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Editor’s note: I wrote this after Craig Rodgers, aka “51”, passed away in June of last year. It seemed too personal and sad to share this piece when I wrote it last summer. In fact, when I wrote it, I used the second person pronoun “you” because it was too hard to write in in my own first person voice. As Brain Cancer Awareness Month 2014 draws to a close, I’ve decided to share this story with Ladybud in honor of Craig and all those who have been affected by brain cancer. I still cry when I read it.
51 has died.
The guy who was always positive despite his prognosis – working, laughing, goofing with friends, taking his dog to the dog park. You chatted with him on facebook and marveled at his remission. He tagged you in photos captioned, “Cannabis Kills Cancer.”
Glioblastoma Multiforme, Grade IV brain cancer, is insidious and cruel. It can disappear for years only to come back with a vengeance and change everything. You imagine what it must be like knowing, feeling that ticking time bomb in your skull.
51 didn’t let it slow him down. The park with the dog. Beers with friends. Captured by the camera with his faithful and smiling girlfriend. Beautiful and young and alive.
When your own father was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, the doctors said 11 months, and 11 months it was. You and your brother had the naïve belief that Dad would be his normal self for 10 months or so, and then he’d get weak and climb into bed and pass out of this world in peace.
That wasn’t what happened. That wasn’t what happened at all.
You imagine 51 going through what my father went through: a steady decline, loss of the mind. Wheelchairs, catheters, physical therapy which seems useless in the shadows of death. Loss of bodily functions: can’t eat, can’t talk, can’t walk. Can’t think. Perhaps the last is a blessing.
There have been studies in Spain, in California. In Spain, live human patents with Globlastoma had their tumors injected with THC. Some of them progressed. Some of them got better.
Unless you understand Glioblastoma, you might not think much of this, but to patients and their families it’s everything. People don’t get better from Glioblastoma. Getting better is a one in a millon chance. 51 got better, for a while.
In Calfornia, as research doctor Jahan Marcu explained to you, Glioblastoma cultures were treated with CBD and THC combinations to find the optimal treatment. Some of the cultures were unresponsive. In other cultures, the Glioblastoma disappeared.
You wonder why the US government is blocking more of these studies, and blocking all studies on human patients. Human patients who are desperate for life saving treatment.
More are diagnosed every day. You avoid going back to the GBM support group sites because everybody dies. There are no studies available. You miss your father. You weep for 51.
“Why am I a BMF? Roughly one million people have a BRAIN TUMOR around the WORLD. My Rare Brain Tumor averages 2.3% per one hundred thousand people on the PLANET EARTH. I’m one of the 23. I DO NOT and will NEVER GIVE UP! p.s. I love everyone… p.s.s. FUCK BRAIN CANCER… much love, RED.51.20”
– Craig Anthony Rodgers, November 18 1975 – June 19, 2013