One of the few “advantages” of getting cancer depending on how you look at shit coming at you and your scope of the rose colored glass way of looking at things is that I was able to get a medical marijuana card. I got this card that has a two year shelf life the first time I was diagnosed two years ago. Now, some reading this may be horrified at this notion, after all many people feel that marijuana is a gateway drug to all kinds of horrible other drugs; this may be true, but it is not my truth so before the judgment factor kicks in, hear my own take on this.

“Back in the day” meaning my high school days in Jamestown, RI, a small three by nine mile island connected by two bridges, there wasn’t much to do. Add to this formula, a super shitty relationship with my newly divorced mother causing me to live with the other half of the newly divorced father. Then there was the zero parenting as my liberal father believed that “I’d figure it out.” Not quite sure how my father came to the conclusion that a fifteen year old girl was capable of this, but in my world and all of my friends’ worlds, oddly, all of our parents had this way of thinking. Perhaps we just found each other because we intuitively connected our branches since we all seemed to simultaneously lack the roots in our own homes.

Needless to say, a group of fifteen, sixteen year olds living on a contained island figured it out alright, with a little help from drugs and alcohol. Frankly, I am happy we navigated ourselves and lived to tell about it without all of the parent intervention that goes on these days because every single one of us managed to “figure it out.” This was probably due to a combination of lots of luck for sure but also white privilege and a middle class upbringing in a quaint New England town. Of course the heroin and opioid addiction was not in our radar, but the cocaine and crack cocaine epidemic surely was. Somehow every one of my circle of friends managed ourselves in and around all of this, mostly staying in the marijuana and alcohol circle. In some cases as we got older, many friends stopped drinking altogether and most of us ceased all drugs because this is just what you did when you grew up and had to find your way in the responsible world of work and life. We turned out alright maybe because we had the freedom to in fact figure it out.

When we were kids in Jamestown with nothing to do and no parenting which translated into no curfew and no rules, it was hanging out at the beach, playing backgammon, and smoking pot. In hindsight, it was a really unique adolescent experience. I am by no means an advocate of this style of parenting because basically my friends and I all raised ourselves and as it turns out each other too. Things could have gone drastically wrong, but the advantage that we had is that living on an island was basically safe. We lived within walking distance and most of our delinquent behavior was confined to being on foot on warm summer eves. The other advantage of this upbringing is it made me hyper aware of what teenagers are capable of so when I was given the privilege of having my own child, things were very different (aka way more conservative) in the way my own upbringing influenced my parenting style.

Obtaining a medical marijuana card was a victory for me and also homage to my beautiful brother. Before his death at 25, he was a staunch advocate for its legalization for at least medicinal purposes and it was really the only thing that helped him through his pain. I saw it with my own eyes and anyone who has not personally experienced marijuana’s ability to help cancer patients (and many others for that matter) has not lived in its harsh and very painful reality. So my first time in the facility was like going to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. I learned so much about the different strains that help different ailments and though I am sure people obtain cards who don’t need them as seriously as others, the fact that people are being helped with quality marijuana vs. the street and often badly laced marijuana is a positive. After a few trips into the compassion center, I found it had done what it needed for me and my use of it tapered off as I healed. So I started thinking about this last bout with cancer and my upcoming card renewal. Would I be able to get a renewal since theoretically there is no more cancer because there are no more breasts?I started thinking about this double mastectomy and reconstruction six weeks out and the incredible tightness that is now an official band around my upper body with no exit in sight. I considered the other benefits which don’t fall under medicinal in the medical sense to occasionally very responsibly and very legally indulging in a, yes I inhale, puff of a good old fashioned joint. The creative energy that comes to me is astounding. I rearrange, I clean, I organize, I create. Of course I can’t have a regular conversation with the public, but it does offer a wonderful way to go deep within and shut my never stopping brain from the never ending chatter that at times stops my creative flow.

So yesterday was a stunning day and I felt really great. I was going to my first party in over two months where there would be dancing and I was so excited to get dressed up, put makeup on and hang out in normal land. I found myself with about four hours of glorious free time and decided to head out to my barn to begin to prepare it for the upcoming Art in the Garden tour that my beautiful garden will be featured in. I realized that I would have to approach this slowly as I am still really cautious of what I should be lifting and moving. This would be a gentle rearrange, not a full blown purge because I simply can not reach and bend to the level it calls for. I still have some of the pot I had bought many months ago and decided to indulge to get the motivation to at least begin the barn cleaning.

I forgot how much I love smoking pot sometimes. I never really do, because it just makes me way too slow and as I said before I can’t talk to anyone, this eliminates the ability to run my company, be a parent and basically be a responsible grownup, but on these rare occasions when I give myself permission to really chill out, there is nothing like a few hits off a really good joint. It also transports me back to my adolescence before technology became our power source and when our circles of social were humans not media. It also transports me to when my father and my brother were alive and my mother was talking to me. So I think on occasion an Alice in Wonderland trip down the rabbit hole is worth the fall.

I was imbibing for the creative and spiritual power and to take the edge off of the last six weeks of trying to conduct my life as it was knowing the was will never be again. It is a lot. It has been a wonderful (I can’t believe I am saying that) but overwhelming experience and I had a four hour window to escape into an alter universe. An amazing observation occurred and this is why I decided to write about medical marijuana today because my intention when I decided to smoke a joint yesterday did not include the true medical benefit I had forgotten about.

Fifteen minutes into my barn makeover, all of the tightness in my upper body was gone. I am serious. Completely disappeared and stayed away until this morning and even this morning it is not nearly what it was before. I couldn’t believe it. GONE. After my surgery, I was given Oxy, Tylenol, and Motrin for the pain and I took it, but always with the worry that my liver would be compromised or I would become addicted to Oxy like Nurse Jackie. Nothing ever got rid of the tight band around my chest completely like my experience yesterday. The only vestige of the awareness of my upper body was when I went to hug someone, the hard tennis balls I now call my breasts were the abrupt reminder. So even after the buzz of the joint wore off, after I cleaned the barn, after I took a shower and got dressed and went to the party and danced for the first time, there was no pain, no discomfort. This lasted longer than all of the damaging pharmaceutical drugs that I have exposed my body to for the last six weeks. Two and a half hits off of a medical marijuana joint which by the way cost less than three dollars and all of my discomfort disappeared.

When my brother was alive, he believed that the pharmaceutical industry was responsible for the reasons that medicinal marijuana had not become legalized. After my experience yesterday, I can see why he thought this. There is no reason why medicinal marijuana should not be legal. Why do we want to encourage prescriptions of Oxy, proven to be a gateway drug that causes family destruction, lying, theft, and terrible criminal acts when it is over prescribed? Why do we want to continue with prescribing high dosages of Motrin and Tylenol that people are taking like candy when it is proven to be very harmful to our livers and stomachs? Why do we allow all these expensive and highly addictive prescriptions to take away pain instead of a simple less costly few hits of a good old fashioned medically prescribed marijuana joint? This does make a chick wonder if my brother was right over about his pharma conspiracy theory over twenty years ago.

Holy shit, I am starting to sound like my father. Holy do I miss my father and brother during this time. Not only for their energy and love, but for these wonderful conversations about conspiracy theories, health care industry and big pharma. I know they are with me if not physically at least spiritually FOR SURE.

So as my next project redo, the basement, which will be saved for a rainy Sunday and my next need for a complete respite from my elastic band vibe around my upper body, that toke will be for the three of us, dad, bro and me. AHHH SIX WEEKS. BAM.

My brother, Michael and me when he was in the “maybe he’ll beat this cancer” time.

My father and me ( I was pregnant with my son, Michael here)

My brother and me when he was a junior in Portsmouth high school, first white boy to sport the dreadlocks. He was a rockstar.

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self proclaimed lover of all things beauty, business + lifestyle, I write because it feels good.