How I Got My Groove Back
By groove, I mean quality of life – something very important.
Now, it's very important to set the stage. In 2013, I had been living with endometriosis, fibromyalgia, and restless legs syndrome (RLS) since I was a kid, while suffering with a constant headache and constant nausea for 4 years.
Challenges with my health
In 2011, my health took a massive dive because of having my gall bladder removed. It took 2 months before I could keep liquids down and another 2 months before I could keep some solid food down. Even then, every time I ate, immediately – and I mean sometimes literally 1 minute later – I would be in absolute agony and have to run to the bathroom to have a horribly painful evacuation of my bowels.
This meant no more eating out in public or going over to a friend's house for food. I was also very limited to what I could eat, which also factored into not being able to eat in a restaurant or at a friend's.
Losing my friends and my job
Due to being in agony and having to cancel with friends 98 percent of the time, my friends stopped being my friends. Work started to become a challenge cause I would never know when I would end up having to call in to cancel my shift due to being in agony and visiting the bathroom way too frequently. In 2013, I was fired because I was not dependable enough.
Two months later, things were so bad that I was sleeping 14 to 16 hours a day, with a 4-hour nap and sometimes after an hour of being awake, needing to nap. The rest of the time, I was lying on the couch in agony and extreme fatigue.
Reaching my breaking point
After this being the norm for 2 months, my muscles started to suffer atrophy. At 26 years old, I couldn't believe this was my life...well, it wasn't really living. I had been dating my husband for 2 years at this point and didn't know if he could handle being with me when I was suffering so much and unable to do pretty much everything. I knew he felt so helpless and tried his hardest to bring joy into my life.
I reached my breaking point; nothing doctors had prescribed helped me, and some caused permanent damage. Not even opioids were able to help with the agony. I had lost 30 pounds from struggling to keep food in my body and struggling to be able to absorb nutrients. Parts of my arms and legs were suffering more atrophy; I was very weak. I was desperate – depression, utter agony, and sleep were constant companions. I felt like I was slipping away and would be dead in a year.
I was familiar with medical marijuana
Enter the only thing that has improved my quality of life and helps with all my diseases and symptoms, medical marijuana (MMJ). (Disclaimer: I live in Canada, where medical marijuana has been legal since the 90s.)
I was very familiar with MMJ because my mom used it for her Crohn's disease, fibromyalgia, and RLS; one family friend used it for extreme epilepsy; and my mom's best friend for MS. I had been reading research and anything else I could get my hands on about MMJ since 2007, when my mom was prescribed MMJ.
How MMJ improved my symptoms
With the guidance of knowledgeable MMJ experts, I found the best way for me to medicate to help with all my diseases and the various symptoms (18 of them). After around 3 or 4 months, I started to notice a significant change. I was able to sleep 8 to 10 hours a day, usually still needing a 2-hour nap, and had the energy to do things like chores and even eventually small hikes.
I was able to start keeping food down and able to have my constant nausea levels at a manageable level. I finally felt I had a life again and was no longer dying.
The benefits of stronger legs
To this day, MMJ still helps me, especially now that I have tried all pharma medications that I don't have an allergy to. My legs no longer suffer from atrophy, which has massively helped reduce my RLS in every aspect. In fact, my leg strength has improved, which, I feel like, has helped decrease the RLS pains when I do experience them.
Being able to medicate while on walks enables me to keep walking. It helps keep all the various pains and constant nausea at a manageable level so that I can do other exercises which I need to do for RLS. I have a topical MMJ cream that I apply to my legs when they are aching badly because of RLS.
Getting better sleep
Sleeping better has also been a massive benefit because I am not lying in bed for half an hour trying to fall asleep, or back asleep while my legs go bonkers with RLS. That also means fewer RLS pains to begin with.
While I am uncertain how long pramapexole and magnesium will help with my RLS (a sleep expert warned me about the body building up a tolerance to these medications to the point of them no longer being of help), I know that MMJ will still be able to help my RLS.
What do you do in the middle of the night when you can't sleep?