MEET THE CANNAKIDS: Morgan

This chapter of our story began on February 6, 2014 about 1pm. We had just driven away from the hospital after an MRI that was prescribed to us by a neurologist to “eliminate all of the worst possibilities” for some strange symptoms (unexplained ear pain, hardly using her right arm, tilting her head to the left) our 2 year, 9month old beautiful daughter had been experiencing during the preceding 12 months.  As we were pulling out of the hospital parking lot, my cell phone rang with an unfamiliar number. Having gone through a pretty intense morning of first time anesthesia, an MRI (and recovery), I let it go to voicemail. After the voicemail beeped I listened to the message which was the neurologist asking us to call her as soon as we got the message. We called her back while driving home and she asked that we pull over and stop in a safe location. The 90 seconds that it took to do so were easily the longest 90 seconds of my life. Then we got the news. They found a “mass” in her brain and wanted us to turn around immediately and go to the emergency room. The neurologist was reluctant to elaborate on anything but when she told us that the hospital was waiting for us and that they would have a room set aside for us in the Oncology ward, it hit me. Cancer. My precious little girl has cancer. The tumor is an Astrocytoma growing from the brainstem down her spine (9cmx6cmx6cm) We’ve all known someone touched by cancer but no parent thinks that cancer and their child would be used in the same sentence. Needless to say, the realization that our amazing Morgan would be battling this monster disease made us feel lost and broken. We met with so many doctors, nurses, specialists, social workers, etc that the initial 5 day stay in the hospital was a blur. After a biopsy, a couple MRI’s, and countless tests, we were given an avalanche of information but the one piece of information that will forever resonate in my mind is: 2 years. When asked about what the future holds, the neurosurgeon told us that with successful Chemo and Radiation treatments, our daughter’s probable life span was 2 years. It wasn’t hard to do the math: 2 years, 24 months, 730 days. Desperate doesn’t begin to describe how we felt. After the initial shock/denial/grief, we set out to get educated on all things cancer and started to look for something…anything to help her odds and better her quality of life. Standard medicine has two treatments for her cancer 1) Chemotherapy 2) Radiation. Because her tumor is low grade our Oncologist initially said chemo would be ineffective. After researching Radiation treatments, it was easy to conclude that the potential side effects (many & all horrible) would put that option at the bottom of the list. We felt obligated to her to look for anything that might help or compliment the options available at the hospital. The internet is a double edged sword. The internet contains invaluable information but it also hosts endless misinformation. Deciphering the difference was overwhelming but we were fortunate to have come across a few people that were able to point us in the right direction to learn more about cancer specific diets, alternative pain solutions and the medicinal use of cannabis. Soon after coming home from the hospital, we started a low carbohydrate, no processed sugar, whole foods diet. Having learned that tumors thrive on glucose, the diet was a relatively easy change. Because the tumor causes extreme daily pain, our doctors prescribed Dilaudid which is an opioid pain medication.  After researching as best we could, we reluctantly decided to incorporate cannabis into her treatment plan to help with the pain and hopefully act in an antitumor capacity. We started with a low dose of cannabis and over the course of a month worked up to a gram a day. After starting the cannabis, we have not needed to use Dilaudid for pain. The pain has been completely mitigated. The MRI on April 11th showed the tumor was stable with possible minimal shrinkage. From there, we continued with the regimen of diet and cannabis. Her June MRI showed the tumor is stable but with possible enhancement. Because of the possible enhancement, our Oncologist wanted us to start chemo the next week. After pointing out that the April and June scans were done on different MRI machines and presenting both scans to the Oncology tumor board, they concluded there was no enhancement and agreed that the tumor has remained stable. Our most recent scans in August show that the tumor has remained stable. Although we are encouraged by the fact that the tumor, which is the size of a golf ball, has remained stable and not grown since the first MRI in February, we decided to start Chemo on August 14th. In a nutshell, we have one shot at this and we don’t want to look back and wish we had done something or wish done something sooner. We use cannabis along with acupuncture, reishi spore mushrooms and diffusing oils to help with the side effects of chemo. As we approach our third week of Chemo, she has shown no side effects. Cannabis has helped Morgan by mitigating her pain, maintaining her appetite and sleep.  Before starting cannabis, she would not take a mid-day nap. Now she takes a daily 2 hour nap which we think helps her body stay healthy. Our protocol is this:

·         THC oil in the morning

·         2 hours later CBD oil

·         2 hour nap

·         THC Oil

·         2 hours later CBD Oil

We try to space the CBD and THC 2 hours apart, 4 times a day. (2xTHC, 2xCBD) This is all uncharted territory for us and we second guess everything we do but today, just like she has always been,  Morgan is a healthy, happy, and brilliant little 3 year old. Any stranger seeing her out and about would only see an adorable little girl and would have no idea what she is fighting. During the initial hospital stay in February the doctors reviewing her MRI were absolutely dumbfounded that she could walk. She has been chasing the dogs around the house ever since. Who knows what’s been working to allow her to live fully and keep the tumor stable but for now, we plan to continue as we have.

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