The Wake-Up Call

My wake-up call occurred about three and a half years ago. Where will you be when you get yours?

I was working for large affluent city in Minnesota, and we were living well above average. Making 6-figures a year on salary, with more than a month of vacation time, insurance benefits, and plenty of perks… we were living the American Dream. We made a lot of money, and we spent a lot of money.

But a simple conversation in the Spring of 2014 would change everything.

The Call

I was in my office the afternoon the call came in. My brother’s voice cracked before he could even get my name out, and I knew immediately something was wrong.

“Bear, it’s mama… (his voice cracking a little more), “she has cancer.”

And I fell to my knees and sobbed.

This wasn’t the first time I had heard those words. Twenty years earlier, I received a similar call at work from my father when mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. However, at age 52 her prognosis was much better than it was now at age 72, and this time it wasn’t breast cancer. Mom had stage IV, non-small cell lung cancer. The question wasn’t “if” it was “when.”

When we went to visit mom on Mother’s Day after receiving the news, she sat me down to talk about her prognosis. The doctors had told her the disease was already well advanced, using chemo and radiation may help extend her life, but the treatments would not save her life. Having been through chemo and radiation once, Mom knew what she was up against, and she opted not to fight the disease. Rather, she was just going to treat the symptoms, stay as comfortable as possible, try to stay on the farm as long as she could, and wait it out.

As the youngest child, Mom expected me to lash out, and beg her to reconsider her options. When we lost Dad to the same disease just six years earlier, there was very little time to even consider the prognosis, let alone consider the options. Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer on a Thursday and we lost him the following Wednesday. Mom’s disease wasn’t going to work that way, we had time to think and consider alternatives. Even still, as remorseful as I was about my mom’s illness, when she asked if I was angry she wasn’t going to fight, I replied to her with her hand in mine,

“I get it, Mom… I’m not angry. In fact, I understand. I’m tired, exhausted, and worn out from this rat race and chaos. I don’t think I’d even have the energy, and I’m almost half your age. I can’t imagine where I’ll be when I’m 72.”

Although I begged my mother to let me travel to Colorado to explore options for treating her cancer through marijuana, my mom's exact words were, 

"It's not legal here, and I don't want to die a criminal."

 Mom, age 72, Mother's Day

Mom, age 72, Mother's Day


The Reflection

I turned 40, just three months after we lost mom, and this conversation played over and over in my mind. How could it be, I was 33 years younger than her, and yet felt so completely miserable, that I didn’t think I would even be able to fight for my own life if necessary?

I started to look at my life much differently and what once was a priority no longer was. The grief of losing my mother combined with inheritance trouble, the weight of stressful career, and struggling marriage, I knew I needed to make drastic changes in my life, or I wouldn’t survive another 5 years. At just 40 years old I was exhausted, overweight, unhealthy, and slowly killing myself through over-consumption of alcohol, nutrition-less food, lack of fitness, and too many pharmaceuticals. I was taking anxiety medications, anti-depressants, and prescribed amphetamines. I had an auto-immune disorder of the thyroid which ran me down and robbed any energy I had. I was working 40+ hours a week, stuck in a windowless office, chasing the almighty dollar, and I was miserable.

Enter Responsible Cannabis Therapy

I came to Denver in January of 2016 on fumes and fate. I was running away from my life, and car trouble kept me stranded here. Honestly, I really hadn’t intended to stay in Denver, city life was alright, but I had enough of Minneapolis, and was looking for a change. However, without a car, Denver is where I was going to have to stay until I figured out a new game plan.

Within just a few days, I had found my way into the cannabis industry… a move which would forever alter the course of my life. When I started working as a budtender, I wasn’t there just to sell a little weed, make some bank and go home. I was there to learn. And that is exactly what I did.

Fast forward, to today…

Now… I share this story of disease, cancer, poor health, and mental disorder to get to today. In just two days, I will celebrate my 43rd birthday. Let’s do the comparison:

At 40:
·         Overweight, barely squeezing into a 2XL
·         5 prescriptions
·         Exhausted
·         Daily Headaches
·         Over-caffeinated with energy drinks
·         Felt old, tired, and miserable

At 43:
·         I've lost 93 pounds and wear a 4... something I haven't been able to do since I was 16.
·         No prescriptions
·         Energetic and ambitious
·         No headaches
·         No energy drinks
·         I feel 15 years younger than I did at 40.

 Before and After Responsible Cannabis Therapy

Before and After Responsible Cannabis Therapy

This Wednesday, I am celebrating my birthday by publicly announcing my book “Responsible Cannabis Therapy: How a forbidden herb saved our marriage, our health, and our lives,” my version of our cannabis success in detail. Intended for readers who are new to the cannabis industry and want to learn, I share the basics of legal cannabis products, consumption education, and share a guided journal to help consumers find their ideal cannabis experience without all the guess work. I consider it sort of a “budtender in a handbook.”

Responsible cannabis therapy saved my husband’s life from opiate addiction and over-medication, it saved our marriage, and it restored an energy and vitality I haven’t seen since I was in my mid-twenties. If you’d like to read how we did it and learn about the legal cannabis industry, I’d love to have you stop by our website on Wednesday, November 15th, at to wish me a happy birthday by pre-ordering my book!