Living with a disease that causes chronic pain was never part of my life plans. I couldn’t have prepared for it. Even if I had known what was in store beforehand.
Pain. Limitations. Treatments. Therapies. Depression. They’re all part of the package. Finding relief while learning to navigate around my restrictions became the sole purpose of my existence for a period of time. My personal life suffered for it immensely. I lost friendships, became distanced from my extended family, and struggled with the responsibilities I had to my own.
Then I found out my state was legalizing medical marijuana and I would qualify for a license with my condition.
In high school, I had moonlighted as a pothead, unbeknownst to most of the people who knew me back then. I continued smoking pot throughout college until I matured enough to realize the risk of breaking the law was no longer worth the effect it would have on my future if I was ever caught doing so. Despite how enjoyable and invaluable I found the drug to be for me, it seemed like the right thing to do at that time. For even back then, prior to my diagnosis, I suffered from intermittent bouts of pain. I always chalked it up to my athleticism, unaware that my body was harboring a mutant gene.
It’s clear to see now that the intensity and frequency of the spasms afflicting me had increased tenfold after I had quit smoking pot. At the time I missed the correlation. When the option to use marijuana legally came around, I realized that contrary to the popular social belief conditioned upon me, I had actually benefited from being a stoner all those years ago.
I knew without question at that point, I had to give medical marijuana a shot. So I talked to my physician about becoming a card holder.
I have been a medical marijuana patient for almost 3 years now. In that time, I have weaned down to a very minimal dose of the narcotic pain medications I used to take so much of for very little solace. Those types of medications can, in the long run, create pain beyond what is really a factor of the injury or disease. This leads to a vicious dependency requiring constant increases in dosage to maintain minimal relief.
Marijuana, however, does nothing of the sort. Unlike the toxicity of man-made pharmaceuticals, which can damage other organs over the long haul, cannabis is a naturally occurring substance. It contains no harmful properties and multiple health benefits to boast beyond the pain relief. Only when smoked can there be any sort of negative effect on the body, but smoking it is not essential for consumption in this day and age. There are many alternative methods with which to reap the benefits. Besides, the majority of pharmaceutical medications boast side effects that can be quite serious and potentially deadly but are still prescribed for use when the benefits outweigh the risks.
Medical marijuana has enhanced my quality of life tremendously and I couldn’t be more grateful. I used to find myself pacing back and forth to keep my mind off of the tormenting pain, incapable of letting myself sit down and relax for even a minute. If I did, chances are I would end up in excruciating pain, unable to get back up again, let alone function for productivity. I was barely sustaining my roles as a mother and wife. My every move centered around the limitations and restrictions the chronic pain put on my life. I felt chained to my house, missing out on the adventures I could be having with my children.
With the aid of medical marijuana now, I am able to do so many of the things I had given up on ever doing again. My body is no longer as tight and contorted as it used to be, increasing my mobility and range of motion. The spasms come less frequently at a tolerable level of pain more relative of a minor discomfort, like a stubbed toe. So much so, for the first time since my diagnosis, I have been able to take a break from the physical therapy and steroid injections which used to rule my appointment book. I feel like part of the family again.
Living in a vicious cycle of anticipating pain-feeling pain-seeking relief from pain caused a dark cloud of depression to consume me for far too long. My once active lifestyle was diminished to walking in circles to alleviate the neverending pain, sleeping with heating pads and ice packs, and taking prescription medications which left me too clouded to think straight, let alone drive a vehicle. It’s really no wonder I didn’t go insane. Having to tell my little ones, “No,” because Mommy can’t lift, bend, squat, run, or jump anymore, only to see their faces fall and the disappointment sink in riddled me with guilt, feeding the depression. More and more I found myself caught in a tidal wave of tears flowing from the purposelessness I felt before I started using pot again.
Having an actual source of relief for the chronic pain controlling my life has allowed that dark cloud to lift and let the light shine again, brighter than ever before. My mental health has improved quite dramatically with the use of medical marijuana. I don’t feel the suffocating weight of my disability as I once did. My sense of humor has returned. I smile way more than I grimace in pain. I feel driven by my newfound ability to accomplish simple tasks, like washing the kitchen floor or mowing the grass, without ending up in a crumpled heap on the floor wishing I could dig every last nerve ending out of my body with my bare hands.
Medical marijuana has changed the entire course of my life for the better.
Chronic pain, as invisible as it can be from the outside, had the potential to render me totally useless and incapacitated at one point. It destroyed the simplicity of my life and affected my loved ones just as much, maybe even more, than it affected me. I was nothing but the shell of my former self before I turned to medical marijuana to regain control over this unfortunate symptom of the genetic disorder I inherited.
With the aid of nature’s most popular herb, I have taken my life back and it feels so good.