Honor Thy Daughter raises the bar for cancer care

In a recent article in CommonHealth, Carey Goldberg, former Boston bureau chief of The New York Times, wondered if Honor Thy Daughter had “raised the bar” for what we can do for our dying loved ones.

In recent years, support for the medicinal use of marijuana has spread widely, to the point that it’s now legal in 16 states. The stories that tended to circulate a few years ago, of loving relatives who scored pot to bake magic brownies for their otherwise straight-as-an-arrow elders with cancer-related nausea, now seem almost quaint.

Is it such a leap to Ecstasy? When I spoke to Marilyn Howell, I complained to her that she had raised the bar for people who love dying patients. Now that I’ve read her book and skimmed some research, if a dear one of mine were suffering in the terminal stages of cancer or some other illness, I don’t think I’d feel able to stop at marijuana.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

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4 Responses to Honor Thy Daughter raises the bar for cancer care

  1. Marcia H. says:

    I watched my husband die a long and grueling death from Acute Leukemia a number of years ago. Fortunately, he was a very spiritual man who had places to go within himself and meditation techniques he could reach for for comfort and context for his experience. It’s too late to offer him a way to transform his experience of dying through chemical means. But I do hope that when my time comes, we will have matured and evolved enough as a culture to be able to provide me a safe and rich passage to the other side– wherever that is.

  2. Loretta Nault says:

    I watched my mother suffer a long, agonizing death from cancer twenty years ago. At that time,
    pain meds were administered only every four hours even if she were screaming in pain. She did
    not know me when she was sedated with morphine. I still grieve over the last moments. How
    wonderful it would have been if Ecstacy were available then. Perhaps I would be more at peace
    now.

  3. Julie Anderson says:

    The book “Honor Thy Daughter” is truly remarkable in taking us to “the dark side of the moon” (Rick Doblin’s review) in the experience of a mother caring for her terminally ill daughter. It’s not an easy read–how could it be?–but opens our eyes to the choices and dilemmas facing us in caring for each other at the end of life. Thank you Marilyn, for the courage and stamina required to report back from the dark side of the moon, and shedding your light and wisdom with us.

  4. Terry Murray says:

    Dr. Howell, I just wanted to reach out and thank you for what you are doing and for sharing the experiences regarding your daughter. I just caught your interview with Paul Roberts on WNTN (via podcast) and you shared a bit of wisdom I will carry with me. Your thoughts on the difference between curing (the physical) and healing (emotional and spiritual) are truly profound. What you are doing is both mindful and in service to so many that are suffering. Thanks again.

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