In November 2015 I discovered a lump in the side of my neck just above my collar bone below my ear. Unaccustomed to scratching lumps on that part of my anatomy, a trip to the doctor saw me quickly referred to hospital and within a few weeks of tests and samples I had confirmation of a ‘low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma’. A life game-changer.
In the early days and weeks that followed, with phenomenal caring support from the hospital, I began to deal with an alien invasion I discovered I was completely unprepared for. I was embarrassed.
To even think the word ‘cancer’ felt like some kind of attention seeking weakness I’d never experienced before. I told a very few people close to me, but had no desire to tell most of my family and friends. I really didn’t want (and didn’t know how) to deal with the reactions of others to something that I was having to learn to deal with myself.
I wanted it private and I wanted time. I have lived my life in the full expectation that my body will heal itself, which it had successfully done for 64 years with the help of medication from time to time and very rare operations from which I took recovery for granted. All of that was simply removed, sluiced away by an invader that defied my body’s natural healing process.
I am extremely fortunate that a low-grade non-Hodgkin lymphoma is not an immediate threat to life and I am on what they call a ‘watch and wait’ list with regular hospital visits to see how it and I are getting on. I was spared any immediate decisions on Chemotherapy (which I was very unsure about anyway) or surgery. Six months later I am still not sure what I am watching and waiting for. Is there a chance it will just go away, or am I waiting for it to do something nasty? I should ask, I’ve just not thought to do that until this moment.
As an aging hippy, having grown up in and around the drug culture from my teens onwards, I was loosely aware of reports coming from America of the use of Cannabis Oil as a treatment for cancer. Discussions and research ensued and I decided this was a path I very much wanted to pursue.
As a naturally occurring plant in nature, Cannabis is free of physical side effects so common amongst big Pharma drugs. The only issue I had was with the psychoactive effects of Cannabis, having given up smoking it about 10 years ago after two psychotic episodes and a third near miss and realising that once triggered, I was at risk of further such episodes.
The received wisdom I was offered was that by starting with incredibly small doses I would build up an immunity to its effects and would be able to increase the dosage over time.
A gram of the pure cannabis oil dissolved in 25 grams of coconut oil is a very dilute mixture and two or three pipette drops, twice a day, is a minute amount of cannabis oil to ingest. However, I quickly discovered that not only was I getting a strong reaction to the oil, it increased over time to an unbearable degree. I was subject to gut wrenching anxiety and a degree of mental confusion that I simply could not handle. The one encouragement I felt was that even with such small doses the stuff was definitely getting in my body and, effects aside, was hopefully about the business I was taking it for.
I needed a plan. I stopped taking the oil orally and had to admit to myself that I was now frightened of the stuff. I languished for a week and then decided that my only option was to attempt it as a suppository. Reports from America and Australia suggested that this was a viable and successful alternative with some cancers, but a low-grade lymphoma was not listed amongst them.
Given no other choice that I could think of I invested in a capsule machine and organic capsules and, of course, some applicators. The capsule machine is designed for powdered ingredients, but filling the capsules was easy with a pipette and the machine a handy holder for them till the contents solidified in the fridge.
Each capsule contained a great deal more than the few drops I had been taking orally, so it was with a great deal of trepidation that I applied the first one. I was freaked out to have what I thought was a reaction and left it a few days while I conjured up the courage to do it again. The next time was fine and it has been fine ever since (two weeks). I am currently doing one a day but shall be increasing that to two in the near future.
I have also taken to massaging the oil on my neck. The lymphoma is very close to the surface and it only takes a few drops each time, so why not?
Having used drugs recreationally for much of my life, I am more than happy to be experimenting with them for a much more serious purpose. Had I been able to enjoy the psychoactive hit, that would have been a bonus, but under the circumstances I am definitely not missing that side of things.
The medial use of Cannabis has a long history although that has fallen into disfavour. It is not endorsed by the medical profession and clinical trials, which are very expensive, are unlikely in the near future. However, reports of its curative properties are mounting for a wide range of conditions, pain relief, epilepsy and cancer amongst them. I have made no secret of what I am doing and the hospital is supportive if for no other reason than my personal feelings of doing something in the face of an uncompromising invader. My local, rural, chemist was less sanguine when I went looking for such things as applicators. Reassuring them that I was well aware that what I was doing was illegal didn’t seem to placate their concerns. However, this is my body and, indeed, my cancer, like it or not, and I shall update from time to time as to any changes in and, I hope, reduction of the lymphoma.
My latest Oncologists report (26 May 2016) says: “I cannot detect any significant signs of advancement of this gentleman’s lymphoma. He is therefore best left well alone at the moment and I have simply arranged to review him again in 6 months’ time.”