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Quality of Life verse Quantity of Life~ Legal verse Illegal.

Pain Medication or Marijuana

I was doing some research this morning on finding an alternative way to manage my pain. After seeing my specialist yesterday at Virginia Mason Hospital where I spent most of my morning… I was told

“I don’t like the amount of pain medication your taking, it’s going to shorten you life! I would like to start tapering you off as soon as we get your Crohn’s under control. It’s going to kill you!”

Wow… it’s been on my mind all night… I’M GOING TO START TAPPERING YOU OFF… AND… IT’S GOING TO KILL YOU is all I heard… everything after that sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher…Whap, whap, whap…

I reminded him that I’ve been sick for ten years now and taking the “Pain” medication the entire time. Unable to free my body from it, or live a single day without it. A disease induced drug addict. Not an easy thing to admit to anyone or myself. But I can’t live without it. My pain levels range from a 6 to 9 on the pain chart, fluctuating daily depending on what I’ve done, eaten, or what current  stress I’m under. Some days are better than others, but most end up with tears.

Not too many people know I’m on it or take it regularly.  I don’t look any different because of it. I’m just able to function on it, to live my life without sever pain, to have some sort of quality of life. Without it I would be dead, dead from not being able to deal with the pain. I’m sure some of you can relate. I’ve never considered suicide while my pain is under control.

For those of you who know me… I was the most straight laced teenager/young adult. Sure I tried pot, alcohol, and cigarettes in my teens. There I admitted it, I’m sorry mom…. But you’ll be glad to know I hated them all. Yes…really. No matter who did it or where or when I was around it… I gracefully declined… except on a couple occasions, but those are for later stores. I never judged any of my family or friends for dabbling, or even getting hooked. I was so straight laced that I was the one who brought my own soda to the party; afraid that there’s would be spiked. I was teased all the time, but I just didn’t care for it. I didn’t like what alcohol and cigarettes did to me, and I didn’t like how alcohol and cigarettes made me feel and I didn’t like what it did to those around me. On more occasion then I’d care to remember, I didn’t like how it made others act. Pot was another story, it’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, I had the fear factor. I was afraid I’d get caught, have an allergy attack, or that someone would know…because I couldn’t stop smiling.

Growing up in the liquor industry and having it around me all the time, it’s still amazing that alcohol wasn’t one of my vices…for me it was food. My parents owned their own liquor store so I saw what alcohol did to a lot of people, to families, the accidents it caused, and the people it hurt.  I’m not saying that alcohol is completely bad, or the people who consume it are bad. I’m just saying that it’s completely legal, encouraged, advertised, and socially accepted. Even today alcohol is a huge part of a lot of people’s lives, whether they are wine connoisseur or social drinkers or have an occasional glass of wine with dinner. No one judges them. Some use it to control their pain, numb their life woos, or drink it because they like the taste. It’s even socially appropriate to bring a nice bottle of wine to a party or give as a gift to a host. Alcohol is accessible to everyone all the time, no matter where they go it’s available to them. Without judgments!

In my research today I kept finding alternative medications that would help me with my illness and disease. It would help with my pain but it’s not legal, it’s not accessible to me here in the state of Washington… Why you’re asking?  Because it’s illegal to sell it, that’s why.  Marijuana is what kept coming up in my searches. I found so many studies and articles that claim and say that Cannabis would help me with my pain; give me a quality of life. Yet I can’t take it legally…Why I ask?

I remember when my grandma had cancer, several years ago…and the pain she was in, and how a joint maybe could of helped her, but it wasn’t an option, it was illegal, but her cigarettes weren’t. Or when my husband was diagnosed with heart disease and was given only 6 months to live. He had Cardiomyopathy’s.  His resting heart rate was 160. His doctor prescribed all kinds of drugs; most of them had worse side effects then the disease itself.

When we did the research, what kept coming up was Marijuana. It was the only natural pain reliever which would also slow his heart rate down. But it was illegal. He was dying, what were our options… let him die in pain or find him relief.  So we found it on the streets, it would have been so much safer going to our nearest pharmacy. It helped him right away to slow his heart rate down and eased his pain; it made his quality of life improve almost instantly regardless of what others would like to believe.

We couldn’t tell anyone not even his doctor or our family members out of fear of being judged, having the cops show up at our door,  or called a drug addict, pot head or worse yet… a loser. It was the only drug that helped slow down his heart rate and make him comfortable, yet we hid it from our kids so not to promote an illegal substance…because of the stigma attached to it.

The marijuana worked so well combined with other holistic remedies like living an Ayurvedic life style, doing yoga and having Amrit Kalash Nectar in his tea. He was able to completely heal his heart. His doctors were amazed and in disbelief. But we couldn’t tell a soul how he really did it… for fear of being labeled or thrown in jail.

That was 21 years ago and here I sit in the year 2010 faced with the same dilemma. I cannot get the one drug that would help  ease my pain legally, get me off my pain pills, preserve my liver, and enhance my quality of life. I can’t even take it illegally because I am drug tested randomly by my pain doctor, so it’s not even an option for me … so I ask you… Why?

I want to open this for discussion: Quality of life verse Quantity of life~ Legal verse Illegal.

Why is it that I can take tons of medications known to destroy my liver, destroy my mind, memory, and even possibly kill me from their side effects as is noted on just about every medication I’m currently taking? Even the one medication I need the most, Remicade lists it’s possible side effects as Lymphoma…Cancer. Yet I depend on it, willingly take it, and would fight to not lose it… Yet a well know plant that has nowhere near as many harmful side effects… is illegal.

Marijuana could help take away my pain, could help give me more energy, gain weight (not that I need this side effect, I do this all too well on my own). It could help make my quality of life better so maybe I could find some enjoyment, peace and enhance my creative self by making me feel better… but I can’t get it, possess it, grow it, or legally consume without a state issued card prescribed by an M.D. The problem that lies before me and everyone else is we couldn’t buy it here or anywhere even if we had the prescription. The state made it legal to get the card, but not legal to go out and buy it.  The only options for me are the black markets, but I’d have to either get my doctor to prescribe it, or quit going to her, because she’ll fire me if she does a drug test anyway. So either way I’m …screwed.

Marijuana is much cheaper than my $30,000.00 dollar a treatment I’m currently taking. It would save the tax payers millions, make states increase their revenue if they could tax it.  If regulated, there would be no more jailed individuals on pot charges.

I just don’t understand why Marijuana is such a taboo subject in the year 2010. Why when it has been proven to help so many people who are suffering, yet continues to have such a horrible reputation. I don’t understand why so many people fight to keep it from becoming legalized. That is until they to become ill or have an ill family member that would benefit from the use of cannabis.

Is it because there’s no money to be made by it like there is with alcohol or manufactured drugs? Or is it because I or anyone else could grow it in our own back yards? Even though most of us would buy it rather than deal with trying to grow a quality plant.  So in reality,  it could make our country a lot of  money, more then it spends on keeping it illegal, housing our prisoners, or finding and prosecuting growers, dispensers and users.

I found this YouTube video that made sense… I know this is a heated topic, and I apologize if I’ve offended you, but we need to openly discuss the very important issue; my life may depend on it, so may yours.

Hummmm…. Pain, dead liver equals dead body or Marijuana… I know what my choice will be.

Why are we so afraid of it? Tell me what you think!

Crohn’s disease & marijuana.

Can marijuana help people with Crohn’s disease or other gastrointestinal disorders? O’Shaughnessy’s, a scientific journal, published a study in its Autumn 2005 issue titled “Cannabis Alleviates Symptoms of Crohn’s Disease,” by Jeff Hergenrather, MD, The United Kingdom Parliament’s 1998 “Science and Technology-Ninth Report” noted: “Dr. Anita Holdcroft of Hammersmith Hospital…has reported the results of a placebo-controlled trial of cannabis in a patient with severe chronic pain of gastrointestinal origin… The patient’s demand for morphine was substantially lower during treatment with cannabis than during a period of placebo treatment.” The Journal of Clinical Investigation published an article in Apr. 2004 by F. Massa, et al., from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, titled “The Endogenous Cannabinoid System Protects Against Colonic Inflammation,” that stated: “The major active constitutent of the plant Cannabis sativa (marijuana), THC, and a variety of natural and synthetic cannabinoids have been shown to possess… anti-inflammatory activities… Results indicate that the endogenous cannabinoid system represents a promising therapeutic target for the treatment of intestinal disease conditions characterized by excessive inflammatory responses.”


“Can’t Wait Card”

Today, one of my new friends who also experiences IBS told me about a card that I could get from the CCFA (Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America) called the “Can’t Wait Card”. It’s a card that you can carry with you and if you find yourself in a situation where there is not a public restroom, you can use this card to gain access to any available bathroom, such as a staff toilet in a store, or an employee only restroom.

I had no idea one of these card even existed. So when my friend mentioned it to me, I was quickly on it. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been told… “I’m sorry miss, we don’t a public restroom.” Normally they can tell by the look on my face that I’m desperate. Some businesses have allowed me to use their facilities, but many haven’t. They’ve lost my future business.

I emailed CCFA this morning, they were quick to respond. I was very impressed; normally you’d have to wait forever to get a response. I wanted to share what they had to say…

“The… “Can’t Wait Card” which will gain you access to any public restroom is part of our membership program. Individual membership is a $30 annual fee which includes the card, a subscription to our bi-annual magazine Take Charge, a subscription to our bi-annual research news bulletin Under the Microscope, chapter newsletters, and discounts to CCFA events. If this poses a financial hardship, we can offer you a 1 year complimentary membership.”
You may be interested to know that CCFA has an exciting new education event. Our new patient education program is Understanding IBD: What Every Patient Needs to Know. This free event, open to all patients, family members, caregivers, and community members is hosted by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and will be led by local physician experts.
Our experts in patient care and research will provide an in-depth overview of IBD, including:
• Guidance on how to recognize symptoms
• How to manage your disease
• Current therapies and emerging research
• Disease and treatment-related side effects
• Emotional wellness and resources
• Question-and-answer session
For more information on a local program in your area, please visit our website
To become a CCFA member, call 800.932.2423.

I had no clue there was such a care and I’ve done extensive research, so I wanted to share it with all of you so you to are now aware and can get your own card.

Due to my financial situation and my inability to work at this time, I’m not able to afford to send them their $30.00 membership fees until my disability is reinstated or my social security is approved… so I had to let them know that this posed a hardship…not an easy thing to admit to anyone. I have such a hard time asking for help (something I need to work on). I hate not having the money I use to have, or not being able to afford basic necessities or things that would help me deal with my illness a little easier…. But I’m learning to do what I can with the means that I have…

So if I don’t get approved for the hardship “Charity Care” membership, I’ve decided that I would have to continue doing what I have been doing… Closely monitoring where I go, map out my route… not eat until I get home, bulk up on the Imodium, etc… Either that… or come up with my own card with a sweet description as shown below:
“If you were presented this card….
The person standing before you is about to explode…
You have two choices… run for cover,
Or escort them to your nearest restroom…
Thank you for your assistance in keeping our world a happier clean place.”

Without humor… what do we have left…? I’ll let you know if I get one of those special cards…or if I’ve made my own…LOL. Until the next time….

~Peace, Love & Happy Moments ~

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