Hey dudes! 🤟🏼 Today we have an interview with someone we have only known online. She is pretty great, nonetheless, and we can't wait to sesh one day! We were so happy when this human decided to do an interview for us! Introduce yourself, friend!
ALICIA: My name is Alicia Bennett and I am a 26 year old human who loves cannabis, helping people, and saving the planet. I work as a technician for a therapeutic cannabis dispensary in New Hampshire. I was diagnosed with a rare sarcoma when I was 15 and went through 6 years of rigorous cancer treatment before having a major surgery at age 22. The surgery removed the tumor but with it I lost my arm, shoulder, and my right chest wall and breast. I am currently in remission and am living my best life almost 4 years later.
*Image description: Alicia, blowing smoke, in front of a white blossoming tree. She is wearing a blue and red plaid button-up. Her hair is medium length, and light brown.
A&A: Wow, that is gnarly, but we are glad you're still with us. What disabilities does all that cause?
AB: After my surgery, I woke up without cancer and without my arm. It was the first thing I felt the loss of because of the dramatic change in my abilities. Living one handed has been a challenge but missing the other pieces has its own challenges. My missing chest wall makes me limited in my activities and lung capabilities affect my breathing. My body has been through many hardships but it feels stronger than ever in the present.
A&A: However unfortunate, these things tend to make us stronger later on! How do these disabilities affect you nowadays?
AB: It affects me differently depending on the day. After 4 years, some days I hardly notice that I have any difference at all. Other days, especially when I’m exploring new things or I’m with new people, I am all too aware of my differences. I can do many things on my own but not everything so I like to have people who can support me around to help. It’s frustrating when I am unable to do a task or I hurt myself or I throw something across the room but I’ve found that if I take a breath, I can choose my reaction to those moments.
*Image description: Alicia, in a grey shirt, lying in the grass. There is a rainbow of flowers over her head.
A&A: Amanda is learning to ask for help too. It's HARD. When did you first discover cannabis?
AB: I was at a college party when I was 20 and my friend casually offered me a hit of his bowl. It was the most amazing night because I was in the middle of chemo and for once my body felt good. I didn’t initially reach for it because I wasn't thinking of the therapeutic benefits but, I immediately noticed the relief I felt. After my first experience I slowly found access to cannabis through my friends. In Texas, I had access to mostly unknown grassy weed, homemade edibles, and the rare vape cartridges. I began medicating daily with cannabis in 2016 after my surgery and in 2017, I travelled to Colorado and tried some good legal products. In 2018, I moved back home to New Hampshire, became a registered patient here, and now I have access to more cannabis than I could ever dream of.
A&A: To have access to all that cannabis, must have been an amazing feeling! How does it benefit you?
*Image description: Stewie and Brian, singing "Everything is better with a bag of weed!"
AB: I could write an entire book to answer this question. Cannabis relaxes my body and it calms my mind so I can live a happy and healthy life. It helps my anxiety, depression, PTSD, muscle aches, nerve pain, phantom pain, nausea, appetite, and my bad moods. It gives my body relief when I need it and it helps me slow down and breathe when my mind is spinning. Cannabis is a friend that has been there for me in my moments of need.
A&A: Wow, we LOVE that! Cannabis really is that "ride or die" friend. How are you currently dealing with the pandemic?
AB: This time has been challenging but I am doing my best to take care of myself and my family. I am grateful to be back at work part-time, after taking a few months off to quarantine at home. I worry about my lungs ability to fight off covid but I do everything I can to keep my body healthy. Living in rural New Hampshire gives me access to plenty of nature and I’ve taken refuge in the woods. My family has worked as a team to stay happy and healthy and my dogs are happy to have all this attention. I miss warm hugs but I treasure them more than ever now.
*Image description: Alicia, outdoors. Rocks and trees behind her. She is wearing brown boots, denim shorts and shirt, and a pink backwards cap. Her hair is in two pigtails. She is holding a joint and smiling.
A&A: Oh gosh, we miss hugs so much. I'm glad you can your family are staying safe. For people struggling with your diagnosis or something similar, what is something you want them to know?
AB: Find joy in the present, make peace with the past, and work for a brighter future. We are all on our journey through life and though we have been given more struggles than most, our trials have made us stronger. We are here for a reason and together we can make the world a beautiful place for all.
See? We told you she was awesome. You can find her on Instagram @earthbennet to get to know her more, while she is taking refuge in nature!
Later, dudes! ✌