Melissa D. is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. She has multiple myeloma. Just a couple of weeks before her first meeting with Mark Pedersen, she had asked her doctor to put her on hospice because she could no longer adequately care for herself. Her oncologist assured her quite emphatically that she was dying and only with rigorous doses of chemotherapy would he be able to extend her life, but certainly not cure her. Unfortunately, with only a couple treatments, Melissa knew, the chemo treatments would strip her of what little quality of life that she had left.
Traveling to Pedersen in Colorado represented a considerable financial hardship for Melissa. She hadn’t been able to work since becoming ill. Fortunately, her friends helped her with a collection to make it possible.
Melissa and Mark discussed treatment options. He showed her how she could increase her dose quickly with suppositories. She took that to heart, moving to a full gram a day in less than a week.
After staying for a period of time, she returned home. Within a month, Melissa realized that the tumors in her breasts were gone. She called Mark to say that she was gaining weight and felt better than she had in twenty years. She felt so good, in fact, that she hoped to go back to work soon.
After a few months, Melissa was able to get test results from her oncologist. They showed some improvement, but her doctor was adamant, insisting that she resume her chemotherapy. He told her, “You’re going to die. That (cannabis) won’t save you.”
Then Melissa asked him, “If I were to see another oncologist with these reports in hand, would he say I have cancer?”
To which her specialist replied, “No.”
Melissa’s myeloma was more resistant than some. Though she was feeling good, and more active than she had been in years, the cancer persisted.
Melissa ran out of oil. For several months, her health spiraled downward. Pedersen knew if she didn’t find a source, she would die.
Eventually, a local “angel” stepped in enabling her to restart her Cannabis therapy, if only for a time. Once on the oil, she was able to tolerate the chemo treatments. She began gaining weight, and most importantly, was again making healthy red blood cells.
This past year, Melissa traveled to her daughter’s home in Florida. While there, her daughter committed suicide. Devastated beyond belief, Melissa was left with a custody battle for both of her grandchildren – one, profoundly disabled.
Though struggling, and once again without FECO, Melissa was heartbroken, but determined. She returned to school and was resolute in providing for herself and the little ones.
With her cancer returning, she knows the coming months will be the challenge of her life. Whether she will be able to endure until her financial situation improves, is anyone’s guess.
Florida has a medical cannabis program, albeit very limited and costly – even cost-prohibitive for most who are poor. Such is the problem when bigots and prohibitionists, design the program. With little understanding, and really no concept of Cannabis as anything other than a recreational street drug, lawmakers base their decisions on the whims of law enforcement.
Melissa finally was able to get a medical cannabis card. Unfortunately, paying the ridiculous prices demanded by Florida’s few dispensaries represents a whole other challenge. What’s more, most products applicable for medicinal consumption are heavily diluted. Patients often pay greatly inflated prices for what is largely carrier oils, ineffectual for treating serious illness. Without safeguards that actually PROTECT the Cannabis consuming patient, most are merely fodder for the profiteers.
It’s difficult sustaining Cannabis therapy long- term. A gram of cannabis trim oil can run as much as $65 or more in dispensaries, if it can be found at all. Cancer patients can remain at a gram of oil per day for two to four months or longer. It’s not difficult to realize what little provision there is for our poor and infirmed.
The initial treatment for cancer, the first 60 grams can mean the difference between life and death. But even for those who have seen the miraculous, their ordeal is not yet over. All patients will have to find a way to sustain a maintenance dose indefinitely.
It is for his work with chronically and terminally ill children and adults that Mark is currently facing the equivalent of a life sentence in Colorado. Why? For providing education and free medicine to the poor and dying.
We need your physical and financial support to see that justice is brought for Mark Pedersen and for Ron Niehouse, his good friend and colleague, who was also charged.
Please spread the word. Pedersen and Niehouse need strong support, in the media and in court. Please help financially by giving to their GoFundMe, Justice for Pedersen and Niehouse
Mark can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
For the whole story, follow this link… “My Life as a Colorado Cannabis Caregiver”.