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Category Archives: Anxiety

    Bill is originally from Rochester, New York.  He’s been a North Carolina resident for the last six years.
    Bill suffers from chronic pain.  He also suffers from what is called an Acoustic Neuroma.    An Acoustic Neuroma is a benign or non-cancerous growth that arises from the 8th or vestibulo-cochlear nerve. The vestibular nerve is responsible for balance while the cochlear is responsible for hearing.  The seventh nerve which is responsible for facial movement is adjacent to the eighth nerve as they pass through the internal auditory canal.
    The cause of Acoustic Neuroma  is unclear.  The gene that causes this condition curiously waits until the afflicted reaches the average age of 48. Acoustic Neuroma affects 2.5% of the population.
    Symptoms include hearing reduction to complete hearing loss, imbalance or unsteadiness, intermittent or constant facial numbness, tingling, tics, or spasms.  As the tumor grows larger or presses on the brainstem, the patient will experience headaches, facial weakness, vertigo, and unsteady gait due to raised intracranial pressure.

Bill suffers from an Acoustic Neuroma

   

    For Bill, one of the most noticeable symptoms is Tinnitus; a reduction in hearing, accompanied by ringing in the ears, or ear noise.  When the “ringing headaches” start, he has to lay down.  The room has to be dark and without noise. 
    Also with Acoustic Neuroma, there is the constant fear that it’s growing.  Presently for Bill, it has stabilized.   

    Bill has taken a great deal of prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines.  He has taken Demerol, Codeine tablets, and a number of non narcotic meds.   The physicians seemed to prescribe everything under the sun, including Prozac.   Anti-depressants are often prescribed for other things than depression.  

    Prozac, or Fluoxetine, the generic, in an antidepressant.  It is approved for the treatment of major depression (including pediatric depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, panic disorder and premenstrual dissphoric disorder.  More than 22.2 million prescriptions were filled in the United States in 2007.
    Side effects include anxiety, decreased sexual desire or ability, diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, increased sweating, loss of appetite, nausea, nervousness, stomach upset, trouble sleeping, weakness, rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, bizarre behaviour, black or bloody stools, chest pain, confusion, exaggerated reflexes, fast or irregular heartbeat, fever, chills, sore throat, hallucinations, increased urination, joint or wrist aches or pain, loss of coordination, new or worsening agitation, panic attacks, aggressiveness, impulsiveness, irritability, hostility, exaggerated feeling of well-being, restlessness, or inability to sit still, persistent or severe ringing in the ears, persistent, painful erection, red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin, seizures, severe or persistent anxiety or trouble sleeping, significant weight low, stomach pain, suicidal thoughts or attempts, tremor, unusual bruising or bleeding, unusual hoarseness, unusual or severe mental or mood changes, unusual swelling, vision changes, worsening of depression. 

Bill is also a lung cancer survivor.

    There’s not much pharmaceutical medicine can do for Bill.  “They just don’t seem to help,” He’s afraid of narcotics.  He’s been through that.  He knows there’s no future for him with opiates.  He didn’t like how pharmaceuticals could keep him from feeling everyday life. 

    With Cannabis he is able to relax and listen to music, and the headache will go away.  The cannabis helps the anxiety go away too.  Cannabis provides relief for him. 

    Bill is a cancer survivor.  16 years ago, he was diagnosed with lung cancer.  He was fortunate.  He didn’t have to undergo chemotherapy.  But working his warehouse job proved too strenuous for him, what with the Acoustic Neuroma and now, missing part of a lung.  He was forced to go on Disability.

   He tries to live his life as good as he can.  He volunteers at a local hospital, in Raleigh, the Rex Cancer Center.  It’s very rewarding work for him.  Patients come in and he gives them access to printed resource material.  There’s wigs for women who are experiencing hair loss from chemo.  In general, Bill does what he can to lend a sympathetic and understanding ear to anyone who comes in with a need.
    He’s around a lot of people every day that could benefit from cannabis. But he’s reluctant to talk to anyone about it in fear of violating office policy.  He knows that at least he can provide a measure of help to the hurting, but if he was discharged, he would do no one any good.  But it’s still frustrating for him to watch people suffer, knowing that there was something that could relieve their pain and possibly even stop the progression of their cancer.  He sees so many people who are wasting away from the cancer, the chemo, and the radiation.

    Bill believes that, in spite of the cancer and all, he’s lived a fortunate life.  He feels good about giving back to the community, particularly here in North Carolina, his new home.  It’s very rewarding for him to help people.

    Bill takes walks for exercise.  A short time ago, he began suffering chest pains.  He went to see his doctor and, the next thing he knew, he was in the hospital, looking at a stint procedure.  The cardiologist told him very matter of factly how the procedure would go and he didn’t leave room for discussion.  Trusting that the specialist knew far more than he, he agreed to undergo the surgery.
    Now he must take PlavixLipitor, and a diuretic. 
    Diuretics are often given to offset water retention, another side-effect of the prescription drugs.

Plavix is used to reduce the risk of stroke or heart attack in patients who have already had a heart attack or stroke, or have other circulatory problems due to narrowing and hardening of the arteries.  Possible side-effects are easy bruising, minor bleeding, rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, bleeding in the eye, change in vision, change in the amount of urine, chest pain, dark or bloody urine, black, tarry stools, unusual or severe bleeding (excessive bleeding from cuts, increased menstrual bleeding, unexplained vaginal bleeding, unusual bleeding from the gums when brushing), loss of appetite, pale skin, seizures, severe or persistent headache, sore throat, fever, speech problems, weakness, unexplained weight loss, yellowing of skin or eyes.

Lipitor  is used to lower high cholesterol and triglycerides in certain patients.  It is used in certain patients to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, chest pain caused by angina, or blood vessel blockage.  It is also used in certain patients to reduce the risk of hospitalization for congestive heart failure, or the need for medical procedures to open blocked heart blood vessels.  Possible side-effects are constipation, gas, headache, stomach pain or upset, weakness, rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, bone, joint, or tendon pain, change in the amount of urine produced, chest pain, dark urine, fever, chills, persistent sore throat, flu-like symptoms, joint pain, muscle pain, tenderness, weakness (with or without fatigue), painful or frequent urination, pale stools, red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin, severe stomach pain, swelling of the hands, ankles, or feet, yellowing of the eyes or skin.

    Every day when Bill wakes up, he feels like he’s been steamrolled.  The cholesterol medicine just wipes him out.  He doesn’t have much energy.  Certainly less energy than he had prior to the stint surgery.  He’s laying down more than he used to. 
    He was told by his cardiologist at his follow-up appointment, “you have got to do this.”  “You have got to do the Plavix.   You have got to do the Lipitor.”  “You’ll have a heart attack if you don’t take the Plavix. “The stint will close up. ”  “The medicine won’t be activated that’s on the stint”.
    Bill felt like he was sold a bill of goods.  He felt that he had been lock into this.  He knew that he wouldn’t be the same.  “My body has been invaded by surgical steel.”  He just didn’t know that he’d be locked into taking a harmful, debilitating drug for the rest of his life.

    He smokes cannabis on an as needed basis.  He uses it when he “just feels bad.”  It helps him feel better.  It takes away the tired feeling that he gets from taking all the “lifestyle” medications.    He has found that the cannabis helps the prescription meds work better by minimizing the side effects.  
    He suffers no side-effects from dosing with cannabis apart from having an appetite again, something the pharmaceuticals had taken away.  
    Bill’s conversation turns quickly to the people he knows are undergoing chemotherapy.  “It would definitely benefit people who are undergoing chemo or radiation.”
    With Cannabis he gets the same desired affect every time.  With prescriptions he built up a tolerance. 

    Bill believes people should have the choice, especially if they are chronically or terminally ill.  He believes it is everyone’s right to determine how they should manage their pain.  
    He knows it’s tough on everyone when someone becomes chronically ill.  It affects their family; their friends,   He just doesn’t understand why the powers-that-be, the lawmakers can’t see this.  “If there’s a substance that allows people to have relief, make it available to them.  People who need cannabis have to go to the street.  The streets are dangerous.”      

    When asked if he would like to say a few words to his state legislators, he said, “Take a serious look at cannabis as a medical alternative.  Every week I’m moved by patients who could benefit from Medical Cannabis, people who are unable to eat, that are having chronic pain, they’re prescribed a lot of different drugs.  The spirit that these people show is visibly affected by the heavy dose of radiation and chemotherapy.  This is one thing that can help them.  Medical Cannabis.  Please take a serious look at this.  Offer it to people as an alternative.” 
    “My God, ” Bill adds.  “When people are sick, they want something that will help them.  They don’t want to be bombarded by more prescription drugs.  It becomes a quality of life issue.  …people are dying as we speak.  “

    Back in the early 90’s, William was in a car accident.  He sustained whiplash, a couple of herniated discs, and a few broken bones.
    Complications from the back injury prompted his physicians to put him on a cascade of lethal pharmaceuticals.
    A couple of drugs put him in the hospital, some caused hallucinations, others – uncontrolled body temperature, still others – violent fits.  “The anti-depressants basically made me happy I was in pain,” remarked William.

    Anti-depressants are routinely doled out to the chronically ill under the premise that, whether the cause or the effect, the patient must be depressed.

    William suffered with a migraine that lasted for a year.  He would have to lock himself in the bedroom, pull the shades and lay there in the darkness.  Often he would cry from the intense pain.

William struggled with prescription narcotics

    The drugs that his doctors had him on put him in another world.  They robbed him of his short-term memory.  The only thing that kept him grounded to reality while he was on prescription meds was the pain.
    The only drug that he found that sufficiently relieved the pain was Percocet.  But because of its toxicity, physicians will only prescribe it on a limited basis.

    Percocet, a narcotic analgesic, is used to treat moderate to moderately severe pain.  It contains two drugs – Acetaminophen and Oxycodone.  Acetaminophen is used to reduce both pain and fever.  Oxycodone, a narcotic analgesic, is used for its calming effect and for pain.
Percocet is known to cause dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, sedation, and vomiting, but most serious is its high tendency for dependence.

    William had a friend who asked him if he had ever tried Cannabis.  He admitted that he had used Cannabis on occasion recreationally.  His friend asked him if he’d ever used it to treat his pain.  William realized that when he used Cannabis, he felt better.
    He and his friend went out and obtained some “black-market” Cannabis and William began dosing.
    That day was the first time that he had control over his pain in 14 months.  He cried that day, not because he was in pain, but because he was released from it.

    He’ll always have the injuries that he sustained from that car accident long ago.  But he’s able to manage his pain now, with Cannabis and physical fitness.  He finds that he doesn’t have to dose on a daily basis anymore, but only on the days when the pain is too much.  On those days, Cannabis “… does the job for me.”  With it, he no longer takes any pharmaceutical meds for pain.
    The only side effect he has experienced from dosing with Cannabis is that he got hungry.

    But the story doesn’t end there.  William was diagnosed with Epilepsy when he was eight years old.  He’s been on a wide range of medications to treat it.  Depakene, Depakote, Tegretol, Dilantin, Phenobarbital, Klonopin, and many others.

William realized that he had one month to find an alternative.

    With some of his medicines, all he wanted to do was sleep.  He spent much of the time unconscious.  The Tegretol gave him violent mood swings.  Others would cause him to break out in rashes or hives; one even caused him to bleed on the surface of his skin.
    It was Klonopin that finally enabled him to gain control of his seizures.
Due to the seriousness of Klonopin, physicians only prescribe it as a last resort.  Two of the many side-effects of this serious drug are short-term memory loss and coma, but with the high frequency of seizures that William was experiencing, he considered it a worthwhile trade off. 
    At one point, he was experiencing 12 to 15 seizures a day.

    For years, wherever he moved, whatever doctors that he would have treat him, they would always prescribe Klonopin.
    A few years ago, he fell on hard times.  He owed his physician money, so the physician refused to treat him or sign for refills of his prescription.
    It’s hard for him to discuss this time of his life without him becoming emotional.  He remembers going to his physician’s office, with other patients there, pleading with him to give him his medicine – so that he could work, so that he could drive – he was a single father with two kids – so that he could do the things he normally did that he knew he wouldn’t’ be able to do without that medicine.
    The physician begrudgingly agreed to fill William’s prescription for Klonopin just one more time, but that was it.

    William realized that he had one month to find an alternative.  He got online and looked up alternative treatments for Epilepsy.  He found a vegetarian diet, exercise, meditation, prayer, and Cannabis.  Because he only had 30 days, he did them all.  he turned vegetarian, he started a strict exercise program, he meditated and prayed every day, and he started smoking Cannabis religiously.
    When the 30 days were up, the prescription was gone, but he didn’t have anymore seizures.
What’s more, they stayed gone.  After a year, he was no longer a vegetarian, he didn’t meditate and pray every day, and he didn’t exercise like he should, but he continued to dose with Cannabis.  It’s been three years and he has not been on any prescribed medicine and it’s also been three years that he has been seizure free.
    About six months after he had been off the Klonopin, William’s physician ordered an EEG at the local hospital to check the progress of his Epilepsy.  What they found was that the seizure activity in his brain had actually increased, but they no longer surfaced.  He no longer had any visible seizures.

    William is a hard working American.  He works a full time job and contributes greatly to his community.  William takes care of special needs children.  So much so that a number of local agencies compete for his services.
    He’s raised two children on his own.  Now he’s helping others raise their children.
    All William wants – instead of pumping his body full of pharmaceutical toxins, making him sick, lose his memory, lose his mind – is just to be able to medicate with Cannabis once in a while, so that he can be clear headed and pain free, so that he can continue to be an asset to society.

    To view more of our Medical Cannabis Testimonies, please visit our website at www.youtube.com/cannabispatientnet .  We need your Testimony.  Please contact me today about scheduling your interview.  Help us change law through your personal story.  I can be contacted at seren001@swbell.net.

    Buddy is 86 years old.  He started in the tobacco business when he was 17.  He didn’t retire until he was 73. A buyer for Kent, Newport and Old Gold, the fast paced, highly competitive world of a tobacco broker was the driving force for most of his life.      

    Buddy outlived his wife by eighteen years.  Now it’s just him and his son Tom.  Tom is his father’s caregiver, now.  Tom is also chronically ill.

    Buddy has been suffering with Neuropathy of the feet for twenty years.  He said that it feels like nails piercing the bottom of his feet.   ” I jus’ never had anything in my life to hurt like this.”

Buddy believes Cannabis could Help Relieve his Chronic Pain.

     Neuropathy encompasses more than 100 diseases and conditions affecting the peripheral nerves-the motor, sensory and autonomic nerves that connect the spinal cord to muscles, skin and internal organs. It usually affects the hands and feet, causing weakness, numbness, tingling and pain.

    Buddy is a veteran.  He served four years during World War II.  He was told that it was probably the long walks packing heavy equipment that lead to his feet problems.

Two recent scientific studies (Headline from 2007) have confirmed what Buddy has found (that conventional narcotics don’t work for his condition) and what he has been told (that Cannabis is effective for Neuropathic foot pain). The following video from the 2004 Cannabis Therapeutics Conference, hosted by Patients Out of Time, features Dr. Donald Abrams, who conducted one of the studies in San Francisco, explaining the protocols for his government sanctioned research.AIDS, Pain & Cannabis, with Donald Abrams   

    Buddy also has Rheumatoid Arthritis.  He’s been ailing with it for 12 years.  
    Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic, systemic Autoimmune Disorder that causes the immune system to attack the joints, where it causes inflammation and destruction, and some organs, such as the lungs and skin.
    The stiffness in Buddy’s joints confines him to his easy chair and hopelessly shackle him to pharmaceuticals.  He had to elevate his legs to make it through our interview.

    Buddy has skin cancer across the top of his head and down his back.  Squamous Cell Carcinoma is one of several colored cancerous lesions visible on the surface of his bare scalp.
    Squamous Cell Carcinoma is the second most common cancer of the skin (after Basal Cell Carcinoma but more common than Melanoma). It usually occurs in areas exposed to the sun, and can generally be treated by excision only.”

    Buddy told me that most times, he’d rather be dead.  He quickly adds that he won’t kill himself, but, “…I’d rather be dead.”  The pain he deals with is that intense.
    Over a decade of chronic illness and inefficiently treating it with prescriptions drugs has lead him to this point.  There must be something else.  For Buddy, even the thought of dying is a welcomed relief when faced with the ever growing pain he is experiencing. 

    Buddy and his son Tom are avid readers.  That’s evident from the stacks of books that fill their home.  Decades of captivity to their illnesses has honed their ability to research.  It is that energy that they focused on finding relief from the pain and discomfort they both experience.   
    Though conventional medicine fell short of a solution, one 4,000 year old medicinal herb continually surfaced in their study.  Cannabis.  From what they read, studies had shown that it not only could relieve pain and was a natural anti-inflammatory, but could also be used to increase the effectiveness of conventional medicine so that they could minimize the damage to their livers and digestive systems.     

    Buddy and Tom don’t want to break the law.  They don’t want to live out the rest of their lives in excruciating misery, either.  Buddy says his state legislator won’t listen to him because he’s a Democrat. 
    It seems all too many of our elected officials are out of touch with the chronically ill.  They steer clear of the controversial issues like Cannabis, even when they know that millions of Americans could benefit from this holistic medicine. 
    What’s it going to take?  A hundred testimonies like this?  A thousand?  Just how many more chronically ill Americans must face the fear and indignity of prosecution, even as their very lives are in peril from disease or critical injury.

    To view more of our Medical Cannabis Testimonies, please visit www.youtube.com/cannabispatientnet/ .  We need your Testimony.  Please contact me today about scheduling your interview.  Help us change law through your personal story.

    My first interview with Joe took place in April of 2006 at Ken Locke’s home in the Appalachians, just prior to the start of Journey for Justice 7.

 

Joe uses cannabis to treat his MS

 

    Joe suffers from a type of Multiple Sclerosis.  At the time of our first recording, he still did not have a firm diagnoses.   He suffers from muscle spasms, general weakness, loss of muscle control and balance – all of which make it virtually impossible to walk.  Joe has a power wheelchair.

 

    Joe finds that cannabis is the only medicine that adequately treats his symptoms without the debilitating side affects of prescription drugs.  It relaxes his limbs and back far more adequately than pharmaceuticals.  Also, cannabis allows him to avoid anti-depressants for treating his anxiety. 
    Unfortunately, the high cost of black market cannabis often forces him to choose between food and relief from his symptoms.

 

Joe’s only relief is from Cannabis

 

    Cannabis continues to be his oasis from pain and atrophy — when he can get it, of course.  And that is increasingly becoming more difficult.  The only outlet for Joe’s medicine is the street.  His age and medical condition make this a difficult prospect since cannabis is illegal in North Carolina.  Joe can only expect an occasional taste of the freedom and relief it can provide.  For now, he must suffer silently knowing his government favors the fat pocket books of big business lobbyists to the wellbeing of the chronically ill. 

 

    To view all our Medical Cannabis Testimonies, please visit www.youtube.com/cannabispatientnet.

 

    I interviewed Dennis at his home in western North Carolina.  Dennis is retired.  He lives a quiet life with his wife, Sheila and dog Beano.  They’re at that time of their lives when their success should equate to long walks, extended vacations and just enjoying their lives with each other. 

    But Dennis has chronic degenerative back disease.  His illness has grown to the point where even simple movement can cause him searing pain.   His left leg and foot have weakened so much that walking now requires deliberate and very physically demanding effort.  He’s usually not without a cane.

    To ride in a vehicle for more than just a few minutes can put him flat on his back for days.

    Dennis also suffers from heart disease.

 

Dennis suffers from chronic back pain

 

    Surprisingly, Dennis’ physicians were the ones who recommended that he try cannabis when pharmaceuticals proved useless in treating his symptoms.  Gradually he was able to taper off most of his prescriptions, finding that cannabis either complimented his pill regiment and for some of them, replaced them altogether.


    Mark lives in the City of St. Louis. He had been living a relatively healthy life up until about a year ago. A seemingly innocent sinus infection turned life-threatening, culminating in brain surgery. His life was turned upside down.

Mark suffers from seizures

    Mark soon found himself on many prescription drugs, disabled, and prone to seizures. Mark discovered that cannabis eased his anxiety and lessened his seizures.

    To view all our Medical Cannabis Testimonies, please visit my youtube channel CannabisPatientNet, and to view our legislative reform, go to http://www.markpedersen.com and http://www.gstlnorml.org.

    David, a long-time resident of St. Louis, displays all the carefree hippy attributes of his youth. But David isn’t well. He hasn’t been well for a very long time. He suffers from chronic depression. He also suffers from the residual affects of Hepatitis C.
    Depression runs in his family. His father committed suicide in 2000.  David has times when he cannot leave his home. It’s during those times that he finds cannabis to be quite affective in treating his anxiety. With it, he is able to face the world.

David suffers from depression and anxiety.

     David has strived to improve himself, returning to college and receiving a BA in Psychology. Unfortunately, a cannabis bust brought his education to a halt. Finding himself without the only thing that freed him from his home-bound incarceration, he was forced to slip back into the shackles of mental illness and pharmaceutical stupor. So, for the last five years, David’s life has been on hold. That’s how long he has been on probation. The penalty for being caught in the possession of the only medicine that affectively treats his illness is to be denied that very medicine for five very crucial years of his life. It’s not enough that he suffers alone with a debilitating illness, but further, he must suffer knowing that it is Missouri law and nothing else that forbids him from having a life; that denies him the very rites our founding fathers pledged their sacred honor to instill. The words “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” are only words to the forgotten America which is the chronically ill.

Rod’s house burned down in January 2007.

Rod suffers from Epilepsy

While his house was still burning, the fire department there in St. Charles, Missouri chose to break down the door into his grow room, even though that part of his house wasn’t involved in the fire. They also chose to pry open the locked drawers of a steel desk looking for cash rather than fight the fire that was consuming the rest of his house. Rod’s lacerations and burns had to wait while he was handcuffed in the street in front of his neighbors and children and hauled off to jail, while his home still burned.
Though Rod used cannabis from his personal garden for his personal use to treat his Epilepsy, he was charged with manufacture, distribution, and other felonies just like a street drug dealer. To add insult to injury, the St. Charles Fire Department distributed a video of their heroic efforts, rummaging through Rod’s home looking for cash and contraband, among other fire departments around St. Louis and St. Charles County.

His pharmaceutical use is reduced to a third with Cannabis

To view all our Medical Cannabis Testimonies, please visit my youtube channel CannabisPatientNet, and to view our legislative reform, go to http://www.markpedersen.com and http://www.gstlnorml.org

     This video was originally taken at the 2007 Missouri State Norml Conference in Columbia, Missouri. Mr. McVay was one of the speakers.
    There were 300 views on the original youtube video at the time of the update. Better quality equipment and improvements in my feable skill level have allowed for a far better quality audio and video presentation.

Doug McVay is a cancer survivor.

 

    Doug, an activist of “Drug War Facts” fame, is a cancer survivor. He praises Cannabis for improving his chances for recovery by replacing opiates for pain and easing the affects of chemotherapy.

Cannabis maintained his weight during chemo

 
    To view all of our Medical Cannabis Patient   Testimonies, please visit my youtube channel www.youtube.com/CannabisPatientNet , and to view our legislative reform, go to www.markpedersen.com  and www.gstlnorml.org.