The cannabis community is filled with passionate, forward-thinking people who have devoted their lives to changing people's perceptions. But the question remains - how do people become involved in cannabis community in the first place? It turns out everyone has a unique personal journey that has brought them to the world of cannabis. Each week, professionals, activists, and others will tell their stories in their own words. This essay comes from Wendy Turner, a mother turned activist who moved her family from Illinois to Colorado so her son Coltyn could start treatment with cannabis oil.
"Mom…Don't freak out OK?"
Words you never want to hear from your 12-year-old. My sons were at a Boy Scout outing and about an hour and a half away. Skyler, my oldest son called me to tell me Coltyn had drowned in the lake but he was ok. He survived. They pulled him from the bottom of the lake thankfully. He was conscious but had ingested quite a lot of lake water. That day will be etched in my mind forever. June 3, 2011.
That day changed the course of our whole family's lives.
Coltyn was diagnosed with Crohn's disease seven months after that day, because a bacterial infection from the lake water triggered it. It's been a long hard road and a lot of Westernized meds that didn't work. More so, they gave him even more diseases to deal with.
Prescribed drugs caused even more problems
Crohn's most always comes with Rheumatoid Arthritis, growth failure, failure to thrive, fatigue and horrible side effects from medications. Coltyn got Lupus from Remicade, bone deterioration from prednisone and Humira, and well that's a long, long story in itself.
Humira was the last Westernized drug Coltyn was on and we were really scared that he might have started developing T-Cell Lymphoma. I remember that first day we gave Humira to him. I was against it from the start but what was I to do, nothing else worked and this was the next step, so the doctors say. I cried harder than Coltyn as I put the needle into his little leg. An overwhelming feeling came over me and I thought to myself, "I'm killing my son! What was I doing?!!! This was not right!"
A year later, a Humira shot every other week and more tears than I can count, my fears were validated. Coltyn got really sick. The Humira wasn't working and as a matter of fact, it was making things worse. After being diagnosed with strep, pneumonia, tuberculosis and possibly T-Cell Lymphoma, I said enough! No more humira. What are the next options? Cimzia, giving him a 66 percent more chance of developing T-Cell, surgery, to take out 22cm of diseased bowel and there would be a possibility of Coltyn not growing anymore or "alternative" treatment.
Our family turns to cannabis...and it works!
Well, that was our "green" light. Colorado, here we come!!
My husband, Tommy left with Coltyn on March 4, 2014 just four days after Coltyn's 14th birthday. As I watched them drive away I didn't know if I would ever see Coltyn again. By this time he was using a wheelchair to get around. He was fragile and weak and could barely eat. We were watching him deteriorate pretty quickly.
But soon, Coltyn was feeling better, laughing, playing, running, hiking! All because we gave him cannabis. Cannabis! Ya know that evil reefer that makes you go insane! Well, that's a lie! After six months of using cannabis oil, Coltyn was in remission! He was gaining weight, had normal bowel movements, had energy and his colonoscopy showed no active Crohn's!! A normal teenaged boy.
We moved to Colorado for regular treatment
We moved Coltyn first, when we knew the meds were working we move the rest of the family. That was about six months after Coltyn moved. The move was bittersweet. The kids (Skyler and Ryleigh) knew we had to do it to save Coltyn and keep our family together, but moving away from our hometown and our friends and family has been tough.
We're from a small community and the kids were comfortable there. We had to leave our grandkids and oldest daughter (Kinsey) back home and we miss them a lot. Jobs aren't an issue. My husband Tommy is on disability and I own a gymnastics facility back home.
Coltyn has been taking cannabis for nearly two years. He's had one little hiccup that cannabis resolved fairly easily. Cannabis saved Coltyn's life and gave us our son back. Now he advocates for the legalization of cannabis and tells everyone that THC is not to be feared. Because it's needed!
That day he nearly drowned changed our lives for what we thought would be for the worse. Cannabis changed it for the better. Our hope is that Coltyn's story will change yours.To learn more about Coltyn's journey go to www.coltynscrue.org