I squeeze a tiny blob from the plastic syringe onto my finger. It’s as thick and oily as tree sap mixed with ear wax. I touch the tip of my tongue to the blob and—YURCHHH—it’s bitter. Tastes like super weed.
Welp, here goes nothing.
I smear the blob on the inside of my cheek, being sure to steer clear of my teeth, as instructed by my friend James, the expert on and maker of cannabis oils. When I remove my finger from inside my mouth, I see that only half the blob made it in. The other half had dissolved into an amber stain on my finger. Despite the protestations of my taste buds [Dear God please don’t put that thing back in your mouth!], I scrunch up my face and suck on my finger until I’m certain as much of the Rick Simpson Oil as possible has made it into my system.
And now we wait.
It’s been an hour and I don’t feel anything. I’m just as uncomfortable and squirmy and wheezy as I was before I ingested that stupid cannabis oil. I thought this was supposed to help with pain. How come my breathing feels a little ragged? Wait…Maybe I do feel something?
I imagine that each jab of pain in my side is Rick Simpson pulling on his boxing gloves and letting the ALK-mutated genes have it. Just really going to town on those suckers. You’re trying to kill me, you say? POW! TAKE THA—
Oh God, this really fucking hurts.
I close my eyes and think about what an idiot I am. I bought into the essential oils nonsense, too. I don’t care what you say, lavender and peppermint are magic potions that totally work. Lavender oil calms me down before bedtime and Peppermint oil perks me right up. Still, I’m not staking my life on them.
And now I’m loading myself up on cannabis oil because I heard that it doesn’t just have pain relieving properties but also helps to kill actual cancer cells. Pre-cancer, I could vouch that marijuana absolutely helped manage pain, though I could only partake in the evenings once Lucas was in bed (for my own comfort level). Post cancer, the smell of burnt weed made me gag, and I clearly could no longer inhale smoke into my lungs. So I switched to small doses of edibles and oil tinctures, which did indeed take the edge off, though I still walked around daily holding my right side to keep my guts from falling out of my ribs (or so it felt).
But no, some friends cautioned. Small amounts daily isn’t going to cut it. You need to go to the hardcore stuff, the Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), and you need a ton of it in your system. The RSO is what kills the cancer, they say. I read studies that say otherwise and am once again entirely conflicted. The stakes couldn’t be higher. And there are no studies that show cannabis oils are harmful to cancer patients. So I jump right into the deep end.
Let’s do this.
Agony. Agony. Gut-wrecking agony.
Each breath a painful stab in the side. Then fire.
My bones are on fire. I know my bones are on fire. It’s a 135-degree hellscape in there. I shake violently from head to toe. The muscles in my right thigh tighten and release. I hold my right side with my left hand wrapped under my chest and my right hand grabs onto my thigh in an attempt to contain the spasm.
A little numb now, yes. Must be the RSO kicking in. A small, tranquil lake surrounded by fire. It’s peaceful enough. I fall asleep.
“Oh fuck, I’m in the car! I’m in the car! Oh, fuck. SHIT! I’m driving right over the curb—was that a person?!?!”
I have a terminal illness and this is how I die. This is so ridiculous that this is how I die!
Oh shit, my car’s in the lake. My car’s in the lake and I’m sinking. I’m sinking right through the water, through the land, through the Earth’s core, compressed. Through the hellfire—
Jesus. I’m awake now.
The RSO did a number on me, and the too highness lasted two hours too long. The pain was intense, but it led me to a victory of sorts. The too highness was an illustration of my crucible—the burden I now carry and need to overcome in order to really beat this thing. The targeted therapy is my savior, but I know it’ll take more than just popping the pills to walk away from this ordeal cancer-free someday. The doctors tell me that’s not possible.
I close my eyes and picture Rick Simpson hanging up his gloves and wiping his sweaty brow with a look of satisfaction.
Some links for those looking into cannabis for pain relief, to supplement cancer treatment, or simply for recreation (yay for legal weed in California!):
Moto Perpetuo Farm (100 percent of the proceeds from their “F Cancer” pre-roll goes to funding cancer research)