Given Months To Live With Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer (But Still Around!)

intro: Welcome to Cannabis Health Radio.
A podcast, where we share stories from people around the world, who are using cannabis as medicine
The information is meant to raise awareness about the health benefits of cannabis.
Which should not be taken as medical advice.
Here are your hosts Ian Jessop and Corrie Yelland.
Ian: Welcome back. This is Episode 226 of Cannabis Health Radio and I’m Ian Jessop.
Corrie: And I’m Corrie Yelland.
Ian: It’s estimated that more than 150,000 women worldwide die of ovarian cancer each year. Ovarian cancer often has no symptoms at the early stages, so the disease is generally advanced when it’s diagnosed. The five year survival rate ranges from approximately 30 to 50%. Our guest today is Pattie, who doesn’t want us to use her last name. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer two years ago this month and given six to eight months to live. And she joins us from Ohio to tell us her story. Pattie, thanks for joining us.
Pattie: Thank you for having me.
Ian: Now, you must feel pretty good today knowing that you defied the odds that your doctor gave you two years ago saying you’d be dead within six to eight months.
Pattie: Yes, sir. It was actually two doctors and two different Cancer Treatment Centers. Both gave me same diagnosis. One was in August of 2017. And so that, when I pretty much went home and started giving my stuff away, I went for a second opinion in September of 2017. He agreed with the first doctor. However, he said he didn’t see an expiration dates stamped on me anywhere. So I started chemo.
Ian: So Pattie when you went to the first doctor in August of 2017, two years ago this month, and well, go ahead.
Pattie: Yes, well, let me explain. I went, I had no symptoms at all. I went in July 5 for my yearly female visit to the gynecologist. He called me back a week later to come in, which was actually, it was July 13. I went in, he said it was only uterine cancer. And then I made the appointment for July 24th for the first Cancer Treatment Center in Houston. And there they did a biopsy and had to call me back for a second biopsy on August 4. So that’s and that was actually then my second biopsy at that location. So that’s how August comes into the picture.
Ian: Then you went to the doctor again on August 8, for your diagnosis, he gave you the prognosis of six to eight months.
Pattie: Correct. He actually called me over the phone. He said he never does it over the phone. But I was in Texas and I lived up here and before I got on the plane to come home, he told me not to go anywhere because it was much worse than what they expected.
Ian: Did he try and get you on chemo right away?
Pattie: Absolutely. He wanted me on chemo that day. And what, when I asked was what was the chemo gonna do? And he said it was maybe going to give me two extra months of life.
Corrie: So what did you do at that point? Did you say yes, I’m going to do it or what’s going through your mind?
Pattie: I said no. And I, that’s when I went back up here. Again, I started giving everything away. I used to ride motorcycle I gave that away. I, you know, friends and family come take what you want. You know before it, you know, I was running out of time. So I went home and started giving everything away. And my boyfriend, he worked at a RV repair shop and a woman came in, and they started talking, she had stage four ovarian cancer and went to the hospital in Chicago and told me to give it a try. However, I had already started the oil. So and let me go back just a little bit, and I had told the doctor in Houston, on my biopsy on August 4, that I was taking the oil and he just kind of blew me off. And he then, he had to call me back on August 8, and told me how bad it was. I also told the doctor in Chicago, then that was doing the oil and of course, they don’t want to talk to you about it. But I had already been on it, I had to tell you this too because this concerns me and I don’t know, why I think research needs to be done. I started oil on July 31. And when I had my scans from the first Hospital in Houston till I had scans again, of course at the next Hospital in Chicago, they, my cancer was growing very small, but it was, it had, the scan showed growth compared to the scans just a month before. Once I started chemo, it knocked it right out.
Ian: So how many chemo treatments did you have?
Pattie: I had, I started chemo treatments on September 14 in Chicago and I had three and I need to put this into, I’m sorry, but both doctors had told me I was incurable and inoperable. I didn’t even have a chance to have surgery. It wasn’t even an option. So I did three chemo treatments of carboplatin taxol. So every three weeks and I actually, it was November 17th and I went in to tell the doctor I quit, because at that point, remember they had told me I was incurable. I was inoperable. chemo was only going to give me two extra months. I already had bed sores. I couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t eat. I had lost 70 pounds. I couldn’t get to the bathroom by myself. And I quit. And so I went into my appointment to tell him I wasn’t going to do it in the morning. Not for just two extra months. And he said you’re going to go have surgery. And as like you told me I was never going to have surgery. But the cancer had shrunk so much that I was able to have a radical hysterectomy on December 12 of 2017. But I had to wait for, because I had just done chemo so I had to wait for the chemo to get out of my body before they could do the surgery. After a recovery from surgery, I did three more carboplatin taxol treatments and then that was the end.
Ian: So during all of this time, from say July 31, when you started cannabis, were you taking cannabis throughout every day?
Pattie: Every day. The only time I did not take it, is when I had, when I went in the hospital in December and had surgery. I didn’t take it for like the first three days. I have to tell you an incredible story about the surgery.
Ian: Sure.
Pattie: You’ve got to hear this. But so I didn’t take it for about three days. And I was laying there and I have all the IV’s gone. I had the big one, I think there was eight IV’s. And they said your blood pressures is going up. So they said we need to give you something. So they come over to put a medicine in the IV for blood pressure. And my blood pressure shot up to like 222 over 187. So they thought I was having a stroke. Because whatever they gave me went the opposite way. So I told him, please just leave me alone for a little bit because now I’m scared, right? And I had my son, he was there with me. He actually got me my medicine, I call it my medicine, out of my bag, and within 20 to 30 minutes, my blood pressure went down to 117 over 93 and that’s from taking my medicine, the oil.
Ian: What did the doctor say about that?
Pattie: Well, one of the surgeons and I can’t use names and you can’t say which hospital because I don’t want them to be caught. But she’s was very interested. And a matter of fact, this part if you can’t include this, I don’t know how else but her mom she was so impressed. The point that I was even able to have surgery and then I got finished telling you more about the surgery. But her mom, when I went back in January for follow up, was in that cancer hospital and her mom was on the oil. But she can’t tell anybody because she’s a doctor. So nah, but let me go back a little bit on the surgery. So I’m leaning in, I’m out of you know, recovery is like day three. We already did the blood pressure thing. And the nurse comes in and says, Why aren’t you using any pain medicine? I said I am. It’s hanging in there in the bag. And she said, no, you have to push this blue button. I said, nobody told me to push the blue button.
Corrie: And you were fine without it.
Pattie: I was fine without it. So that’s my point. So I told them get this crap out of my, sorry, get this out of my arm. If I’ve been laying here for three days not using it, I want it out. And so that was a whole another issue. I didn’t have no, I had like, I think it was point 0,4 of whatever was hanging in that bag.
Corrie: So you were taking oil, were you? Is that what you were doing for your pain then?
Pattie: No, I didn’t have anything.
Corrie: Okay,
Pattie: Nothing. So until my blood pressure went up, then I had my oil. And then now when I’m going home from surgery, they’re pushing They’re pushing, you need something, you need something for the pain to go home and I said, I’ve been here eight days, I haven’t had anything for the pain. I don’t want anything. And my follow up was in three weeks and I said, okay, you give me the lowest of whatever you got. And I only want 20 pills, because I’ll be back in three weeks. And they gave me, I think it was oxycodone, like a five milligram or something because I didn’t want anything. But I, long stor, I didn’t have a primary care physician. So they want me to have something just in case. And you know, it was eight hour drive home from the hospital. And I took a half a pill when we got home, only because I wanted to prevent hurting, right, just in case. And that’s the last time I ever touched them. I took them back with me to the hospital. I said, y’all need to quit giving people this stuff. It’s not needed. So and I’m not saying I’m Wonder Woman, but it, there’s something in it is, I don’t know, I don’t know if it was the codeine already in my body or plus I need to feel when I’m hurting. You know I don’t want to take that other stuff. So I don’t know what it was but it worked.
Ian: Well I think it’s a credit to the doctors as well who knew that you were taking cannabis and still allowed you to do it because we’ve talked to people whose, some doctors getting very exercised about people taking cannabis
Pattie: No and hear a little bit more of the story on the surgery. Before surgery I had to be trained on a colonoscopy bag and it last I think it’s called a ileoscopy bag. So it’s one for the bladder and one for the bowl. Because surgery, you know, because you never know and I was talking to the Nurse team because I want them all to know exactly what I was taking, how much, you know, this is what I’m doing. And she’s part of the nurses for cannabis group. But you know, I didn’t need any of that. I needed nothing. I had no complications. I had nothing, nothing. So nothing.
Ian: How much cannabis were you taking?
Pattie: A gram a day.
Ian: A gram a day.
Corrie: Divided over three doses?
Pattie: Yes.
Corrie: And did you do it all orally?
Pattie: Yes, I take it all orally. And I started under the tongue, you know, with just the little rice size amount until I couldn’t you know, I started to take more and more and I couldn’t take the taste anymore. So I put it in a capsule. And then I take it by a capsule.
Ian: Did you get buzzed right away.
Pattie: At first, when I first started to taking it, absolutely! I would sit there and drool. But I just, think no just and I have, I used to smoke it, you know, all my life and you know you take a break when you have kids and you can’t afford it anymore that kind of thing. But absolutely, but now my body’s used to it. So it’s not like that however, I still get tired. You know? So it’s the Indica part that just makes you sleepy.
Corrie: Yeah.
Pattie: So I take it in the morning when I get up. And then I take another one before I go to bed.
Corrie: But no more drooling.
Pattie: No, no.
Corrie: But you know Pattie, think of it this way. So many people get dry mouth from cannabis. You had it made in the shade. You were just drooling instead.Absolutely
Pattie: Absolutely, it’s you know? It’s saving my life. It’s got to be that Because I don’t do anything, you know, this is horrible to say but I don’t do anything extra different.
Corrie: No, ovarian cancer is very much a killer. I’m sure you’re aware of that and for you to be where you’re at this far down the road is nothing short of a miracle.
Pattie: Right Well, and they still haven’t determined that it’s fallopian tubular cancer versus ovarian cancer. So fallopian tubular cancer, supposedly even worse of a survival rate. But I try not to think about that. And I just, you know, I get up and I take my, and I gotta say this too, because this is in the research and I joke about it all the time. But it’s non addictive, because sometimes in the morning, if I get up and I start doing stuff, I forget to take my morning dose. So if it was addictive, I’d be looking for that dose and before I know what I’m like, forget it, it’s two o’clock if I take it now, I’ll need a nap. So that’s, people need to research and it’s saving lives.
Ian: You know, Pattie what is remarkable, is the surgery that you had was very, very radical surgery. It’s very, very tough. And you went through it, your recovery, without pain. That is absolutely remarkable.
Pattie: No pain meds.
Ian: No pain meds, yeah.
Pattie: Right. I, of course I was uncomfortable. You know, not but not over the uncomfortable. I hurt worse from the chemo than I did from the surgery. Yeah, my legs used to hurt so bad that they would shake from chemo. So this was, it almost was like it was nothing, but I do have to tell you kind of a funny story too. When I went to go have my checkup, follow up after surgery, there’s, they had to make up that general cuff. And while she was doing my exam she said, oh, she you know, she doing the exam I’m laying on table. She said, Well, your vaginal cuff isn’t healing, you have to be careful because your insides would fall out. And she just keeps talking like, okay, but everything else looks good. And I was like, wait, what did you just say?
Corrie: Wow, back up there? Just a ? please.
Pattie: And she just kind of threw that in there. And I was like, wow, you know, she’s like, just careful when you’re in the shower. And I was like, oh, okay, so then I asked like three visits later because you know, I always thought about it. And because I said what do I do just put it in a grocery bag and carry it to the hospital. And she was like, no, that, you would be dead. And I was like, well, thanks for not telling me then. But that was a kind of you know, it just sticks in my head every time I get in the shower now. So anyway that was, but no none of that nothing I’ve healed perfectly. I have no troubles, I have nothing, energy! I’m missing the energy but that’s, in hindsight I think that was my symptom was I had no energy.
Corrie: Lack of energy?
Pattie: Yeah, otherwise I had no idea I was that sick. I had no idea.
Ian: Yeah they say, they say with a ovarian cancer that there virtually no symptoms.
Corrie: They call it the silent killer.
Ian: The silent killer yeah.
Pattie: I thought I was getting old you know, just carrying a laundry basket up the stairs I was like, oh, and that’s, I just thought that’s what turning 50 does. I had no idea. So I’m yelling it now. I, every lady I see, every lady at the store. Make sure but you tell everybody go every year. Don’t miss!
Ian: Do you tell them what you took for your ovarian cancer?
Pattie: Some people yes, I do. I try to share it with everybody. And it breaks my heart that there’s some people who won’t even try.
Ian: Yeah
Pattie: Since I’ve been diagnosed, four people close to me, who wouldn’t try are gone. They wouldn’t even try. Some, two were in Texas where it’s very highly illegal. So I kind of understand, but I don’t know if I was fighting for my life I move.
Ian: What is, what’s the legality in Ohio?
Pattie: it’s legal. However, friend of mine, I do not have a card. A couple different reasons because there’s still discussions about having a medical marijuana card and being a legal gun owner. There’s also talked about having a medical marijuana card and losing your insurance. And right now, I only have insurance until next year in July, and then I have nothing. I don’t qualify for the Medicaid. I don’t qualify for Medicare. So I’m hanging on to whatever I got, for as long as I got. Plus, I went with a friend to a dispensary and they don’t carry what I need.
Corrie: Oh, I hear this all the time. You know, people are excited because they’re a legal State and then they go to a dispensary and it’s nowhere near what they need. I probably get Patty 60 to 80 calls a week with a rendition of you know, I’ve been on the oil for two months. Why isn’t it working? When you circle back to the dispensary it’s nowhere near what they need. You got to be so careful about what you’re sourcing.
Pattie: Yes. And so I buy it off of the street from a known person, her husband actually had bile duct cancer. And so she helps me but if she wouldn’t be helping me I don’t know what I would do.
Corrie: Yeah, I get a lot of people reaching out what just asking you know, where’s a safe reliable place to go? You know, and that’s that’s the thing it’s, it’s really hard to find what you need but when you get it, it sure can make the difference.
Pattie: Yes, ma’am. And she only makes it for me and one other person. So and I, we drive eight hours there. She lives way the opposite, you know, opposite of the hospital. So it’s a whole day trip and not very cheap, but I’m alive.
Ian: Yeah, you’d be dead if it wasn’t for that.
Pattie: Yeah, absolutely. I know. I was I, I lost, 70 I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t eat it all. Now I had to say that too, though, because it didn’t help me eat, no matter how much I took. If I smoked it or I swallowed it. I bet it, that was the chemo and cancer. But I, it never gave me an appetite. I lost over 70 pounds, like, within two months quick.
Ian: Did you keep it off? The70 pounds?
Pattie: No, I gained about 35 pounds back, so I could fit into my clothes. Now, so now that’s what the problem is, I’m gaining the weight, but I don’t have the energy to work it all off. So that’s my goal now is, you know more movement. So that’s my, what I try to do make sure I move more. That, I think makes you healthy as well.
Ian: Yeah.
Pattie: Is moving your body.
Ian: It’s, when you said move more. I just had a flash of the doctor telling you that your internal parts would drop out.
Pattie: No, yeah, you have no idea. You’re inside is going to drop out.
Corrie: Now you want to move more?
Ian: Slowly.
Pattie: Yeah. No, but yeah, no, but I do, I crave moving. So that’s the only thing that I’m sure anybody in my position you’re thankful that you’re at this spot, but I miss me. You know, I miss I miss, I miss, I miss me. But I’m still here and I am so thankful that I am still here because it was, that’s scary and I never thought I’d hear those words ever in my life.
Ian: When you hear those words, I always like to ask people is, when you hear those words, that you had 6 to 8 months to live, and you mentioned that you started giving away your stuff and selling your stuff. What is, what goes through your mind on a daily basis?
Pattie: It still goes through my mind every single day, all day long. Originally, like I said, he told me, the first doctor he said, I never do this to people over the phone but I got to tell you, it’s not good. And I was sitting in my daughter’s living room and in Texas and I just point blank, what are we looking at? And he said, six to eight months with maybe a few extra months if you do chemo and I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t breathe. And in just that I didn’t get to. I would just wanted to retire as, I was a travel agent for a large company for the, I was, did corporate travel. And I just wanted to retire and sit on my back porch and not talk on the phone. Because that’s all I did all day long was talking on the phone and get yelled at because the airline lost their luggage. And I just wanted to just look at the trees and so I was angry. And you know, I’ve been a good person and there’s mean people out there that are enjoying life and I wasn’t going to get to enjoy life.
Ian: It certainly sounds like it’s changed your attitude towards life.
Pattie: Oh, yes. Yes. Yes. You want to hear the worst part about cancer? Well, it really makes me angry and some people. But my boyfriend and, I just, I have a hard time saying that word because I’m in my 50s and he’s not a boy. So I don’t know what to call him. So I call him my roommate. Or the guy that takes out the trash. That’s what I call him sometimes
Ian: Call him your partner.
Pattie: My partner. So well, he’s my caregiver. I couldn’t have done it without him as well. There, he goes to get my medicine when I can’t go. He drives me to the hospital just in case we don’t, I don’t get to come back. But both his parents has cancer. Both! And so and then I, now it’s me. So he’s taking care of both of his parents and then me and as a matter of fact his dad, I don’t think is going to make it much longer. But his dad is a sheriff police officer, won’t talk about it, won’t look at you. He knows I am. But he won’t even try it. He just got the hospital and they’ve offered hospice. But he, and he won’t even try it. That’s what I’m, that’s what I’m saying.
Ian: Yeah, it’s uh, some people are so resistant toward it. But you know what, if a doctor gave them a medication knowing that there are serious side effects, they would probably take it because it was doctor recommended.
Pattie: Absolutely. He is so sick right now that, from taking so much medication that they can’t even give them antibiotics anymore because his body’s just doesn’t even react. But and you know that’s some of the reason I can’t watch TV anymore because of the commercials. Every commercials. It’s about people being sick. Every single commercial and the drugs they give you for an eye ache and now your ears run, your nose runs, your hands gonna fall off, but your eyes not gonna leak anymore and I just can’t watch it and. But I also have to say I didn’t really take even an aspirin before, because I just don’t like the chemicals. I’m kind of not a hippie, you know what I’m saying I don’t make my own. I just don’t like the chemicals. I can tell when I would take an aspirin for a headache and your headaches gone in an hour, but now you got a stomach ache, and you’re like, why do I get a stomach ache? I took that aspirin. So and that’s I don’t like to take anything. But …
Ian: Pattie, let me ask you, how did your kids react to the prognosis that you had six to eight months to live?
Pattie: Well, and of course my daughter, I was with my daughter at the time. And I decided to come back North and not stay with her because she offered to take care of me and I want to, kind of wanted to be alone, you know if that was the end. Not that I didn’t want to be around my children. They want my grandchildren. My dad passed away from mesothelioma, asbestos cancer. And I, so I was with him and I didn’t want my children to see me at the end. My oldest son. He was, he’s super army soldier, was super against it. He’s the super, you know marathoner, runs, runs, runs, you can’t smoke a cigarette around him, nothing right?! And he is so encouraging now, that of course, he’s doing research and he even started going to school for microbiology, and was studying the cannabinoid system, the cannabinoid system, but then he changes major, just philosophy. So there’s that kick out so they’re …
Ian: Yeah, they’re all different. They’ve all got their own path to follow.
Pattie: Yes, but they’re very, very encouraging. And, none of them are able to financially help, but of course offered if they could, so …
Ian: Are you cancer free today?
Pattie: I’m, I am! I had scans on May 31. And there was no visible signs of cancer. My next scans, I’m still on the every three months scans, so my next scans are August 31.
Ian: This month?!
Pattie: Correct! And I just went and had my blood work done yesterday for the ca 125 cancer marker number.
Ian: Any results yet?
Pattie: No. I’m anxiously awaiting. My number has been going up a bit on each of the visits. When I first went in, it was at 149. When I was, no visible signs of cancer, I had gone down to a six. Last test, I had gone back up to a 30. So it’s increasing by about seven or eight every visit. 38 is the magic number. So it doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s cancer, but it’s a, it’s a marker
Corrie: It can be an indicator. Yeah. I mean, I know we’ve seen people whose numbers go up and it doesn’t, it turns out to be nothing. I know we were talking earlier, Pattie, and you were saying that you’ve been on the same oil all along.
Pattie: Right.
Corrie: I’m wondering if what you need to do is switch up those strains. I know also, we do see a much higher success rate with a mix strain oil for starters, but cancer is really smart. And it can figure it out after a while. So it’s switching strains might just do the trick.
Pattie: Are you talking strains, as in different …
Ian: Plants?
Pattie: Yes.
Corrie: So you have different types of Indica or Indica dominant.
Pattie: Yes. That, I am doing it. Well, I know that I don’t know enough about, I know that one time I go and she calls it the Flying Dutchman. And the next time this is the purple monster. So is that what you’re saying?
Corrie: Well, if you can get an oil that’s blended, more than one, more one strain in it, certainly that, we see much better results.
Pattie: Okay. I also do the THC oil in coconut oil, just for you know, just like a dropper full under my tongue as I’m sitting here watching TV.
Corrie: So that’s in between your other dosing, is that what you’re saying?
Pattie: Yeah, but that’s only if I happen to look over and I see it and remember, and I’m like, oh, I’ll just take that right now.
Corrie: A little micro dose here and there.
Pattie: Right, right.
Corrie: Yeah. Right on.
Ian: That’s good. Pattie. Have you ever gone back to your first doctor who said you had 6 to 8 months to live and told him you’re still around?
Pattie: Not yet at my five year clear, Mark, you bet I’m going there.
Corrie: OK, we want photos and video coverage!
Pattie: Oh, I’m going, I’m going. Even I go to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Chicago. It’s actually Xian, Illinois. And they have, every year they have like a survivor picnic parade celebration. And when I see it, so I’ve seen it twice, will seen the people participating. I can’t even look at them yet. So I’m going to though, I’m going to, I’m going to be there. I’m going to be there. I think too a lot of its positive thinking because I can tell when I start getting a negative Nelly, that I just need to pick up the bootstraps and keep on going.
Ian: Yeah, you do. Pattie, it’s wonderful to talk to you. Maybe at the five year mark we’ll do this again and have another chat. Thank you.
Pattie: Sounds wonderful. Thank you and thank you all for what you’re doing.
Corrie: Thank you, Pattie
Ian: Thank you Patty, appreciate it.
Pattie: Have a great day.
Ian: You too. Bye bye. Corrie, it’s always fascinating to talk to people who are given months to live as you were. And here they are. A couple of years later, they’re still alive, taking cannabis oil and are healthy. I think what it does, it really speaks to the medicinal value of cannabis oil, which so many people still today are fearful of.
Corrie: Absolutely
Ian: Yeah.
Corrie: Yeah, they’re afraid of it, but they’ll take those narcotics with no problem.
Ian: That’s Episode 226 of Cannabis Health Radio. We thank you very much for listening and we hope you listen to the program, not only listen to the program but spread it around the world to share it with your friends on your social media platforms. And just a reminder on our website, we have a donate page. If you’d like to assist Cannabis Health Radio, we’d greatly appreciate it. Thanks very much for listening.
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