‘Cannabis oil is making a difference to my daughter’s chronic illness’

Feb 29, 2020
This community writer says legalising cannabis to treat her daughter's condition would make a great deal of difference. Source: Getty Images

When I gave birth to our first daughter in 1971 she had chest problems. Though she wasn’t a sickly child, she did have a persistent cough. We visited the local children’s hospital and after many tests, we discovered she had a partially collapsed lung.

My daughter grew into a beautiful woman. Her cough, however, lingered so we took her to a specialist who informed us that she had a condition called SLE (otherwise known as systemic lupus erythematosus, or simply, lupus). Lupus is the Latin word for ‘wolf’, the characteristics of the disease being similar to that of the animal — it could flare up in the slyest of ways.

Life continued and I had little cause for concern until one day I caught sight of her in her nightgown. She was skin and bone. I was shocked! I knew something was wrong and took her to the hospital.

A multitude of tests were conducted and it was later revealed my daughter had anorexia nervosa (abnormally low body weight). She was admitted.

While they tried to do a lumbar puncture, I could hear my daughter’s screams of pain. It seems that the stress brought on shingles. She spent six weeks in hospital.

The night she was admitted a doctor told us he would put a central line in so they could administer antibiotics as her veins were collapsing. We waited and when he came out he said everything was fine. I asked if he’d done this before and he said, “Of course.” A nurse came out with the X-ray which they took to make sure everything was as it should be, but it had missed the heart and had to be redone.

In the six weeks my daughter was in hospital no one thought to change the valve. She ended up with a staph infection on her heart valves.

Many years later she came to Sydney and had two replacement valves. When I sit near her I can hear them clicking.

She has been through hell. You’re probably wondering where I’m going with this story. Well, even though medicinal cannabis is legal, the process to obtain it is ridiculous!

My daughter pays more than $300 a month on her medications. She’s had chemo. She takes more than 30 tablets a day.

For first time in two years she and her family came to stay with us for Christmas last year. Just after Boxing Day she became ill. When she saw the doctor, he wanted to admit her to hospital. She had five days of injections, but they didn’t help. She developed pneumonia. A drip was placed in her foot because no other veins were available.

My daughter isn’t eligible for any assistance with her medications because she helps her husband with his business. He has been fantastic with her, and has been by her side during all the tough times she has endured.

I’ve seen how cannabis oil can help my daughter. I believe even Olivia Newton-John has used cannabis oil as part of her alternative treatment for breast cancer. Knowing what my child has been through I want the process to be made easier so that she can be provided with some relief.

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