This made me susceptible to additional cancers and other complications. I was blessed with a fairly normal youth other than the bullying, reoccurring nightmares, pain and muscle spasms. In high school I was introduced to cannabis recreationally. I loved that it took away my pain, my nightmares, reduced my muscle spasms and gave me an ‘I can accomplish anything’ attitude. I was a very casual and private user because it was illegal, and I also thought it would break my parent’s hearts. I knew this stuff was helping me and there were no side effects that alcohol or meds caused. I didn’t care how it worked, just that it helped.
Radiation Complications Begin
The radiation “complications” started in the late 1999 when the blood flow to my lower extremities started to decrease. I was diagnosed with PAD (peripheral artery disease) caused by radiation damage. The solution: stents in my iliac arteries and blood thinners.
In 2000 I was diagnosed with kidney cancer. This was discovered accidentally by a chest x-ray, so it was caught early (and encapsulated) and surgery was possible without follow-up chemo or radiation. Now, an 18-year survivor of kidney cancer.
Since that time, I have had multiple stents to hold open the arteries leading to my lower limbs. I have also had squamous and basil cell skin cancers in the radiation zone and beyond. I’ve lost count as to how many surgeries I’ve had but it’s enough to make me a caring nurse from this side of the bed.
Tragedy Pushes Anita to Learn More About Cannabis
Tragedy came suddenly in 2003 when my father lost his battle to an autoimmune disease. He was my rock through it all. Then a few years later my brother-in-law was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Then a lifelong friend with melanoma of the brain. And to add to all this, our son-in-law died from suicide, caused by addiction to pain killers for his uncontrolled pain. He left behind a wife and 2 beautiful children.