I sure am grateful when I read about other’s who have made the transition I am undergoing now. I’m especially thankful when I read about other former RN’s who have made the switch from a traditional pharmaceutical western medicine approach to using medical marijuana and other natural and holistic approaches for improved health. Having a little validation from my former peer group is important to me. I read a great blog post from a nurse and of course, now can’t find it. When I do, I”ll put it right HERE!
When I first started used cannabis for pain and other health issues I was afraid for anyone to know. I mean, you know, I was a nurse. Marijuana was a DRUG. I still had my license but had been unable to work for a couple years. I had tried pot a couple times and then my Nurse Practitioner asked if I would be willing to try it. I cried. I told her I had but I had such mixed emotions about it because of my nursing license. Her reply was “You aren’t working right now, and you aren’t able to, so why not try it?”. So I did. Just a little now and then to take the edge off. To get away from maybe taking one more pill.
The reality of it is that I was just as judged about taking a handful of medications as I might be using cannabis. That’s one of the certainties I’ve found struggling with chronic (invisible) health conditions, you will be judged on how you deal with pain. You will be judged on what medications you take and how much, you will be judged on not working or if you do work a few days, you will be judged on if you look presentable or if you are in your jammies all day. You will be judged if you are emotional or if you are friendly and outgoing. There is no pleasing others with how I deal with my health issues. I judge myself as well. Today, I’d much rather be grateful about using medical marijuana and only one other routine medication and one for sleep that I intend to wean myself off of next, than feeling how I did taking all those pills the doctors kept giving me. I was always scared of what if I didn’t have this pill or that pill and this happened or that happened? It was a horrible way to survive. Not live…just survive.
I had been using marijuana as a supplementary medicine but not as my main regime for awhile. I decided to try to find a part-time job about 2 years ago. I quit using pot for over a month to make sure I had none in my system. I applied for a position in a Coumadin Clinic. Just running finger pricks and checking INR’s. I told them about my health issues. I told them I used narcotics for pain. I said that my own Nurse Practitioner had suggested this position for me.
They interviewed two different times, once with the various physicians present to question me. They wanted to hire me. They were very impressed with my level of knowledge, my professional appearance and attitude and that I would be willing to work outside the Coumadin Clinic if needed. They sent me on my way to get a urinalysis. I waited. And waited. Finally the call came. The woman who had interviewed me said “Why didn’t you tell me? We can’t have you here on those levels of medications”. I explained that I had told her and had explained that I would not use any medications before work and would just manage on Ibuprofen until after work. Nope…no way no how. They saw that I was using oxycodone and that was a no go for them.
That spring, when it came time for me to renew my license, I knew it would be the last time I would be able to unless I was able to get some hours working. I thought long and hard and realized if I hadn’t worked in 3 years and the one 15 hour a week job I tried to get wouldn’t hire me as long as I needed pain medications, it wasn’t worth it for me to try to keep it. I let it go. I just didn’t renew it. It was a very sad day.
The following fall was when I met someone who suggested I get my medical card and get myself off all those meds. Once I got my card, it was a matter of learning how much, how often, what is too much, what makes me more jittery. I am still learning. Especially now where it truly is my main medication. I have replaced so many medications with marijuana and overall have felt so much better. It’s just this time of going through the actual withdrawal and PAWS that is putting such a strain on me. I’ve reached out to the the community and it sounds like a couple friends are going to connect me with strains especially for anxieties and ptsd symptoms.
I did go to the dispensary the other day and bought some RSO (Rogue Soothing Oil) and two strains of flower for breakthrough (Light of Jah and Mango-Insane). The RSO has been helping me get to sleep, most the time. I still get stray heart flutters or racing thoughts, but not as bad as a week or so ago. I also haven’t felt any raging since I started using it. Thank GOD!!! Whew…that part was scary and no fun.
I haven’t gone to the dispensaries in general as I haven’t the funds to do that. I use what I received from my grower last year and that has served me well for pain. Now that I will need specific strains to help me through getting off the Xanax completely. I know it’s going to be difficult. I’m hoping I can find someone to do some trading.
If the laws keep changing making it so hard for people to grow their own, then I really will be stuck. Last weeks trip to the dispensary was $50. That was just for night time stuff. If I had to pay for all my medicine it would be at least $300/month if not closer to $400/month. About the same that all my pharmaceuticals were running. It sure makes me feel that the government doesn’t really want me well.
I continue to stay close to home mostly and try to keep focused on doing just a little bit more each day. I did get out twice over the weekend and it was pleasant. I wouldn’t be able to do it without something to help me relax though. My nerves are still feeling a bit on the surface and the last thing I want to do is have another anxiety attack out in public. The one last week was bad enough.
So I close today giving thanks for a Higher Power that continues to show me a ray of hope on the darkest days. I give thanks to Mother Nature for providing the medicine I need from the earth. I am grateful for those that still see my light shine through when my smile isn’t as bright. I am grateful for others who have experienced getting off medications and using medical marijuana, you give me hope on those difficult days. I am very thankful for another day to do my best.