Legalizing medical marijuana in Illinois isn't going to have 100% if it's approved or voted down by State Senators, but one Rockford woman, struggling with Stage IV pancreatic cancer want lawmakers to walk a mile in her shoes before they decide.
We're only allowed to use her first name, Jessica, and didn't want her face shown, but she is the face of how cancer can diminish a person's quality of life and how prescription pot can help.
"First call of my morning, I found out I had cancer, it was horrible it ruined my whole day." -Jessica says, reflecting back on her 2011 diagnosis.
Before getting really sick, Jessica was a professional dancer and still has a deep passion for it. Cancer made her joints hurt. She took pain pills to deal with side effects of chemotherapy and surgery.
"They took out six inches of my colon, some of my liver, a third of my pancreas and my entire gallbladder." -she recounts.
89th District State Representative Jim Sacia doesn't support legalizing medical marijuana. He believes doctors can prescribe Food and Drug Administration approved medicine that can kill the pain of sickness.
"If medical marijuana is good, then put it in a pill, put it in a brownie, put it in something and okay it by the FDA." -Sacia explains.
But, medication put Jessica to sleep most of the day and she couldn't eat or enjoy activities like playing with her 6 year-old daughter. Jessica is now off pain pills and smokes medical marijuana everyday to help her eat and live.
"I just think back to when I was on the couch sleeping and missing my daughter growing up and now I'm actually awake when she comes home from school, sending her to school, watching her grow up instead of sleeping my days away, it's like how can you ask me to give that up? I couldn't do it." -she says with tears in her eyes.
The bill has been approved in a State Senate Committee and it now moves on to the full Senate.
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