Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cannabis in Utah: Why I'm not worried

As many of you know,  I have been working to help Senator Madsen pass the medical Marijuana bill in Utah.  I used cannabis oil after discovering I had Hodgkins Lymphoma in August 2014.  I was 16 weeks pregnant at the time and was trying to keep my cancer from growing long enough to get my baby here safely.  I left my family to live in Colorado and California so I could legally treat myself with cannabis.  During this time I studied, attended conferences, talked to many doctors across the country, spoke with church leaders, and met many patients who have used cannabis to successfully treat their medical issues.  I realized this plant has been hugely misunderstood and abused. It is an amazing medicine that we need desperately.  Here are a few things I experienced first hand about medical cannabis:

*Cannabis can help dramatically with pain, appetite, sleep, and nausea without the side effects and extreme addiction of opiates and many prescription drugs.  
*It is impossible to overdose on cannabis (and in the pain medication world, that’s really saying something).  
*Smoking is the most ineffective way to use cannabis. Smoking it puts harmful substances into your body and burns alot of the medicine off. But there are many safe and powerful ways to use this plant-- as an oil under your tongue, in a capsule or tincture,  as a salve to rub on your joints or cancerous sun spots, as a powder in your bath before bed to help with insomnia, as a food or vapor for pain relief, as a juice, and much more.

Contrast that with chemotherapy, which I am currently on.  Chemo can kill cancer, and I am so grateful for that. But it also kills all my healthy cells, compromises my immune system, hurts my lungs, heart, and liver (and a host of other things), and causes me severe nausea, constipation, insomnia, mouth sores, and neuropathy.  To counter these side effects, doctors prescribe many different kinds of addictive drugs (including synthetic heroin and opiates) that cause MORE constipation, severe stomach aches, and are highly addictive.  And according my oncologist, sometimes they don’t even work.  

Think of that for one minute. We prescribe and take harmful, addictive, and deadly drugs without a second thought-- simply because they have a sticker with a doctor’s name on it and come in an expensive bottle.  And cannabis--which is not deadly, and is only as addictive as caffeine for most people, and has been a medicine since the beginning of time for every doctor or medicine man in the world-- is not available to us.  And coincidentally, cannabis helps nausea, appetite, neuropathy, insomnia, and constipation.

Cannabis has worked miracles in my life. This is why I have fought a roller coaster of a fight for its legalization in Utah. On Friday, that roller coaster took a new turn. I learned that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints opposes Senator Mark Madsen’s Medical Cannabis bill.  The official statement was... “As we have said during previous legislative sessions, there are a number of potential impacts that must be considered in any discussion about the legalization of medical marijuana, including balancing medical need with the necessity of responsible controls.  Along with others, we have expressed concern about the unintended consequences that may accompany the legalization of medical marijuana.  We have expressed opposition to Senator Madsen’s bill because of that concern.”  

For this reason I am taking a step back and will not be advocating for the bill at this time. I would like to explain why. Do I still believe in cannabis? YES. Has it blessed my life? YES. Was it right for me to take it? YES. Do I still want it to be legalized in Utah? YES.

However, I will trust the leaders of the church who feel like now is not that time or at least a little bit slower approach is necessary.

Following the prophet has not always been popular or easy. It has not always made immediate sense. But I trust it is always right. Throughout my entire journey I have made decisions others do not agree with. I have had to rely over and over on the spirit and not worry about what people thought about me, or who I was disappointing, or who I would like to please. There are many things I don’t understand about politics or policy, or how religion plays into them. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from my journey with cancer, it is how to follow the spirit. That’s what I’m doing now.

I know cannabis has much to offer the medical world and strongly believe the church feels the same way.  I support those who are still fighting for the bill, but I simply have to trust that for some reason right now the Lord is asking me step back.  Maybe to test my faith; maybe to protect us from “unintended consequences” that a prophet of God sees better than I. Whatever the reason, I have learned so much.  I will continue to educate others about cannabis and pray that the appropriate time for medical cannabis in Utah comes sooner rather than later.  I am disappointed that time is not now. But I’m not worried. I’ve seen too much to doubt God knows what He’s doing.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Las Vegas: Going Home



September 8, 2014
On Monday morning we met Rachel at her store to pick up all of the herbs. She did some "face reading" on all of us and prescribed the herbs we needed according to the lines and colors on our faces. It was fascinating. It took us a few hours (much longer than we had planned on being there). When we had finished, Rachel took a phone call in another room. When she returned she said, “I know why you guys are still here. My friend, a tibetan monk, just called me and said, “Ok, I’m in Las Vegas. What am I doing here?” Rachel told him he had been led there to help me.


He came right over to the store and I learned a little of his story. When he was younger he played on a professional soccer team in a south american country. One day the team was traveling through a terrible storm on a windy mountain road. The bus slipped off the road and rolled. Many on the bus died and he was severely crushed and injured. His parents immediately took him to Tibet to be healed- and while he was there recovering, he learned the art of healing himself.


When he came to the store he did this amazing acupuncture on my back with these little patches that ran on batteries. They felt so awesome. My back was in really bad shape from the drive down (my discs were bulging) and it was just what I needed. He took all of my back pain away.


After that he checked all of my meridians and energy lines and organs. He balanced my organs with the right energy. My liver and kidneys, for example, were deficient in good energy. I could feel it. He did this test on my kidneys that I could only perform all the way after he was done working on me.


Then he talked about angels.


He talked to me about my aura. He asked, “Have you recently lost a grandparent?” I said, “Well, Grandma Fairbanks died not too long ago.” He said, “I think she’s here. Well, actually, you have lots of grandparents here. Have you lost a baby?” I said, “I’ve had a miscarriage.” He said, “I think he’s one of your main protectors.”


He told me, “You’re totally going to whip this cancer, you’re going to live! You’re going to beat this. He said, “Go to the mountain. Often. Touch it. Walk in the water.” He talked to me about how there is so much power within my body to heal myself.

After we said our goodbyes, we were back on the road. As we got into our car it started to downpour. About 45 minutes out of town Traffic stopped. The road closed because it had been damaged in the storm. We kept thinking, “What is the purpose in this?” During the stop, people were getting in and out of their cars and chatting with each other. One woman approached our car to exchange small talk. In the conversation she casually told us about a pill called Military Micronutrient Formula that her friend used to cure her Hodgkins Lymphoma. I started crying, then told her I have Hodgkins.

I remember thinking that Heavenly Father was aware of me. It was such a big deal to me to consider cannibas. So all of these little details and miracles were testaments to me that this was His will.

After 2 hours of waiting they turned us all around. We stayed in the Trump Tower that night and I was so happy to eat from their clean menu- everything organic and cage free. The next day we finally made it back home.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Las Vegas: A Change of Heart

September 7, 2014
I went to bed on Saturday with a very heavy heart. How could I even think about using cannabis? What was I even doing here? We had felt so good about coming; we felt like we had really been led here...but I couldn't wrap my mind around how this could possibly be right. On Sunday I woke up and my head was still whirling. I was really hoping to get answers soon.

We went to church that morning fasting and praying for direction. It was honestly one of the nicest wards I’ve ever been to. Everyone introduced themselves to us and helped us find our seats and were so welcoming. After church we met the stake president’s wife, Melanie (names changed). She has 6 kids and was just called to be the Primary President.


Oh, and she was using cannabis to fight brain cancer.


I couldn't believe it. Here we were, fasting and praying about cannabis...we walk into church and meet the stake president's wife who was using it. It seemed too big of a coincidence to not be a sign that Heavenly Father was aware of me and my questions and concerns.


I felt a bright goodness about Melanie as she briefly told me her story. Her brother is a doctor at the Mayo clinic so her entire family was very medically minded and against the “natural” way of healing. She talked about the importance of energy work, faith, and forgiveness in healing. She told me how every week her husband would drive their family to California so she could go see a special natural healing doctor. The doctor asked her, “Why do you want cancer? Something in your life has attracted this.” At first she was offended that he would suggest she wanted the cancer. But then she began to seriously consider if there really was a hidden part of her that wanted it. She could see things her life that probably did attract the disease. She said to me, “Your journey with cancer was going to be amazing. Be very grateful for it.” I was actually glad that someone was excited about it- it gave me a lot of hope. She said, “We decide on a cellular level if we will triumph. You must use the atonement on a cellular level.”


That night, Melanie and a few other ladies came over to Rachel’s and we did a one minute group meditation. This was new for me-- I can't say that I've ever meditated before. She asked us to picture a bright light coming out of us. I could not get a light out of me. I couldn’t form the picture in my head. She asked us to share our experience and I admitted it was hard for me to picture it. I could get sparks but not a lot of light to flow. She said as I practice I would get better at it. (It could also mean there are blockages I need to work through.)


Then she pulled out all of these yummy treats and foods that I could actually eat. I was so excited. There was beet kvass (I drank a whole quart), kambucha, and Rachels daughter made these amazing no bake cookies and baked potatoes that were so wonderful.
Drinking Beat Kvass and Kombucha



I met so many great women at Rachel's. Normal women, like me. Wives and mothers. Women who loved God. Women who struggled with health and had found help in something called cannabis. At the end of that night we had felt like Heavenly Father had really answered our prayers. I went home knowing that this was the direction I was going to go.

 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Las Vegas: Learning About Cannabis



Saturday. September 6, was another full day of amazing. It started out with an amazing healthy breakfast of raw oatmeal and eggs made by Amy.  Then back to the store to meet with Rachel and Becky where we learned about some natural herbs and how to make them into tinctures.  Rachel and Becky continued their education on things that help strengthen the body so the body has the tools and ability to heal itself.  

Then Rachel sent us to her daughter's house to learn about food.  We learned so much there.  She shared with us healthy alternatives to many foods and yummy treats that are healthy.  She said, "Remember not to be afraid of food if it’s given to us from God.  Just eat food from the earth."  She shared good substitutes for sugar, pastas, breads, ice cream, and then later she brought us some no bake cookies that were made out of all healthy things.  They were so good! After that we went back to Healing Waters for our second day of detox/healing.  

That evening there was a meeting at Rachel’s store called “What if Cannabis Cures Cancer."  Rachel had mentioned earlier a "cannabis leaf" that when juiced, had shown amazing results with many diseases including cancer.  I didn’t even know what she was talking about when she said cannabis.  I thought it was just another herb like yellow doc root that I had never heard of before.  I was star struck at her extensive knowledge and life experiences.  Amy and Niki and I looked at each other, buzzing about what cannabis was. 

Then we realized that what she was talking about was marijuana.  

“Holy cow,” I thought.  “Does she think I am going to do drugs? Could this really be true?”  All of the sudden the confirmation I had received yesterday was in question all over again.  “How could this be the right path?”  We decided that we needed to listen and really try to have an open mind and listen hard for the spirit to guide us.  I kept thinking, "The whole time I have been here I have felt the spirit so strongly confirming everything this amazing woman has shared with me.  When I look into her eyes, I see nothing but goodness and light.  How could she be suggesting I take marijuana??" I wan’t sure if I wanted to be stretched that much.


There were a lot of people at the meeting.  Some who had some amazing stories of how cannabis has saved them.  Others were there just like us-- wondering and learning about this plant that some are claiming to have amazing medicinal properties.  We watched a movie and it was incredible and eye opening!  It had doctors and scientist talking about the history of this plant and how it was used for years by every doctor around.  It was even used for colicky babies.  We learned about how it became outlawed and all the media and hype that quickly turned it into an evil and scary drug.  It showed all the properties and makeup and how it works in our body. 

We also learned about the many different ways to take it. I had assumed that the only way to take marijuana was to smoke it. But there are so many forms: juicing the leaves, taking the oil, vaporizing the flower-- there are even lotions and tinctures and candies. And not all forms make you "high." Smoking it is actually the worst form of ingesting the plant. It was pretty amazing and all very new to me.  It was a lot to take in.  

We talked to many people that night. One girl had OCD and couldn’t stop washing her hands.  She had rubbed her hands raw and couldn’t control it.  Someone told her to just smoke once a day.  She did and her OCD was practically gone.  WHAT?? How can this be right?  I'm seeing the proof...but this is marijuana.  If smoking is the worst form and it helped that much-- imagine what it could do in its best form.  We met people who had been in bed and in wheel chairs and now were out and off their heavy narcotics.  I was blown away.  Is there a possibility that this plant really could have a positive place in the medicinal world? Could this plant really heal my cancer just by juicing the leaves?  

We went home that night after some late night colonics with heavy hearts.  We all got on our knees and began a fast where we explained to the Lord all the amazing things we had felt and learned-- and also all the fears.  We knew this was not just a small decision about healing my cancer...it was much bigger.  If in fact this was true and what I was supposed to use, well….holy cow, what next!!?

While on our knees we pled with Heavenly Father. We asked him to please make our answer very clear. Is cannabis/marijuana an option for me to heal my cancer and is it ok for me to use?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Las Vegas: Learning about Food and Healing

On September 5th we arrived at Rachel’s herbal store in Las Vegas. We spent the next 2 hours with Rachel and her friend Becky learning about cancer, diet, herbs, and many other things.  They told us so many amazing stories about cancer survivors and had total confidence in our bodies ability to heal itself given the right tools.  It was amazing to look in their eyes and see no fear or doubt AT ALL that I could get rid of this cancer naturally.  They talked to me about the importance of me being on raw foods and not eating refined sugars.  They talked about many herbs we could take that would provide straight nutrients for our bodies.  They talked to us about the importance of faith-- both faith in the Savior and His atonement and faith in ourselves...keeping our minds positive and full of hope.    

We talked about the many people they had seen with cancer. So many would come to them after chemo with bodies that were weak and run down. Many of them had cancer for the second time and did not want to do chemo again.  Then there were those who wanted to go holistic, but because of family and friend pressures to do chemo, they could never commit to one route over another and finally end up sick. Then there were those who wanted to do the holistic route and were really committed.  Even though it was hard and required a lot of physical, spiritual, and emotional work they didn’t quit. They expressed how this was very much a personal journey and no matter what I chose they would support me and help me stay as healthy as possible.
 
It is hard to write in words all that was said and felt while we met with Rachel and Becky.  I felt like they were teaching us so much but at the same time the spirit was teaching me so much and confirming so much of what they were saying. I could see clearly the two paths before me and it was my choice.  I got very emotional and had to excuse myself.  As I walked away I understood that both options would be hard stretching and painful.  If I chose chemo I would come out just fine, stronger, and better...but if I chose this other path it would change me forever.  It would stretch me far beyond what I would think possible and it would hurt.  I would come out completely changed.  

My sister Niki walked over to see if I was ok I told her the feelings I was having.  I compared it to people I met on my church mission:

First, there were the people I taught who were wishy washy. They wanted to get baptized and recognized the goodness of the gospel but didn't want to let go of their old life and habits. They wanted all the blessing but the change was hard and a little scary. So they didn't commit and often fell away.

Then there were those who recognized this new path that was before them and they embraced it completely. They had prayed and gotten their answer that it was true and right and there was no looking back. Even when trials, temptation, and hardship came. They pushed through and in the end they were stronger and happier. They were changed.

Similarly, as I considered healing my cancer naturally, I could immediately see the good in this new path I knew it was right and what I was supposed to do. The feelings were so strong at that moment and I felt scared and had a huge desire to put one foot on each side of the line just for comfort and safety.  However, the spirit strongly confirmed to me that if I really wanted to experience the growth and change the Lord wanted for me, I should fully commit to the new path I was on. I needed this change. Now I'm not saying that chemo or any other path is not life changing for anyone else. I'm simply saying that this day the Lord had given me some choices- and only one would help mold ME into what Heavenly Father had in store for ME more than the other.

From that point on the day got more and more amazing.  Rachel took us to lunch at this amazing raw foods place.  She was so great showing us all the diamonds in the “eating raw” world.  Which I needed so badly because I was starving and felt like I would never be able enjoy food again.  She also told us she never puts anything in her mouth without praying over it, especially when she had cancer.  She had seen studies that showed how the molecular structure actually changes when you pray over it.  How blessed we are to have a loving Father in Heaven who even watches over the food we eat if we ask he can literally change it to nourish our bodies.  

Rachel then took us to a place called Healing Waters. It is this amazing title detox place. We did colonics, foot baths, and the hyperbaric chamber.  The hyperbaric chamber took all I had in me to get in.  It is an oxygen chamber that looks like a body bag. You get zipped in and they turn on the oxygen.  Cancer cannot survive in an oxygenated environment so I knew this was very good for me. That gave me the strength to let them zip up the bag.  After a while I was able to relax and it was like heaven.  Here are a couple pics.

IMG_1463.jpg
The detox foot bath. Yep, all of this stuff came out of me.
The hyperbaric chamber.


After we finished our healing time at Healing Waters we headed to Rachel's house and met her amazing family. They fed me some ezekial bread, beat kvass (a probiotic drink that provides the body good bacteria and aids in digestion), and Kambucha-- which they called nature's soda pop. It is a fermented type drink, said to stimulate the immune system, prevent cancer, and improve digestion and liver function. Everything was so yummy. 

Rachel then took us to get massages. I had read (and Rachel confirmed) that massages were very good for me to have-- especially with Lymphatic cancer.    I was physically and emotionally drained and this was just what the doctor ordered. It was seriously one of the best massages I have ever had.

Afterwards, we we were all set with a place to stay on the strip. But when we told Rachel and Becky they freaked out just a little.  They told us that this was a healing time and explained that everything in the world has a frequency.  The higher the frequency the better it is for you. The strip obviously has a low frequency and had the potential to pull me down at a time when I especially needed to surround myself with high frequency things like love, gratitude, and the Savior. Obviously things missing on the strip. They wanted this weekend to be all about healing. I already knew about frequencies but hadn’t connected it with my healing.  So Becky offered her home to us.  She had recently lost her husband and lived alone.  She had a guest room that we were welcome to use.  Wow-- three strangers in her home. What a blessing.  

I went to bed that night exhausted but so grateful for the opportunity to meet people like Rachel and Becky. They taught me about faith, courage, and selflessness.  I was full of hope and gratitude.

The "Official" Diagnosis Day

I took a break to announce the birth of our little Gabe but I want to share how that miracle came to be. So here we go back to the story!

On September 4th we went to the Huntsman for all our official test results: 


Stage 2A Hodgkins lymphoma, unfavorable. 


Stage 2 means I had it 2 places-- my neck and chest. "A" means I was asymptomatic-- My symptoms were a full body itch and a cough. Unfavorable means I have it in more than one place on my neck-- I have many lumps and on both sides.  

They told us we would have 6 months of chemo and 15 days of radiation and we should start ASAP.  I said, “If the cancer is just as treatable in a stage 3 or 4, then why can’t we just wait until it’s a 3 and let the baby get a little bigger-- or even delivered-- before we start?”  She explained that cancer is just too unpredictable.  It doesn’t always just move from stage 2 to 3. Sometimes it skips all of those and goes right to the brain--stage 4-- and then we are in trouble.  I was feeling a little claustrophobic in the room right about then.  I wanted to scream, “I am not even sick and I'm not going to do chemo right now with a baby growing inside me, so give me another choice!”  

Shaun thankfully chimed in and in his calm cool way asked the doctors if we could just take it a couple weeks at a time and keep a close eye on things and try to give the baby a little more time.  They agreed, saying they would like to see us every two weeks to monitor the growth of the lumps and my symptoms.  I was so excited that they were going to give me time. Shaun and I left the office feeling like we had just won the war. Shaun said, “Tenille, we have to remember you still have cancer.”  This was true, but we had time!

On our way home we started talking about all the research and natural treatment options we had found and what our next step would be.  We both felt a huge sense of urgency.  We only had two weeks to make sure this didn’t grow at all.  I said, “I have to go to Vegas and see Rachel and do the 3 days of cleansing she told me about. And I have to leave tonight.”  I thought he might be hesitant, but he surprised me. He said, "Ok. Who is going to go with you?” In a matter of only a few hours, both my sister Niki and my friend Amy were at my house, packed and ready to join me.

We left at 5:30am the next morning, having no idea what an amazing adventure awaited us in Vegas.

PS) I need to thank Jess and Aaron Hawkins, practically strangers to me, who came to the rescue by taking care of Lincoln this day. He was really struggling and your help was invaluable. Heavenly Father has sent so many angels to me through this whole ordeal and you are two of them.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Mighty Miracle: Gabe is Born!

Well once again I am a little late getting the news out but I am so pleased to announce the arrival of our little miracle baby.  Gabe Nathaniel Farr!!!  Born January 4, 2015 weighing in at 6lbs 6oz and 18 inches long.  He is absolutely perfect. 

   Now let me go back and tell you the story leading up to this wonderful day. I have been suffering from an awful full body itch for some time now. It had subsided substantially the last couple of months but more recently it has become almost intolerable. I spoke with my midwife about it and she decided to have me tested for Cholestasis. They called me two days later and told me that I was at a level 10 and 11 was the diagnostic level. They had called my oncologist and talked to doctors in their office and everyone felt like it would be super smart to have the baby now. Cholestasis, besides bringing on a nasty itch, also often causes stillborn births when delivered at full term. They suggested we have the baby as soon as possible.  
That night my itch was especially bad.  I cried in the night and Shaun was rubbing my legs but it was still awful. We were scheduled for an induction Sunday, January 4th.  My mom and dad and my sister Niki jumped in their cars and came down Saturday night and we got ready to have a baby.  As you can imagine and many of you know it’s a sleepless night the day before you have a baby.  I had so many things on my mind- I pray my baby will be healthy and strong, holy cow I'm going to have 5 boys, am I really ready for childbirth, what is the cancer going to do once the baby comes, and what is my plan after the baby comes?
Sunday morning came and Niki and Mom helped Dad and the kids get off to church and met us at the hospital. I was doing an induction so they got me all hooked up and ready.  I tested positive for group B strep so I had to have an antibiotic pumped in a couple times ideally before the baby came.  We were ready to go and they came in and told me that the Doc, who has to be in the hospital and available at all times because I'm a VBAC, had to run to a neighboring hospital and do an emergency c-section so we had to wait until he got back to even start the induction.  "Raaarrr," was what I was thinking at the time, but we had a fun time talking and some sweet people brought us the sacrament and I took a little nap.  
Well finally at about 12 noon the doc was back and they started the induction.  It took a long time to really get going but soon the contractions started and the work began.  Shaun was right by my side with every contraction helping me through and Niki and Mom were so good to help keep me positive and relaxed. It was a perfect team.  At 8:50pm after a lot prayers, faith, and work, our little miracle arrived.  He was beautiful, perfectly healthy, and so small (at least for me-- my smallest baby before this was 9.3lbs and biggest was 10.14lbs.)


It is hard for me to express the feelings I had as this little miracle was placed in my arms.  I felt like we both had been fighting a war to get him here full term, healthy, and chemo free- so we could have this very moment- and what an amazing moment it was for both Shaun and I.  We...Shaun and my boys, our families, our friends and neighbors, and so many that we don’t even know through fasting and prayers and the amazing grace of Jesus Christ had done it.  We had our little miracle.  It was a beautiful day. My sister Niki took some video at the birth and my sister-in-law Natalie made a little video out of it.  I am sharing it on here and hope you enjoy.  Thanks to everyone for your fasting and prayers in our behalf.
In Mosiah Chapter 8:18 it says, “Thus God has provided a means that man, through faith, might work mighty miracles; therefore he becometh a great benefit to his fellow beings."
Our family thanks all of you for your prayers in our behalf… we have benefited greatly and experienced mighty miracles from your faith.