The cannabis community harbors some of the most alluring stories, many of which still remain untold. Over a year ago, I received a message on Facebook from a patient named Lorilei. This sweet woman mentioned that she is a long time medical cannabis user, a huge fan of Bloom Farms, and most importantly that she overcame a battle with breast cancer.
This October I set out to share the message: Be Unstoppable.
Throughout the month I asked myself, “What does it really mean to be unstoppable?” It wasn’t until meeting Lorilei that I really began to understand what it takes.
Five years ago she found a small lump on her breast and immediately sought medical attention. The first doctor she visited paid little to no attention and believed it was only a cyst. This small lump continued to grow and became increasingly painful. Having trouble finding any answers she visited a health practitioner at her college, who diagnosed her with mastitis. Between the excruciating pain and the lack of information she was left feeling depleted.
The health practitioner referred her to a primary care physician who then referred her to a specialist. After performing a biopsy, the doctor coldly delivered the worst news yet.
Imagine being a young 28 year old woman handed a pamphlet accompanied by only the words, “you have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Find a surgeon.” Despite being given this still very vague diagnosis, Lorilei and her partner Ali were relentless in seeking help.
One week later she was finally given her official diagnosis:
Stage 3, grade 3, Inflammatory Breast Cancer that had metastasized into her lymph nodes and chest wall.
The fight for her life began, and she endured 4 months of the most accelerated chemotherapy treatment process possible. The side effects of these treatments were unbearable. “What they don’t tell you is, is that your hair doesn’t just fall out, it turns into thousands of tiny burning splinters.” Lorilei described how in a mid-night panic she spent hours trying to shave her head with disposable razors to relieve the pain.
“I have an affinity for eyebrows” she laughed. “I couldn’t lose those, those were all I had left.”
Desperately seeking relief from these side effects, Lorilei found comfort in cannabis.
“By the time we found the tumor in my chest it had been growing for a long time and I believe that my daily cannabis intake had kept it from growing out of control before I was able to get any kind of other medicine. Cannabis saved my life.”
Five years later, Lorilei, Ali, and their dog-child Astro live happily in Chico, California. Though she continues her battle with residual pain, Lorilei exudes positivity and an incredible appreciation and love for life. She encourages patients whose fight against cancer rages on to open their minds and allow other people’s positive energy into their hearts.
“Let people pray for you and be thankful. The human body is an amazing thing and is capable of going through so much strife and still being able to heal. Don’t be scared of what your body can do and don’t be scared of what medicine can do.”
Lorilei truly embodies what it means to be unstoppable and I am now honored to call her family.
What does being unstoppable mean to you?