Medical Cannabis as a Complementary Therapy for Lung Cancer
Helena’s Medical Cannabis Story:
In August 2018, I went to the doctors for a nasty cough that just would not go away, not even with over-the-counter cough medicine.
I have never been a smoker so I didn’t think anything was serious.
They took an x-ray of my lungs, found a tumor, then a series of CT scans and a biopsy followed.
I was diagnosed with Stage IV Lung Cancer at the end of September 2018. It had already metastasized. Along with the primary lung tumor, I have five brain tumors and multiple lesions in my spine, ribs, neck, and at the base of my skull.
I was in constant physical pain, coughing non-stop. My doctors were very willing to prescribe any painkillers to ease my pain. There are limits on the number and dosage of opioids one can take. Well, they lifted my limits due to the cancer diagnosis. At one point, I had four types of opioids in my possession including a cough syrup that had oxycodone in it. They all helped to take the edge off, but I was in constant pain, could hardly sleep at night.
A few weeks of taking opioids left me very constipated. Constipation is very bad for cancer patients. Cancer makes the body very toxic and bowel movements are necessary to remove the toxins so the body does not reabsorb them.
Additionally, I lost my ability to drive due to drowsiness. I had no appetite due to the constant pain and lack of sleep. I lost 20+ lbs. I was thin to begin with, so this weight loss was not a positive for my condition.
I was lucky in one aspect. If there is such a thing as “luck” in a cancer diagnosis.
My type of lung cancer (non-small cell lung cancer with abnormal EGFR genes) could be treated with immunotherapy – a new medication called Tagrisso that was approved by the FDA only a few months previous to my diagnosis. Since the drug is so new in the market (even after many proven clinical trials over many years), my oncologist was very cautious with me taking any type of supplements that might interfere with the drug. On top of Tagrisso, he suggested I do a small round of ten radiation sessions to help my spine heal.
How I discovered medical cannabis and received approval to take it for my pain:
Several friends told me about medical marijuana for cancer treatment. I have always been a health nut and I never took any recreational drugs. I was afraid of what medical marijuana might do to my body in its current state. I did some online research and talked further with more people. I decided to take a chance with medical cannabis to help me with my pain. When I asked my pharmacist about medical marijuana, they told me there is no drug interaction with my current medications and I was free to take it
I met and talked with one of the key people who had helped get the PA Medical Cannabis bill passed in Pennsylvania. She was a mom of a daughter with special needs who very much needed medical cannabis. As a
It was a very quick process. I talked to Heather at 7 pm one evening and by 9 pm I had an appointment scheduled for the next morning to meet with one of the doctors at the Compassionate Certificate Center. The certification process was simple once I provided proof of cancer diagnosis. By 6 pm the next day, I had medical cannabis in hand!
The first night I took just a few drops of THC oil to test its effects. I slept deeply for the first time in months!
A few days later I started radiation treatments. They made me really sick with both vomiting and diarrhea. Seven radiation sessions later, I was sent to the emergency room and then admitted to the hospital. I spent seven long days in the hospital recovering from the side effects of the radiation treatment. At one point, I had to be on oxygen 24/7, my lungs were failing, and they started talking to me about hospice care. Good news – I eventually recovered enough and was released from the hospital with an oxygen tank.
I decided radiation was too toxic for my system. I forfeited the rest of the radiation treatments and decided I would take Tagrisso along with medical cannabis as my main treatments. I started taking a medical cannabis product called RSO.
In January 2019, at my first 90-day scan after treatments started, all five brain tumors were gone! The lung tumor had shrunk drastically, most of the nodules in my lungs are gone, and my bones showed signs of improvement as well even though bones grow at a much slower rate than other tissue. I know the immunotherapy did the heavy lifting, but without the help of medical marijuana, I don’t think I would have healed as quickly.
Helena is wearing the Epilepsy and Medical Cannabis Awareness T-Shirt in the Ladies style. If you’d like one of these shirts for yourself so you can wear your support for medical cannabis as a treatment, go here to purchase >>