If you have followed my blog in the past you may have wondered why I hadn’t written anything for the past 5 months. Well I am back to answer that question and fill you in on what is going on in my life. If you look back at my past posts you would know that I received my medical marijuana recommendation five months ago. A year ago I posted about my three-week cannabis experiment. The result of that experiment was so fantastic, as so was the beginning of my new treatment method. Because three weeks was the most I had to compare to, I wanted to wait before saying my new regime was working or not. In the past I have taken numerous prescriptions for my conditions. Some would help for a day or two, while some for weeks or months before becoming useless. To be able to give a real explanation of my pain plan, I felt I needed to experience several months or more to track how my life has changed. I didn’t want to say that it was fabulous one day and find myself right back where I was a few days later.
Before I lay out my pain plan and the results, I would like to share what I am dealing with. I have Psoriatic Arthritis, Joint degeneration, and Multiple Sclerosis. It took 12 years to receive the correct diagnosis’. I use a walker and/or strategically placed furniture to move about my home. Outside of the house I use a wheelchair. For 12 years I took prescriptions to combat muscle, bone, and nerve pain, as well as insomnia, an irritable bowel, an aggravated hiatal hernia, migraines, and more. Nothing helped for more than a short time. Many of those scripts were the cause of some of my ailments. My quality of life never improved. But it wasn’t just my physical quality of life that worsened, my mental outlook also took a dive, leading me to want to commit suicide last summer. It was realizing that I was truly ready to die at the age of 44 that made me say enough is enough. I had to get past the stigma of being a pot head and see if it could really help. This was my last-ditch effort.
August 31, 2013 : I acquired my Medical marijuana recommendation and visited my first dispensary. It took all my strength just to get thru the doctor visit and obtain my meds. I decided to start with edibles. I purchased a bag full of lollipops and received a free joint as a new patient gift. Within an hour of my first dosage I began to feel relief. That evening I was able to go to dinner at a restaurant with my family and actually enjoy it. It took a few days of learning how long to suck on my lolly to achieve pain relief yet not feel like I was stoned during my awake hours. Awake hours!!! Yes I said that!! For twelve years I suffered from insomnia and was groggy all day. I used to be thrilled to sleep thru the night once or twice a week, or to get a full four hours a night. No more!! My insomnia was reduced to one night a week.
Mid September 2013: I decided to try smoking my free joint before bed one night. After only a few puffs my body experienced a state of relaxation that I had never thought I would ever experience. I later learned that the reason I wasn’t achieving that level of relaxation thru the candy was that the candy was made with a Sativa and my joint was an Indica. I learned that Sativa helps keep me alert, gives me energy, all the while reducing my nerve, muscle and bone pain. While Indica completely relaxes my mind and muscles. The only problem with using an Indica for sleep was that it didn’t help my nerve or bone pain. To solve this I began smoking a Hybrid (Sativa and Indica blend) for bedtime. I also switched from suckers to 35mg jolly ranchers for daytime, one per day on days spent at home, or two on high activity days or outings.
November 2013: By this time I was able to handle outings lasting more than an hour in my wheelchair, was getting out more often, and even had friends over for a BBQ. For the first time in 12 years I found myself enjoying conversations with people. Instead of my brain shouting for people to shut up as my body throbbed with pain, my pain was low enough that it was no longer distracting me from what was being said. Insomnia was no longer an issue. And unlike prescription sleep meds, I no longer wake up feeling groggy. I am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in the mornings and I sleep EVERY night. Eating was no longer a problem either. Prior to medicating with marijuana I would feel overly full and uncomfortable after only a few bites and would have horrific diarrhea no matter how little I ate. All digestive problems were gone!! The few times I have hosted Thanksgiving dinner in the past, it ended up with my husband having to do all the cooking and cleaning because I lacked the stamina to push thru the holiday. Thanksgiving 2013 was the first time I not only was able to help with the pre-cleaning of the house, but I prepared everything except the turkey (hubby likes to smoke our turkey) myself. I even baked my bread and pies from scratch!! My six guests were amazed. They were even more blown away when I revealed my medicinal plan. With the help from one guest, my kitchen was cleaned afterward and I was beyond pleased with how I was able to function through out a holiday that had always left me stressed and with a higher degree of pain. My family was thrilled that I had the energy to help with and direct the decorating of our home for Christmas that weekend.
December 2013: My medicinal plan was continuing to work well, with the exception of overused muscles retaining pain. This is when I discovered Soothing Sue’s Oils. The particular oil I buy is coconut oil mixed with Sativa and Indica oil. I have been told I could cook with it, but I love it as a topical. Whenever a muscle begins to throb I rub a little oil on it. Within seconds the throbbing disappears and I am able to continue what I was doing without adding to my pain. On nights when the muscles around my hips ache from my joint and bone pain, I apply some oil and the muscles and nerve pain is reduced to a level that allows me to fall asleep. With the addition of the oil I was able to return to a hobby that I had given up on in the past, loom knitting. A year ago, a few hours of knitting would cause my shoulder and upper back muscles to seize up for weeks, no matter how many pain pills or muscles relaxers I took. Now I can knit as long as I like as long as I have my oil. I managed to complete a few scarves for family before Christmas as well as have my house cleaned and organized before my holiday company arrived. I even started knitting next years Christmas presents.
Because I felt uncomfortable about smoking my evening dosage in front of my guests I asked my dispensary about an edible Hybrid. They suggested I try a quad dose Cheba Chew. It looks like poop, smells like pot, and if I had to guess what poop mixed with pot tasted like I would answer with Cheba Chew. I deal with the taste only because it works. Finding the best dosage for me took a little work, but in time I discovered that dividing one quad dose into six pieces worked best for me. I love that I have an alternative to smoking when I have overnight company or am staying at a hotel or with family. Why don’t I do this all the time and forgo smoking pot all together? I have two reasons, the first being that it is too EXPENSIVE to medicate with a Cheba Chew on a regular basis. $12 for six nights sleep is not bad every once in a while, but when an $8gram of weed produces 10-14 nights of sleep, the cheaper method wins. The other reason is even though I can medicate with the cheba chew for a few weeks at a time, my compound pain would sneak up and surprise me in the end. It is apparent that smoking weed at night is the most beneficial for me on a regular basis..
Christmas came and went without adding to my normal pain. A week later I threw a simple New Years Eve party. By this point I began to wonder when the other shoe was going to drop. I mean the past few months were too good to be true. Yes, I still needed my wheelchair, and yes I was still dealing with my limitations and pain, but even with those limitations I did more in the past few months than I had done in over a decade. Because of my disbelief I decided that I needed to get past one more milestone before I shared my results with you, and I decided to make it a biggie!! A road trip and week-long visit with family!!
January 2014: I live six hours from my family. Currently that is too long of a drive for me, so my husband drove me halfway and my mom met us in the middle and drove the rest. Before anyone suggests I take the 45min flight instead, know that I hate flying, and I don’t feel brave enough to risk my meds being confiscated at the airport. Also there is no possible way to fly comfortably in my price range. In the few months prior I went from hardly being able to withstand riding in a car for more than five minutes to being able to tolerate between and hour or two. By the time I reached my destination I was ready to fully medicate for the night. As expected I woke the next morning with added pain in my spine, hips, and tailbone. I had to double up my daytime dosage to get thru another two-hour round-trip to visit another family member. Because of this it was made known that if anyone wanted to see me while I was in town they would have to drive to me. In the span of 8 days I logged 17hours riding in a car. Upon returning home I had to up my dosages to keep my pain down to a tolerable level. This frustrated me, but I also had to accept the fact that I was just paying the price for pushing my body past its limits.
Feburary 2014: It has been three weeks since I returned home from my trip and I am back down to the dosages that I was taking prior. My hip, spine and tailbone pain are still higher than normal, but much less than when I returned home.
At this point in time I can confidently say that marijuana has improved my life in ways that prescription meds never have. Along with a lower pain level, my anxiety is almost non-existent, and my depression is long gone. Last year doctors wanted to prescribe ten different drugs to combat all my ailments. I refused and insisted that many of my issues were being caused by the main sources of my pain and that its my pain we needed to address. I don’t know how many times I cried out that my depression was a symptom of pain and not a separate condition. Each time my pleas were ignored. But if I have learned anything over the past 5 months it is that I WAS RIGHT!
As you can see I have been busy. I have gone from being lucky to sleep for four hours a night to sleeping a full 8-10hours EVERY night. Because I have been able to add activities to my days and am no longer awake all night I am having to figure out how to manage my time. All I can say is that I am thrilled to have to figure out how to make the most of each day instead of having too many awake hours filled with excruciating pain. Well that’s it for now. Since I have been getting out more I have many adventures as well as misadventures to share with you. I look forward to chatting with you and continuing the fight for CURES, not band aids.