A Love Letter to Mary Jane
I love cannabis and I’m not ashamed to say it. Marijuana, weed, wacky tabaccy, Mary Jane, whatever you want to call it. I love it. I told you last week that I did a high-dose cannabis protocol for a few months, but I’ve now cut it down to about 35mg per night. Still a lot, but it seems like the right amount for me. And I never want to give it up.
It started last fall. I usually take my dose around eight every evening so that by the time I go to bed a few hours later I’m feeling pretty groovy. Once my defences are down my brain starts to do its work, taking me to places that I’ve been avoiding. For a few months you would have found me having a tear fest every night around 11:30. That was my time to let the thoughts and feelings flow, things that I’d been holding onto or pushing down and ignoring, while Glenn was asleep beside me. No one asking me if I was ok and no explanations needed because it was just me. Maybe it sounds weird, but I just lay there and watch my thoughts go by.
That's quickly become my favourite time of day and most nights I can hardly wait to crawl into bed. I have many imaginary conversations in my head, and I’ve discovered I’m delightful company and usually agree with everything I have to say.
After a few months of tears I started to notice a change in my nightly musings. I was starting to laugh a lot, remembering funny stories or things that had happened long ago, and my tears turned into happy ones and eventually dried up. I felt overwhelmed every night by the beauty in the world around me, and I spent a few more months feeling super grateful for everything in my life, both the good and the bad.
This week has been a bit different again. On Tuesday night I started to feel a sharp pain in my left hip, and my leg felt heavy when I walked, which caused me to spiral down into hopelessness again. Last night I realised that my conversation was sounding pretty preachy. I saw myself standing on a stage and speaking to an auditorium full of people and telling every one of them how stupid I thought they were and exactly why. No idea who I was talking to, but I did have a lot to say. At one point I thought “Wow, that’s kind of mean, I miss the grateful Laurie.” And right away another thought popped up: “Fuck her, I’m really pissed off! She needs to move over and give me some space.” So I guess I still have a ways to go.
The truth is, sometimes I just want my old life back. I really am thankful for the journey, but I also just want to cuss and swear and kick a few things. I always get asked how I’ve changed over the last few years, and that’s a really hard question to answer. It usually starts with “Uhhhhhh, hang on, I’m thinking”and then I come up with some trite answer that sounds good on paper and satisfies whoever asked it. Because the truth is that everything changed the moment I heard it was cancer so it’s an impossible task to chose just one thing. All of our plans for the future disappeared that day and our lives were turned upside down and backwards, and it still hurts.
Here’s one thought that occurred to me last night when my rage started to ease: I’ve been forced to let go of a lot of things in the last four years. Some good, some painful to say goodbye to (a few body parts come to mind). It was well past time to let some of those things go, others were things I had been trying to let go of for years, and some things were forcefully taken from my grasp. It hasn’t been an easy road to walk along and it would be great if google maps could provide me with a little direction, or at least show me where the nearest rest area is.
And that brings me back to my friend Mary Jane. When she takes over I lose some of my control and it allows me to process all of this stuff that I have going on inside. Thanks to her and my other plant friends, as well as some good therapy, I feel stronger, and someday I’ll hopefully be able to let go and move on.
For now, let me leave you with a story from my first year of chemotherapy. One of my drugs had a long, complicated name, so for convenience sake was shortened to 5-FU. Every time the nurse hung that bag on my IV pole I would silently say Fuck you to cancer five times. I found that to be quite entertaining, and over time it's developed into what I now call my cancer rosary, and I'm going to share it with you. But first, let me apologise to any Catholics out there. I'm not one and really have no idea what the rosary is, this one is just mine. Besides, I had multiple drugs flowing through my system and lots of time to kill.
Hail Mary, full of grace
and fuck off cancer, get out of my face
Hail Mary, full of grace
and fuck you cancer, this isn't your place
You get the picture... See you next week. And Mary Jane, I'll see you at eight at our usual spot.