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Thursday, 28 September 2006

Shirley’s Story

I recently moved back to Texas and I am a disabled person receiving SSDI payments. I am 46 years old and raised three children and have 2 grandchildren. I have chronic neck/shoulder pain, constant cervical headaches and currently have severe low back pain.

I lived and worked hard for a short time in California (as well as in Texas) and due to Prop 215, I was able to legally use marijuana to help deal with the nausea and vomiting caused by the morphine I had to take for controlling severe pain. I let my primary care doctor know that I had obtained this permit and she was quite supportive of my decision since she understood that the use of marijuana was for the side effects of the medicines as well as the pain itself.

However, now that I am in Texas, I have no other options for the side effects that my medicines produce and I now suffer from digestive problems, lack of appetite, restless sleep, etc. I have been living with severe low back pain as well, which is not under control and I am a likely candidate for back surgery. I have also had previous cervical disc fusion at C6-C7. The surgery was successful, with the exception of vocal cord nerve damage, which caused my right vocal cord to be in a permanent open position and required further surgery to keep it permanently closed. Otherwise, I would still be choking on food and drink, which is what happens when the vocal cord does not work properly.

While living in England I was able to help my pain and discomfort with the use of marijuana. I would have an appetite, which I no longer have, my headaches would be less severe and my neck pain has increased. But above all, I must still take 30mg time-released morphine just to be able to get out of bed and tolerate the day. I wait for the night to come and pray for just one night of good sleep, but that has alluded me.

I feel I should also explain that since moving back last year in November, I had incorrectly assumed that my Medicare Part B would be instantly re-instated upon moving back to the US. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I am currently in the process of rebutting SSA/Medicare over the lack of coverage since I was never informed that by stopping the premiums while in England would affect my status upon moving back. That is a completely different story, but the impact of the lack of any medical coverage has meant that I am always in pain and will not be able to seek a solution until July of this year.

In summary, I am in constant pain, I no longer have a proper diet, I never sleep for more than 4-5 hours during the night and I am thoroughly exhausted and depressed. I feel like I am in an impossible situation because I was using marijuana for medicinal purposes and I can longer use it since it is illegal here in Texas. So, I suffer day and night and I am not exaggerating.

I don’t know if my story can help, and I can most certainly provide more details – 6 years of pain is no laughing matter – about my health and the lack of being able to use something that is deemed a controlled substance. It’s easier for me to get the time-released morphine than it is for me to find any marijuana to help me with my daily suffering.

I am not an old person, but the shape I’m in now makes me wonder if I will grow old with my husband and if I do, what can I look forward to when I reach old age? More pain, more suffering, less tolerance to medications and the list could go on and on.

I am a law-abiding citizen, I paid taxes for all the years I have worked and if I could, I would find a job again and be working now, but my body will not let me do that. I am an intelligent person and know how to make informed decisions, but I have no access to the benefits of legal medicinal marijuana here in Texas. I will never understand how a society such as ours actually believes that the use of marijuana inhibits intelligence, can cause infertility and is a “gateway” drug. I also know that Marinol does not work the same since it is a synthetic drug and not the “real deal”.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 14 December 2006 )
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