November 13, 2000, to October 24, 2018
April 7, 2018, my 17-year-old son was diagnosed with Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome after becoming so severely dehydrated that his kidney went into failure. He quit using marijuana for 45 days, but he was in denial. Brian had 2 episodes of CHS that required him to be hospitalized due to dehydration that was causing kidney failure.
On Oct. 24, 2018, Brian began another episode. I spoke to his doctor explaining my concern and that I felt like I was slowly watching my son die. Their only solution was possible rehab. While waiting on his medicine to get ready Brian began having lower back pain, I called 911 thinking it was his kidneys. While waiting for EMTs Brian quit breathing and I began CPR until help arrived. EMTs worked for 45 minutes trying to save Brian, but he was gone. My sweet 17-year-old baby boy was gone. I had to tell all of our loved ones that I could not save our Brian. My world was turned upside down.
There is no greater pain than losing a child. How do you plan your child’s funeral? How do we financially have a funeral? With lots of help, we had Brian’s funeral and I was overwhelmed with the amount of people who came and the wonderful words they spoke about Brian.
I did not know what Brian’s cause of death was for 6 months. The official cause was dehydration due to CHS. This began my journey of not only learning all I could about CHS but sharing Brian’s story to save others. My family has all been affected by Brian’s death, we have gotten closer but mentally we all struggle. I not only lost my son but my best friend. Losing Brian has caused my anxiety and depression to worsen.
I was never told marijuana could cause vomiting let alone death. I was not warned of the seriousness of CHS. I began a Facebook group called CHS Awareness for Parents, I have made videos sharing Brian’s story, and I tell his story to anyone who will listen even if it’s in the middle of the grocery store. Brian is meant to make a difference; I just have to be his voice now. I have met so many supportive people through sharing Brian’s story and gotten messages saying Brian’s story saved their life. I could not be any prouder of Brian.
Brian was a sweet young man who had dreams and goals. Brian could just sit with you when you were sad and make you feel better. Brian gave the best hugs. Brian helped anyone and everyone. Brian was a great uncle and loved his nephew. Brian loved playing basketball and looked forward to teaching his nephew his skills. Brian liked shoes and could take old shoes and make them look practically new. Brian was not just the kid who died from smoking weed. Brian was a son, brother, uncle, nephew, grandson, a friend, who will be missed beyond measure. Brian was not a bad person because he smoked marijuana, he was just one of the unfortunate ones who developed CHS.