Pubdate: Mon, 27 Oct 2003
Source: West Hawaii Today (HI)
Contact:  2003 West Hawaii Today
Author: Kea Wells
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)


I am a single mom who walks five miles a day, bikes, swims, weight-trains
and takes Pilates at the gym. I am also studying Sports Nutrition and
Exercise hoping to someday help cancer patients. Oh, and did I mention that
I use marijuana on a daily basis?

On Feb, 28, 2002 I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), a
blood cancer. I am currently enduring a two-year chemotherapy treatment and
have received almost three weeks of brain radiation and seven spinal taps.

Chemotherapy is an "umbrella" word for many different medications. Words
cannot express what some treatments feel like. There is no
magic-anti-yucko-pill to counteract the umpteen side effects. You don't know
how your body will react. You vomit for hours, swell up, and suffer extreme
headaches. You can't move for entire days, so all your muscles atrophy.

Only marijuana has helped to alleviate the suffering I have experienced. One
in three people will receive a cancer diagnosis. This means that medical
marijuana legislation is important for you. Those of you who do not land in
the third will be the family and friends of those of us who do. You may or
may not have an opinion on medical marijuana legislation right now, but when
it gets personal, you will want every option open.

People ask: "What about the dangers associated with smoking?" Like other
herbs, marijuana is designed to be ingested through the diet. Tea seems to
be the ideal for chemotherapy patients as other foods are hard to stomach
while nauseated.

I give God all the credit for saving my life. I am thankful to Him for
providing me with my wonderful family, friends and community, my excellent
physicians and outstanding care at both Kona Community Hospital and Queen's
Medical Center. And I am thankful to Him that I have been able to use
marijuana through this horrible experience. My favorite quote this week was,
"You are the healthiest cancer patient that I have ever seen."

Quite a few people seem to think that I am somehow connected with The
Religion of Jesus Church, which uses marijuana as a religious sacrament (I
am not, nor have I ever been).

This has caused a few misunderstandings for me that I would like to avoid in
the future. The following statement of my beliefs is not intended to offend
anyone or any church; I simply wish to clarify the confusion that I run
into. I do not use marijuana for any religious purpose and I do not consider
marijuana to be a sacrament. I believe the Bible is the written word of God,
and the only book by which followers of Christ should test doctrine and
theology. I believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and I
believe in His second coming. I consider myself a Christian
(disciple/student) of Christ and I am not ashamed of the gospel.

I use marijuana on a daily basis to deal with chemotherapy and I am not
ashamed of that, either. To those offended by me only because of the
marijuana, well, I'm not holding grudges but please go easy with the
stone-throwing and speck-removing. I didn't ask for leukemia, or chemo, or a
radiated brain, or to be arrested, or to have the whole state know about it.
The only thing I ask for is God's grace each day to keep walking through it.
You are welcome to my shoes if you think they will fit you better.

I am however, ashamed of some of my behavior this past year. While severe,
aggressive mood swings (steroids) contribute to the outbursts, I take full
responsibility for the hurt I have caused others and the dumb things I have
done and said. To those of you with valid reasons to be offended at me, I
apologize and ask forgiveness. (Including Chief Mahuna, Lt. Tavares, the
County Council and whomever else received the angry ranting I sent out last

This serious health issue and controversial topic tends to get folks a
little worked up. Lest we start taking ourselves too seriously, I would like
to share with you the fringe benefits of chemotherapy: Continued breathing,
and new hair!

My life has been a series of bad hair days, culminating in The Ultimate-a
bald mug shot on channel 4. Hello. So, I tossed the wig (bye-bye Diana Ross
hair) and ran around bald for awhile. It was nice of you all to pretend not
to notice. I laid hands on my head, praying for a Miracle Growth. To my
horror it began to grow back in random patches. So, for awhile I looked like
I escaped Mad Max's Thunder Dome. Again, it was nice of you all to pretend
not to notice. Then suddenly a couple curls appeared (very different from
the ones God first gave me) and I began to feel a little hopeful. I mustered
up all my spiritual authority and commanded them to be fruitful and
multiply. And they did, I am so thrilled with the new hair that I often joke
if I live 40 more years the hair exchange just might have been worth it all. 

It seems to me that there must be a fringe benefit of brain radiation, too.
Surely a person who survives that is entitled to some kind of super power as
a prize, like being able to nuke potatoes in my hands or a glow-in-the-dark
finger (yes, I love E.T.) for late-night reading. So far nothing, but I will
keep you posted if things change.

Check out or for cancer info.

Write me at P.O. Box 5566, Kailua-Kona, HI 96745

Viewpoint articles represent the views of individuals in our community and
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