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Thursday
Jun022016

Rocky Mountain High...

I've always been the type of person who didn't move a muscle without permission. It's taken me nearly four years (and counting) of counseling to understand that I am in charge of my own decisions, and I don't owe anyone else a say in my life. I mean, I already *knew* this, but putting it into practice hasn't been easy. I'm not fully comfortable with this revelation of being in control yet, but I'm working hard to overcome some emotional and anxiety issues. Life has not turned out the way I planned, at all, and I have to deal with this reality. The counseling really helps. In addition to the internal issues I'm working against, my plans have also turned into cow patties because I'm sick. I've been sick for a looong time. Apparently, I am infected with Lyme disease and some co-infections which include chronic active Epstein Barr and a pneumonia virus. When I first became ill, I was fairly young and no one took me seriously, so I figured I'd just deal with it, and I hoped it would just go away eventually. It did not. Then came a time when I went to the doctor several times per week because the symptoms became so frightening, but the docs would either dismiss me outright or just prescribe pain pills. I don't like pain pills, and they don't work for me. Plus, I need to be lucid, and pain pills tend to make me nervous and overly sleepy. I can't work with that. 

In recent months, I've slowed way down. I am not physically able to "fake it" on days when I'm having trouble functioning, which makes me feel way more vulnerable than I would have imagined. I have tried to hide the fact that I'm unwell, but people have noticed. I really hate that. My attitude, however, is mostly positive. I've had some dark times, but I am a generally happy person. Unfortunately, the pleasant demeanor hasn't helped with the weird and troubling symptoms. So after nearly two decades of illness and a lot of research and consideration, I came to a decision: I would move to Colorado and begin cannabis therapy. 

After I made this decision to treat myself with an unconventional medicine, I made another decision. I will no longer be polite about my health issues when questioned by others. I realize plenty of people will not approve of cannabis as a legitimate treatment, and plenty of people just looooove to share their unvarnished, unsolicited opinions. I don't need your opinion or your approval. I am doing this legally and carefully. I researched and researched before I chose cannabis as my treatment. I consulted clinics, books, and people who have used cannabis for its healing properties before I decided to use it for myself. I don't need anyone to tell me my decision is "wrong" or "bad." I am trying to save my own life. I am trying to ensure I can be around to raise my son. Anyone with an opposing agenda can suck it. 

This move has been expensive, and because this is not a conventional treatment, insurance won't pay for a thing. My family is 100% footing the bill for this, which makes me feel incredibly lucky and loved, but at the same time, I feel pressure. I feel pressure to get well quickly, which might not be possible. I feel pressure to share private information when I don't want to because they're paying. I feel pressure to hide this from the people in my hometown (The cat will escape the bag on this eventually). I feel pressure to pay my family back for this treatment. A close friend reminded me that the only thing I should be focused on is trying to rest and heal. I'm trying to do that. 

So now that I've made it to Colorado, I've had about a week and a half on my new treatment. I have chosen cannabis oil and CBD oil to treat myself. The CBD is supposed to help lessen the negative effects of THC in the cannabis (THC is responsible for the "high" associated with ingesting cannabis). For those of you who belive cannabis is only for stoners, let me explain something to you: I have not gotten high on the cannabis oil. I'll repeat that: I have not gotten high on the cannabis oil. It has made me very sick, which can mean that I've taken too much, I'm having a bad reaction, or it's actually working to kill my disease. I added the CBD oil after my first few doses of the cannabis oil on the reccomendation of a nurse. I think the CBD has helped me tolerate the cannabis a bit better. 

The first night, I took more than I should have because it didn't seem to be affecting me, so I took an additional dose about 30 minutes after the first one. I guess I was too eager to get well. Also, it was difficult to see how much I was taking because the nearly-black-colored oil is the same color as the stopper and the measurement marks on the syringe. I have since worked out a better way to dose myself. I did not feel "high," but I became extremely dizzy and motion sick. This lasted 24 hours. I woke up several times during the night because I could feel every movement of every cell in my body. If I flipped over to sleep on my opposite side, I felt my stomach take a few extra seconds to turn, and it felt like the world was spinning even when I lay completely still. Even the act of breathing caused motion sickness. It was a horrible feeling. I never felt relaxed, nor did I experience the euphoric feeling I've heard others talk about. It wasn't fun at all. 

But even though I felt so terrible, I noticed a few positive changes nearly immediately. My coloring was improved the morning after my first dose: I wasn't the sickly-reddish color I had been. My inflammation was decreased, and my pain was lowered; it felt as though someone had turned down the volume on the constricting and sizzling feeling that's always in my arms and legs. I could feel it was still there but more quiet than usual. I also appear thinner, though the scale shows the same weight as before. This may be due to less inflammation, and I realize cannabis has a reputation for giving people "the munchies," but my appetite has actually been decreased. Over the next ten days, I dosed myself more conservatively and carefully. I have noticed a few minor improvements in my symptoms and pain, but I realize it will take more time and larger doses to make a significant difference for me. 

During this journey, I'll be blogging about and videoing my progress. I intend to write a book in the hopes of helping others with similar issues, and maybe I can help shine a positive light on the medical benefits of cannabis, particularly the oil form. Right now, I'm a little tired, but I can already feel some positive changes, and I believe I'll be able to blog every few days. We'll see, I guess.

A few of my friends who know where I am and what I'm up to have made jokes like "So, are you stoned yet?" or "You must be high today" and so on. Normally, I'm pretty laid back and hard to offend, but this actually bothers me a little. I guess it bothers me because this isn't a joke. I am not here spending tens of thousands of my family's dollars because I want to get stoned; I'm trying to fix my life so that I don't die. This means a lot to me, and I have a huge amount of hope hanging on this trip and this treatment. I don't appreciate jokes. It feels like jokes undermine the seriousness of my disease. My life is in shambles: if you think that's funny, then you're a horrible human being, and I don't give a crap about you or your stupid jokes. For a minute I thought I'd lost my sense of humor, but I think it's more likely that I just realized I don't have to laugh along with assholes about things that aren't funny. However, I did title this post "Rocky Mountain High." See? I can poke a little fun at myself. Maybe this falls under the same rules as "I can make fun of my own mother, but YOU can't."

 

 

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