Tag Archives: mswarrior

Medical Cannabis: My Journey

I have been smoking marijuana since I was 15 years old.  Never in a million years did I ever think that I would use it medicinally. I simply enjoyed getting high and forgetting about my days. As a teenager I was rebellious, carefree, and thought I knew the world like the back of my hand (as most teenagers do). I would sneak out, indulge in public drinking, and go for burn rides with friends.

Now, let’s fast forward to two years ago. The exact date was February 4th, 2015.  It was one of the rudest awakenings that I ever got in my entire life. I was going through numerous medical tests for months. The issue I faced originally was numbness/weakness on the right side of my body. I also had consistent vision changes/dizziness. After the tests it was confirmed by my neurologist that I had a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. This honestly wasn’t a surprise because my mother and deceased uncle both have/had  Multiple Sclerosis. (My neurologist is also my mother’s neurologist). I cried. Hearing this news was definitely difficult. I couldn’t cope with my life for a VERY long time. 

I have witnessed my mother struggle with this terrible disease my whole life. I also have witnessed my uncle struggle in a wheelchair around the time that he died. Those memories are still engraved in my mind to this very day.

For those who don’t know, Multiple Sclerosis is when your own immune system attacks your body (the brain and spinal cord). This causes lesions and a lot of muscle spasms and nerve pain. I have weakness in my right side, numbness, tingling, nerve pain, migraines, muscle spasms, and restless legs. 

My first MS medication was Rebif. This was an injection I took three times weekly. The side effects were brutal. I felt like I had the flu EVERY SINGLE DAY. The only thing that eased the body aches and pains was marijuana. Ibuprofen and muscle relaxers only helped so much. 

This chapter in my life is what began my use with medicinal marijuana. I didn’t use it to get high, I used it to find relief.

 I also suffer from PTSD. Marijuana helps lessens my flashbacks.

 You could say that marijuana not only helps me physically but helps me mentally and spiritually too. It makes my body and mind feel “normal” when I used to spend years feeling nothing but aches and pains. 

I’m on an oral pill called Tecfidera for my MS currently. It causes gastro issues and a lot of flushing. Because of Tecfidera I am now two months in remission. I still fight MS symptoms daily. I also use marijuana daily and do not plan to stop anytime soon. Medicated edibles, CBD oil, cannabis oil, smoking, and vaping are all great ways to get relief.

It gave me my life back. Thank you for reading.

-Rebecca Elizabeth A Punk With MS

Multiple Sclerosis; Coping With Challenges

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic illness that causes your body to attack its own central nervous system. This leads to myelin damage and misfiring of the nerves. Myelin is the layer that covers and protects the nerves. During relapses (or attacks)  Your body attacks the myelin in the brain, optic nerves, and even the spinal cord. These attacks cause numbness, tingling, weakness, fatigue, nerve pain, and even possibly the loss of mobility later in life. (this is for some MS patients not all.) Permanent damage can cause a lot of obstacles for patients who are trying to live as normal as possible.

The list of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms are long, but being able to cope with the everyday changes, challenges, and obstacles is one of the most important things.

 

1. Find A Support System In The MS Community

The MS community is one that is widespread and always readily available. Before the wonderful world of the internet, patients had to read up information from the small number of books locally available and got any other information on the disease directly from their neurologists. There wasn’t as much research done on MS back then, and it was hard to find others who understood the disease. This lead to more patients feeling alone, isolated, and extremely depressed.

Nowadays at the click of a button, you can find friends who also have MS and even endless topics about the disease. The world is at your fingertips (literally) so go out there, make some friends, and educate yourself as much as you possibly can. Being a part of the community will make your hardships and challenges much easier because you can relate to others who understand.  I use M.S. Connect and MS Pals on Facebook. These are great groups for support.

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2. Know It Isn’t The End

You may be newly diagnosed or may have been dealing with this disease for years. Regardless of the situation, days get tough and yes it can be very frightening. Remind yourself that the medical field is advancing daily. For example; scientists just found out that our blood molecules can possibly define what type of MS we have and what treatments will help us.  This is a huge breakthrough in MS research. We haven’t found a cure yet, but we can’t give up hope.

 

3. Pick Up A Hobby

Hobbies are a great way to pass the time, especially for those who are on disability. If you do happen to work still, a new activity or hobby could help lessen your depression. For me personally, I write, I draw, I even play guitar sometimes. When I don’t have the energy for that, I read or I watch my favorite T.V. show. The distraction helps me get through my harder days, and being productive in writing makes me feel like I am doing something that benefits others since I no longer work. You can find something that will help you too. Check out Creative MS Expressions, a community on Facebook where others with MS share their art and creativity. Mary Pettigrew (The founder of MS Pals) Runs this group and is a huge MS advocate in the community.

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4. Get Involved

If you feel like you want to help make a difference or just need to get out of the house, The Multiple Sclerosis Society has many different events where you can meet others and fundraise for the fight against Multiple Sclerosis. If you want to see when an event is happening near you, be sure to click the link! There are also other opportunities they offer that include advocating and volunteering.

5. Take Care Of Your Body

Having MS means being aware of what you put into your body, and making sure you exercise. This will make you stronger over time and can help combat fatigue. Healthy eating (such as reducing inflammatory foods) and taking vitamins are some simple yet very effective ways that can help you through this MS journey.

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I hope that this article helps you overcome your current MS challenges and obstacles. Remember that you are not alone and that there are many people who are here standing/sitting right beside you throughout this battle.

-Rebecca Elizabeth A Punk With MS