Whew! Where did this month go? We blinked and it’s almost over.
A couple neat things happened this month though; my story was printed in Dope magazine! (thank you Tyler!) and I was able to help my best friend and MutherlyLuv partner get through pre and post op recovery from an emergency hysterectomy!
She came to me with problems of severe inflammation, major gut and bowl issues, pain and because of impending surgery would need some serious pain relief since she didn’t want to use any narcotic pain killers. (We’re kinda big on avoiding opioids around here)
With my knowledge and experience in combating inflammation and pain with food, cannabis and essential oils, plus Brandy’s knowledge of products and terpenes (within strains) that she responds best to, we came up with a game plan of things she could do both pre and post op. She shared our plan with her doctor and got the “go ahead”.
This is her story:
I thought I was healthy, but I wasn’t, not really.
I don’t drink, but I used to. I don’t smoke, but I used to. I was the weekend warrior. The Monday through Friday workaholic, Super Mom, Personal Shopper (groceries!), Personal Chef (I do the cooking at home), Psychiatrist, Masseuse, etc., etc. I worked hard, always busy busy busy; when the weekend came around I was ready to let it all out!
It was great fun, almost worth the hangovers…almost.
And of course during all this great fun, I smoked weed. If someone had it and was sharing, sure! I’d love some! I had yet to really learn just how important Cannabis was going to become to me.
I had yet to really learn just how important Cannabis would become to me.
The Tiny Human with Big Strength
I first met Molly (and yeah, she’s tiny but I’m giant, so it works out) 8 years ago, her fiancé is my future brother-in-law (wrap your brain around that one for a minute), and if you’ve followed her story you’ll know about her health struggles and her journey with Cannabis.
I’m eternally thankful that I met her, that she is so patient and willing to share her knowledge because very soon I was going to need all of it.
I had quit smoking about 2 years ago and I’m so proud of myself and so happy to have left that habit behind. When friends would light up a cig, I’d break out my one hitter and we’d all still stand around and have a smoke.
I was pretty sure I was the coolest kid in the circle though.
However, I still had somewhat of a recreational view on cannabis, and I have to say, I still feel very strongly that there is nothing wrong with liking how cannabis makes you feel. In fact, I do believe that’s a big part of why it’s good for you, but I’ll get back around to that.
I was just starting to see how cannabis helped people medically, I was following Molly’s journey (before she started sharing with you all) and clearly it was doing something wonderful for her. But she used cannabis EVERY DAY! I would never use it like THAT, I mean, I have too much to do! I can’t be stoned ALL the time!
Little did I know, there was something silent, scary and angry lurking inside me that would completely turn that logic around on me.
Fast forward to not quite a year later,
I was still on my Work To Death during the week and Weekend Warrior routine. I still wasn’t smoking cigs, and now suddenly I’m having a hard time having any drinks. My hangovers are more than hangovers, I’m sick! I found myself getting sick before finishing my second drink, then before my first is even gone… and then, I can’t even take a sip without feeling ill.
What’s happening here?! I have an iron gut! I can match my Irish fiancé drink for drink, usually. So now no smoking AND no drinking?
I thought to myself, okay, no problem, I’ll smoke more weed when I go out and still have a great time, no problem. In the meantime I need to find out why my body is suddenly so angry with my weekend activities. I don’t drink during the week, I eat well, I am relatively active (a few steps above houseplant)…I AM officially in my 40’s now, so maybe it’s age catching up? Time to pump the brakes and simmer down? Maybe. Normally I love a good mystery, but I had a feeling this one had a dark side.
It wasn’t long after rejecting alcohol that my body started throwing me some other new and unpleasant curveballs, it started with digestive issues, then headaches, random and weird joint pains, massive bloating all over my body, brain fog, rampaging emotions and outburts and major anxiety, just to name a few. Then something wonderful happened that made me feel like I could tolerate it all a bit better. I discovered microdosing! What’s that? Exactly what it sounds like, very small dosages of Cannabis. Dosages come in many forms, candies, drinks, tinctures, etc. It’s not new, it’s not remarkable, but it’s something no one was really talking about before, at least, not to me!
I discovered when I came home from work, and I was cranky, sick, tired, achy, in pain and just generally pissed at all of it, I could have a very tiny bit of Cannabis and heeeeeyyyyyyyyyyy…
I can be an adult and use Cannabis?! (It’s possible, read this!)
No, none of the things I had to do went away. No, not ALL of the pain and body issues were gone. The horrible work day hadn’t suddenly vanished from existence; the kiddo still needed help with homework, the family still needed groceries and the dinner wasn’t going to cook itself. But I was calm, relaxed, happy even. I was Present!
I wasn’t stoned. For those who are not familiar, I’d say it’s a lot like that first glass of wine. But the great feeling lasted and lasted! I found myself doing this for several nights in a row each week. Each night I had the same reaction. I was happy. I was engaged in my family. I had patience and I wasn’t feeling horrible! And, I was sleeping. Like. A. Baby. After silently dealing with my escalating issues and fears, I finally felt like I had some control over myself.
So let’s recap here.
In less than two years time, I had quit smoking, quit drinking and was tip toeing into using Cannabis nightly. I was feeling great! My body was slimming down, I had energy, I was happy and peaceful, waking up without pain and full of energy, things were looking pretty great! I knew Cannabis was a huge part of why I was feeling so good, but it was just part of it. Ah, the salad days!
Well, that was all it took for me to decide that I was diving in, I was all about Cannabis and what a wonderful plant it is and that everyone should feel this amazing! I was on a mission to get every person who crossed my path to love Cannabis as much as I did. Okay, I still am on that mission, but I’ve learned a few things since then, heh.
What had I learned about myself so far?
- 1. I can still be a good mom and use cannabis.
- 2. I can still be a good partner and use cannabis.
- 3. I can hold a job, pay my bills, be a functioning adult and enjoy weed.
- 4. I feel really good.
All good stuff, right? That, combined with the wonderful results I had seen first hand in many people I met within the Cannabis community, showed me the full spectrum of how it could help so many people with so many issues; major to minor, mentally and physically. I dedicated myself to learning as much as I could about how Cannabis can help all of us.
Now it was my turn to learn how Cannabis could really help me, because that silent killer was about to get very loud.
There were early signs, I just didn’t know how to read them.
All those health issues started coming at me even harder. Then I started changing, I was angry, I snapped too often without reason. I wasn’t well, my body was showing me that. Those gut issues got much worse, I really started bloating up, gaining over 50 pounds in a very short time. Then the pain, oh my god did my joints hurt! I could barely get out of bed and walk in the morning. Each step felt like electric jolts up my legs, into my knees and hips then right back down again. I couldn’t walk up my stairs without having to stop and rest at the top. My hands hurt, my arms were weak, I couldn’t rub my sweetheart’s shoulders any more, it hurt too much to squeeze anything. My stomach hurt always, tender even to touch. My brain started failing me. The vertigo was getting worse. I was forgetting things, easy things. I lived in a fog. My emotions were out of control, I couldn’t stop my racing mind. I was scared and worried all the time. Dementia? Brain Tumor? Cancer? I didn’t think I was being dramatic, I KNEW there was something very very wrong.
In retrospect, I see that these issues started a long long time ago, but I just nursed myself along and ignored them. I honestly thought maybe I had peri-menopause…that lasted for 3 years. (The upside to that? I learned a lot about Cannabis and women’s issues!)
I started using Cannabis more and more to help me manage my health. It worked really well. I could keep my emotions in check easier and more often (although my fiancé might not agree with that! Ha!), I could eat without too much nausea, and I could help ease the pain. But the sickness in me was getting stronger. Those salad days only lasted a few months.
So what’s going on?
Just about 10 years ago I had to have permanent birth control devices, called Essure, implanted in my fallopian tubes. I did not know it at the time, but those devices are made from nickel and several other metals including titanium, iron, chromium, silver-tin, platinum and a material called polyethylene terephthalate (PET). I’m allergic to nickel and PET metal is not a healthy metal to have inside your body.
These devices caused chronic inflammation in my body, along with an allergic reaction to the nickel. I was being poisoned from within. And it was getting worse, fast. One of the devices was embedded into my uterus and had broken, which was probably another large source of my pain.
I did my research, I realized that I had no choice, I had to remove these things from my body or they were going to kill me; or at the very least leave me with a life full of pain and sickness. I had to get healthy again!
I invoked the knowledge of my best friend, my sister in spirit and soon in life, Molly.
She and I went over everything together, what I eat, when I eat, how I feel, and what strains I feel best with. She helped me learn even more about using Cannabis along with diet to combat inflammation and get relief. The problem at hand was: relive the inflammation, sooth my distressed gut, bring down the swelling, get better sleep, and the BIG ONE – Be able to relieve the pain from surgery without using narcotics. Once we had a plan in place I checked with my doctor to get the all-clear and away we went!
This is my Diet and Cannabis guide for my personal needs:
The Crash Course – Food:
- Remove Wheat – This was easy. My son has Celiac’s Disease, he’s a Cannabis patient as well, so I was used to making meals without wheat. This isn’t easy for everyone, but we know some tips and tricks to make it easier if you decide to cut wheat out of your diet.
- Avoid Sugar – This is harder. My biggest sugar culprit came from my morning coffee, so I had to quit coffee. My body was so hungry to be healthy that this wasn’t too hard for me. As for the rest, I read labels and try to avoid it as much as I can. I’m not perfect, but even lowering my sugar intake helps tremendously.
- Avoid Nightshades – This was a new one for me. Nightshades can cause inflammation for most people. So I had to stop eating Tomato, Peppers, White Potato, etc. I’ll say it, this part sucks. It wasn’t hard to cook without them, but I do miss them and I might try and add them back to my diet later on.
- Add Tumeric – I add at least a teaspoon to all my dinners. Now here’s the thing about Tumeric, it’s yellow. REALLY yellow. It has a nice flavor, but man, that yellow. I am considering finding a good source for tumeric and black pepper (it helps tumeric do it’s job) pills instead. My family is a bit tired of yellow food.
My Cannabis Routine:
A CBD tincture every morning and night, totaling 50mg of CBD a day. 10mg THC edibles 1 – 2 times a day. Inhaling Cannabis at night (pipe, bong or vape) of a strain with at least 23%THC and high in specific terpenes like Myrcene and Humulene. I used a variety of strains to accomplish this.
I upped my Cannabis intake, a lot.
I should mention here, this wasn’t ideal for everyone in my family. That’ll happen. I look back and just a few short years ago I had said “I will never be a daily weed user, no way!”, and that was the general consensus around our house.
That change was a whole other issue we had to work through, and we did! It’s still a work in progress, but I was determined to feel better, and I did! The bloating diminished dramatically; along with the swelling and the pain. The pain and discomfort wasn’t all gone, and I was still experiencing major gut issues and emotional problems, but I was starting to feel something that resembled healthy again. It was shocking really, that change in my body, once I started focussing on what needed healing I could feel my body responding so quickly. You can see in the before and after photos below the dramatic change in my body in 4 weeks!
The ride wasn’t over yet, still isn’t.
Next up was surgery. After everything I had learned about opioids, chemicals, pharma and all that that entails, there was NO WAY I was going to take narcotic pain pills. So I needed a plan to get through surgery and recovery using only Cannabis and NSAIDS (Advil, Ibuprofen, etc.).
I purchased as much as I could afford of the strains I knew to be soothing, calming, pain relief and anti-inflammatory (Moe OG, Gorilla Glue #4 and Cinderella 99, to name a few), stocked up on liquid edibles since I knew that would be the easiest thing to digest after surgery and away we went!
I am four weeks out of surgery and proud to say that I did not take one single narcotic pain pill. I used about 50mg of Cannabis in a syrup each morning and night during immediate recovery. I had to add in a few Ibuprofen over the first several days, and as soon as I wasn’t hurting too much to worry about coughing I added smoking actual flower several times a day for immediate relief. As of today I medicate in the morning with flower for immediate relief, take my CBD twice daily still, and medicate at night with flower and an edible before bed.
But I know I could not have avoided the prescription pain pills, eased so much of my discomfort and managed to keep my inflammation at bay without the prep work, guidance, education and encouragement from Molly. I still have a ways to go before I feel back to my old self again, and there are many things that will never go away. I know I will never have the same digestive system again. I know I will always be sensitive to swelling and inflammation. I also know Cannabis will always be in my life to help me heal, cope, thrive and be well every day.
I’d like to help you feel your best as well.
If you are struggling and looking for a healthier, happier you, let’s talk about it!
Brandy is also the owner of tōk designs, a marketing and branding company for the cannabis industry. She has dedicated her time to learning all she can about using Cannabis to improve Health, Happiness and Wellness.