This is a post I've been waiting to write for a while now. The process has taken some time to get going, but my new alternative treatment program is underway. It's a concentrated cannabis oil called Full Extract Cannabis Oil, or FECO for short. For my type of cancer, it's taken in suppository form. Let the jokes begin.
I know there are some who are troubled by the idea of medical marijuana, or scoff at it, or just disagree with it. I hope you'll hear me out. Trust me, there's nothing recreational about this. Does the picture above look recreational to you? This is not something I ever thought I'd like to do for fun. And I'm not. This is how it's done, apparently.
FECO is a purer version of Rick Simpson Oil. If you haven't heard of Rick Simpson Oil, there's lots to find out about Rick Simpson and his oil on the Google machine. He says he cured his own skin cancer by soaking a bandage in the oil and covering his skin cancer with the bandage. He intentionally made his oil easy to make at home, and has given away, but never sold his oil to thousands of patients. There are many reports of people cured of their cancer using Rick Simpson Oil.
I don't make mine at home. I have what the state of Colorado calls a caregiver. He grows the plants that are needed to make my medicine. He makes the oil, and gets it to me. He's been my caregiver since I was diagnosed. Under his care, I completed a 120 day program of Rick Simpson Oil early on in my journey. I took it orally, in capsule form. 1,000 milligrams per day for 120 days. Boy, did it make me stupid. I couldn't do that again, because it impaired me so much.
The first step was getting my medical marijuana card renewed. For that, you don't go to your primary care doctor. You go to a doctor who specializes in that. My caregiver found one who took appointments and I met him at the clinic.
I don't know what I was expecting. Maybe a Rastafarian with a twenty dollar online degree, or a burnout in a shabby storefront who can't believe this is what his practice has come to. Instead, this clinic was in a newly gentrified part of the city, in a nice old building with a welcoming feel to it. The staff were all very friendly, including the doctor, a man I'd estimate to be in his seventies.
My caregiver was there with me. He was getting his own card renewed. The doctor saw us together. He asked me what my stage was. I told him it was stage 4. He said he didn't like to hear that number. I didn't either! I showed him my latest bone scan to prove my condition. It turned out that he and my caregiver were from the same area of New Jersey, so they chatted a bit about that. It was a very friendly exchange.
The doctor came across as very enthusiastic about the benefits of medical cannabis. This is not some cynic doing it for the money. He's in it because he believes in it. He told me that, in a case like mine, he hasn't seen a cure, but he has seen extension of life and help with pain. I'll take both of those. He signed both of our licenses, and we were all set for the next year.
As I said above, the recommended way of taking FECO for prostate cancer is in suppository form. The suppository releases right next to the prostate. If properly inserted, there is very little, if any sensation of being high. Both of these are important factors for me. I want it to be concentrated in the prostate area, and I don't want to take time off being impaired from medical marijuana any more than I want to take time off to do chemo.
Without going into a botany lesson, the two best known parts of the cannabis plant to have medicinal value are CBD and THC. THC is the ingredient that gets you high. CBD has most of the medical benefits, I think, including pain relief. But it's THC, when used in combination with CBD, that has been shown to kill cancer.
The dosage level is high. To reach what's called the therapeutic level for cancer, 1,000 milligrams of THC are needed per day for 90 days. Let's put that in perspective. Unless you're a heavy pot user, a ten milligram edible is as strong as you'd want. Especially if you are a tourist here trying it for the first time. And the pot tourists are legion here. But I'm supposed to take a thousand milligrams? Every day? Not possible. Been there, done that. Was too stoned to buy the T-shirt. This time around, I have too much to do.
I joined a couple of cannabis for cancer groups on Facebook, and learned that the most effective way of taking it for prostate cancer is also the least impairing way. As a suppository. So I decided to pursue that as an alternative treatment.
My caregiver showed me what to do. He ordered the molds and gave them to me. Also the syringe and the jar for the oil. The oil is 25% strength, almost 100% THC, with coconut oil as a carrier. I draw the oil with the syringe and inject it into the molds. Coconut oil mixed with FECO isn't solid enough at room temperature for this purpose. It has to be frozen. Yes, friends, we're talking about putting tiny popsicles up you know where.
When I was a kid, when the ice cream truck drove by, one of my favorites was a sherbet treat called Pushups. Anyone remember Pushups? This gives Pushups a whole new meaning. I won't get too graphic, but like handling ice cream with your fingers, these frozen treats melt fast, so your aim had better be good. Mine was not so good this morning, but it's getting better.
I want to be careful about the gross out factor here, so I won't go into detail about how it's done. But there is a specific way to do it to insure that you don't hit a vein and get uncomfortably high for hours, if not days. I wear a glove, of course. Afterwards I have to sit still for about fifteen or twenty minutes and allow it to absorb. Don't want to lose any oil.
I do this twice a day, morning and evening. I rarely feel any sensation of being high from it. Even when I do, it's very mild. I'm able to work and function normally. It doesn't impair me. It does help me sleep, though.
My caregiver gave me two sizes of molds. The ones I'm using now are around 350 milligrams. That's why I have to be careful. If I hit that vein with a 350 milligram dose all at once, I will be very uncomfortable for a day or two. Once those are used up, I graduate to some 500 milligram molds he also provided, which I'll also take twice a day. That's the target dosage to kill cancer, remember. The therapeutic level. 1,000 milligrams, or one gram per day. But taken that way, I don't think it will be any problem after having done 700 milligrams a day for a few weeks.
My caregiver has a concern about this approach. He says if I don't feel high from it, it means that no THC is reaching my bloodstream, where the cancer is spreading. I think he may have a point. I've asked about this in a cannabis for cancer support group, and so far, the responses have agreed with my caregiver. Suppositories are good for localized cancer confined to the prostate, but once it gets into the bloodstream, it needs to be attacked there.
The oil can be taken orally. I've tried that at times when I don't need to go anywhere, and my work is done for the day, so I can afford to be impaired. And to be honest, I like it. It's a very pleasant sensation. Are you going to judge me for that? Are you going to tell me I shouldn't feel high in order to get THC into my bloodstream where it can kill my cancer? I hope not.
I believe that God created this plant for our good. Living here in Colorado, USA, I see the advances in medicine that are being discovered from cannabis. Kids with epilepsy are given a natural treatment with no side effects that really works for them, and it's the only thing that does. People with migraines and other chronic pain are helped. And for those of us with cancer, it helps chemo patients get their appetite back, and helps with pain, including bone pain, which is what I'm trying to put off.
My caregiver also gave me some suppositories that are made with cocoa butter, which is solid at room temperature. He says he's working on making the oil that way. That would be great. I've tried the cocoa butter ones, and they're easier to work with than the popsicles. But then the title of this post would be Cocoa Butter Bullets.
There are plenty of crude details about this, and crude jokes to go with them, but I'll pass on those for this post. If we know each other well, there will be plenty of time for that. But this is no joke. I've informed my oncologist about this, and he has no problem with it. He doubts it will do me any good, but he doesn't think it will do me any harm. One of the great things about cannabis as a medicine is that it has no known interactions with any other medication.
My next PSA test and Lupron shot are scheduled for January. We'll see where my numbers are then. This program goes through the end of February. I hope the combination of this alternative treatment with Lupron and Xtandi will keep me pain free and keep my cancer in check for a long time. And there are other treatments to explore as well. Normally, I'd be a "one-thing-at-a-time" kind of guy. Let's just try one treatment at a time so we know what works. But I don't think I have time for that anymore. It's time to start throwing stuff at the wall.
I've promised to be as candid and open about my treatment and its effects as I can be, so I can't leave this out. If it works for me, I want you to know that. If it doesn't, I want you to know that too. As it goes along, I'll let you know how it's affecting me and my ability to do the things that are important to me. As in other areas where you may disagree with me, I hope you'll respect my choices.
One thing I can testify to. I feel no indication from God that I shouldn't be doing this. If you've read this blog from the beginning, you know that when I was declined for disability, I felt the Holy Spirit very clearly indicate to me that I should not appeal, but trust him. We did that, and he has been faithful. I believe that, if I were doing something wrong now, he would let me know. If anything, I feel closer to him than ever before.
I'm not able to travel to other parts of the world for treatment like some do, but I'm blessed to live in a place that many people relocate to just to have access to this medicine that in many cases is the only thing that helps them, or a loved one, or their kids.
Call me an old hippie. Guilty as charged. I do like tie dye and Pink Floyd. But if all I wanted to do was get high, I wouldn't be doing it this way. #waroncancer