I am Cody, a Cancer survivor from UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas. I founded a non-profit “Giving hemp” to provide hemp products to cancer patients in exchange for their scans, reports, and medication list. I am also a consultant and speaker. I was diagnosed with brain cancer, glioblastoma.
Symptoms and diagnosis
One day, I had a seizure. I was having partial facial spasms, and there were no seizures at that point. I didn’t have any vision problems. So the last thing I thought it would be is a tumour. But apparently, I had a couple of seizures and was rushed to the hospital. And then they did an MRI, and that’s when they found a mess. The tumour was about the size of a plum. I had grown up in a Church that believed in prayer. When I heard the word, I freaked out. But I did place my faith in God and his ability to keep me throughout this entire process. So I just handed my whole life over and surrendered myself.
Treatments underwent and side effects
I had radiation and chemo in January of 2007, going on later on in 2007. I also went through surgery. So for the brain, they don’t do IV chemo because of the blood-brain barrier. So it’s a pill form. It does the same thing. I was nauseated. I was vomiting and lost my hair. Radiation treatment led to my hair loss. I still have some hair. I just did all the standard treatments. I was getting synthetic THC and Marinol during the time of my treatment. THC is anti-proliferative and anti-angiogenic. So it stops proliferation and inhibits the tumour from getting a blood vessel to derive nutrients.
The support system was my mother. I grew up in Florida, but I was born here and the whole family is here. So whenever I got sick, I had the whole family around me.
Experience with medical staff
Actually, my doctors were great. They were all foreign doctors. And it was awesome because American doctors don’t think outside the box. So my first doctor for the radiation was from the Middle East, and he was Muslim. And he and I had a great conversation and relationship in that way. And he was the one that told me, don’t look it up, don’t ask anybody about it. just eat healthily and keep coming to your appointments. That was a really big change. He wasn’t like I was going to die. He told me how many months I have or will not be happy with the treatment. And so I never looked it up after I got older. When I looked it up it was a twelve-month life expectancy. I’m glad he didn’t tell me.
Source of optimism
I found friends and met new people and other survivors. I had time to learn history and learn different things to get my mind busy. I went to Bible studies with friends. I basically lived a normal life as much as I could. My greatest encouragement was God. Things that kept me motivated during those times were Psalm 91and Psalm 9. So resting in that shelter really kept my mind from going crazy. Whenever I got out of surgery, I was on steroids to keep my brain from falling down, I ordered all the food I wanted. I was eating Skittles and all kinds of candy because, at that time, I didn’t know anything about sugar and cancer. But I’ve learned a lot about anti-cancer stuff like herbs, fruits, vegetables, etc. I make juices with all those things that are anti-cancer. I mean, like anti-proliferative things. I already bought white Willow bark that is natural.
Positive changes and Lessons I learned
Cancer definitely made me more aware of suffering. And that’s why I started the nonprofit. I’d say that cancer definitely humbled me. It’s changed my perspective toward other people. And it made me look more into disease, diet, and lifestyle. And if I hadn’t gotten sick, I wouldn’t have looked into cannabinoids or looked into alternative kinds of treatments. So learning about those and helping patients and seeing the difference it makes between them and myself, I started the nonprofit Giving Hemp Course. Which is giving hemp to cancer patients in exchange for their data.
Message to other cancer patients and caregivers
Just don’t focus on the diagnosis. Keep focused on your treatment plan. Change up your diet. Get more focused on your health and your relationships. Don’t waste time trying to say things to other people that they wouldn’t understand. A lot of people don’t understand the diagnosis, and they can’t without the caregivers out there. Caregivers already have the heart to be able to take care of cancer patients in the first place and should just keep doing it. And I know it can be discouraging with loss, but if you’re in the trenches, stay there and with cancer patients. Don’t submit to fear. Pray, hope, and hang out with loving people.
I think everybody should know what’s going on. When I was younger, I was in high school and my teacher knew my history with my dad. He asked me if I was going to get any genetic testing. I didn’t think about it. And I ended up getting brain cancer. So brain cancer wasn’t known to be a part of lynch syndrome when I got it. There’s a list of percentages of types of cancers one can develop with lynch syndrome, colon cancer is number one with 80% chance of development. But the least likely to get is brain cancer, which is at 1%. I believe that people should be aware of what’s going on. If you have cancer syndromes in your family or any kind of cancer running in your family, be monitored. Just don’t be aware of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery but of all the types of medications and different types of natural herbs and foods that should be encouraged to use during their treatment or diagnosis.