Update on the Cancer-Patient Columnist | Freyne Land

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

Update on the Cancer-Patient Columnist

Posted By on Sat, Feb 24, 2007 at 11:05 AM

That's me in the chemo-recliner up at the Mary Fanny on Wednesday. Nice little TVs, eh? I'm watching Hillary in the too-damn-early Texas Democratic presidential candidate debate. On drugs.

I was finishing up my second of six scheduled chemotherapy saturations. Getting a very specific IV vein-drip of Adriamycin, Cyclophosphamide and Vincristine. Then a 100 mg. dose of Prednisone by mouth which I continue for the following four mornings. Don't ask. I've never heard of them. They don't exactly know why this mix of chemical shit works against the cancer I've got. They only know it does.

My second chemo-dosing was interrupted the previous Friday after taking in Rituxan by IV for more than two hours. Had the little seizure, which got me admitted to the hospital for the weekend and checked out with an MRI and a Spinal Tap!

Negative so far. There's no history of Rituxan causing seizures, says Doc Pillemer the oncologist, so they're curious. Plus, I've never had a seizure before. At least none that I remember over the course of the past 57 years. You don't think it's 'cause of some old "Inside Track" columns I wrote about FAHC CEO Bill Boettcher, Trustee Ritchie Tarrant and their Renaissance Scam, do you?

So Doc Pillemer put me on some Dilantin, three capsules once a day. It's an anti-seizure med that slows down brain impulses. It feels like a downer. Don't like downers. Have to be sharp to hit Jim Douglas and the rest of the pols with the questions they're not expecting. Asked the Doc if I can stop taking it and he's put me on a neurologist track to see if that's possible. So yesterday, I got slid into an open time slot for an EEG - an Electroencephalogram - up on Patrick 5. An EEG measures electrical activity in one's brain - brain waves.

Anita Rocheleau of South Burlington (pictured with me) was the electroneurodiagnostic technologist.  Big title, eh? In fact, all the words are long up on Hospital Hill.

The EEG takes a little over an hour - the first 30 minutes spent attaching 25 electrodes to one's head to measure the electrical activity on the other side of the skull. Liked the part where Anita flashed the strobe lights in my eyes. Like an old rock concert.

I go back on Wednesday to get the official brain-wave reading from an official neurologist.


Also worth noting that along the way, several of the folks in the white jackets have mentioned I would likely qualify for Vermont's Marijuana Registry should I choose to apply. Legal pot at last!Vermont Marijuana Registry
rtment of Public Safety
Title 18 V.S.A. Chapter 86



In 2004, the Vermont General Assembly passed S. 76, An Act Relating to Marijuana Use by Persons with Severe Illness. This piece of legislation creates an exemption in state law from criminal penalties for the use of marijuana to alleviate the symptoms or effects of a debilitating medical condition as long as it is done in compliance with 18 V.S.A. Chapter 86. The law also creates a registry of individuals who are eligible to receive this exemption... 


The Act creating the Marijuana Registry was designed to protect certain seriously ill and terminally ill patients from state criminal penalties for using marijuana to relieve the symptoms or effects of their debilitating medical condition. Only people with a debilitating medical condition may use marijuana. A “Debilitating medical condition” means:

(A) end of life care for cancer or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS);


(B) cancer, acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, multiple sclerosis (MS), or the treatment of these diseases or medical conditions if

(i) the disease or condition or its treatment results in severe, persistent, and intractable symptoms;             and

(ii) in the context of the specific disease or condition, reasonable medical efforts have been made over a reasonable amount of time without success in relieving the symptoms.

      The Act also allows a “caregiver”  to register and receive the same criminal protections as the registered patient. However, the caregiver is not entitled to use marijuana.

More here.

Also should point out that Sen. Richard Sears (D-Bennington), distinguished chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has a bill in this session with co-sponsors - S. 7 - that would expand Vermont's original Medical Marijuana Law and lower the registration fee.


One might even call it "civilized," eh?

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About The Author

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne

Peter Freyne, 1949-2009, wrote the weekly political column "Inside Track," which originated in the Vanguard Press in the mid 1980s; he brought it to Seven Days in 1995. He retired it shortly before his death in January, 2009. We all miss him.

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