Hello Mary Jane!


Hello Mary Jane!

By: Marine Yanikian-Sutton

My father was a smoker-nicotine. He took long puffs on his Marlboroes, finishing a packet a day sometimes. I'd watch from afar, a book on my lap. Occasionally, when he'd pause to step out of the fumes, I'd beg "Please, papa, please don't keep smoking. You're probably going to die of lung cancer and I don't want that to happen."

"We're all going to die of something," he'd say.

"But cancer?" I'd ask, "I heard it's horrible and it's all because you're a smoker!"

"We're flowers on this planet, daughter. We grow from seeds and blossom into flowers. We share our beauty and then we wilt."

"I don't understand!"

"You will," he whispered, "You will come to understand that not everything in life is white or black. There are many shades in between."

"No," I exclaimed, "I love you, but I will never put poison into my body knowing that it is poison."

_ _ _ _ _

December 2016 came as a shock. I'd never smoked, rarely drank, exercised often, cooked wholesome meals using fresh ingredients. I did everything that was right, but Cancer didn't care.  It hit me like a gangster in a dark alley.  

When I was down, it started messing with my mind, causing me to time travel from present to past. Many friends and family visited me and each one would ask, "Are you planning on smoking?" 

I put it off. Smoking? Isn't that what killed my dad?  But when the voices ranged from Ryan's 80 year old grandmother, to strangers whom I'd met due to the cancer, I couldn't escape the reality.  The person who had taken care of her body was now going to endure the same hell as the person who'd pumped his body with poison all of his life.  

"I can't do this," I told my brother. "I'm not strong enough."

"Don't say that," he shot back, "you have all the strength you need inside and you will do this!"

"But I'm scared!"

"I know," he said while crossing his arms over his broad chest.  He was tall, like a baseball player and as mentally and physically fit as a Yogi. "Maybe, just maybe, we need to have a conversation about Mary Jane?"

"The shoes?"

"The weed!"

"I can get you some if you want," he said as did almost every voice that dropped by to see me.

I turned each away, but the comments continued.

"I can teach you how to smoke."

"We can do it together."

"There's nothing to worry about!"

"You're not a bad person if you do this."

"It's not like you picked it up in a dark alley."

Literally, I pushed everybody away until the week before the chemo was set to begin. The weed appeared. People I cared about brought me different strands- CBD, THC, a mix of the two.  Lessons were taught, how to inhale and exhale properly. I did it because the alternative was terrifying.


Along with this exploration, I messaged an old friend, one who'd been my nephew in a ninth grade play when we were snotty teens. I'd called him Red Chief then and always thought of him as such, my nephew.

"I need help, I said. I'm about to experience a lot of mental and physical pain. I don't know what to do."

Red Chief has love lodged in the center of his heart.  It doesn't matter when you message him, he will stop what he is doing because at that exact moment you are the most important person in his life.

He responded immediately, "I don't know what you are going through, but I can't recommend edibles," he said.

I sighed, "I can chew better than I can smoke," I thought, but I trusted my Red Chief.  We'd seen each other numerous times since high school and every time he'd wanted to share his light and love with the world.  A comic book artist by trade, he was brimming with talent and had shared his artistic experience with my students before dabbling in edibles.

"Give me a minute," he said.

I had minutest to give.  I waited.

He messaged back with a list of sites. "Read these.  They should guide you toward what strands impact what symptoms."  Then, he said what everybody said, "Then, if you know what you need, I can get it for you."

I had only a week. I'd waited too long, fear controlling my actions. I read about how certain marijuana strands can diminish the effects of seizures and battle cancer. Hope sprang to life within me.

I read about the difference in CBD and THC and the different mixtures that can be created henceforth to alleviate body pain vs mental anguish.

I time traveled when I needed a break-

_ _ _ _

"There isn't anything you can do within the white and gray spaces in life that would stop me from loving you," my papa had said, "Can you truly deny me this one luxury?"

"No, I love you papa, I love everything about you. Your determination, strength, eagerness to help everybody, and ability to talk to me as though I'm your equal."

"Just remember, when your time is up, it will be up.  There are people out there that have smoked all their lives and live to be 90 something, and there are 20 year olds that get hit by cars while crossing the street.  Life is strange that way."

_ _ _ _ _

Red chief didn't just let me be. I hadn't told him much, but I had told him that I would be in pain.    He reached out after I went public with my cancer diagnosis.

My papa's words hung around my neck like a talisman.

"There's a company out there that will take away all of your pain, for free! Look it up yourself."

He messaged me the name:  Jetty Extracts

"For every item they sell they are committed to help a cancer patient," he explained, "they will send you a monthly care package that will help with all he symptoms. I believe it's called the Shelter Project."

"I love you, my Red Chief. Thank you," I said.

"And I you! I hope one day that I'm able to give back like they are, to help others through their journey."

"The fact that you want to help and have such light in your heart is an indicator that you will do just that! I think I owe you a big kiss the next time we meet!" I said, remembering how we'd glided across the stage in our own little family unit-Red Chief, his father, and myself.  And although we'd aged, we were still watching each other's backs as though we were truly a family unit.

That's how I stepped out of the white and realized that reality rests in the gray scale too, that there is no right or wrong, that we are all just trying to do the best we can do.

Now at 39, I am consciously pumping my body with poison. The poison isn't the marijuana though, it's the chemo. And I've grown to have more faith in the marijuana than the chemo, in the gray hues of life. Every three weeks it pummels my body in hopes that it will kill the cancer cells and give me one more chance at life.  My allies in the fight: My Red Chief and Jetty Labs.

And in that warm tingly embrace right before I inhale from that fragrant leaf that's brought me this far, I talk to my papa (who died five years ago), and I tell him, "You were right papa, you were right.  There is no black and white. We do what we must and sometimes, that's the only solution."

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

If you want to find out more information about the Jetty Extracts, please click on the link.

To contact Red Chief, you can find him on Facebook under the handle,
Jasen Omega (aka Jasen Perri)

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Till next week, go live, thrive, have fun and do great things!

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