I’ve always viewed life as a skeptic. To me, life was nothing but fleeting – with all things temporary, why should I be wasting my time trying to attain things I don’t really need? Why should I spend it breaking my back over work, over relationships, over this life that will only end with my body six feet under the ground? Cliché though it may all sound, I truly was that woman. But at 25 years old I’ve succumbed to the ultimate terror – cancer. It came out of nowhere; one day, I was at work, unsuspecting of what was to come. I sat on my chair, opened my computer, quite ready to get through that day’s surge of emails. Though I perceived life to be as something meaningless, I had to survive. And so, I worked for a respectable company, doing what is expected – nothing more, nothing less. I live quite normally, but that day something deviated from my routine. I was attacked by a hard blow into my head, as though someone had punched me, knuckles all in.
Without any sense into the rest of the office floor, I groaned and collapsed. Next thing I knew, I was lying on the hospital bed with wires and tubes stuck into my skin. It was uncomfortable in every sense of the word, and yet something in me stirred. There was something brewing in me, and for the first time in my life I was afraid. There was something terribly wrong, I was certain, and lying there on the hospital bed made me think of my grandfather many years ago. The doctor came into the room and calmly explained that I had a tumor growing in my brain. It was pressing into places that shouldn’t be, steadily growing for the past how many years. I simply nodded at his words, and the sinking feeling of fear came back to me. I had to start chemotherapy, he said, and I was lucky enough to be the few who could be treated by such. Despite hope’s helping hand, death loomed ever near. And for the first time since I’ve decided that life isn’t truly that much, I feared for what I could be missing out. I still want to see Peru, Paris, and Korea. I still want to feel the water and sand between my toes, I still want to visit my favorite café every Sunday. There is so much to see and feel, and here I am with death tailing closely behind. And so I’ve decided to fight.
The battle, of course, was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face. I started losing my hair, locks which my mom loved to braid as I grew up. I turned deathly pale and thin, as the medicine had to kill the good cells in order to kill the bad ones. I wretched the contents of my already shrinking stomach after each session until it could hold nothing more than soft diet. Most of my nutrition came in the form of liquid down a tube. It was a nightmare. But of course, as the law of life dictates, I had to eat. Apart from the already painful medications, I had to take pills that supposedly increases your appetite. They were expensive but never worked for me; my weight dropped pound after pound.
My physical body was in shambles, but my newly found determination to live remained strong. I searched endlessly for ways to alleviate the pain, and one day I found the prospects of marijuana. With another stroke of luck, I was able to procure the plant as my state has legalized it. The effects after were immediate – my appetite went back, and in one sitting I was able to consume two orders of burritos meant for my sister and her husband. The pain and weakness I’ve been trying to battle has lessened, and it is place came peaceful nights and states of euphoria.
Chemotherapy is ongoing today, but I’m able to cope well. I remain vigilant, of course, to the possible side effects that come with marijuana. Dependence and tolerance, of course, are the main culprits. It won’t make my cancer go away, but it keeps my physical body at peace. There are millions of other cancer-stricken patients like me, and I can only hope that somehow, they find their way to the many wonders medical marijuana can bring. Because of it, I’m able to get a hold of myself, despite the constant bouts of weakness. In time, I know that I will be able to recover and finally enjoy the life I’ve always taken for granted – it’s all thanks to the little plant everyone seems so intent to banish.