I’m listening to the caconophy of movers packing everything I own into boxes. Paper crinkles, tape screeches as its dragged across cardboard. Music plays in the background, old school hip hop. Every now and again I hear an unfamiliar ring tone and twitch a little bit wondering if it’s my phone. Perhaps I changed the tone and forgot. I know I didn’t, but I’m so unnerved by all the chaos that I can’t help but doubt myself. They keep telling me to relax, but I can’t. Man, I wish I had a joint.
With the exception of my year on oral chemo I’d not partaken but a handful of times. The first time I met Mary Jane I was sitting in the front yard of my very best childhood friend. It was Christmas time. After the first hit, I stared into the hubcap of her father’s car and marveled at the reflection of twinkling lights. I’d dare to say it was the most beautiful sight my blue eyes had ever seen. After a couple more hits we went inside and ate leftover Chinese food and giggled uncontrollably for what seemed like an eternity.
The side effects of oral chemo slowly drifted in over the course of the first month or two of treatment. I noticed a lot of hair swirling down the shower drain. The skin on my hands and feet began to peel away, the hypersensitivity and pain came shortly thereafter. My appetite diminished, partly due to the nausea and partly due to the changes in my sense of taste. Every bite tasted like a dirty nickel. I rarely slept. The anxiety and fright I felt wondering if this, my fourth medication, would actually work weighed on me like a circus elephant.
After a few friends urged me to consider it, I approached my husband, a man who rarely drinks alcohol and only begrudgingly takes Tylenol when his head is throbbing, and we had the pot talk. I was losing weight from not eating. The nausea was sometimes debilitating and the prescription meds used to quell that left me dizzy and unable to drive for an entire day. The pain in my hands and feet was increasing every day. It was time for some relief and we both knew it.
Being the upstanding, law abiding citizen I am (I’ve never even had a speeding ticket, for the record), I had no clue how to even go about purchasing weed. Luckily, as I discovered the minute I spoke of possibly lighting up, everyone and their damn mother smokes, so it was pretty easy to find someone who could help me out. And, thanks to YouTube, I learned how to roll a pretty decent joint. Once I got some heady incense and a comfy chair for the garage I was ready to go.
That first night, after a few tokes, it seemed like I ate more in a few hours than I had in weeks. I was like a machine. Every bite tasted better than the last. No more nickels for dinner. I slept that night as if angels had divinely ordained it. My pain was diminished and my nausea was completely gone. I woke up the next morning better rested than I had been in years. I was still hungry and ate a hearty breakfast, something I had not done since treatment began. By lunchtime my nausea and lack of appetite were back and the pain started to creep in, but since my morning had gone so well I was able to hold on until my husband got home from work and I could have some alone time in the garage.
We didn’t really tell anyone in the beginning. After all, we had a child and I was breaking the law. As time went on, and it became clearly evident that this was no illicit drug but rather a much needed medication, I became a little more open about it. When our daughter called to tell us she was planning a visit home from college, I was forced to let the secret out.
“We have to talk.”
“Why? Am I in trouble?”
“No, but you’re going to laugh when I tell you why.”
“You may notice an odor coming from the garage when you come home this weekend. Now, your brother will have no idea what that odor is, but you’re in college so I imagine it’s going to be familiar to you.”
“I’m smoking pot now.”
Yells to everyone in the room with her: “Mama K is smoking the ganj!”
With that declaration, it was out and why the hell shouldn’t it be that way? I can tell you, without an ounce of hesitation, weed was a godsend for me during treatment, a necessary medication that allowed me to live an almost normal life even though I was ingesting poison twice a day. It kept me on my regimen far longer than I would have been able to without it. Pot gave me life when it felt like the oral chemo was trying to take it.
As only my luck can go, my state made medical marijuana legal just one month after I ended treatment. I proudly voted yes and was overjoyed to see that it would now be made legally available to those that needed it. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the way it should be everywhere. Marijuana replaced and worked more effectively than four prescription medications I was in need of and the the worst side effect I ever experienced was a wicked case of the munchies.
Before this day, watching all my belongings being carted out of my house, I hadn’t really ever wanted to smoke. I’ve not had any since I finished treatment last year. Given the addiction issues that swim happily in my gene pool, I was a little worried that my time with MJ would stoke those possible fires within me. That hasn’t happened and if it ever does I highly doubt it’s due to her. I’m forever thankful for the friends that helped steer me toward and helped me acquire her. She made all the difference. If you’ve ever thought evil of her, I can tell you from experience, she’s not who you think she is. During the year I knew her, Mary Jane was always a good friend to me.