post cancer

Don't Fear the Reefer

download.jpg

Okay, okay, I know what you’re thinking. Why would one of the Modern Woman girls be blogging about weed?! The tragedy, the scandal, whatever is this world coming to?

 

Still with me? Fabulous.

 

We all know cannabis by many names, weed, reefer, dope, pot, marijuana, maryjane, ganja etc. As much as these were all the norm for the past several decades, we’re coming into a time here where cannabis is making it’s grand reappearance on the global stage. Not to get too history-ey but it is worth noting that cannabis has been used for hundreds, thousands, millions of years for dozens of different things.

 My favourite fun fact is that Queen Victoria did in fact use cannabis tincture to quell the pain of her period cramps, good ol’ Vicky and I have that in common. 150 odd years later, and here I am using that same cannabis tincture recipe to make gummy bears that replace the advil in my medicine cupboard. I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve dealt with chronic migraines most of my adult life and I’d rather eat a gummy bear once or twice a day than roll the dice with what pharmaceutical painkillers are going to do to my liver down the road. That’s not to say pharmaceuticals are bad! That mostly says that I’m extremely paranoid and live in fear.

 

And that doobie you smoked in college while you were experimenting? Definitely not the same plant we’re seeing these days. Cannabis prohibition caused so many growers to breed out so much of the good stuff and bump up the levels of the psychoactive stuff (which is still good, but that’s another rant for another day).

 

As it stands in Canada here, cannabis is currently only legal for medical purposes, so that means we’re seeing more and more information and research surfacing on how cannabis can help and hinder us. And the way I see it, that’s great! Give me the lab tests, show me your lack of pesticides! Immuno-compromised? Try an irradiated product! There’s so many options out there for people nowadays that there’s almost no reason not to at least open your mind to it a bit.

download (2).jpg

 That THC molecule that makes you so giggly and paranoid? In a therapeutic amount it will alleviate your pain and calm depression.

 

 The munchies? Imagine how that feels to someone suffering from an eating disorder.

 

THC’s best friend and partner in medicinal crime, CBD, has no to little psychoactive effect but is quickly becoming one of the most popular oils and buds that producers sell because it lowers anxiety levels, helps with inflammation and some studies are solidifying their findings of CBD slowing the development of certain cancers.

 

This is all great news to a lot of people who suffer with a host of illness’. I know, as someone who works in the medical cannabis field, I’ve seen amazing things happen. I wouldn’t go so far as to say miracles because, well, that’s a bit much. However, if I can see a simple plant improve someone’s quality of life, then it’s all worth it.

 

 I started out working in this field long after I became a patient myself, battling breast cancer when you already don’t have the hardest working immune system presents a challenge. All of the pills I was dependent on to live were starting to wear me down, in more ways than one. As a long time nay-sayer to weed I was reluctant to use it, medicinal or otherwise.

That all changed when I started chemotherapy. I hadn’t eaten or slept in days, I just laid there and cried about the pain in between reruns of Say Yes To The Dress. On day 8 of not keeping food down, I broke. I smoked a bowl and low and behold, ate the toast. I also stopped crying, my anxiety and fear that had been operating at 110% for weeks finally started to dissipate. It was like clouds parting, I was sentient, I was alive.

 

 Years later, here I am, writing this article and spraying peppermint flavoured THC spray under my tongue to deal with the wild lower back pain my estrogen suppressants give me. I’m in remission, but that doesn’t mean I ever stopped using cannabis, I suffer from PTSD as well and as anyone who’s ever dealt with that knows, flashbacks and triggers are exactly ZERO fun. THC allows you to step outside of that VCR-esque rewind and replay you get stuck in, which I wouldn’t trade for any pill in the world.

download (1).jpg

All of this being said, I’m a huge advocate for recreational cannabis use as well.

 

Contrary to the typical ‘stoner stereotype’ that exists, I own exactly 0 bob marley merchandise, I have never had dreadlocks, and I do not live in my mother’s basement playing video games all day. I simply am a part of a generation that is pushing forward a change in how we see alcohol, cannabis and other vice-like past times.

 

 I’m no stranger to a glass (bottle) of wine every once in awhile, but I’ve also seen alcohol do some pretty terrible things to families and individual’s lives. So, in the name of hereditary alcoholism and my sad, sad liver I choose to partake in cannabis instead. Most days. I’m weak, don’t judge me.

Smoking a joint has the desired effect of taking away the stress of the day, while alleviating my aches and pains. Hip-hip hooray for no hangovers and a full night's sleep!

 

Smoking a joint? That’s so unhealthy! Correct, but we all have our crosses to bear and mine is the love of looking like a badass James Dean smoking in a leather jacket. Quote this article when I develop the black lung. Alas, smoking isn’t even the most popular way to ingest cannabis now! My absolute favourite part about using cannabis is that the world is your metaphorical oyster. Sublingual oils, concentrates, and edibles, oh my! Currently under health canada’s laws, approved companies can only sell dried bud and sublingual oils, but you can also tweak these two things to make your cannabis work for you. Use a hair straightener to make rosin, use your slow cooker to infuse coconut oil, whatever you like. Girl’s just want to have fun, after all.

 

Julie Vickaryous XOXO

I am a Modern Woman: Meet Red Lotus

 

Meet Moneca McLean, Owner of Red Lotus

 

Tell us about your business?

Red Lotus brings to Saskatoon and the surrounding area, a stunning European clothing line, post-surgery garments, world leading breast forms and symmetry products, wigs, scarves, hats, yoga/meditation accessories, and giftware.  Although our clothing and products are designed for all women, Red Lotus specializes in women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, women who have had mastectomy, lumpectomy, breast reduction, augmentation surgery, and/or women in transition who require the use of breast forms and symmetry products.

How did you get started?

I worked in healthcare for 8 years prior to going into business.  Through the company’s re-organization, my position was eliminated in 2014.  It was then that I began reflecting on where/what I was going to do moving forward as a career.  During that time of reflection, I set up a criteria for myself that consisted of 3 items:

Whatever I decided to do moving forward, it must be something:

  1. that I feel very passionate about
  2. where I can make a positive difference in the lives of people
  3. that will provide financial stability for my family

From there I started reflecting on my life and experiences and exactly ‘what’ those things could possibly be and Red Lotus very quickly became an idea, then a plan, and now a reality.

What inspires you?

I was inspired to open Red Lotus through my own personal experience of supporting women close to me who required the use of breast forms. Through witnessing their journey, my desire to open a boutique that was warm, tranquil, fun, compassionate and inspiring became my mission. I was determined to provide women the ability to shop in a retail environment where they have access to a beautiful selection of clothing that is fashionable, fun, sexy, and (of course) comfortable!  My goal is to provide women the opportunity to feel confident and leave my shop carrying a higher positive body image!

What is your idea of a Modern Woman?

My idea of a modern woman is a woman who walks to the beat of her own drum, who is confident in who she is and confident in her abilities.  She makes a conscious choice to positively contribute to herself, her family and to her community regardless of career or finances.

What tips can you give to aspiring women entrepreneurs?

Whatever it is that you decide to do be sure it is something that feeds your passion. If you are wishy-washy in any way don’t do it!  When you are consumed so much that you are never more than 5 minutes between thinking/planning/imagining it – you’re meant to do it! Know that it IS going to happen and do your homework…all of it!

What is one piece of advice you would give yourself looking back?

In those moments of doubt when I was stressed and second guessing my decision to open a business, I would have said to myself, “Relax and Let Go – it’s meant to happen” and it all works out in the end.

What is in the future for Red Lotus?

Red Lotus will continue to establish itself in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan as the only business in the province to offer women the complete Amoena of Germany clothing line, mastectomy/symmetry and meditation/yoga accessories.

What would we find you doing in your free time?

My free time is spent with my family! I have a wonderful partner of 12 years and 3 children; a 26 yr old daughter, a 23 year old son and a 20 year old daughter! They are the loves of my life and spending time with them is always my priority!

Who is someone that you find is a role model for women in business?

A woman who I have always admired is Maya Angelou.  Her personal story of triumph over her diverse and unstable upbringing to becoming one of the most profound women in literature is incredibly inspiring.

Do you think having a mentor is valuable both while you're starting out and even after you are more experienced?

I believe having a mentor before, during, and after you open your business is valuable. I had the support of Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan throughout my process and I continue to access their support and services today.  They are crucial in my success.

Do you feel a strong sense of community among business woman and female entrepreneurs in Saskatoon and in Saskatchewan?

I believe there are avenues for women in business to meet.  As I am early on in my business I have not met these women but plan on increasing my attendance at events, seminars and socials to build my network.

 

Visit the beautiful and serene Red Lotus at #170 –  3020 Preston Ave, Saskatoon. We are proud to have Moneca and her team as a Gold Sponsor at The Modern Woman Show & Expo at Prairieland Park April 16th & 17th. Not only will their experienced and trained staff be there with their products but you can also see their clothing line and jewellery on the runway Saturday April 16th at 7:00 p.m.

 

Interview by Mandi Brown

Photo of Moneca courtesy of deMo Photography