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I believe my son and I are here for a reason. Obviously he is destined for greatness. I am just here to write about it.
When I was young, I had weird medical problems. Fainting spells here and there. Always thin… In hindsight I realize these problems were actually symptoms. For 29 years I didn’t know I had been born with a hole in my heart… I had been smoking cannabis for 11 years when they found the problem. They rushed me to surgery to correct the defect.
I had my surgery when my son was 4. After a lifetime of getting thinner and sicker, I was finally alive. I had oxygen in my brain! I could think! That was 19 years ago. Did it keep me alive? I believe it did. There is probably a doctor somewhere who would back me up. Because I don’t think it was an accident that I was introduced to cannabis. As an adult I used it regularly. At the time, I didn’t realize I was self-medicating as I bounced from one doctor to another. At least 10 of them told me my problem was everything from anorexia to anxiety. I am a woman, after all. Those chest pains were all in my head.
For a decade, my son’s health problems lie dormant and we had a happy life. Then he started getting sick, and was later diagnosed with Crohn’s, which over time, has come with a list of complications and one surgery. Crohn’s is horrible. His guts turn on themselves, barley making use of the food he tries so hard to digest. Bottom line, he couldn’t eat without pain.
There was blood everywhere.
We tried all the drugs his doctors threw at us, even borrowing money and waiting months to try a drug that could cause lymphoma and didn’t work. He had surgery to remove part of his intestine and will take B12 shots for the rest of his life.
I had been begging God for an answer. I screamed into the sky. I cried, prayed, bargained. Then one day, it just came to me. Cannabis helped me with stomach cramps during my period. It had obviously masked my IBS for so many years I didn’t realize I had it. It stopped my nausea when I had dental work.
Even though I had experience, I was hesitant. Most parents are. But my desperation outweighed my reservations. There were no risks in comparison to the pain he felt. The worst that could happen would be no relief… Legality didn’t even occur to me. All I could think of was getting food in my child’s body.
And it worked. The pain was less, and the cramping eased. He could eat. I believe his future changed that day… because now it included hope. Eating… something we all take for granted, was now possible.
The bleeding stopped. Completely.
My son has had many complications but he still is able to eat, to keep himself as healthy as possible, trying to give his weakened immune system some help. He is not just dealing with Crohn’s but fighting a candida infection in his sinuses. He cannot have sugar or starches or yeast… and we try to control it with diet and antifungals. Recently he gave strong pharmaceuticals a try with no result other than kidney pain. Without cannabis I don’t know if either of us would have made it. He is so thin, I fear for his life.
Without cannabis I am afraid he would not consume what he does. What kind of person would deny him that?
I didn’t think about my relationship with cannabis until I found myself advocating for medical marijuana a few years ago, but I know cannabis is on this planet for a reason. My girlfriend passed me a bowl at age 18 for a reason. I didn’t know what that reason was until much later. What would have happened to my health if I had not found it? Something was watching out for me. Without me even realizing it, I had found medicine… medicine that I needed then, and my son would need later.
What would have happened to my son if I had been ignorant? I thank God every day for giving me my answer… And I believe I am doing what Jesus would do: fighting every day to one day see compassion in the law, and the rest of society, for the sick. Every person has the right to feel better… much less save their own life. It isn’t about drug use, for some people. It’s just about being alive.
Imagine how heartbreaking it is to watch a loved one struggle to eat, to walk, to gain weight, to feel better, to go outside, to sleep. Or how helpless it is to be in that struggle. People go through this every day. And I am very aware how much worse it could have been.
Imagine if I had not known.
You can support Sonja and her son by donating to their YouCaring funding page.
Photo Credit: Benozzo Gozzoli under public domain via The Metropolitan Museum of Art