One year ago, having weaned myself off of all the prescription drugs that I had been taking for the chronic pain that hijacked my life, I set out to learn about cannabis, and try and find some relief. In my very first post, I asked the question…
That is what I was hoping to get from this formerly “taboo” plant. I simply wanted to know if it could possibly help me with the pain that had so completely taken over. I was a shell of the person I once was and I hardly recognized myself or my life over the past few years. I didn’t know how to get back on track to being me – I didn’t know how to be a badass when all I could think about was the pain and all I could do is try and survive each day – only to get up and do it again the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that. It seemed endless and pointless and was absolutely exhausting.
I ventured into the world of cannabis, seeking relief from that pain. I wasn’t looking for or expecting miracles. Just a small bit of relief, a reprieve from the constant, incessant pain that was always there and always at the forefront of whatever needed to be done. I had tried all the different medications the doctor had in his bag of tricks. I diligently went from one drug to another, leaving a wake of shitty ass side-effects in its path, just trying to find something that would ease the pain.
A year has passed and if you look at what I have done, what I have achieved and what I have overcome I would say that the answer to that first question I pondered when looking to cannabis is a resounding…
YES it does help with the pain! Not that it is gone, because it is still here, lurking in the background but that is a huge difference – to have it no longer be front and center, dictating everything I do, is amazing.
Cannabis redirects my mind to NOT focus on the pain, but on other, more pleasant and present things.
Beyond the pain relief (or because of the pain relief) I was able to begin to DO more things. I finally was able to return to the active lifestyle I have always lived. We went fishing and boating, hiking and walking! I road a bike – on the bumpy dirt road at my folks house on Martha’s Vineyard – and I haven’t done THAT since just after my diagnosis, during the last summer that “remitting” meant that I “mostly” felt good, other than the numb feet and legs thing. I returned to swimming and even got some quality gym time in over the past twelve months.
Granted I am not racking up mile after mile on the treadmill or elliptical, I’m not preparing to enter some powerlifting competition like my boys, but I DID return to MOVING my ass and that is a big thing because exercise has always been a part of my life and it’s something that I missed greatly when the pain took over.
Another “side-effect” to my year of using cannabis – I am no longer full of shit. Having struggled with severe constipation for the past 3-4 years (thanks to my stint with Methadone) I am elated to share with you that this “issue” seems to have been resolved. I no longer am taking copious amounts of Myralax, Ducolax, psyllium husks, probiotic supplements, milk of magnesia or anything else and I sure as hell don’t miss the suppositories the doctor has me using daily for a while. It seems my body just decided to click back on and begin processing and metabolizing the food that I consume.
Not surprisingly – and definitely linked to that is that I have begun to lose the weight that I put on after trying Amitriptyline for the pain. I put on 25 lbs in 10 weeks and it remained and probably bumped up to a total of 30 lbs by the time I came off all the drugs and started using cannabis. I’ve been so focused on the pain improvement that without even realizing, I have now dropped 20 lbs. Becoming more active again has certainly helped too!
I survived my worst MS flare-up to date WITHOUT the aid of the steroids that are standard protocol. I know that my recovery from this exacerbation has been slower than any of my past flairs (that were treated with Solumedrol) but I feel way better about myself and the WAY I recovered. By actually listening to my body, and pushing it when I felt I could, and letting it rest and recover when it needed to. With the steroids, the symptoms of a flare-up would clear up faster but the side-effects of the steroids rushing through my veins would linger for weeks and weeks, leaving me feeling jittery, bloated and just “off.”
After recovering in November, some crazy ass idea struck me that I actually DO want to be married again. Contrary to all my rants about never wanting to be someone’s wife again, I am in love with an amazing man and I would be extremely proud to say that he is my husband, to tell the world that HE likes me too! So I proposed…and he said yes. We are getting married this spring.
BUT in my opinion, my biggest accomplishment over the course of the year was to quit smoking. I recently shared that I have been a closet smoker for years, and having put it out there for the world to know, I have heard from people from all different stages of my life expressing shock that I smoke. I apparently was fairly good at hiding it. But hidden or not, it has been a part of my life since my first cigarette at the age of 12. I have never announced that I am trying to quit – because most people don’t even know that I smoke but also because I have always know that IF I did make that announcement, if I did throw my hat in the ring, that I would effectively be giving them up, because I seem to have this thing with not wanting to let the world see me fail. Falter yes, fail no. I am on my 12th day of being #tobaccofree and I think I might actually be believing that I can do this. The stupid voice still chimes in, suggesting that a smoke would be a good idea, but I have gotten very good at telling it to shut the fuck up.
Over the past year, cannabis has helped me to see and understand just how bad cigarettes are. I began to really see and feel just how addicted I was/am to the nicotine and other shit that they put in their products to keep people like me coming back for more. Cigarettes have been such a huge (and private) part of my life, to now be publicly tobacco free, even for just this short period time feels amazing! Physically I feel better and I no longer go to bed at night hating myself for smoking.
Over the course of the year, I found enough time and clarity to finally pull out the book that I wrote five years ago. Having spent time over the summer re-writing it, I am now in the process of publishing it.. That is something that I didn’t do while on my other medications, because I couldn’t. I couldn’t get away from the pain long enough to focus on such a large project. Cannabis provided me with hours of pain relief and the ability to focus, so that I could finally finish what I had started before the chronic pain settled in.
SO – within the past year, that I have been using cannabis as my medicine I have most definitely found relief from the pain. But beyond that I have experienced some major “perks.”
I’m active and moving again!
I’m no longer full of shit!
I no longer look like the Pillbury Doughboy!
I came out of a MS flair stronger and more resilient than ever!
I’m getting married to my best friend!
I’m finally getting a life and publishing my book!
To think, all I wanted…all that I was looking for was a bit of relief from the pain. It seems I got a hell of a lot more than I bargained for…and in my humble opinion…
“An active, tobacco-free life of fishing and hiking with my best friend and soon to be husband beats the hell out of being a fat as fuck, full of shit lump on the couch!”
I am super excited to see what the next year will bring, but I can say with complete certainty, no matter where I am, no matter what I am doing, cannabis will be along for the journey!
I am trying to write a bit more often here – but if you want to follow what I am up to day to day (pics of my walks, the dogs, my kids, fishing with Shawn etc) check out my Instagram account – just recently realized that I have FB and Twitter on here but not IG and for the like of me can’t figure out how to add that feed…SO feel free to find and follow me
**This is my personal blog and all opinions are my own. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one here on my blog. The content here is for informational and entertainment purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of medical professionals. Be sure to contact your doctor before trying any new medications/vitamins/supplements, physical activities or therapies **