These past months have been a roller coaster of emotion and ability. At the beginning of the journey I was so wrapped up in the logistics and red tape that I didn’t spend much time thinking about what it would be like if it worked.
So much of my life has been structured around coping with the everyday and the unsettling fear of what was becoming increasingly clear My symptoms had advanced and I was (desperately) looking for any possibility that would make moving easier.
From the Bioness electrical stimulation to a surgically inserted Baclofen pump- I was burned by disappointment when it became clear that neither of things would change my life, my ability to move. I was scared to rely on my innate optimism, so when I ventured in to the world of medical marijuana, I embraced the distractions and logistics that kept me from thinking about what it would be like to feel better.
It’s the “No Dogs Allowed“ hopelessness only Snoopy could understand. People living with MS who are on SSDI and often rely on medicare as health insurance are supposed to find money, to try an MS treatment that may or may not even work for them. That’s a HUGE hurdle that people with MS aren’t even likely to lift one leg over.
There are so many roadblocks and it is easy to get stuck at each of them. Being that medical marijuana isn’t legal federally – the banks don’t affiliate themselves with the dispensaries and thus, the whole business is cash-only. Ouch. That adds insult to (brain) injury.
I was able to traverse this obstacle with an outpouring of support and encouragement from my GoFundMe campaign. With the support of my friends and family (and the kindness of strangers) I was able to proceed to the next step without the financial burden that made it otherwise impossible. I can’t begin to tell you how healing it has been in and of itself. The “pat on the back” and the “we’re pulling for you” energy could have charged all of the iPhones in the country for a year. But yet, in the very back of my mind I worried that if it didn’t help, the disappointment would be a very public event.
I made it past the expensive and laborious process of getting a state approved medical marijuana doctor to prescribe the drug, so I could then go to a dispensary that would help me find a strain that worked for my symptoms without unwanted side effects (the ones that are psychotropic in nature!) That learning curve is mind-blowing. It was no easy task, but over these three months I’ve systematically check-ed off my to do-list of things-to-learn and can now bathe in the symptom relief that has changed my every day.
What I’ve learned is that there is tons more to learn. It’s a process that most people with MS are very familiar with. That is the unpredictability of what everyday will look like. Will I be able to lift my leg, walk ten steps, or make it through the day without pain or fatigue? It’s a familiar song with different lyrics for all of us. Ones that are impossible to memorize.
The biggest lesson of all is that by sticking to the entire process I’m able to do so much more than I would have without Medical Marijuana. My days are still a variation on a theme. But this theme, this song, these lyrics are a in a brand new category of hope and ability. My whole future is bright I have to wear shades. 😉