An Abbotsford woman is featured in a documentary about being granted the right to legally use magic mushrooms to treat her end-of-life anxiety.
Laurie Brooks shares her story in the film Dosed 2: The Trip of a Lifetime, which has a screening in Abbotsford on Sunday, Nov. 20 at the Abbotsford Arts Centre (2329 Crescent Way) at 7 p.m.
The film depicts how Brooks “embarks on a remarkable journey of personal transformation and healing while exploring lesser known possible cures for cancer, like cannabis oil,” states a synopsis.
Brooks and filmmakers Nicholas Meyers and Tyler Chandler will be on hand for a Q&A following the screening.
Also on the panel will be Chino Julian, an outreach worker with Sto:lo Health and a member of Matsqui First Nation; Dr. Reg Peters, the medical lead on a Health-Canada-approved study looking at psilocybin for depression; and Dave Phillips, national trainer for TheraPsil.
Brooks, who is married with four kids, was diagnosed with colon cancer in February 2018, and went through radiation, multiple rounds of chemotherapy and surgery.
But she found out in August 2019 that her cancer had returned, and another surgery followed in May 2020.
She experienced intense anxiety, grief and fear at the prospect of dying, and a close friend suggested she try psilocybin (magic mushrooms) as part of therapy.
It made such a difference in her life that she petitioned the federal government to gain approval to use it legally.
In August 2020, she became one of the first four Canadians to gain that approval.
Brooks found out in October 2020 that the cancer had returned for a third time, and was diagnosed with breast cancer in the spring of 2021.
She is currently still living with cancer and is taking chemo by pill. Brooks said her experiences with psilocybin therapy have helped her better manage the anxiety, fear and trauma that cancer brought with it.
“Psilocybin didn’t cure my cancer, but it definitely pushed the walls back when it felt like they were starting to close in on me,” she said. “It allowed me to be able to breathe and enjoy my life and family.”
Brooks said she was also helped by reading Dr. Gabor Mate’s book When the Body Says No and met with Mate for the film.
She said he encouraged her to stop saying that she is “battling cancer” and instead say that she is “living with cancer.” Brooks has nicknamed her tumour “Frank.”
“So I take my chemo pills, one week on and one week off, and go for a scan every three months to see what’s happening with Frank, but other than that I try not to worry about it,” she said.
“I honestly can say that I’m not afraid of death now, but I also don’t want to meet it too soon.”
Tickets for the screening are $24.99 and are available at eventbrite.ca by searching “Dosed 2: The Trip of a Lifetime.”