About Carolina

I am thirty two years old resident of the City of San Diego. I am a single parent. I am a cancer victim.

In late 2009, I was diagnosed with HPV-cervical cancer and was immediately referred to an oncologist who told me I would need a radical hysterectomy.  The doctor explained that my cancer was caught in an early stage, so that chemotherapy and radiation were unlikely, at about a fifteen-percent probability.

I was emotionally overwhelmed by my diagnosis. I was scared and confused so I did a little research on the disease, on its treatments, and on their side effects. I found I was experiencing most of the side effects.

I followed the doctor’s orders and agreed to the hysterectomy. I had to sign multiple papers agreeing to the surgery, and to the fact that its result would be that I would never have another child.

After the surgery, I remember waking up scared. The fright and feeling of helplessness are engraved in my mind. But that was just the beginning of what was waiting for me.

After the hysterectomy, I was discharged, along with prescriptions, for pain killers and antibiotics.

During my first day at home, I spent most of the hours vomiting a dark green liquid. I was not able to hold even water in my stomach. This was extremely alarming to me and to my family, who returned me to the hospital.  I ended up staying in the hospital for two weeks, with an IV stuck in my vein and a suction tube inserted through my nose and into my stomach. The experience was excruciating.

I was on the clock and every couple of hours I would have to page the nurse for shots of morphine. The pain was unbelievable. I couldn’t eat food or drink water. I was away from my children, who needed me. There were moments where I wanted to get up and just walk out. I held back because I knew I would end up in the hospital ER or worse.

Although the staff and doctors were very supportive and understanding, it did not help the outcome of my cancer surgery.

The doctors eventually found an obstruction/infection at the surgery site which was interfering with the function of my organs. The consequent surgery to remove that obstructive infection was worse than the original hysterectomy.

After surviving these traumas, I thought the worst was over. But I was wrong. The worst was yet to come.

The fifteen-percent probability of needing chemotherapy and radiation was not in my favor. My general practitioner referred me to Dr. Weinstein and Dr. Song, specialists in Oncology, Chemotherapy, and Radiation. Those doctors then recommended a radical chemotherapy/radiation approach.  I submitted to radiation five days a week, and chemotherapy once a week for approximately two months.

The doctors recommended that I drop out of school while in treatment because the treatment itself was going to debilitate me. So I took their advice, dropping all but one class.

Every second of the chemotherapy was a fluid that ran through my veins, a cold liquid that made me shiver as it streamed through my blood and across my body. Even the thought of it today still makes me teary eyed, nauseous, and makes my skin crawl.

As a “cure” for the chemotherapy, the doctors prescribed lots of different medications. The medications were for the chronic pain, the insomnia, the stomach aches, the nausea, and to protect my internal organs like my liver. Throughout the chemotherapy and radiation, I was constantly nauseous, and filled with a terrible feeling of disgust towards food and without any appetite. 

The drugs the doctors gave me to combat the effects of chemotherapy and radiation had several bad side effects themselves. Because of the pharmaceuticals, I couldn’t sleep and during the day my body felt weighed down and heavy. I was ashamed to have my kids see me lying around without any motivation or energy.

I would force myself to get up and care for my children and go to treatments and attend my class. These things were my only motivation. They were what forced me to stay on my feet.

Eventually, I could no longer exist with the way my body and my life were going.

That was when I decided to go to another doctor. I explained my case to him with all its complexities and that was the best thing I ever could have done.

This doctor was wise enough to recommend that I become a Compassionate User of medical marijuana. It was a miracle. One small dose of this herbal medication and the nausea and stomachache were immediately gone. I could eat again, and was able to stop the drastic weight loss that was wasting my body away to nothing.

When I was able to stop the pharmaceutical medications, within days I had more energy, my mood lightened, and I was able to far better attend to my family, my education, and my health.

I was able to enjoy the company of my children again, and they were able to enjoy mine. I was able to enjoy restful nights of sleep. And the pain and physical trauma as well as the mental trauma of what I had been through dissipated.

To this day, although I have not been able to recover all of the weight that wasted from my body during chemotherapy and radiation, thanks to Compassionate Use, I am far healthier. Hardly anyone can tell now that I am a victim of cancer.

To this day, although I still have problems with my appetite, the Compassionate Use of marijuana that the State of California has allowed me has saved my life and increased the quality of the lives of my family.

If the City of San Diego is able to close down all the Compassionate Use dispensaries, I honestly don’t know what I’ll do. It was difficult enough for me as a responsible citizen and parent to feel comfortable going into a Compassionate Use dispensary before all of this political uproar. Now I am ashamed and embarrassed.

If the City of San Diego is able to close down all the Compassionate Use dispensaries, I don’t know where I’ll get my medicine. I have a family to care for and support, and the last thing I want to do is get involved on the wrong side of the law.

I just want to live my life safely and in the best possible health for as long as I have left.

If the City of San Diego is able to close down all the Compassionate Use dispensaries, I’m afraid that I might have to go back on all those prescription medications that the doctors had me on before. I know that cancer is bad, but if it weren’t for my children, I would almost rather die from it than go through that horrible sickness and all those side effects ever again.

If the City of San Diego is able to close down all the Compassionate Use dispensaries, I will have to stop being a Compassionate User. I’m not able to grow my own medicine, so I will have to do without. I don’t know how it will affect me. But I know it won’t be good. I don’t know how it will affect my family. But I know it won’t be good.