Tampa Bay Times reports on a family in Florida risking everything to treat their young son with cannabis for brain cancer.
A family went all the way to get to cannabis for brain cancer.
Kristen and Joe Yeckley’s son Tyler was diagnosed with brain cancer after an MRI revealed a lesion on Tyler’s brainstem.
The first sign was Tyler’s one eye turning inward. At first, his parents thought he was cross-eyed, or just being a typical 4-year old pulling faces.
Two weeks later, he went for an MRI, and doctors made no bones about Tyler’s condition. The child had brain cancer. They explained he was out of options; it was growing fast, and they needed to operate. Doctors never used the word terminal, but the message was clear, don’t waste the time you have left with your son searching for solutions, stay off your computer, and rather take your son to a park, one doctor told Kirsten.
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Parents will do everything in their power at times like this
His parents took a vow to do everything in their power to give their son every chance at recovery, even if it meant splitting up the family. They had to prepare him for surgery within the next two weeks, and told Tyler the doctors were going to try to fix his eye.
Kristen and Joe were really worried, as doctors warned them he might emerge from surgery paralyzed, or tied to a feeding tube. Tyler was just upset that he might miss his friend’s birthday party, and started to cry.
Surgeons managed to cut away about 30 percent of the tumor in Tyler’s brain, and said radiation therapy could hold the tumor’s growth in check for a few months, and then what?
One night a friend told Kristen and Joe about reading that cannabis can kill cancer.
Cannabis killed cancer cells and protect normal cells
Kristen got onto her computer, she discovered lab studies showed some promise, chemical compounds in marijuana, while protecting normal cells, killed cancer cells in mice and rats.
One study showed a combination of cannabinoids could improve the effect of radiation in brain cancer. The problem was that by federal law marijuana was an illegal substance, and research was not easy. There were no tests done on cancer patients in the U.S. Kirsten knew it was an outside chance, but she felt she had to try everything, otherwise she would never be able to live with herself.
Will cannabis hurt him?
When it came to their son, Joe was hesitant. He asked all the doctors he could get hold of the same question; would it hurt Tyler? They all agreed that while it may not help, it couldn’t cause any harm to a child with advanced terminal cancer.
Weeks after Tyler’s surgery, and finding anecdotes of miracle baby, and stage 4 boy whose cancer went into remission, Kristen finally made up her mind. She called Joe, and said that she needs to know they tried everything. Joe agreed that it had to be worth a try. This meant committing a federal crime and facing arrest if she was caught passing through states that ban broad medical use.
A friend in Colorado already on a permit for medical cannabis offered his help, as it would take too long for Tyler to be approved. The friend asked several dispensaries what would be best for a 5-year old kid with a brain tumor and obtained $1,800’s worth of golden cannabis oil.
Families flock to Colorado
Dr. Larry Wolk, head of Colorado’s health department estimates that several hundred out-of-state families are hoping to help their children by moving there. He says they have to be careful not to say it is a cure or a medicine, because it is not.
Kristen and her mom fetched those vials one night. Back home safely they could do their trail. Tyler was due for his next radiation session and Kristen and Joe approached their radiation doctor at Florida Hospital Tampa about using medical marijuana. She was okay with it.
Almost instantly Tyler’s nausea disappeared; it seemed as if Tyler was himself again, teasing his mom and dad. Kristen decided to move to Denver when the radiation ended, the family didn’t know how long they would be apart.
Doctors at the Children’s hospital in Colorado didn’t recommend medical marijuana, but they also didn’t discourage it. Kirsten stayed for a few months, but Tyler missed his dad and friends. He couldn’t understand why they had to leave to get medicine, so in the end she moved back to Florida. Tyler wanted a sister and this wish came true. Sadly Tyler passed away before he met her.
Cannabis for brain cancer
Although cannabis for brain cancer didn’t cure Tyler, it certainly did help him cope with radiation therapy. His mom and dad did all they possibly could, even risking arrest. Let’s hope research brings us up to speed real soon! We need answers about medical cannabis!