One of the major problems with normalizing cannabis is that a majority of people seem to have an opinion on who, when, and how much cannabis someone can use. One of the major hot topics is cannabis use with women; pregnant women, mothers, daughters, sisters, wives, and be it sad to say, us women put these opinions on each other. We judge each other on how we raise our children, how we carry our babies in our stomachs, and even who we should be as a mother. For me, I believe that people are inherently good, and therefor try their best, given their situation, to be good. I don’t think because a mother uses cannabis to calm her nerves, relax her anxiety, and even stop nausea makes her a bad person or mother, she is doing the best she can with her situation and making her own choices.
With this said, I’d like to introduce you to an amazing women, Tracy Ann Yun, also known as Mary Jane PhotoArt. She is a mother to 3 girls, a business owner, a photographer, a wife to an active duty specialist and a breast cancer survivor. Tracy has been using cannabis since the age of 17, she has used it to cure her cancer, and she has used it throughout her career, throughout her marriage and throughout her pregnancies. “At this point it allows me to live freely as a person. Cannabis gave me a second chance at life because for a long time I was depressed and lost and didn’t know what to do while my body just seemed to be giving up on me. Cannabis allowed me to be a Mother again. It allowed me to start a business. It allowed me to find the long lost love to my art. I have cannabis to thank for my life now”.
Tracy was diagnosed with breast cancer at a very young age, 17, an age where most doctors won’t test for breast cancer. Tracy was in Germany at the time, where she was born and where she met her husband. Although Germany’s healthcare system took care of Tracy, she said that “faulty doctors ended up giving [me] way more radiation and chemo than anyone else going through what I was going through solely due to my age”. The aggressive form of chemo treatment that was given to Tracy felt like it was killing her. She finally sought a second opinion from an American doctor who just happened to be in Germany at the time. “[He] had referred me to a doctor in Holland. I went to stay with this man for a total of 9 weeks going through an aggressive high THC form of treatment to rid the tumors”. The doctor in Holland was using a form of THC oil to inject into the breast where the cancer was, and you know what, it worked. She said she could feel life going back into her within 2 weeks and after a test at 9 weeks, she saw that the cancer had gone into remission. By the age of 18 she was declared cancer free, “It was truly incredible for me because I had gone into it with a mindset that it probably was not going to work. Like everything else. But it did”!
This was the start of Tracy’s cannabis journey, but even with the curing of her cancer, she still was not a user of cannabis. It wasn’t until a year later when she had felt that damage that the radiation had done to her body that she began using daily. Tracy now suffers from episodes of chronic migraines, muscle spasms and even periodic paralysis that stems from damage to her nervous system because of the chemo treatments. It was after the birth of her first child that she had discovered CBD’s (cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive chemical from cannabis with possible cancer curing benefits and pain reliving properties). “I am able to live a full life now without chronic pains, muscle spasms and even worst, paralyzation episodes. After trying endless amounts of meds, cannabis has been one of the only things that truly seem to help me cope with the episodes.”
Tracy continues to use cannabis to prevent her episodes even throughout her next pregnancy with her twin girls. “It allows me to be a human again without the crippling agonizing neurological episodes I now suffer from as a result of too much radiation”. The alternative of taking dozens of pills over smoking cannabis was a simple choice for her to make, but not so easily understood by her military friends and healthcare. Being married to an active duty specialist and using the health benefits provided by him become problematic during the birth and aftercare of her twins. With cannabis only being legal on the state level and not federal, cannabis use under the military is still considered illegal and when Tracy was tested positive for THC after the giving birth of her twins, the military healthcare attempted to push her into a drug treatment facility and remove her children. Tracy has since cut ties with all military benefits that come from having an active duty husband in order to be treated in non-military hospital and to continue being a cannabis medical patient and not a drug addict as the military blindly saw her.
So often we are quick to judge others for their choices without knowing or understanding them. Tracy has chosen to use cannabis as her medicine; it works for her, and her life. She is a mother, a wife, a business owner; she takes care of her house, 3 children, dogs, pig, chickens, and everything because of cannabis. She is not left with debilitating side effects of the prescription medications, she is running after her twins and making cookies in the kitchen, and she is laughing with her daughters and enjoying life.
My hope in sharing Tracy’s story is that we can learn to see others as inherently good, that we don’t allow unjustified stigmas to control our thoughts and tell us who people are, that we all reach out and learn from one another, to grow in understanding of situations and life. We are not stoners, we are not deadheads, we are human and we are good.