I just got back from a doctor’s appointment and after already explaining what happened twice, I realized I would have to again numerous other times because people are nice enough to care sometimes. I don’t like being repetitive and I was planning to start a blog for my cannabis activism, so it might as well be this one.
The intention of this blog is to share my story with chronic pain sufferers (as well as others with ailments that can benefit from cannabis use) and those who love them to see how much cannabis can help them live a happy, meaningful life. I plan to share my own experiences as well current cannabis news and information with my thoughts on it. I’ve learned that the most effective activists for any cause are those who let people know who they are so that they can relate. This blog is mainly my attempt at sharing all of the cannabis information I can while freely sharing myself as a person as I do.
Part of me only wants this blog to get a small following. I live in a state without Medical Marijuana laws and I am already wrestling with the disability insurance company, so having even the possibility of being found out frightens me. I have two amazing parents, who love and support me, but they can only do so much and they can’t do anything if I get in trouble with the law. However, I have been saying for a while that I fully intend to dedicate my life to helping other people with problems like me that can be effectively treated with cannabis without harm. I guess it is time to put my money where my mouth is, as the saying goes.
My name for the purposes of this blog is Skyler. Everything else is accurate unless otherwise stated. I am 32 years old and am a Medical Marijuana activist and patient. I suffer from chronic headaches among other things. I have had a headache every day that I can remember since I was around 10 years old. The degree of pain differs day by day, sometimes hour by hour. Until late last year, I functioned in day to day life working as a Computer Support Tech (taking incoming calls about technical problems) by taking 3 Advil tablets, usually 3 times per day, and when Advil didn’t work, taking the Ultracet that was prescribed by my doctor, but that dulled my mind making work more difficult.
Around November of 2012, the Advil stopped working. The Ultracet stopped working, too. They still mitigated the pain, but they did not reduce it to a manageable level as they had been for so long and I was told that taking them so often was actually making the headaches worse, so I could only take any pain relief 2-3 times per week, instead of per day. Without these, I found that I could not function. I had to file for Family and Medical Leave Act protection for the 3rd time in my life; a rather humiliating process of having to convince doctors of how useless you are and then share that information with your bosses (and let’s face it, everyone finds out why you’re not there).
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants job protection for up to 13 weeks of an unpaid absence due to a serious medical problem, either your own or a qualifying family member’s. It can either be a continuous 13 weeks or intermittent as needed. I could never tell the night before how bad I would be when I woke up, so I could not say whether I would be out for a certain length of time. Some days Advil or Ultracet still helped enough to get me through the day. Some days they did little or nothing to mitigate the pain to a manageable level.
Managers have to live with intermittent leaves, but they usually hate it. Especially in a place where having one or less person on the floor can make a huge difference. I can’t say I blamed them when they resented having to deal with a situation like that, but it still makes me feel even worse because now I am a bad employee when I used to be highly valued. Of course, since they are not legally allowed to say something like that, it all comes out in passive aggressive form.
It was about the same time that I started using cannabis at night to treat the pain. I had used cannabis as a teenager, but that was basically self-medicating for depression. Trying cannabis again at 32, I found a new world. My headaches were usually not gone, but the severity would be a 1 or 2 on the pain scale at most (pain scale is a 1-10 assessment for medical purposes) and I was so happy that it didn’t bother me. I hope to get access to strains better suited for migraines in the hopes that the pain will subside completely, but headache relief wasn’t all I found.
Having also suffered from depression since the first grade (from what I am told, at least; personally I remember loving the 1stgrade, it wasn’t until the 2nd grade that it got lame), I found that these symptoms were not just lessened but entirely relieved. Where I had been a life-long pessimist, I was now a complete optimist. I had known people whose default view of life is positive and they are only brought down for a short time when bad things happen. I was the exact opposite. We never understood each other. Now I actually knew how that felt and it was incredible.
With cannabis, after a relatively short period of regular use, I became a complete optimist regardless of how bleak my situation looked to the average person. If something bad happened, I was unhappy but in the remarkably short amount of time it took to fix it, I was over it. Whereas I used to see people in the most cynical light as to their motives, I now gave every person the benefit of the doubt and a smile. People have never been so nice to me before. I had never felt so wonderful in my life. I was the Silver Lining Man and people were amazed, I most of all.
In April of this year, my FMLA time was running out and I had received my second written warning for problems such as not entering my time clock information when I had been out for two weeks with severe headaches. Not seeing another solution, I took another humiliating life step; this one a first. I had to ask someone to pay me even though I’m giving them nothing in return. With FMLA, at least it was unpaid, so I could take solace in the thought that I only screwed my manager in his scheduling, not taking something I hadn’t earned.
My doctors filled out the disability paperwork and I was approved until my next appointment date. Since then, I have had trouble with doctors and insurance and while they were still paying me while it was getting figured out, this stopped about 3 weeks ago. [More in-depth information of what happened with disability can be found in my first blog post.] On the bright side, I also spent this time finding out everything I could about my new miracle plant and became passionate about the need for legalization and for everyone to be aware of cannabis as a relatively safe and medically beneficial treatment option.
If you’ve gotten this far, I appreciate you taking the time to get to know me a little. I promise future posts will contain actual purposeful information about cannabis rather than just a sob story. I am currently an activist donating what little I can to the Marijuana Policy Project (www.mpp.org) and trying to help out Philly NORML (www.phillynorml.org) with their activism efforts in Pennsylvania.
I am actively working to make cannabis my life’s work. In order to do this I need to know more about it than most people. For this reason, I read all news that comes out about political or scientific developments as well as scientific papers and books on the actual how and why cannabis is so beneficial to the human body. It is from this research that I intend to help educate people and get them involved in the fight to legalize marijuana so that every human has the opportunity to find salvation through cannabis as I did.
Please smoke responsibly,
Note: For anyone tempted to write this off as just another stoner blog due to the fact that I am always high should know that I wrote this entire blog post while high. Not all marijuana users are as lazy and useless as they are made out to be.