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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Legit as they say

So, as some of you may know, I suffer from pretty severe IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). I am still waiting to set up my last exploratory colonoscopy before we start trying experimental drugs, but really, I have been doing much better with a little help from some "medicine" and frozen yogurt. Even with this help I still have issues sometimes, so I decided to apply for a Medical Marijuana Certification. From the age of 14, I started having food issues. I went to a doctor to get my shots for college and the next thing I know, he is telling me to take Lactaid. I took Lactaid for 10 years, saving me from a painfully limited diet during my early 20's, but around 23 or so it was no longer effective for me.

Over the years, my list of intolerance's have grown and recently shrunk somewhat, I have avoided all dairy except swiss and romano cheeses. With the help of some powerful probiotics, I have regained some dairy! That in and of itself is a miracle. I am working on getting back even more, but I still suffer from occasional attacks that are so painful or cause me anxiety, causing more pain, resulting in exhaustion - this is the pattern of an attack. It sucks, but it happens. Last year, I had a strange development. One day, I suddenly could not eat at all. When I would eat I would get so nauseated that I would run to the restroom, sure I was about to be violently ill - in most cases, nothing happened. Sometimes I threw up, usually not much. I had an endoscopy that said everything was fine. At this time, I was scared and it took up to 3 months to get an appointment with my specialist. Someone close to me suggested marijuana. I smoked it, I was not nauseated and I could eat. It even lasted me all the next day. Now this became a permanent ritual. If I didn't smoke, I would be back in the same spot I was in before I started smoking at all within a few short days. This is how pot saved my life!

Both of my doctors know I smoke pot - one hasn't said a thing, the other approves wholeheartedly. So when marijuana was legalized for patients with chronic pain and nausea as well as any other condition that is approved, I decided to apply. In Arizona right now, it appears that there will be no dispensaries for awhile, so any approved patient can grow up to 12 plants. I actually entered my information into a website for referrals - http://www.arizonamedicalmarijuanaclinic.com/ - and a few days later, I received an email from a doctor. I had to save some money to be sure I could afford it. Due to the way things are here, only clinics that specialize in pain are really doing these certifications, because regular doctors have to do other things and if they prescribed, that is all they would end up doing. The place I went Phoenix Integrative Medicine, PLLC, is actually a naturopathic clinic.

Having been an investigator for 4 years made me naturally suspicious of anything, so I made sure I checked out the doctors license before I set up my appointment. JM and I showed up, waited a few minutes. We were told that they had prepared and were still not even close to being able to handle as many patients as they had been getting, but they were trying. They said they had close to 700 new patients per month. They were very helpful, sending me all the electronic documents so I could apply quickly online. I paid a flat fee of $200, and due to the nature of their place, I also get another free treatment of my choosing in the future. They have acupuncture and other pain management courses. Also, the doctor was telling me of an in-depth test that would pit my blood against foods so it would figure my levels of intolerance for what, etc. Not sure what I will take :) I know that some clinics in other areas are likely cheaper. I live in a pretty affluent neighborhood.

I came home and saved the documents to my desktop, went on the site for the AZ Department of Health, loaded all the documents within 5 minutes or less, gave them my debit card number and waited about 5 days. That  was all - the card arrived sometime within the last few days, and I just received it in my hand today! I am excited to try my hand at growing something as complex and beautiful as marijuana! It is sure to raise my quality of life, no more worries about having something illegal that I need, if I had indeed carried it ever :) sigh - now for some Nick Swardson!

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