There are some things in life that have never fully made sense to me. Like, why some people don’t use their blinkers to switch lanes, or why others don’t feel it necessary to tip when dining out. These might be instances in my life that I may never understand because I am not the type of person to not use my blinker or to disregard the tip at the end of my meal. But then there are some things that I don’t know if anyone really understands. Like, why some people are dealt an unfortunate hand in life and struggle with disease, while others aren’t fully aware of their health because well, they’re healthy and don’t necessarily need to be. What is it like to be diagnosed with an illness, and how do people cope? Broad questions I know, and probably ones that can truly only be answered through experience. But I will tell you what it is like for me, and how I have coped since I was diagnosed with a chronic stomach condition over five years ago.
Prior to my diagnosis, I was sick a lot, AKA throwing up e-v-e-r-y day. This would typically happen when I first woke up in the morning, and it was a difficult and harsh way to start my day. I was 19 and in college so I would search for whatever was available in my house to help me feel better. The items collected were normally the same: a bottle of ibuprofen, a cup of warm peppermint tea, and a bag of medical marijuana. The results of the household remedies were the same as well: the ibuprofen was rejected as a foreign object and immediately purged from my body, the warm peppermint tea would feel nice for a slight moment and then increase my nausea by 100% and make me profusely vomit the warm liquid. But then there was the medical marijuana, where as soon as my finger released igniting the lighter and the smoke filled my lungs, I would suddenly feel at ease and both the pain and nausea would quickly disappear.
It was truly incredible to me how I would be kneeled over for hours throwing up everything, and then nothing but bile, and the vomiting wouldn’t stop until I smoked. My roommates who experienced my sickness alongside of me were just as amazed at how well it worked. I got my medical marijuana license shortly after I realized how much it relieved my symptoms, and so I didn’t have to keep using my roommate’s stash. I never intended on becoming a so called “stoner,” but then again, I never intended on having a chronic illness. Medical marijuana was the one and only thing that helped me get up and out of bed in the morning and go through my day without feeling ill. Even after my official diagnosis of Gastroparesis, the doctors prescribed me nothing but narcotics, and medicines that only seemed to exasperate my symptoms, cause new symptoms, and then make me extremely tired. As I look back on my time of being unusually sick, I sometimes wonder where my illness would have lead me if I didn’t live in Colorado and wasn’t able to purchase medical marijuana. As we know, some things just don’t make sense and the hand you’re dealt is the hand you play. As for me, I have learned how to live with Gastroparesis, heavily assisted by a green medicinal plant.
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