The Optimystic Alien!!
Hey Dudes! ✌ Today we get to sit in with the amazing Soul that is, Chase Nichols. We've been following this Optimystic Alien for over a year now, on Instagram, and let me tell you, we were over the moon that he agreed to let us capture his story. He is a true spiritual being having a human being experience. Without further adieu ... Introduce yourself, fam!
CN: Hello Everyone, My name is Chase Alexander Nichols, and I am a 29 year old Cystic Fibrosis patient, with many “vocations” we’ll call them. I’m a Photographer, an Artist, a Writer/Blogger, a Nomadic Explorer (when I’m free from the hospital) A tattoo collector, a counterculture and marijuana enthusiast, and somewhat of a “Life Consultant”. I was born in College Station Texas, where almost all of my extended family is. Halfway through my 8th grade year in Houston TX, my dad was offered a new job as a worship pastor, all the way in Augusta, GA. So me, mom, dad and Emily (my sister who also had Cystic Fibrosis) picked up and started a new life where everything was new. At first, the move was hard on all of is, but Augusta slowly became our new home where I spent all of my most influential years. Since then, I have lived in several states without my family, including California and most recently Denver, Colorado. Both of which are legal weed states, that have more Weed Dispensaries, than Liquor Stores, or Starbucks combined!
A&A: What's your disability?
CN: Well, Cystic Fibrosis is what makes me NOT AS able in certain areas of my life, but to be honest, the word “disability” was never a word that I ever felt like I could even associate with, even though I had literally spent all my lives at that point in and out of the hospital. I learned a lot more things HAVING my “disability” than I ever would have, NOT having it. And it was the Little Things that I learned, over those years that created such long lasting effects on my personality. Emotionally, mentally and even spiritually that truly shaped who I am even to this day.
Spending so much time in hospitals, surrounded by nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, and everyone in between that are there helping people who can’t even help themselves, is the purest form of selflessness. And since we are the product of our surroundings, I was very blessed that my surroundings were filled with people with nothing but love and empathy in their hearts for others.
A&A: We think this is revolutionary thinking for people and family members affected by debilitating illnesses. So. many. people with disabilities suffer from medical trauma in their lives, ourselves included, but we've always appreciated the heart and soul of our amazing first responders. They make everything easier in sometimes terrifying situations. How does CF effect you?
CN: It can be a little hard to pinpoint all of the effects Cystic Fibrosis has had on the mind, body, and soul, because it affects all of us “Cysters” And “Fibros” (terms of endearment we call each other) differently. Some guys deal with things that the girls do not, and visa versa. But the main areas that are effected by the majority of us include The Lungs, Pancreas, And The Digestive Issues we face. In a nutshell, our bodies have a problem producing the salt that naturally breaks down the mucus in your lungs and other organs in the body.
So, the buildup of that mucus can easily causes frequent infections that require antibiotics. That could mean a 2 week stay in the hospital for us. In order to lower the frequencies or these infections, we have a daily regimen of meds that are done throughout our day which includes morning, mid day, and nightly pills, 4-6 Different morning breathing treatments with an Airway Clearance machine that most of us have called “The Vest” (which fills with air and pulsates to get the mucus up easier), and this is done 2-4 times a day.
Also, before we eat anything we must take 7 pills (some take more or less) called Enzymes in order to break down our food and to receive the correct nutrients such as Proteins, Carbs and Fats because our pancreas doesn’t produce it’s own Enzymes in order to gain weight. Since our bodies are constantly trying to repair itself, CF patients are supposed to eat 2-4 times as much a day as a “Normie” in order to maintain the same weight, on top of having to eat enough to help your organs and brain to function correctly. So, it is important for us to maintain a good diet, and be compliant with all of our meds, as well as exercise.
But sometimes, we all need a little help in certain areas that are affected by CF. So, now we are going to talk about the Initial Topic that this lovely interview started from, and has been one of the biggest factors in my mental, emotional, physical and all around health in general. My life saver in more ways than one, too many times to count....CANNABIS.
A&A: Awwwww yeah!!!! When did you first discover cannabis?
CH:Growing up in church as a “Pastor's Kid”, (yeah, you heard right). Weed was as foreign and taboo as you would imagine it would be and was the furthest thing from my mind as it could be. Until I turned 15 and went to my best friends party when his parents were outta town.
So, out came the weed, and of course I wasn’t gonna be the only fool not trying it. So I did, and nothing felt different, and that continued the next few times I tried it as well. It wasn’t until my parents split, that I really started to notice the positive effects it was having on my Mental and emotional health more than anything. But smoking it normally, was NOT good for my CF lungs, and at the time, it was impossible to get edibles. So, I started doing some research, and came across a High Times magazine add for a Chargeable portable vaporizer called the “NO2”. How this thing worked was by putting in a VERY small amount of Pot into the top of this Convection style oven, and turning the heat to the temp that it released all the “Good Stuff” I.e. THC, but didn’t get hot enough to combust the weed itself, and release all the carcinogens from the burning the plant itself. So, I started saving and finally ordered it, and It was a complete game changer on so many levels. Since then I've upgraded to a much smaller and sleeker more efficient flower vape called a PAX and have never looked back, going on 10 years now!
A&A: We have yet to purchase a PAX but based off your reccomendation we're totally getting one. How does cannabis help you?
CH: As far as the areas Weed has helped me from a Cystic Fibrosis standpoint, is has been my appetite stimulant for gain weight, my sleep aid at night, and overall psychological and emotional state as my anti depressant and anti anxiety helping me through all of the ever day life stuff that we all face, to the “Extra CF” things I must go through every day. Including the way too many untimely losses of fellow “Cysters” and “Fibros” including my own Sister Emily, 5 years ago due to this currently incurable disease.
I can safely say, that cannabis has been the brightest light, on some of my hardest days, and will continue to be that for years to come.
A&A: I think we speak for everyone in the Rollin' Stoned™ Community that we are so sorry to hear of your dear sister's passing. However, it's truly amazing that cannabis remains to be your great joy giver despite everything. How are you currently dealing with the pandemic?
CN: I get asked this question a lot, and joke about how I’ve pretty much been training my whole life for this pandemic, and all the precautions we are told to take. From wearing masks everywhere, to washing hands, and the dreaded Solitude we are all told we must endure. Growing up in the hospital has given me the very unique opportunity to learn PLENTY of ways to keep my mind busy. From podcasts, Audiobooks, and regular ones (mostly self help), to jigsaw puzzles, photography, coloring, and especially Meditating and working out. All with music going the whole time of course! Remember, we are products or the things we “ingest” into our mind and body. Make sure those things are good for your soul.
A&A: Amen to that! For people struggling with your diagnosis, what's something you want them to know?
CN: This answer applies to every one of us. It’s very important to not allow these trying times, scare us into thinking that all hope is lost. We are indeed all in this together, and we WILL all meet each other on the other side of this, as stronger individuals with more ferocity than we had before this all started because we survived it all. You ARE a badass, and will only continue to grow stronger, emotionally and physically as you wake up to every new day. As always, sending you all the love and good vibes I can!
Keep flying high like a streamline butterfly, like a shooting star, Chase. You are truly a living breathing work of art! Later, Dudes! 🤟🏼