Illinois mom of 4 overcomes enormous health challenges with medical cannabis use

Illinois mom of 4 overcomes enormous health challenges with medical cannabis use

I have taken a little detour from my usual subject of medical cannabis to comment on the meteoric rise of Donald John Trump.  It has left me terrified and saddened at the state of our nation. It looks like he is on his way out after a horrendous week of meltdowns.

It is time for me to get back to “my regularly scheduled programming,” namely writing medical cannabis success stories. Without further ado, I would like to introduce you to MaryJane Piper. She is my new hero. This woman has overcome the most incredible emotional and health related challenges and she is still fighting to be a contributing member of society. Talk about self-preservation and the will to live. She is a mom to 4 children, 1 of which has cerebral palsy. That’s what great moms do. They fight to stay alive for their children’s sakes!

I spoke to MaryJane a few days ago. Not only does she have more health problems than anyone deserves, but she has identity problems. What I mean by that is that she has 2 social security cards, but she is a woman without an identity, if you can imagine that. It’s a long, convoluted and ridiculous situation, so I am going to move along with her medical cannabis story.

MaryJane has had gastric problems since she was a teenager. I don’t know about you, but those with chronic gastric problems will concur that it’s about as miserable as it can get. She discovered that cannabis really helped control her gastric distress. We are talking 40 years ago. When some of her extended family members discovered her secret, instead of supporting her, she was shunned by them.

Illinois Medical Cannabis Community is a great resource

Illinois Medical Cannabis Community is a great resource

She had multiple surgeries for a myriad of gastric and musculoskeletal disorders. She was prescribed dozens of pharmaceutical drugs to control her pain and gastric distress as well as for her depression and PTSD. The drugs “fogged her mind” for 3 years. She was barely able to function, herself, let alone look after her children. Thankfully, she had a boyfriend at the time who adored her kids and he cared for them.

All the while, she was using cannabis which offset many of the adverse reactions of the multiple pharmaceuticals she was prescribed by her doctors. She had built up such a tolerance to the pharmaceuticals, that they ceased to work anymore. She was so tired of the adverse side effects of the pharmaceuticals, that she weaned herself off of them. But then, she couldn’t eat, she was losing weight and she had nerve damage which has left her with very limited mobility, especially with the use of her hands. She was in a great deal of pain.

Enter the picture, Dr. Leslie Mendoza Temple. Some of you might recognize her name. She was on the Illinois Medical Cannabis Advisory Board until just recently when it was revamped by the Illinois Department of Public Health. Dr. Temple is one of the kindest, most caring people. She became MaryJane’s doctor and got her into the medical cannabis program. Here’s how it came to pass. MaryJane was in the hospital for surgery. Afterwards, she was referred to pain management who wanted her on a regimen of Norco 4 times daily, whether or not she needed them. They forced her to sign a ridiculous, binding contract for the medication. She went back to her PCP and told him she refused to do that. Thankfully, he referred her to Dr Temple who directs the NorthShore Integrative Medicine Program.

I asked MaryJane what her qualifying condition is and she told me she has something like 11 qualifying conditions including spinal cord injury, fibromyalgia, polyneuropathy and dystonia for starters. She has Irritable Bowel Syndrome which is not a condition although Crohn’s Disease is…makes little sense. She often can’t eat nor sleep. She has serious mobility problems with her hands, so she is very limited to what she can do. She just had multiple surgeries on her shoulder which keeps slipping in and out of its socket. Norco and Fentanyl make her sick. She could get as many of those as she wanted. Medical cannabis products, which actually help control her pain, help her sleep and stimulate her appetite are often out of her reach, financially. She has to ration her medical cannabis purchases based on whether or not she can afford them. No one should have to decide between buying food or buy life-saving medicine. There is something very wrong with this picture.

Since becoming an Illinois medical cannabis patient, MaryJane has used vaporization in the form of a vaping pen, using the flower strains of San Francisco Valley, Pre-98 Kush and Girl Scout Cookie. They worked at the beginning, but then stopped providing relief. She has tried tinctures and topical gels with some relief. Edibles just do not work for her. She tried RSO but she had a lot of trouble getting into the packaging. On the day I spoke with her, she was excited about going to her dispensary; they just started carrying Mary’s Medicinals Patches. She planned to buy as many as she could afford.

Later that evening, I got this wonderful message from her. Here is what she told me:

Cannabis flower

Cannabis flower

This was an awesome way to wake up!! My right hand feels freedom it rarely has felt in years. This is the hand that suffers from the nerve damage left from stretching my brachial plexus, numerous time in the last year as my shoulder kept slipping out. I have dystonia due to that initial injury. This hand has deforming arthritis twisting my fingers, calcification deposits come and go in my knuckles, Raynaud’s and pseudo gout (my uric acid levels aren’t elevated).
I slept so excellent! I woke in the same position I laid in when I went to bed, I usually wake to reposition especially with this sling/brace on. I don’t recall waking at all as I usually do, I feel refreshed and wanted to get up and move this morning. My fingers have a slight stiffness but moving freer with not what I’d consider pain. I haven’t felt this in so long, different experience without vaping and without the use of any IV or injected meds or strong pain meds that would have me ill feeling and non functional.
I did smoke three hits of flower last night, which helped me to eat and kept my food in my body, certain strains of flower is the norm to make that happen and it did.
I believe I’m going to like to use this patch. As I figure out what dosing I’ll need and which works best for me this is going to be a wonderful relief to live with. The effects and convenience speaks volumes to a person who can’t properly use fine motor skills. I’m not saying it was 100% but it sure felt like I was getting close as possible with the shoulder of this hand recovering from two surgeries this is such a welcomed method of relief.
I feel like the sun is shining on me this gloomy overcast day!! I can’t wait to tell my doctors. I don’t want to over work my hand or arm, I want to maintain this now.
I hope this information can brighten someone else’s day by giving hope.
My thanks to “Mary’s Medicinals”, GTI and to the state of Illinois for letting this method come through and to all who have been a part of this program.

Not only did it make her day, it made mine too. Thanks, MaryJane, for sharing your story. You are an inspiration to others. She was excited to tell me that she had “converted” a neighbor from someone who was completely against medical cannabis usage to one who is “singing its praises.” As I told her, we are changing minds, one person at a time.

As always, I love to hear your comments.

I’ve written a series of posts about medical marijuana. If you want to read more you can click on the “Medical Marijuana” tag at the top of my page.

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