Federal Medical Marijuana Exemptee
Brenda Rae Pachal

‘Capital A-Attitude’

 DLTBGYD…Know what that stands for?  Well, my sister and I sure do.  This is our family mantra, passed down through the generations.  It was engraved and immortalized in supreme simplicity and understated elegance on a brass plate on our grandfather’s bookcase, periods delicately placed between each letter.  Brenda and I grew up looking at this strange array of letters, puzzling for our early years over what they meant, impressed nonetheless by their prominent display and seeming to understand that those seven letters were irreverent, and when the time was right…the secret of their wisdom would be shared with us.  Patience is its own reward.

 Passed onto our children, muttered softly into their sleeping ears and spoken to our loved ones as the ultimate words of comfort when the world and everyone in it is hell-bent on upsetting life’s apple carts, these letters stand for seven precious, strength-instilling words:


 As I strive to objectively “interview” my sister, for purposes of writing this bio intended to voice her support of medicinal marijuana, and her gratitude to those who have made it possible (as well as some frustration with those people and/or processes that make it difficult…), I am struck by the ferociousness of the grip that this Multiple Sclerosis holds her in.  Sometimes, from her description of its progress, I know that it more than held her…there have been times when it, and life in general, beat her.  But I also know that Brenda’s inimitable sense of humour almost always prevails and her inner voice, little though it sometimes may be, reminds her to kick the hell out of the crap of life, including the bastard monsters that inhabit Multiple Sclerosis.


Brenda experienced her first symptoms of MS in winter, 1988, as a frozen and numb left derriere cheek and hamstring.  This climaxed in her entire left leg completely freezing on her, during a cold, northern Alberta horseback ride.  Scared, but thinking it was the result of a previous horseriding accident, Brenda went to the chiropractor.  On the orders of her mother, Brenda consulted her doctor, who booked her into the hospital for tests.  Within three days Brenda received a diagnosis of Relapsing-Remitting MS.  As a 32-year-old mother of 4-year-old and 2-year-old sons, the diagnosis was a huge blow to Brenda and her family.

Although initially her symptoms went away after diagnosis, within six months they returned, in the form of double vision in both eyes.  This lasted three days.  Lucky for quite awhile, Brenda went the next seven years with basically no symptoms, other than being heat-intolerant.  Hobby farming in northern Alberta, raising two young boys and running her own book-keeping business was almost enough to keep Brenda from remembering she had MS.

But the stress of marital breakdown in 1997 opened the door once again to MS.  An extremely trying couple of years, beginning with a solo move to Qualicum Beach (sans ex-husband and sons, who had moved to Winnipeg) and culminating with the unexpected death of her mother from cancer in 1998, sent Brenda into an MS tailspin.  With her left leg completely immobilized, Brenda managed only with the aid of a cane.  The treatments of Solumedrol that had worked in the past to relieve her symptoms no longer seemed to have the same effect.  In October, 2001 Brenda’s condition was re-classified as Secondary Progressive, another significant blow.

 Having been an occasional MJ user for several years, Brenda had smoked through the course of her MS, finding from the beginning that MJ helped relieve her fatigue symptoms.  She also has never experienced outright pain with her MS, attributing this appreciated ‘plus’ to her consistent use of MJ.

When the possibility of medicated MJ became known, Brenda began the process of applying.  Visits to doctors and neurologists, form completion and more filling out of forms…close to two years later Brenda has been approved to receive medicinal MJ, and matched up with grower Eric Nash, the first certified organic MJ grower in Canada.  Having recently completed her application renewal process, Nash was approved to grow 15 plants for Brenda.

 “I believe MJ is a God-send,” says Brenda.  “And Eric Nash and his wife are angels, supplying without being paid.” 

 Since suffering an MS crisis in 2001, Brenda has been mainly wheelchair-bound within her home, though still able to drive short distances to go to the gym and attend Tai Chi classes, aided by a walker.  15 years of living with the disease has taken its toll on Brenda.  But her “day-at-a-time” approach to life, the saving grace of medicinal MJ and the occasional application of capital ‘A-attitude’ in the form of “DLTBGYD”…keeps Brenda enjoying life and ready for whatever challenges it may bring.