Park Major, Medical Cannabis Patient
He was diagnosed as terminally ill by his doctors and was suffering a great deal. He felt that his health was out of his control and that he was at the mercy of the myriad of health conditions he had and yet, he decided to take the reigns and make the move to Colorado to pursue alternative treatment – what he believed could be his second chance. Little by little he is recovering and the biggest point to be made? Park Major is still alive today… long after the doctors thought he would be. This is his story.
My name is Park Major and I am a 42 year old Gulf War veteran. I was born in Knoxville, TN in 1972 and was raised by my parents alongside 2 sisters. 3 days after my 10th birthday, my mother committed suicide after a long battle with depression, but that was only the beginning… I had an extremely abusive father as well. By the age of 13 I was already medicating with cannabis to treat my own depression and for this, I was condemned by my family and friends. At the age of 17, after a violent fight with my father, I left home and went on with life on my own. I finished high school, went to college for a while, and then joined the Navy in 1991, all on my own. I abstained from cannabis my entire Navy career.
During my service during the Gulf War, we were exposed to many vaccines, toxins, and other stressors which I believe greatly aggravated my illnesses. I received an honorable discharge in 1994 and took up a career in cross country truck driving. About 6 months after my discharge I started experiencing my first signs of medical problems. It started with intestinal problems, migraines, night sweats, and symptoms of PTSD. In 1999, I was diagnosed with a pituitary tumor. Shortly after that I had a lymphoma tumor removed from my neck the size of a golf ball. I progressively got sicker over the years while constantly monitoring my pituitary tumor, all the while refusing radiation. At that point I decided to start medicating with cannabis again. In 2008 I decided to seek my VA medical benefits and was quickly informed that I had to stop my cannabis use or fear losing all my benefits. So, I stopped using cannabis and started went the traditional pharmaceutical route instead… I soon became too sick to work and was at risk of losing my license due to my risk of seizures. I stopped work and filed for my VA pension and was approved.
By 2010, I was on 35 pills a day. One night, in my sleep. it happened… I had my first seizure. After many tests it was concluded that the VA had overdosed me on pills trying to treat all my conditions and the side affects that resulted from the pills meant to treat those conditions. It was then, in June 2013, when my world crumbled. I had been having chest pains and went to the hospital. My doctor diagnosed me with Marfan Syndrome, a genetic defect where your body doesn’t make the protein it needs for the connective tissue, heart, lungs, etc. What did this mean? My #1 risk was aortic dissection otherwise known as “sudden death”. I was told it was incurable. If caught at an early age it can possibly be treated, but that there wasn’t a lot they could do for me at my age. Best age for surgery is before 15 yrs old, I was 42. I was told that I may have a year to live; There was nothing they could do.
My doctor told my he would keep me out of pain and to get my affairs in order. In November of that year I was diagnosed with a Thyroid tumor. I went home, contacted the Undergreen Railroad and Moving for Marijuana, got my house “in order” and moved to Colorado. I knew cannabis was my only hope. I had been reading a lot about cannabis oil and had done my research and truly believed that this would be my answer! On February 3rd 2014 my wife and I arrived in Colorado Springs, Colorado and I immediately began medicating with cannabis oil. In March, I found out that my thyroid tumor was still growing and I started having trouble speaking, so I increased my oil dosage. Recent MRI’s show that my body still has a lot of healing to do, but I am not giving up hope! The VA refuses to treat the Marfan Syndrome because they say there is no cure, but no studies have been done with cannabis – There is a possibility of a cure in my eyes. I am still in the process of ridding my body of the tumors, but there are certainly a few things I can testify to when it comes to cannabis:
- I’M STILL ALIVE (Long after the doctors said I would be!)
- I now have a better quality of life. I’m off all the prescription meds and have had more better days than not since starting this journey.
- Cannabis returned to me my love of art! I think that’s been the biggest difference cannabis has made in my life. From a very young age, I had a strong interest in art, but after the military I was no longer able to draw. I felt as if I had lost my talent which added to my depression. Once I got off all the prescription pills and started cannabis treatment, it happened that one day in May, I got the urge to draw – The first time in 20 years. What started out as a sketch turned out to be my first work of art in 20 yrs. I cried. It felt SO good to be able to draw again. My creativity was back. Cannabis, for me, has brought back a happiness to me no pill ever could.
Although I still have my bad days, I try to educate myself and give back through volunteering with groups such as Grow4Vets and do all I can to share with others how cannabis has truly changed my life. I am now still living happily with my wonderful wife Judy and my best friend and emotional support dog, Dixie. We have 6 children and hope to all have many more wonderful years together!
How long have you been experiencing your medical condition?
I suffer daily with debilitating pain from the numerous explainable tumors and illnesses that resulted from my service in the Gulf War. I also suffer from severe night sweats. I have been put numerous medications over the years, sometime amounting to over 35 pills a day. I was diagnosed in 2013 with Marfan Syndrome and told it was incurable and that I was not expected to live another year.
What type of medications have you been taking that were prescribed to you by your doctor?
Depakote, Atenelol, Hydrocodone, Promethezine, Pazil, Hydorxixine, Tramadol, Serequel – There were too many to remember. I was prescribed over 220 medications by the VA over a span of several years. I have taken over 75,000 pills…
What side effects did you experience from the medication prescribed by your doctor?
I suffered from hallucinations, seizures, nausea, sleeplessness, agitation, depression, chronic pain, and even an accidental overdose due to taking medication as prescribed (My doctors had me on too much medication).
What type of alternative medicine have you tried aside from your doctor’s recommendation?
I started medicating with cannabis in 1986 as a teenager to treat my depression, had to quit when I joined the Navy. After my health took a turn for the worse, I made the move to Colorado with my wife and family and started using cannabis again in 2014.
How long have you been using the alternative medicine?
I feel much better. I am now finally able to know sleep through the nights; I am experiencing less sweating; I have eliminated some of my tumors; and I am suffering from much less pain. Overall, I am experiencing a better quality of life!
How have you felt since you started using the alternative medicine compared to that of your prescribed medications?
I am never going back to pharmaceuticals…
Do you think you will continue with using alternative medicine?
I want people to know that cannabis can save your life. I was diagnosed as terminally ill and sent home to get my affairs in order. Instead, I decided to try alternative medicine and now have a new lease on life.