A taste of his own medicine for Langley marijuana advocate

Randy Caine battles lung cancer with help of cannabis

At first, he thought it was a shoulder injury.

When the pain in his left shoulder started, Randy Caine thought his days working in construction had caught up with him.

“I thought I had a rotator cuff injury.”

Then, in June of last year, Caine noticed a lump on his neck

It was lung cancer, what is known as a Pancoast tumor, a slow-moving growth that had spread into nearby muscles and bone.

After more than two decades of advocating for medicinal marijuana for people with serious medical conditions, Caine was now a patient himself.

The 62-year-old married father of two is a recognizable public figure who has run for council and for mayor of Langley City. He is also a successful businessman who operates three HEMPYZ Gift and Novelties shops in both Langleys and White Rock, founder of a city marijuana dispensary that closed down after running into trouble with the authorities, and the Releaf Compassion Centers that provide counseling to people seeking to use cannabis for medical purposes.

He describes himself as an “old hippy” who started dying his long dark hair after it began to turn grey (pictured, left).

About 14 days after his first chemotherapy and radiation treatment his hair started falling out, so he shaved it off.

He began to use everything he had learned about managing pain and nausea with cannabis.

“I was going to apply that knowledge to myself.”

It is now August, and a tanned and healthy-looking Caine is sitting in a Langley City coffee shop, talking about the effectiveness of cannabis in helping him cope with the impact of chemo and radiation treatments.

“I wouldn’t say it’s the end-all and be-all, but it is a part of the overall therapy,” Caine says.

His comments become a blizzard of hard-to-follow technical language having to do with different types of delivery systems, strains of marijuana and other acronym-laden information.

What it boils down to, Caine says, is that people need to have the option of trying different types of marijuana and different ways of ingesting it so they can discover what works best.

To limit patients to single varieties also limits the potential benefits, he believes.

“It would be like only having one pain medication.”

Caine is now undergoing a trial of an experimental cancer treatment that seems promising.

“I’m a lab rat,” he says, cheerfully.

It is a double-blind test, which means some of the subjects are getting the treatment and some are getting a placebo.

It could be that he is getting the actual treatment, or it could be his body’s natural resilience, but Caine has noticed a substantial improvement.

He has regained all of the muscle he lost and his left hand, the hand he uses for writing, is functional again.

“I couldn’t even pick up a piece of paper (before),” he says.

“(Now) I can actually write with it.”

He has regained the sense of taste he lost during his chemotherapy and as a result has become very conscious of the quality of food he consumes.

“I have no interest in food that tastes even marginally bad.”

The most obvious change has been his hair.

When it started growing back, it came in thicker and silver-grey.

His decision to keep it short and grey has become a source of entertainment for Caine, watching people who haven’t seen him in a while do double-takes.

Strangers react differently, he’s noticed.

“The world was a much more hostile place for me previously (when I had long hair),” he says.

“The world has become much more calm, much more peaceful (with short hair). I’m the same guy.”

His cancer is smaller but remains inoperable, Caine says.

“It’s not that bad. I’m okay with it.”

He doesn’t know exactly how much time he has left, but he has long-range plans for the years ahead that include continuing to advocate for marijuana.

Caine says his diagnosis has made him more aware of all the things he has to be grateful for.

“I’ve had this amazing life,” Caine says.

“This has not been a sad story. This is about a journey of life.”

Just Posted

Surrey Community Leader Awards winners revealed

The 16th CLA awards, presented by the Now-Leader, recognized Surrey’s un-sung heroes

COMMUTER ALERT: Serious pedestrian crash closes Pacific Highway

Traffic along 176th Street, 4th to 8th Avenue, is blocked while Mounties continue to investigate.

MPs meet with Surrey council to discuss RCMP, LRT

Federal government to have quarterly meetings with Surrey

Hogg curious if a new recreation centre is needed in Grandview Heights

South Surrey-White Rock MP to host a Town Hall Meeting tonight

Surrey building that has gathered dust for 20 years is for sale again, with bids sought

Potential sale of the long-vacant 104 Avenue Centre is good news, Surrey Board of Trade CEO says

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Regulatory confusion over ‘toxic’ stink near Abbotsford school

Officials sniffing out which regulators responsible for enforcing compliance at neighbouring property

Most Read