Using medical cannabis makes me a better mother

When you look at me, you wouldn’t imagine there was anything wrong with my life. But if I can be honest, I battle with an unbearable pain every day of my life. And because of my incapacitation, my family suffers a lot. As a remedy for this pain, I use medical cannabis.

I remember the other day watching my son cry just because I couldn’t manage to take him for training. He was so worried he couldn’t make the team. Apparently, ice hockey calls for a lot of training and consistency; sometimes, training more than four times a week. My son was so dedicated and passionate about this game. The journey to the training ground was just an hour drive but because of my pain, it had proved difficult for me to drive him like I used to do before.

Sometime back, I was that supermom who could do anything. I was very energetic and healthy. I was a hospice nurse and that proves how lively I was in my past life. When my boyfriend moved in, he already had a son and that made us a family of 5.  As a group that loved having fun, we spent a lot of time on road trips, playing catch in the wave, going to watch ice hockey, and much more. Basically, we were having the time of our lives.

But one morning, while at work, something happened. A patient tripped and a colleague tried to help him regain his balance. However, during the process, he mistakenly grabbed me. That incident really affected my life. My arm and neck got injured. Thought the pain would fade away in no time, but it carried on for many years.

I was diagnosed with a shoulder and neck sprain. The doctors advised me to take a rest and come for further check-up after 3 days. That very same night, however, I couldn’t sleep. The pain was intolerable.  An MRI scan revealed damaged discs. From then, it was a visit from one clinic to another and from one medical specialist to another without much success. Days, weeks, and months passed!

After nine months of excruciating pain, desperate for a relief, I went for a spinal fusion. Unfortunately, this didn’t help either. When I didn’t show any signs of improvement after the operation, workman’s comp closed my file.

Now, here what you should know. In New Jersey, when workman’s comp closes your file, you are practically doomed. It means, your health has reached a point of no return and cannot improve any more. So, they stop the treatment, halt disability payments and refer your case to a court of law for settlement. My job released me. I was devastated.

After some time, my mother persuaded me to try medical cannabis. Regardless of the tight NJ laws, I qualified for medical marijuana. 4 months of vaporizing marijuana and the effects were evident. Imagine, I went from taking 10-15 daily pills (medications for neuropathy, antidepressants, muscle relaxers, and opiates) to only a pill a day.

That said, I am not completely healed; though marijuana alleviates the pain to a large extent. My life is has a meaning now.

My biggest problem now is that NJ medical cannabis program is limited.  Dispensaries are allowed to vend only what they grow. Obviously, this means, most of the times they are out of stock. And this forces me to go back to pills until they can restock.

What also worries me is the stigma associated with using weed. When people visit my home, they expect to see a tray of joints and a cloud of smoke. In this day and age, is that even realistic?

I must admit also, it feels odd being a cannabis mommy. Originally, I was embarrassed; I didn’t want in anywhere to be viewed as a pothead or a stoner. I hid from everyone including my kids. However, now, I am not ashamed. The positive results I have seen have encouraged me to speak up.

Bottom line, medical cannabis has eased my agony. We have to stop the politics and stigma associated with it. I am no longer self-conscious being a stoner. Life sweet that way compared to when I was a mom on valium and opiates. It feels a bit better having cannabis in the house as opposed to bottles of opiates.

Many people have met their death as a result of overdosing on prescription painkillers. On the other hand, there are no records of death resulting from a cannabis overdose.  I have gone out of my way to educate my children about cannabis. Just like they never touch or handle prescription pills, they never touch weed.

I miss so many things in life. For instance, I can’t go to some states with my medication. That means I do not attend some of my son’s out-of-state tournaments. There are limitations also to where we can visit as a family. And most notably, I can’t drive – this really drives me crazy.

I very optimistic that one day, I will get my life back. However, until then, I am glad to have access to medical cannabis. I hate that the injury limited the things we can do together as a family. But I have also learned a lot from that incident. Treasure every moment of motherhood, as you never know what tomorrow has in store for you.

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