of Frances James
In October ‘05, my mother, a 74-year-old elegant lady full of beauty, died from liver, lung and breast cancer. She first contracted breast cancer in 1993. Her doctors wanted to do a double mastectomy and put her on chemo and some god awful drug I can't recall, but she did neither. Using only natural methods, she beat back the cancer for a dozen years, and back then the survival rate was much lower than it is today.
This is a lady who never touched a drug or smoked a single cigarette in her life, and exercised in front of the TV starting from Jack Lalanne in the 50's all the way up until 60 days before her passing. She was never bigger than a size 9, and even on her deathbed the back of her hands looked like the hands of a 38-year-old woman due to her diligence in always wearing gloves while driving. Growing up as a boy and all the way into her 70's, I constantly heard from others about how pretty my mom was; she was that kind of timeless beauty. Her mom, my grandmother, died last year of natural causes at age 96. Her passing really stressed my mom out even though I tried to remind her how lucky she was to still have her mom in her 70's. The rest of the family said amongst ourselves years ago, "What's our mom going to live to with how well she takes care of herself, 118?"
The world came crashing down in February ‘05 when she sat me down and gave me the worst possible news. The cancer had not only returned to her breasts but also spread to her lungs and liver. She had 8 months to live, and there was nothing the docs could do.
On October 4th, my 40th birthday, my mom was unable to attend my birthday dinner, which I found curious because even though she was getting thinner, she seemed to breeze right through September, the month she was supposed to die. On October 7th the family was convened for a meeting with a social worker from Hospice. I had no idea what Hospice was and was shocked to my foundations when this fellow started talking funeral homes and cremation services for my mom, basically preparing us for her death. I decided I had heard enough and went upstairs to where my mom was lying. She was once this beautiful creature that never seemed to age, and here she was in bed lying in a fetal position, reduced to a wisp, looking miserable and frightened. There's no feeling more helpless than watching your mom starve to death in front of your eyes, knowing there's nothing modern medicine can do for her except give her morphine via a convenient IV, providing the zoned out opiated comfort of lying in a faux warm pool of sensory deprivation as it accelerates and fogs her remaining days on earth.
Unbeknownst to the rest of the family, Mom had confided in my dad that she wanted to die and wished it wouldn't take so long. She could not keep food down and was slowly withering away, and now her body was shutting down. They had anti-nausea drugs, but she did not respond to them, i.e., didn't want to take them. They were either pills or suppositories. For her nausea the best they could do was give her a useless suppository! She looked like she would not make it through the weekend. I told her "I have something in the truck that might help you.”
I very gingerly asked my dad if I could give mom some marijuana to try. I said, "Do you mind if we try an alternative form of medicine?" a little worried about his reaction. I was amazed when I got his and the rest of the family's full blessing. All along I'm thinking, "How the hell is everyone going to take this?" and "How is everyone else in the family going to think of me when I propose this"? It was very uncomfortable for me because I was outing myself as a pot smoker, not just to anyone but to the entire family. But at this point, after seeing her lying in bed looking so miserable, my feeling was "What does she have to lose? I can't stand here and do nothing and watch her suffer until she dies."
She could not draw any vapor herself into the bong, because her lungs were too weak, so I drew some vapor of a powerful San Diego strain called Bullrider into the bong for her, pulled the stem and let her take her first tiny, gentle breaths of marijuana.
Only seconds later, she began rubbing her stomach. I asked her how she felt. "I feel a little woozy but my stomach feels better!" She was eating minutes later and the woman was literally pulled out of the grave for two weeks before passing peacefully and without pain medication of any kind on October 20th. In spite of being ravaged by three different cancers, she didn’t take a single prescription pain pill or a med of any kind, didn’t need to. On October 7th she was knocking on death's door, hours to live, then along came a medication so gentle that she never coughed once, not once, it was so easy for her to take, even in her extremely frail condition. But it was very, very powerful and helped her with not just one ailment but six, simultaneously, within seconds of exhaling.
After eating her first food in a while, she regained some strength and instead of needing help to get to the bathroom, got up under her own power and began walking. Her voice started sounding better, too. The change was nothing short of a miracle. With just a few breaths of MJ vapor every four or six hours she eliminated her nausea, increased her appetite, was able to keep the food she ate down, and restored her will to live It made whatever pain she was feeling go away for a while naturally, and most important of all, every bit of anxiety she was feeling about this whole cancer ordeal was gone.. What pill can Glaxo possibly create in a lab that effectively treats so many things at once, within seconds of taking, while being so gentle to the body? When her friends came by to visit she would say "I'm on pot and it's great!"
After using the vaporizer, she was just left feeling normal and happy, no harsh comedown or physical dependency craving of any kind. A lot of drugs make you feel like you got run over by a bus the day after you take them, but there was nothing like that in Mom’s case. In fact, the next day she noticed that she was waking up feeling better with more energy--just another check in the plus column for vaporizing marijuana over and ingestion method we've used since the 19th century (pills). Mom used to believe pot smokers talked like Jeff Spicoli when they were high, but when I asked her if she felt "out of it" when she was high she said, "Not at all, this is wonderful! Thank you for knowing about this!” My father, equally chemical-free his whole life, told me after seeing what marijuana did for his wife of 52 years, “Thank you for your wayward youth”. They both tried it together and got a huge laugh out of it. “I can’t believe we waited 52 years to do this!” This was no hippie chick, mind you. Mom got every piece of information about the world from Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, much to the chagrin of most of the family, but she didn't need convincing to come to the conclusion that everything she's ever been told about marijuana during the course of her life has been a long succession of smokescreens designed to veil its true worth to humanity. So at ease now with her cancer, she actually began talking of having vaporizer rounds with “the girls” during their bunko night. She was talking coherently up until the final day. We joked with her that if she could beat back the cancer she would end up moving to OB with dad to a house with a south-facing yard where she could grow her own pot Nobody disagreed, that would have been completely in character for her. Even my mom's 81-year-old sister, suffering from migraines her entire life, tried a vaporizer and it reduced the effects of her migraine as well as her medicine. She instantly became a fan.
Others in the family began asking me questions I never thought I'd hear. My uncle, my dad's brother, the straightest arrow you'll ever meet and a member of Self Realization Fellowship, asked me, "Can I give you some money to get your Mom some more pot?" I was beyond blown away. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, but whatever opinions on marijuana he and the others had before did a 180 degree turn after seeing what it did for Mom. Walking through the house with a pocketful of stinky weed and carrying a bong filled with ice up the stairs to my Mom’s room in full view of the entire family was on the list of something I never thought I’d experience Or having my mom look up at me when I was standing next to her bed and say "I think I need another hit", which made my older sister roll her eyes and say "I'll let you bond with your son now, Mom" When I showed up at the house with my vaporizer kit, someone would say to Mom "The doctor will see you now". Everyone knew what it was doing for our mother. It was happening right in front of our faces and undeniable in its effectiveness. The whole family was convening every night at Mom and Dad’s place preparing for an imminent death, but after seeing the phenomenal results of the first week of mom's marijuana treatment we said to each other "This could go on for months."
For the family it was a great relief to have that extra peace and comfort knowing that she died an elegant, beautiful, graceful death instead of a morphine drip,” out of it" dirty death. She was always totally lucid, and never once was "out of it", even when she was high right after vaporizing. She was happy, joking around and holding court like she always did. Her turnaround was a bonafide miracle happening right in front of the whole family’s eyes. I've had Vicodin and morphine after surgery. They are a treatment that is required sometimes, providing the illusion of being pain-free for a few hours, but they are poisonous and extremely addictive and millions have terrible addictions to both, most unnecessarily so if they had open access to marijuana.
I imagine every child who loves their parents always has big dreams about doing something really nice and extraordinary for them some day, buy them a house, whatever it may be. When my mom was dying the biggest regret I had was that I was never prosperous enough to really do anything special for her. She deserved so much more than I was able to give her, and she always gave to me, right up until her death, and it really saddened me that she was dying before I could do something special for her. This brings me to the most wonderful, valuable part of this whole experience.
Two days after starting on the vaporizer treatment, my mom held my hand as tenderly as I've ever felt her do so and told me "William, you saved my life, I want to live now". What could I have possibly bought for her that is more valuable than that? I couldn't believe I waited until the last two weeks of her life to give her the greatest gift a son can ever give. How do you put a price on that? The Sultan of Brunei himself could not afford what I gave her. All the money in the world couldn’t buy that gift, but astonishingly it came because of a $20 glass bong, some donated weed, and a $30 dollar heat gun. Seeing the turnaround in my mom's health made me feel like Jonas Salk x10, like I had discovered a miracle substance that takes the place of many medicines. Yet, it's as old as the earth itself, a genuine gift from the Creator, and it is being kept from us for all the wrong reasons.
Friends that sell or grow weed all stepped in to help my mom. One of my dear friends came over to see her in her last two weeks of marijuana recovery with some weed and told her that as long as she needed it, she could have all the weed she wanted for free. “Mrs. James, I’ll make sure you have all the pot you need”. Another friend who sells the powerful Bullrider gave me a bag of pot and said “Give this to your mom.” The generosity was so beautiful, and the relief so clear to everyone. These people might be considered “drug dealers” by the ignorant, but these two were primarily responsible for adding two comfort-filled weeks to my mom’s life. They are true American patriots in my and my family’s eyes, as they were helping their own with the greatest gift imaginable, giving our mother genuine comfort in her last days and amazing dignity in death. Their gift of medicine gave my mom and the rest of the family more relief and peace than I can possibly express to you in words. She got better every day for a solid 12 days, although in the end trying to beat back 3 different terminal cancers that close to death was too much for her. But it sure was damn amazing to watch, and the quality time it gave me and my mom, talking about everything under the sun, was equally priceless to me.
Enjoy every minute with your mom and extract as much life experience from her as possible. You may have to give her permission to die some day and you'll find it ironic that you begin to miss the things you found a little aggravating sometimes. They come with a mom that cares about your life.It's no wonder there is a jihad taking place in this country vs. marijuana. It really is too good for its own good. Our entire family witnessed this, and as difficult as it may be for some to digest, we could not deny the results: Vaporizing marijuana added two weeks to my mother’s life when she had only hours to live and allowed her to die a beautiful, anxiety-free, peaceful death, not only giving her but the entire family comfort. I've never heard anyone mention this before, but the quality of death you provide for a loved one will help you and your family feels a lot more at ease and at peace with their passing than you can possibly imagine.
Back to Shared Stories Index