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.
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!