Facing The Possibility Of Cancer: Take Five Leaves And Pray

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Sharon Letts
Author Sharon Letts at home


By Sharon Letts
The spider-web-like mass in my right breast has me thinking about my mom, the farm she was raised on, DDT, Malathion, Rachel Carson, and Cannabis — in that order.
My mass hasn’t been diagnosed yet. I saw the configuration while peeking over the shoulder of both the mammogram and ultra-sound technicians. I had to peek because for some reason the medical community feels we need some sort of disconnect when it comes to our own health.
I broke an unsaid rule, but in my book, It’s called being proactive.
While I’m waiting for a biopsy, my educated guess after a little research is it’s Lobular Carcinoma. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, this type of cancer begins in the milk-producing glands of the breast, or lobules, affecting 10 to 15 percent of all women in the U.S. It’s a mass, not a lump, as with the popular Ductal Carcinoma affecting up to 85 percent of women in this country.


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Sharon Letts

Mayo, WTF?
This information can be found in the Mayo Clinic’s dummy-proof, tedious page-by-page listing of incredibly limited information. 
Mayo lists one cause only for this type of breast cancer, affecting 10 to 15 percent of all American women, hormone replacement. Which makes no sense at all, since my sister – who is 18 months older than I – just had this same type of cancer two years ago, and she has never used any type of hormone replacement.
In my humble opinion, being proactive about health issues is equal to being able to see past the bullshit of modern day medicine’s smoke screens. Being a cannabis patient, my bullshit meter runs a bit high. No pun intended.
Once Upon a Time…
My mom was raised on a farm in Illinois in the 1920s and 30s, just outside of the State Capitol of Springfield. Yes, Springfield. Kind of like The Simpsons — the difference being, my mom told childhood stories of dancing with my aunt and uncle beneath the rain of DDT falling down from crop dusting airplanes on the waving fields of grain. None of them grew a third eye, all of them died of Cancer.
The dangers of DDT and other toxic chemicals were known as far back as the 1940s, yet Rachel Carson didn’t write Silent Spring until 1962. DDT and its equivalents weren’t pulled from U.S. markets until 1972. Amazingly, it’s still in use today as a “Vector Control,” or against the spread of some pest, such as mosquitos.

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Sharon Letts

My mom was diagnosed with Stage Five Ductal Carcenoma in 1999. She was gone three months later. After reviewing the charts, my sister found the cancer began in her lungs. Second-hand smoke from tobacco, they said, killed my mom.
When I was in high school in the mid-1970s Malathion was sprayed at night over Los Angeles in an attempt to save our agriculture industry from the Fruit Fly. I remember a curfew at night, then going outside in the morning and having an oily film on everything.
The Blame Game
A writer I once worked with, Barbara Ehrenreich, penned a book on her breast cancer experiences, Bright Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America
Her take is, constantly striving for a sunny outlook on cancer and other woes in society lead to self-blame, and a morbid preoccupation with stamping out “negative” thoughts. She said, “On a national level, it’s brought us an era of irrational optimism resulting in disaster.”

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Sharon Letts

I’ll take it one step further and say that our Government knows full well our industries caused genetically-based cancers, now spreading like wildfire throughout the world. But we are made to think we, personally, have something to do with our illness. 
In general, the powers that be tell the American woman, you took hormone replacement, therefore you have lobular cancer. You drank more than three glasses of alcohol a day, had children after 30 (or didn’t have children at all) , therefore you have Ductal Cancer. You were near second-hand smoke, therefore you have Lung Cancer.
The redirecting of blame is enough to make anyone sick.
As a cannabis patient I’m angry enough for the lack of information and research on cannabis and cancer, let alone a vague and bleary window of information in general on why or how I contracted it.
Take Two Support Groups and Call Me in the Morning
Already challenged with thyroid disease, literally suffering through menopause, being faced with the possibility of cancer is daunting, to say the least.

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Sharon Letts

Luckily, we haven’t all gone mad, and the most common thread in the veil of help for cancer seems to be within ourselves and each other. 
My sister, having just gone through the process, said radiation and removal via surgery is the end-all. That’s one bit of good news, as the success rate of chemotherapy has hovered around one percent for decades now, and I’d be traveling to Mexico for alternative therapies rather than keep that fat American, cash cow happy.
The better news is, I’m a cannabis patient in California (thank you, Jesus, Joseph and Mary) and my alternative therapy doesn’t have a five page disclaimer.
Going for the Green
To be proactive, two nights ago I began eating raw leaves in salad, and will be increasing my ingesting of both raw and cooked cannabis, using tinctures, butters, oils and ground hash in foods. 
Cannabis chef, Cheri Sicard has agreed to help with other recipes, and I’ve already made a shopping list from her book, The Cannabis Gourmet Cookbook
I also have Dr. William Courtney on my “to call” list, as he and his wife Kirsten are huge proponents of juicing and raw ingesting.
As they like to say, “It’s probably nothing,” and, I have fewer answers than the Mayo Clinic’s website, but one thing I do know:
I have educated choices that go beyond what the powers that be would like us to believe. I have a green village at my finger-tips, and my bowl runneth over.

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Sharon Letts
Author Sharon Letts wrote this piece for Toke of the Town.

Editor’s note: Sharon Letts began her love of gardening in Southern California by her mother’s side, watching as she buried fish heads at the base of roses.

At 24, Sharon hung her shingle, “Secret Garden,” planting flower beds for dainty ladies. Gardening led to producing and writing for television with “Secret Garden Productions.”

Today Sharon makes her home in Humboldt County, cannabis capitol of the world, where she continues to write about gardening and all that implies, advocating for the bud, and writing for many magazines, including Toke of the Town.

Her series, “Humboldt Stories,” is a fictional account, based on fact, of the Humboldt grow scene. Tag line: “It’s not Weeds, it’s real.”

With her partner, Craig Carroll, they pen “Road Trip: In Search of Good Medicine,” touring the Golden State, following the green rush.
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