Category Archives: Health and Wellness

Not In My World

Not in My World!!

My MS Journey

Exert from Chapter Four in my Book,

“Walk With Me My MS Journey” © 2010

By JD Author, Reporter-Journalist

 

Have you ever heard stories of people having things happen to them, and thought to yourself, “that would never happen to me?”  “Not in my world.” I had thought it many times in my younger adult years, but then reality sets in and we come to the realization that we are not invincible.  We are not exempt from whatever God has planned for our lives, whether good, bad or ugly, they happen.

A few months after my brain and spinal surgery, I was managing but wondering why my recovery was taking far longer than anticipated and new symptoms were erupting.   Within weeks things began spiraling downward fast, and I was sicker than I had been prior to surgery.  Back to the doctors for repeated testing and probing I went.

While awaiting the results of months of testing, the downward spiral began to progress faster, and I was finding myself more confined and limited in what I could do.  I was either always too dizzy, having seizures, migraines, tremors, loss of coordination, and my immune system was treating my body as if I had been invaded by an alien, and shot craps on me repeatedly.  This was really starting to suck.

Now was not the time for my health to give way.  I just couldn’t be sick.  I had two kids getting ready to graduate from high school, one was getting ready to join the military as soon as he graduated and two heading into their sophomore year of high school.  All of them busy in sports and extra-curricular activities, and I as a mom, just had to be there to show my support and cheer.  Yet I barely had the energy or ability to drag my butt out of bed to drive them to school, cook and do laundry.  Good thing in their younger years they did learn domestic skills and even better there was a Wendy’s®, McDonalds®, Pizza Hut® and Subway® all within a mile of the house.

Some days I felt like a jackhammer had just chiseled away at my will.  I was often wondering, since when do medical conditions come in two for one package deals?  But ALAS, I am a real winner!  I have THREE. I began to wonder if the insurance coverage that I had did offer special discounts for specific services, so were they in cahoots with karma, to give me this multi-pack special diagnosis deal?  JACKPOT!  Well at least I guess it had to be better than not having any answers, and not knowing what was the cause of my medical problems.  Once again I was then scheduled to see a few specialists and begin a treatment plan.

I am a person not truly religion specific yet a firm believer in faith and that God and Karma have a reason for everything in life.  How we choose to use them whether good, bad or ugly determines the benefit or downfall of every situation and life event.  Whether it is short lived or permanent in our current existence it can happen.

I call them blessings in disguise, because whether easy paths or rough terrain, I learn and grow from them.  Even on days when I feel I am held under duress by a body that is in conflict with my plans for fun.

I battled many feelings of anger and resentment and I was not sure at whom it was to be directed.  I just knew I was angry.  I had so many things I wanted to achieve, do accomplish, and I could not be tied down with a medical condition that set limitations!  This just could not happen to me, not in my world!  Amazing how angry we can get and lash out at those around us when we are searching for answers as to why we of all people were chosen to have this happen to us.  We hear about other people experiencing it, but think silently to ourselves that we are infallible and that it can’t happen to me.

Then reality once again rears its ugly brow and snaps one back into the zone, forcing you to sort out everything and start searching for the life lesson in it all.  Talk about a good bitch slapping!  Life was giving me a good one, and I knew it was time to wake up and start paying attention to what was to be gained, learned and experienced and use it to grow as an individual.

 

Have you every truly wondered,

Why life doesn’t always seem fair?

When you’re hoping for a rainbow,

Why you find clouds of pain or despair?

~

You wonder to yourself,

Why this would be happening to you.

Is this just a bad nightmare?

Really it cannot be true?

~

You seek answers through the anger,

You feel the emotional burden of pain.

Yet still remaining clueless,

In the long run what you might gain.

~

Close your eyes and listen

To the words you can hear said.

The message spoken clearly,

It’s not just random voices in the head.

~

There are lessons to be learned,

Refocus often if you can.

This is destiny and you must grow,

It’s all part of a bigger plan.

~

For each challenge that seems dreary,

Will eventually open up your eyes.

Then you can truly understand,

There is a Blessing in Disguise.

©Copyright protected 2015: NWU Local 1981

©IAPP Author/Journalist   Press ID # 1007490467

Scientific Research Supports Medical Cannabis for Treatment of MS vs Pharmaceuticals

An estimated 350,000 people in the United States are living with multiple sclerosis (MS), a painful, debilitating, and sometimes fatal disorder of the central nervous system. MS is the most common debilitating neurological disease of young people, often appearing between the ages of 20 and 40, and affecting more women than men. Symptoms vary considerably from person to person; however, one frequently noted is spasticity, which causes pain, spasms, loss of function, and difficulties in nursing care.

MS exacerbations appear to be caused by abnormal immune activity that causes inflammation and the destruction of myelin (the protective covering of nerve fibers) in the brain or spinal cord. MS most frequently presents at onset as a relapsing and remitting disorder, where symptoms come and go. Current treatment of MS is primarily symptomatic, focusing on such problems as spasticity, pain, fatigue, bladder problems and depression.

Anecdotal reports and a small controlled study have reported that cannabis improved spasticity and, to some extent, improved tremor in MS patients. Many studies of the pharmacology of cannabis have identified effects on motor systems of the central nervous system that have the potential of affecting tremor and spasticity.  A recent carefully controlled study of the efficacy of THC in experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, the animal model of MS, demonstrated significant amelioration of these two MS symptoms. Moreover, cannabis has demonstrated effects on immune function that also have the potential of reducing the autoimmune attack that is thought to be the underlying pathogenic process in MS.

Many MS patients report that cannabis has a startling and profound effect on muscle spasms, tremors, balance, bladder control, speech and eyesight. Many wheelchair-bound patients report that they can walk unaided when they have smoked cannabis.

*Research data available upon written request.

Copmarison to Pharmaceuticals

A recent review of all available medications for MS concluded that “forthcoming information relating to the use of cannabinoids in MS may result in there being better evidence of the effectiveness of new treatments than of any of the currently used drugs.”

Over 40 medicines are listed by the Multiple Sclerosis Society as commonly used by MS patients. Symptoms and medications prescribed include “acute exacerbations” (Decadron, Solu-Medrol); depression (Effexor, Paxil, Prozac, Wellbutrin, Zoloft); erectile dysfunction (Papaverine, Levitra, MUSE, Prostin VR, Viagra); fatigue (Amantadine, Cylert, Provigil, Prozac); itching (Atarax); nausea (Antivert); pain (Aventyl , Dilantin, Elvail, Neurontin, Gabapentin, Pamelor, Tegretol); urinary tract infections (Bacrtim, Cipro, Hiprex, Macrodantin, Nitrofurantoin, Pyridium); and urinary frequency or bladder dysfunction (DDAVP, Ditropan, Oxytrol, Pro-Banthine, Tofranil). Interferon-based medicines are also prescribed as “disease-modifying agents.”

Drugs commonly prescribed for muscle spasticity and tremor include Klonopin, Dantrium, Baclofen (Medtronic), Zanaflex and Valium. Klonopin (Clonazepam) and Valium (diazepam) are both benzodiazepines, central nervous system (CNS) depressants maufactured by Roche. Overdoses of these medications, especially when taken with alcohol, may lead to unconsciousness and death. They frequently cause people to become drowsy, dizzy, lightheaded, clumsy, or unsteady. Other common side effects include slurred speech; abdominal cramps or pain; blurred vision or other changes in vision; changes in sexual drive or performance; gastrointestinal changes, including constipation or diarrhea; dryness of mouth; fast or pounding heartbeat; muscle spasm; trouble with urination; trembling. Studies in animals have shown that clonazepam and diazepam can cause birth defects or other problems, including death of the animal fetus. Overuse of clonazepam during pregnancy may cause the baby to become dependent on it and it may pass into breast milk and cause drowsiness, slow heartbeat, shortness of breath, or troubled breathing in nursing babies.

Dantrium is a muscle relaxant manufactured by Proctor & Gamble. It has been shown to cause cancer and non-cancerous tumors in animals, can cause liver damage, and should not be taken with alcohol. Common side effects include diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, weakness, nausea, unusual tiredness, abdominal cramps, blurred or double vision, chills and fever; constipation, frequent urination, headache, loss of appetite, speech difficulties, sleep difficulties and nervousness.

Baclofen (Medtronic) may be administered orally or with a surgically implanted pump in the spine. Its side effects include high fever, altered mental status, spasticity that is worse than was experienced prior to starting ITB Therapy, and muscle rigidity. Symptoms of overdose include shortness of breath or troubled breathing, vomiting, seizures, loss of consciousness and coma. Abruptly stopping implanted baclofen has been fatal.

Cannabis: By comparison, the side effects associated with cannabis are typically mild and are classified as “low risk.” Euphoric mood changes are among the most frequent side effects.  Cannabinoids can exacerbate schizophrenic psychosis in predisposed persons.  Cannabinoids impede cognitive and psychomotor performance, resulting in temporary impairment. Chronic use can lead to the development of tolerance. Tachycardia and hypotension are frequently documented as adverse events in the cardiovascular system. A few cases of myocardial ischemia have been reported in young and previously healthy patients. Inhaling the smoke of cannabis cigarettes induces side effects on the respiratory system.  Cannabinoids are contraindicated for patients with a history of cardiac ischemias.  In summary, a low risk profile is evident from the literature available. Serious complications are very rare and are not usually reported during the use of cannabinoids for medical indications.

©Copyright protected 2013: JD, NWU Local 1981

©United Press International,   ©International Association of Press Photographers and Journalists   Press ID # 1007490467