Sage and Sass

Sage and sassy wanderings of a curious mind.

To weed or not to weed…or you’re thinking of doing what??? June 30, 2011

  I suffer from chronic pain.  It sucks.  It really sucks.  I have known many others that suffered but until it happens to you personally, you really have absolutely no comprehension whatsoever what it is like.  I admit it, I am guilty, in the past, of thinking, “OMG when do you not feel bad?”, upon slipping up and asking one of them how they are doing.  That doesn’t make me a bad person, it is is just so hard to understand what chronic really means.  When you are relatively healthy your experience with pain or sickness is fleeting.  You get an injury or the flu and you bide your time or take drugs that knock out the pain and before you know it you are up and running again.  That is your reality so you tend to think it is everyone else’s also. 

  And how bout those drugs?  Ah the wonderful world of prescription painkillers.  I hear people talk about them in various degrees of awe.  There’s the typical younger response of,  “Dude, I twisted my ankle but I got some killer painkillers.”  Then there’s the middle aged, “the doc gave me some pretty heavy duty pain killers but I will only take them if I have to.”  My personal mind boggling favorite, “I’ve been on them for years, couldn’t get thru the day without them, they are prescription so they are safe.”  Really???  Ummm, newsflash, no they aren’t.  Not knocking them, just saying…wise up.  If you can take them and they help you, awesome for you but do not presume that because a doctor writes you a prescription they are without consequence.

   I, personally, cannot take pain killers.  I have allergic reactions to 90% of everything docs prescribe for me.  Not exaggerating.  New docs will say, “oh no problem, everyone can take this one and we’ll start you on a low dose.  You won’t even know you are taking them.”  And then I spend 3 weeks having side effects that make me sicker than the original condition.  And the docs are always so shocked by this.  “But, EVERYONE can take this!”  Apparently not.   I absolutely love my current doc, BTW.

insulin pump

What neuropathy does

What is my condition?  I have type I or juvenile diabetes.  I am on an insulin pump.  Been on insulin over half my life and now suffer from peripheral, autonomic and poly neuropathy.  The pain can be annoying or excruciating with varying degrees in between.  But there is never a day without pain.  I have suffered several setbacks along my diabetes path, some pretty scary and painful but I always beat them.  I won, I came out on top and I never let it get me down for long.  Until about 3 yrs ago when my body just started going all willy nilly on me.  Without going into a bunch of detail you don’t want to hear I will hit the highlights.  It began with nausea that led to about 6 months of not being able to keep food down or blood sugars stable.  Around this time I also started having what they call “no symptom hypoglycemia”, pretty technical term there isn’t it?  I have always been very fortunate in that I always had strong symptoms when I was dropping too low.  I would even wake up if I dropped in the middle of the night.  Not so anymore.  Scary?  You betcha.  All of this led to having my gall bladder removed.  Which may not have been necessary.  Too late now. 

Having my gallbladder out did stop the nausea for a while.  But then about two years ago a whole new round of symptoms started kicking my butt.  Excruciating bouts of pain that would start with my whole body burning, then sensitivity to touch or clothing and then stabbing pain and then back to the sensitivity and burning and then back to normal.  These flare ups as I call them would last anywhere from 3 to 6 days and then I would have about 10 days before the next one hit.  Working was out of the question, I never knew when they would hit or how long they would last.  God bless my dear Usband!  Long story short, I now take Cymbalta to control the flare ups, which it does to a certain point.  While I no longer have the flare ups that completely grounded me, what I have instead is a constant version of it that never lets up.  Don’t get me wrong it is preferrable to the flare ups.  Oh and did I mention I have to take another med to protect my kidneys from the Cymbalta? 

  So this constant or chronic pain is what brings me to the title of this blog.  I can’t deal with this pain anymore.  I need some relief.  I need to be my old self or at least an older version of it.  I am not a cranky, miserable person.  I am a happy, spunky, pro-active, git her done person.  I am a hugger dammit!  Now I am limited to touching only when it will not cause me to shriek in pain.  And I am tired of it.  I am doing all I can do to correct, control and live with this and it is not enough.  I need relief.  I have tried everything recommended for the pain and nothing has helped.  And then I remembered…

  Once, in my early twenty’s I was having a pretty painful bout of pancreatitis.  It was bad.  The very dear friend whose couch I was crashing on at the time of this bout got sick of watching my suffering and all but forced me to smoke some weed.  I had no insurance at the time and no money, so I was screwed.  She convinced me to do it, didn’t take much convincing to be honest and much to my surprise and relief, the pain let up enough to let me sleep and go back to work the next day.  It was a miracle.  All was right in my world again.

  Now personally, I have always thought it was insane that pot is illegal when alcohol which is much more destructive, is not.  But that’s just me.  I am not getting into the debate over legalizing marijuana here.  I will state my opinion, it is natural, it is beneficial, I think it should be legal.  Read the history, it might surprise you.  However, I come from a very conservative, religious background.  And I believe in following the law.  When in Rome and all that.  So when the memory of the relief I got all those years ago popped back into my head recently, most likely due to the fact that Az is now a medical marijuana state, you can imagine I was torn. 

  To weed or not to weed?  That was the question.  The answer?  Weed, definitely.  It didn’t really take much thought.  It is legal in Az. now and my condition makes me a candidate.  Yea, yea there’s the whole federal issue still but, I want my life back.  So I talked it over with my Usband and our girl’s.  They were very supportive and on board with anything that would give me some relief.  Then I turned my attention to my folks.  I brought it up first just as a discussion, you know, “how bout that medical marijuana issue.”  Surprisingly my mom and dad didn’t have much of an opinion on it.  So I let them know I was considering it.  My mom laughed it off and said whatever works, I know you need something.  Dad was overly concerned with the controversy and possibility of being arrested federally.  I told him I was willing to risk it.  He didn’t like that. 

  Anyway I took the plunge, I got my medical records and went to a recommending doc.  I got my recommendation and now I am waiting for my card.  Now, since Arizona has the dispensaries on hold, I must decide whether to grow my own or use a “caregiver”.  I would like to grow my own just to ensure the organic part of it and all that but, I do not have a green thumb.  I kill weeds on accident, no pun intended.  Hmmmm, what to do, what to do…I am sure there will be more on this subject.  In the meantime, what is your opinion and or experience on this subject??? 

Inquiring minds want to know!

Slainte’   ~Sam        BTW, I really do recommend educating yourself.  No matter what your views.  Do not let a doctor or any health care person make decisions for you.  Know what you are taking, know the alternatives and be a responsible health care patient.  It’s important!


a glimpse into the book I am writing. June 2, 2011

This is from the first chapter, just a little sneak peak.  What do ya think?  Intrigued???

I will never forget the night I first laid eyes on him. I was waiting tables at a chain style restaurant with a 50’s theme that stayed open late to accommodate the “last call” crowd. It was my “spending money” job. Tips weren’t that great but then it didn’t require a lot of brain power and I didn’t spend much. They gave you two choices for uniform, Sandy or Rizzo. I was definitely not the poodle skirt type back then so my choice was Rizzo all the way. Usually I wore black spandex pants or skirt, (Arizona is too hot for anything remotely resembling leather) white button down shirt with rolled sleeves, a red chiffon neck scarf and black motorcycle boots. Ok, so the boots were a break from the theme but they were mine, comfortable and I wore them religiously. They were my rebellion against high heels and gave me a sense of toughness I desperately needed in my younger days. I still have the bag I carried all my junk around in that said “what would you do?” on one side with “I’d ban high heels and teach the world to groove” on the other. I love that bag. The cool thing about being Rizzo is it gave you a certain amount of freedom to screw with people and flirt with the guys that a poodle skirt just did not encourage. Occasionally it even increased your tips to give people a hard time. At two am, after standing on my feet cutting hair all day and slinging hash all night, I really appreciated this strange phenomenon. You want sarcasm with that burger, you’ve come to the right place.

I had a small group of 3 guys that would always request my table. I was happy to have them. They, unlike the majority of our late nighters, were always sober. They were bouncers from a nightclub around the corner and fabulous tippers. Keep their drinks full and flirt a little bit and we all went home happy. So this one unusually slow Friday night, Larry, Moe and Curly, as I affectionately referred to them, came strutting in to get their midnight snacks. I am terrible with names. I couldn’t then and still can’t tell you what any of their names were. Believe me they gave the Three Stooges a run for their money in the juvenile department, so the names stuck. I wasn’t busy so I grabbed some menus and headed over to greet and seat them. Moe, because he was the ring leader, not because he resembled the “real” Moe, picked me up in a bear hug and spun me around until I was dizzy. He thought the part where I had to grab onto him to keep from falling was particularly funny. I was not as delighted by it as he was but it was much more preferrable than a drunken slap on the behind.

“Hey little darlin, what’s shakin’ “? he said as I waited for my head to clear. “Nuthin til now you big lug, but thanks to you my head is spinning.” I replied with a little jab to his oh so fabulously muscled bicep. Goodness but that man had an incredible body. Cute too, think Jon Bon Jovi in Mr. Universe form. He was too childish for my taste but a welcome distraction to look at. “You want your usual table big guy”? I asked with a grin. “You know it sweet cheeks”. He said with a wink and a glance to my backside making it very clear he didn’t mean the ones on my face. “Up here dude, up here”, I said making a circling motion at the level of my eyes. “I’m sorry sweet cheeks, I was a little distracted, did you say something”? he replied grinning from ear to ear. “Brother”, I moaned. “Can’t you guys keep him on a leash”?, I whined to Larry and Curly.

And that is when it happened. I looked in their direction and discovered that standing right behind them was the most beautiful man I had ever seen up close and personal. He was about 6’4″, muscular but not in a body builder sense. His skin was light tawny brown and he had a wide open face that was both friendly and guarded. His eyes were large, almond-shaped, the color of finely aged whiskey. He had just the very beginning of tiny laugh lines around the outside of them that made you question whether he really was as intimidating as his overall persona indicated. Those deep, soulful eyes drew you in, made you want to take a step just a little closer to him, dare to find out what would happen if you ventured into his personal space. I remember thinking that if I kept looking into them I would lose myself completely. I also remember not caring. He had a full Fu Manchu going on that added to the tough guy image he was putting out but even that was betrayed by the most adorable, almost shy, little boy grin. It was the only hair on his head, the rest was clean, shaved completely. I had first thought this was yet another addition to the carefully cultivated persona but later learned it was out of insecurity over a prematurely receding hairline. He unnerved me completely. Never, ever,  trust a first impression that takes your breath away.