Saturday, May 12, 2012

My little secret!

I have been hiding a secret for a very long time now.  My parents, family, and wife all know, but it is something that I have felt very mixed up about for a while.  I am one of those dirty Medical Marijuana users.  I feel due to recent events that have entered my life (my town has decided that the local dispensaries are eyesores, even though if you have ever been to my town they are honestly some of the best looking businesses in the town both appearance wise, and well cleanliness wise as well.)

I attended the council meeting where Council members (who have been REAPING tax profit in from at least one of the dispensaries if not all three for 4 years,) have now decided after 4 years has transpired that they don't want to be known as a medical marijuana town.  I mean after all, being the proud town with 3 gas stations, one of which is at the east entrance of our town and greets people coming in with iron bars on windows and meth pipes sold as incense burners.  Our most recognized spot is a biker bar (which has amazing burgers) and we're known for mine carts and a bargain grocery store that sells dented and expired goods at a low price to people who either don't speak English, or just cant afford to go elsewhere. I digress of course, the point being they said the dispensaries were entered by riff raff and people who do not look sick.  The general public was forbidden to speak because it was a work session, but the place was packed with patients that despite being riff raff (thanks Pro Tem Mayor Joe Baker for that lovely term) all somehow looked no difference appearance wise then the people sitting on the council.

Multiple Sclerosis causes several issues.  The first and most powerful one is of course, the way it slowly but surely reduces your mobility.  You suffer micro spasms, extreme spacisity (feeling stiff like a board like you just got done working out after not doing it for 10 years, fell asleep, and woke up to the muscle fatigue.) and weakness in the limbs as they stop responding to you.  Then comes the pain...oh ya called neuropathy it will start as a slight burning, pins and needle feeling, like your leg is asleep with a bad sunburn....and then it gets more and more intense over time.  It does not go away.  You can hit this sucker with any over the counter pain med you like but most will not even touch it.  The usual drug of choice.....morphine!  In various different forms morphine or opiate are used to treat severed pain by depressing the CNS system.  They are extremely addictive, and have this country in a stranglehold as they are prescribed like candy for just about anything anymore.

I was faced with the choice of how to manage this.  I sucked it up for  4 and 1/2 years, but when I couldn't sleep regularly (MS also likes to give you long bouts with insomnia as it activates your bodies immuno system causing endorphins to pump for what it percieves is to help fight an infection.  By the way the infection just happens to be your brain and spine its nibbling on) After talking with several doctors about my issues, One suggested that while the VA could not and would not prescribe medical marijuana, there are many doctors that would for MS on the civilian side and it was actually being seen worldwide as a drug of choice for MS patients, for if taken correctly it could actually give energy back, help with spascity and the effects that help with MS related symptoms extend well beyond the duration of the euphoric effects.  I talked with my wife about it, and still gave it a few more months.

Finally I went to a Neurologist outside the VA whom confirmed a lot of what I had read, and while he wasnt willing to "prescribe it due to the negative stigma but would gladly give me a script for hydromorphone"  Gee, thanks Doc, you rattle off the reasons to do it then offer me liver failure, renal failure and addiction in a bottle.  Anyway, I went to another doctor who wrote the presciption up, I sent it off with a request to the state and got my lovely red card authorizing me to pick up medical marijuana.  I tryed vaporizing it, which was alright, but I began to have severe craving to smoke, something I fought tooth and nail to quit years ago. I have tryed to avoid smoking it as A) I have children and B) it reeks and finally C) I dont care what anyone says inhaling anything into your lungs besides air is probably a bad idea. Tar is Tar.  So on to the edibles route.

I can honestly say, I had never touched a drug besides alcohol and cigarettes in 35 years up to this point.  I know a lot of my friends of course had, but I still felt like as a father, I had to be very careful how I approached this.  Well, frankly, I treat it like any other medication, it is far removed from being within my kids reach, (I stay away from refrigerated versions of edibles for that reason), and low and behold it works wonders.  I would not call it a wonder drug BUT, I can move around again.  Often without my cane crutch, (I still have to use my Brace for my right leg because I have foot drop now), but I was actually able to go outside and do things again.  The tremors would all but stop, and the pain oh the pain would go to a dull roar.  The best part is once I figured out the dose that worked for me, I got sleep...oh my god glorious sleep.

My whole family noticed a big difference in me.  Even through relapses, it has helped to shorten the span of the relapse without my having to get a hefty dose of steroids.  All in all, I feel like I got the best possible sort of life I could have back for the condition I am in.  Worse case scenario, I might eat that leftover sandwich in the fridge, but other then that I sit and watch tv with Wendy, write, read (I must admit books are amazing whilst a little euphoric) or play games.  Only on my very worst days do I use the mini vaporizer with Sativa to get a little pick me up for doing outside stuff.  My need to nap has waxed and waned but over all I have been much better about not needing to nap as much.

Still I was feeling bad.  I was legal in the state of colorado.  I went to a legitimate dispensary which looks more like a walgreens then a head shop, and you would be hard pressed to ever know I used it unless I told you.  My children know I use it and why, but of course have never seen me do it.  I had to be open and honest about it with those close to me, because well, it still is a drug, and even though I can say after almost a year and half using it, I can go days without having to take a nibble on anything edible wise.  I don't feel I need it, (not like I use to wake up at 1 in the morning needing a cigarette, realizing I was out and driving to a gas station just for a smoke) It doesn't control me it just gives me a measure of my life back. 

So why talk about it here, publically? Because I want to help folks understand that this medicine can be used non recreationally and for good purposes.  I won't go on a tangent about the many uses of the Cannabis plant beyond medicine.  Leave it safe to say, Its a real shame more people with extreme pain issues and mobility problems don't have access to this.  I intend to go in and fight this Monday at the council meeting to ban our dispensaries.  My Dispensary, Dacono Meds is a clean, professional environment.  Its not a head shop with some stoned out 20 year old behind the counter talking about his bong of choice.  This medication in conjunction with Yoga actually works wonders on returning lost flexibility due to MS related problems.

Just remember, love it or hate it, if its helping someone to regain their life, there has to be something positive about it.  I am all for regulation, control and keeping the MMJ business clean cut and clear.  Please card me, Please verify that I am not over using, Please treat it like any other controlled substance.  And finally, Please treat me as a patient and not a criminal.  Yes there are people with red cards who don't need them its a fact.  but that total is not even a fraction of the people with prescription pills that do not need them and abuse them. 

So there ya go, the clean cut boy from brown county has joined the legion of people who have used marijuana in their life.  I do not feel bad about the choice I have made any longer.  I will fight tooth and nail to keep our dispensary open here in Dacono.  Because frankly without it, I will have to search long and hard for another dispensary that is as professional as this one. 

Keeping my chin up

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