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Unconventional Methods

So, I decided to pursue an unconventional method of pain management for my unusual conditions. To start at the beginning, I went in for my follow-up visit with my neurologist today. (For those of you counting that’s about my 3rd or 4th “ologist” in the last month… AND I’ll be seeing two more “ologists” in the next two weeks! Yay me.) Today he was running an electrical test on my nerves to look for signs of nerve damage. He told me it was painless and most people thought it just felt weird. Following this, my doctor connected wires to me and proceeded to pick up a device that looked like a taser. It was, in fact, a taser for all practical purposes. This little device was supposed to send mild shocks to my nerves, and the connected wires would then send information to the computer monitor to inform the doctor the health of my nerves. Well, it turns out my nerves are perfectly healthy—perhaps TOO healthy—because I spent 30 minutes feeling like I signed up to be tortured! My poor neurologist looked horrified by my reactions to the “mild” shocks. He said multiple things like, “I’ve never had a patient say that.” “I’ve never had a patient react so strongly.” “I’ve never…” Story of my life, I’m always the anomaly.

After the test concluded, my doctor informed me that on top of EDS and on top of IC he is certain that I have Fibromyalgia. What’s one more incurable disease, right? As if on cue, he offered me high intensity pain medication and recommended I take anti-depressants to dull my pain. I am becoming more convinced every day that my doctors have no clue what is wrong with me or how to help. For 3 days I barely left my bed. My pain was so excruciating that I couldn’t stand. I even tried taking some of my pain medication, something I’ve avoided for almost 5 years. Pain medication has always had strange effects on me. Typically, the medicine doesn’t have any effect at all, but sometimes even a quarter dose will send me over the edge. Only one seems to have any positive impact on my pain, but even a fraction of a dose makes me feel truly awful. When I’ve had to take this medication I quickly am reminded that it makes me dizzy, nauseous, confused, and causes a migraine. The pain dulls slightly, but I’m still stuck in bed due to the other side effects. In other words, pain medication does absolutely nothing to help me. So, what are my alternatives?

You will be hard pressed to find an individual with a chronic illness who has not tried everything they have ever heard of and more to help manage their symptoms. Nearly every recommendation that has been thrown at me I’ve pursued. I am naturally skeptical about alternative medicine but try to approach it all with an open mind. Over time and after trying many alternative recommendations, I’ve come to believe that many people find relief or benefit from a certain method simply because they believe without exception that the method will work. The placebo effect is a real and powerful thing! Whether these methods work for others because of the placebo effect or because they actually have a healing response to them I’ll never know, but either way those people are finding relief and hope. Relief and hope are two things that are widely taken for granted. Unfortunately, I try each new method with such skepticism that the placebo effect never works for me.

This brings us to tonight. I asked myself, what options do I have to help reduce my pain? My mom mentioned to me earlier in the day that I may want to look into medical marijuana. You don’t realize what a big deal it is to have my mom mention that to me. My mom is the anti-meds/don’t drink alcohol/cannabis is a drug type of mom. She is the most educated, loving, accepting, intelligent, caring, and comforting person I know. She is also a nurse practitioner and has extensive knowledge in the medical field. So it was mind-blowing for me to have reached a point in my life where my anti-marijuana mom was recommending I look into it. My mom was by no means the first person to recommend this to me. Many friends and medical professionals have suggested that using cannabis could help alleviate my symptoms. Given my upbringing, I always shied away from it as an option. I feel like each chronically ill person gets to a point where after months of pain, exhaustion, and nausea, they are willing to try anything to have even a moment of relief. For me, that moment came tonight.

In less than 30 minutes I signed up online to meet with a doctor about my condition, skyped my doctor, received a medical marijuana recommendation, was referred to a dispensary, and ordered product. Ordering weed to be delivered at 9:30pm was literally easier than ordering pizza. How crazy is that? When I called the legal dispenser person to place my order, I asked for the CBD vape pen they had on their menu. For those of you who don’t know, THC is the psychoactive part of cannabis and CBD is… not. In other words, the THC part of cannabis makes you high and the CBD part gives you all the medical benefits without the high part. Since I’m hoping to use this product to reduce my pain and not for the “high” effect, I’m only interested in the CBD at this point. This was very confusing for the person taking my order. Apparently, nobody ever requests products tlacking the THC component. Once I successfully convinced him that I truly was only interested in the CBD vape pen for now, he let me know my order would be delivered within the hour. Who knew receiving a medical marijuana recommendation and ordering product could be so easy? I’m yet to see if this new method will have any effect or benefit for me. I will provide you all with an update in a later post. Here’s to a strange new world!


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