidays the one thing I hoped wouldn't happen, happened. She started to taste the medicine. I can totally understand how she feels. As much as I love the baked goods, the underlying flavor reacts with my gag reflex, and it happened to her. Because they didn't want to ruin my Holidays, (grrrrr) they decided to wait until today to tell me that she stopped eating the medicine and was back in the hospital.

We got to the hospital, and were met by a nurse that informed us that she did not have a very good night and that they have called in her doctor because it doesn't look good. Her husband and I went to her room and I found me. Or basically what I looked like a few months ago. I have lived with so much pain that I know pain and better yet, I know when someone else is in pain. My heart ripped. Unable to sleep, unable to be awake, and unable to keep even a sip of water down. I more than know what that is like. I also realized that there was no way we would be discussing whether she wanted to try the same medicine in a different form. 

Except her husband asked her, and her fear was not being able to keep it down and whether or not it would react with the high doses of morphine they were pumping into her. First and foremost, I never push anyone to do anything. Even in distress, a patient should have a choice. We left to bring me home so he could go back to be with her. On the way out we meet the doctor on the way in, that drags us into a private meeting room.

I will call this doctor, Dr. B. because we have a few of them here. Dr. B proceeds to tell Mr. H. that it is very bad and they are pretty much out of options. Dr. B. and I had met before one time when I was the patient in distress, and he found out that I could help myself better then he could, but still insisted I was wrong. I have been given that prognosis by a doctor and it is devastating. The one thing I am thankful for is that it was given to me and not Chrissy. It was much easier on her for me to tell her than someone else. So I spoke up.

Pretty much word for word I said the following....

"I know how you doctors in this town feel about Rick Simpson and his claims of curing cancer, and anecdotal or not, the man regardless of his approach is proving to be right. I will not make a claim that it will cure cancer  as I, no matter how many times I have been told I have it, do not have cancer. So I can't make that claim. But I do know pain and I know what it can do for pain, and I can back that up with Dr. Marc Ware's study that proved that more is better to remove pain. Narcotics do not remove pain and you as a doctor know this, you also know that the mechanism is designed to trick the brain and nothing more. Cannabis removes the pain. We are not asking you for permission, nor even a prescription as it is already secured. We are informing you that this will solely be her choice. My purpose is to not cure her of cancer but to make her more comfortable. We can do this with cannabis, and the other medicinal benefits of the plant can go without saying while knowing there will be no reaction with anything you prescribe. Will there be a problem with this?"

His response.... "Do we cut back on the morphine then?"

And again it is her choice. I explained that if it works for her pain then she will let them know that she doesn't need the morphine. We quickly discussed some signs that should be watched for and I was taken home. Mr. H. returned to find out his wife had a great chat about her using cannabis to see if it would help with the pain to at least help her be a bit more comfortable. She said he basically gave her his blessing to go ahead and try it.

That in itself could be the end of a story with an amazing ending, but of course, the show always goes on. I just got off the phone with Mr. H. I think if he could have gotten through the phone he would have kissed me. I gave Mr. H. the idea this morning to wait for about 10 minutes after a shot of morphine to see if she could keep a small sip of water down, if so another sip with a small dose. Well, just before noon she did. Mr. H. sat and watched her and right on schedule at about the 45 minute mark she started to change. She melted into her  bed and rested. Then she woke up, and from the sounds of it proceeded to eat them out of house and home.

Each dose will last 4 to 5 hours. Mr. H. was on his way back in to see her to give her another one and to grill her about how she felt after the first, with plans for another one at 10. You have to bow down to a man that loves his wife this much. Better yet, Mr.H wants to be there for when Dr. B. goes in again. To see if he wants to change that shitty prognosis yet.

So like I said, this story is far from over. Mr. and Mrs. H. still have a long hard road ahead of them, and we can only hope we still have time to pull off a miracle. But take it from someone that has been there.... when you can no longer eat, you no longer have the strength or will to fight. As long as she keeps eating she at least has a fighting chance. Stay tuned, this story is far from over and that is why I have been so busy. I really am out there trying to do my part.


  1. What a great story put a smile on my face for the first time today. I purchased some coconut oil today and tomorrow will be adding the "gold dust" I've been collecting and saving for a few months now. Very excited to see if it helps not only my own minor issues, but also helps my dad with his arthritis pain.

    Once again....thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Thanks for posting this Marcel. Giving your friends hope is a wonderful gift. Remember to take care of yourself.

  3. Thank you for this story Marcel. It made me smile to know that you have that drive, that I'm all so familiar with, to help others.
    People who have not experienced chronic pain (or worse, such as MS or cancer) have no idea (and this includes physicians) what it's like to be in that position.
    Cannabis has been demonized by our governments to the point where some ill people will not use it due to the stigma that's attached to it. That is BS !
    It is a natural plant that has been used in medicine for thousands of years and practically harmless if consumed properly.
    Doctors and patients should be doing what is good for the patient, without having to worry about consequences, such as it is here in the USA...of being punished for trying to get well, or to at least, rid themselves of pain or for some of the many, many benefits of cannabis use in human illnesses.
    Today's drugs have so many side effects and many drugs, especially maintenance drugs, cause damage to our organs. Cannabis does not.

    Physicians need to remember this, above all when treating their patients...
    First, do no harm.

  4. **UPDATE**

    Instead of writing a separate article for a quick update, I am placing it here, as some people have expressed interest on any early responses.

    So Sunday I met Mrs. H. and couldn't talk to her due to the 10+ level of pain she was in. She hadn't eaten in 3 days.

    Yesterday I was called and asked to go to the hospital again as she had some questions for me now that she could converse sensibly.

    I didn't walk in on someone curled into a ball from pain, I walked in to meet a very alert and smiling individual. Who had been eating non-stop since Sunday. Of course the biggest question in my mind was what is the pain level now?

    I almost fell out of my chair when she said it was a 1. Not a 10.. but a one. And she was already refusing morphine as it wasn't needed. She says she feels great and that she can beat this. I have to believe her as she is damn strong. My one concern was the effect of the cancer/chemical treatments seems to have drastically affected her concept of time.

    A perfect example was having her look at the clock at 1:30 and say "they forget to bring my lunch." Husband speaks up and says she ate it at 12. Mrs. H. starts to argue. Perfect. Mrs. H was a very augmentative person before cancer, so this is normal for her. But the stress of arguing is not good for anyone. So a simple solution was made.

    Now when she says they forgot her lunch, they don't tell her she ate it, they apologize and ask her if she would like a "Snack". She is eating very healthy meals, but the snacks are what some might consider unhealthy.

    Her snacks now are small, but high in sugar and fat. These are important. The sugar provides short term energy. It will keep her up and talking alert. The fast provides a transport for the cannabinoids as they attach themselves to lipids to enter the body.

    So before the health freaks jump on me... think of this unhealthy snack as being a half a Twinkie and not a 12 pound bag of Doritos. And since she doesn't like Twinkie's, they are using things like sugar coated kid's cereal with whole milk.

    The simple point is... if she is hungry feed her as the more she eats the stronger she gets.

    Today she will be starting physio to get her walking again and at her current rate of improvement, she is expected to return home probably by the weekend.

    Now that she has seen the change and improvement herself, she has committed herself to never stop using it again. With that attitude and strength.. this woman is likely going to outlive us all.