And the other is applying for a medicinal marijuana license.
Excellent news report 🚨🚨! The additional nodes that were removed during my second surgery this week were all clear! Only that one tiny micrometastasis that they found in surgery #1 existed in all of my axillary nodes.
As exciting as this news is, it doesn’t buy me a lesser chemo sentence than I was already expecting. It just means I don’t need a larger chemo regimen, which I will take as a win.
We met with the oncologist this week after finding out my Oncotype™. An Oncotype is a fancy dancy genomic test that one lab in California processes that tells you your cancer’s specific genomic likelihood of responding favorably to chemo. The general cutoff is 18, my score was a 17. This means I was 1 point away from being in the ‘chemo should definitely help’ pile. We were told before the test that our goal was to be ‘under 12.’ Wah wah.
My oncologist, Dr. Wade, asked every one of her colleagues and the head of Oncology at the University of Chicago what they thought I should do, in terms of chemo or no chemo and it was unanimous that they all suggested I do it. My oncologist and her nurse also said if it was them, they would do it. Even though I had the choice to take chemo, it really wasn’t much of a choice.
What kind of dipshit at 36 years old is going to be like, ‘you know what, brilliant oncologists? I’m not going to take the thing that has almost zero long term side effects. I’m going to just wing this one.’ Yeah, nope. Chemo, party of one please!
After the oncology appointment we made a right turn and headed to visit the Integrative Health doctor within our medical group, North Shore.
Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple. Exactly what you envision for your ‘integrative’ doc. Flowing long black hair, kind eyes, a boho shirt & a stethoscope. She had read my bio and was ready to come at me with some eastern-ass shizz.
On top of all of my western medicine, I will be on-boarding some neat-o alternative supplements and treatments. I left with a small grocery bag and a long list of new things to add to my pill regime.
I think my sensibilities fall somewhere right on the line of believing wholeheartedly in western medicine, but wanting real bad to trust in the eastern stuff too. Listen, I ingested my own placenta in the form of pills after my last baby and I truly believe it helped my recovery despite the lack of empirical evidence. What’s stopping me from giving, Turkey Tail Mushrooms a try?
The last thing Dr. Mendoza brought up was medicinal marijuana. Now let’s just break this down here for un secondo. I went to the University of Colorado at Boulder for 4 years. If I had any propensity towards being a stoner, that dream would have been realized a long time ago.
An Alanis quote, to head this post, is perfect as it brings me right back to Boulder, 1997. There was a kid in my dorm freshman year named Smiley. I have no idea if that is his real name, but that’s all I knew him as. Actually that’s not true, I knew him, as everyone did, as, ‘Smiley Bro.’ This guy had red dreadlocks and honestly looked like he stepped out of the pages of Where The Wild Things Are. If I wanted pot, there were hundreds of ‘Smileys’ around who could get it for me. (If any of my Boulder peeps read this and know of Smiley’s whereabouts, please make sure this gets forwarded to him so he can bask in his small-time blog notoriety. I’m sure he is a brilliant astrophysicist or something and this acclaim will bring his life full circle.)
Point is, I’m not a smoker. Never smoked anything. Not because I am ‘better than that.’ Mostly because I am a pussbag. A high Grace never did anything for anyone except lock herself in her room and maybe cry a little.
That being said, my two biggest fears of chemo are nausea and exhaustion, the two things Dr. Mendoza Temple said marijuana can be the most help with. I’m in.
The application is long and requires lots of paperwork, photocopies of binding documents and even our official fingerprints. And money, of course. Lots of money. The application process alone was $300 for my license.
In 4-6 weeks I will be a legal medicinal cannabis card carrier. I’m starting to think I should have just stuck to old school channels of supply, but I’m an American, dammit, and I will get my weed legally.
This post is dedicated to all my homies from Libby Hall 1997/8. May your dreams be filled with hazy memories of skanks in tube tops, Late Night Libby double bagel meals and plenty of questionable choices.
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Make sure to get yourself Zofran ( before you start your chemo sessions). It works wonders. Also- whatever you do- do not take the synthetic version of marijuana. Its seriously the worst. I woke up in a sea of chocolates the next day- and hallucinated hard on it. You are doing great Grace. So impressed with your attitude and openness to share.
This whole past week, I was thinking about how utterly wrong you were about not being brave. You’re brave as shit. You face the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and you’ve kicked it in the balls. The merest procedure had me whimpering these past five days and every time I thought of you and your courage. And then I was like, fuck that, courage is for badasses like my sister. You keep on inspiring me though not quite elevating me to your level. Although how could anybody reach that high??
My Boulder story involves shrooms and pretending to take a nap because I wanted to avoid my drum circle roommate. I came out triumphant in the knowledge that they all thought I was legit napping when instead I was lying under a blanket in my bed with my eyes closed but wide awake.
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God is lightening your pathway one step at the time I am proud of my strong Grace I love you
I hope you keep feeling better and better 🙂
Loved this post! I can’t imagine going through this with three littles at home. I hope your hubby is holding strong and your sister is still rocking her role. Keep writing….. Thinking of you!
I went through chemo for breast cancer last summer & also saw Dr Mendoza, she’s great. If you can get a referral from your primary dr acupuncture really helped me. I generally went for it a day or two after chemo. Also you seem to be a great researcher on what help is out there, but can’t recommend Cancer Wellness Center in Northbrook enough!
Turkey tail mushrooms & cannabis? Sure, why not! Whatever gets you through chemo.