My story begins in 2011, the day after the Super Bowl. My father came over to have a chat with me. My heart sank when he told me that he was just diagnosed with stage three lung cancer. My father hadn’t smoked since the 80s! He had a good attitude as he told me it had been a great life and if he had a year or two, he was thankful; my parents had lived an adventurous life and had no regrets.
Dad entered right away into a program of 6 straight weeks of Chemotherapy. It was tough, but he made it through. Once Dad finished his chemo, he started to slur his words and we became worried he might have had a small stroke. Two and a half weeks after Dad finished his Chemo, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was a metastasis from the lungs and was located on the brain stem. It was heart wrenching to see my parents have to go through this. Dad was now thrown into 10 straight days of full brain radiation. Once he finished the radiation, he started declining rapidly and ended up in the hospital with a fever and possible pneumonia. Once Dad returned home he was bedridden and on full time oxygen. I saw him wither away before my eyes. He could barely walk, only if to go to the bathroom. He wasn’t eating or drinking fluids.
We had an appointment with the oncologist shortly thereafter. Dad wanted to know how much time he had. The doctor told us that when lung cancer metastasizes to the brain the prognosis is about six months, but, because of his setbacks with pneumonia, he only had weeks. We got my dad home and put him back to bed. Mom and I later talked and she said she was prepared for him to go any day. I remember checking in with my mom every morning to see if he had made it through the night.
In that meeting with the oncologist, we asked about legal medical marijuana. We had no experience with marijuana but had heard that it would increase his appetite and help with depression. The Kaiser doctor immediately wrote up a recommendation for marijuana and told me that it would be much less expensive to get my dad’s medicinal marijuana outside of Kaiser. I was deemed his caregiver and was immediately thrown into a world that I had no idea how to navigate! It is from this beginning that Doobons sprung.
I had to get my caregiver card and actually go to a medical marijuana dispensary! I learned that capsules would be best for my dad and then extensively studied the medical research, findings, and benefits of medical marijuana. My mind was put as ease as we began to give my dad a half of a capsule every morning around 11am. At this point, my family was focusing on his quality of life. Hospice was brought in since it looked as though my dad was weeks, if not days, away from his life here. However, as soon as we started the marijuana capsules (not Marinol), my dad began to eat like a teenage boy! The results were almost immediate. My dad’s strength started to return, he was more talkative, and he loved food again. Dad was back on his computer managing his properties and starting renovations on my parents’ home. It was easy to find the right dosage to increase his appetite but also not to make him a zombie.
So here we are, 4 months since my father was on his death bed. He is now going out to coffee with friends, dinners, and movies. Dad is starting to get back to his yard work and running errands by himself! Hospice still comes once a week for a checkup, but they are amazed at his reversal! My dad has more energy, and is barely using any oxygen anymore; sometimes he goes all day without it!
I realize that my dad has terminal cancer, but, at this point, the end is NOT in sight! I will continue to blog about my dad’s progress and treatment. Stay tuned!
Read Stan’s updates!
- Doobons Beginning (UPDATE!) Stan’s Journey
- Dad’s Update – Stan Rutner: A Cancer Survivor