About seven months ago I wrote a blog concerning my identical twin brother and the day he left the doctor’s office knowing he had stage four prostate cancer. Since that fateful day he has endured many chemo treatments and the ugly side effects they cause. He has maintained a sense of humor and not changed his lifestyle much. He was living life his way before the news and decided he was going to live his life the same way until he left the planet.
He responded to chemo like a duck to water and his PSA dropped from 280 to .01, which shocked the doctors because they had never seen such a positive reaction to the therapies he was receiving. They were saving the really strong chemo treatments for when the cancer attacked his bones and other places in his body with a vengeance. His doctors knew at the time that the cancer had spread to a hip bone and left lung.
It’s wonderful that his progress has been so positive, but hiding among all the good news, is the ugly fact that there is no cure for stage four prostate cancer. Sooner or later his PSA will start to rise again and they will have to start the experimental type of chemo therapies that can be worse than the disease due to extreme side effects.
It is at this time that conventional pain management will become difficult. The doctors have already given him a prescription for medical marijuana to help him cope with not only the pain, but also the severe weight loss that will surely come. This is where the process of obtaining the drug becomes obscured in legal problems.
Arizona has legalized medical marijuana and many have set up distribution centers. You can purchase medical weed as long as you have a script. As it stands now, the patient can also grow their own marijuana in the backyard. This process is relatively easy, even if you don’t have a green thumb, as long as you can find someone who has some seeds.
The real problem is that it is a federal crime to possess or grow cannabis. Big Brother could arrest and prosecute you even though the people of Arizona voted for legalization of a drug that has been shown to help dying human beings cope with agonizing pain and also help maintain weight.
As usual, I don’t get it. It’s OK for doctors to prescribe opiates for pain which can be purchased at the local drug store, but when they prescribe marijuana the patients are forced to grow it themselves and face possible prosecution from the federal government? It just doesn’t make sense, especially in light of several other states that have legalized the drug and have distribution centers that sell the product to people with approved prescriptions.
We have come a long way in understanding the needs of terminal cancer patients and their requirements for pain management. The traditional thought used to be that doctors didn’t want their patients to become addicted to pain killers. Say what? They are dying, for God’s sake. Get a brain! Well, the same is true for the people who find relief by using legal medical marijuana.
My brother is going to experience a cruel and painful death and there is no way he should be denied anything that can lessen the impact this cancer will have on his body. Perhaps when his time comes, the power brokers who make billions of dollars illegally importing marijuana will be put out of business because the USA will be growing, distributing and controlling cannabis production.
To my way of thinking, this solution makes perfect sense, but why have the federal government do anything that makes sense? It would break decades of tradition!
I’m just saying,
Post script: My brother did pass and is greatly missed. He was spared much lingering pain because he died of a stroke caused by blood clots in his legs. May he rest in peace….