Terminal Cancer
Vivian McPeak

My name is Vivian McPeak and my story is so profound it has (I’m humbled by this) brought many folks to tears, at least that’s what I’ve been told; so I have to share this synopsis with you.

My dad died in my home of metastatic brain and lung cancer a year ago last January. Short version: When he showed up at my door after walking out on his radiation therapy, he looked like a skeleton. He was 6 feet tall and weighted 100 pounds. His hair was gone and he had radiation burns on the side of his head.

After watching him be unable to hold down even an egg for the first three days, I knew that he would be dead within a few weeks at best. I told my wife (I’m of Irish heritage and have the name of Vivian…I’m a man) that we had to try giving my dad, a lifelong drinker and tobacco smoker, some marijuana in an attempt to get him to eat something he could hold down. My wife and I made a very strong batch of pot brownies with a thick green hue. I approached my dad, whom I had set up in his own room in our house with his cable TV, heater, and hide-a-bed. I told him, "Dad, this is medicine, not candy. You’re very thin and you need to take it very slow. I have to do some errands. Eat one of these and I’ll be back in an hour and see how you’re doing."

After a few hours I returned home. I went into my dad’s room and asked him how he was. He said, "Son, I’m a little tipsy. Could it be the brownies?" "I dunno dad, let’s take a look," I said as I lifted the foil off the pan containing the stony baked goods. "Jesus, dad!" I exclaimed. He had eaten four big honkin’ chunks of brownie.

"Take me to the store," he said. I took him, who now weighed around 95 pounds and walked on toothpick spindly legs, to the supermarket. He proceeded to buy a bag of pasta, some Paul Newman’s spaghetti sauce, a berry pie, and a quart of ice cream. That night he ate a heaping plate of pasta and had a slice of pie and two scoops of ice cream.

He went on to stay stable for three months at 85 pounds. His doctor had originally told me to "just keep him hydrated, he only has a matter of weeks left." They expected me to just let my father wither away and die, even though he was still totally coherent, full of life, humor, and talking up a storm.

The nurses were stunned at the fact that he was still alive after two months:

"Bill, you have weighed 85 pounds for two months. You are an anomaly. I don’t understand."

"My son gives me magic brownies," he said. I stood there horrified, motioning for him to shut up. "He puts marijuana in them." I was terrified. The response was always similar, as the nurses rotated and every week there was almost always someone new. "Really, how much does he put in them? Is it the flowers or the leaves?" They obviously saw the amazing power of the therapeutic herb. They never said a word to the authorities. But they grilled me on the amount and type of bud I was using.

My dad went on to live a full four moths longer than the doctors predicted possible. He remained alert and ambulatory and he retained his sense of humor up until the last two days, when he went into a coma. I was holding his hand when he drew his last breath. I am convinced that marijuana gave him a few precious months of life. A few months Is worth any price when you will never see the one you love for an eternity.

The fact that I could have gone to jail enraged my dad, a veteran of the Korea War and someone who had previously respected the laws of America. I will always be proud and thankful that I was able to help him. He was a very special man.

The first week he arrived I sat down on the couch and he said bluntly, "Son, you know when I’m gonna die?" Stunned at such a question I sheepishly asked, "No dad, when?" "The last fucking’ minute," he said. "Until then I’m gonna live!"

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