The end of 2009 I started caring about my life, and what was happening to me.
I became present once again. I started engaging with my children, though I was struggling to maintain focus and I had ballooned out to about 160lbs, which was also eating up my energy and slowing me down. The lack of focus as well as the weight gain was all due to the 16 pills per day I was eating, and the heavy dose of Fentanyl I was on. I was still smoking cannabis, but not nearly as much as I used too. I knew I had to regain control over my life and started planning to wean myself off all the prescription drugs.
My kids were on the internet, on a relatively new platform that launched some years prior for college students. Only 2 of my kids were still at home, both were teenagers. They were on a new website called Facebook. I didn’t explore it at all, not really, it seemed it was just a place for kids to gather and talk. I opened an account, only to keep track of what my kids were doing and who they were talking too. I had no idea how large of an impact this platform would have on me in the future.
After doing months of research on what I was prescribed, I was horrified. How could I have allowed this to happen? Armed with the information I had on all of the drugs I was on, I headed to the Doctor in Spring 2010, to inform him I wanted off the pills. He disagreed, of course! I did it anyway, without his help, but I did it very slowly. The research I had done told me to go slow and drop down in small increments, one pill at a time. My fear of life without them, after being on them for so long, pushed that agenda even further back. It would take me over 3 years to free myself from the pills alone, then I began weaning myself off the Fentanyl.
My cannabis consumption increased as the pharma decreased, I was slowly coming back to life. I was spending more time in the garden with my medicine. I was paying attention to what was going on in my children’s lives, and I was back to being a wife to my husband. It was a time of awakening for me.
By 2011 I was back to attending the cannabis rally’s being held in Toronto. At the 420 that year, I learned about an expo that was held at the Conference center called “The Treating Yourself Cup” in May and I knew I had to attend.
When I returned from the 420 event that year, excited about pursuing activism once again, my older children introduced me to groups on Facebook. “There are cannabis groups on here ya know mom.” Well! “Why didn’t someone show me this sooner!” I said. The kids then instructed me on how to use the platform. I quickly found out I was not tracking them at all on this platform all this time, they were in groups where conversations were “Private”, and I had no clue! By this point, all but one was moved out, so they figured it was safe to tell me.
Once again, I found myself in a whole new world of like-minded people. That is also when I first learned about Owen smith, and the challenge for patients to extract their medicine.
The TY Expo was the first cannabis conference I attended, and it was great! I spoke to Irving Rosenfeld about his federally authorized use of cannabis in the USA and met a ton of people, just like me. I learned there was so much more to cannabis as a medicine than I ever imagined. I learned about extracts, edibles, and how much it helped with other conditions I was also suffering from. That event put me on a track that would spawn my dedication to education and activism for the plant. I had missed so much in the last 8 years.
I attended the event every year, to soak in the information and sense of community that was provided from the grassroots movement in the city, until its final year in 2013.
It was late 2011 when another lump was discovered in my breast. My birth mother had died from breast cancer at the age of 50, and this was the second one found for me, so I was scared. My mother had several surgeries, did chemotherapy as well as radiation. At the end, she was unrecognizable as the person she once was. I knew I was not doing that, no matter what. My second breast surgery was being planned and more of my breast would be removed.
When I had surgery to remove the lump, they said they “got good margins”. Armed with what I had learned about extracted oil and cancer, I went on the “Rick Simpson Protocol” when I was released from hospital and recovered. I have been eating my oil ever since. No cancer or lumps have returned.
In early 2014, I found out about a new expo being hosted, on the same weekend as the TY expo was held, at the same location. This one was being hosted by CHAMP’s/NORML. I reached out once again to NORML Canada to volunteer. That was the year I met Jack Lloyd, a Law student, and my contact person at NORML Canada. Jack is a great guy that helped guide me back into activism. He is now a lawyer in the cannabis community, giving patients as well as others knowledgeable representation in court.
After exchanging some emails and talking on the phone, we met at Queens Park on the day of the GMM. I spent the day helping out where needed at the NORML booth, selling T-shirts as well as wondering through the crowds gathering signatures and emails for the newsletter. Jack looked shocked when I returned after a short time with all the pages he had given me already full. At the end of the day I was invited to work the booth at the upcoming Conference at the convention center.
The CHAMPs/NORML conference was enlightening, working behind the scenes for the first time. I met activists, patients, entrepreneurs, and execs that weekend, all in cannabis! I made connections, friends, and expanded my knowledge base about cannabis as a medicine. It was also where I met John Vergados of Skunk Magazine, as well as Sam Mellace for the first time. Both would become big influences in my life going forward.
It was a very fulfilling weekend for me, and I wanted more! I was energized and ready to go full steam ahead. I was eventually invited to attend board meetings and was now a part of the planning team for NORML in Canada. They assigned me first to be the national volunteer coordinator, then regional representative after that.
I would find out in the coming months, NORML Canada was no longer a good fit for me, and I chose to leave the org.
In January 2015, I left NORML Canada and I launched NOCERorg, Northern Ontario Cannabis Education and Resources.
2010-2015 Awakenings, Social Media and Back to Life was another turning point
To Be Continued…
Next up, it’s 2015 with NOCER and PACE Radio
Kim "Northern Ontario" Cooper CEO NOCER Org./ Northern Ontario Cannabis Education & Resources Joint Host On The P.A.C.E. Radio Show & Reefer Reporters Associate Producer at PACE Radio Network