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    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.  “

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    Anne is a registered nurse.  For a time, nursing was her life.  Unfortunately, this profession that she loves so much has slipped beyond her reach.  In 2001, she became disabled. 

    Anne has a rare autoimmune disease, called Adult Onset Stills Disease.  She’s one of five people in the state of North Carolina with that diagnoses. 
    Still’s disease is a form of juvenile idiopathic arthritis, characterized by high spiking fevers and transient rashes.  It’s basically a very progressive form of Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Anne has a rare Autoimmune Disease

    She also has degenerative joint disease in both knees and both hips, all requiring immediate replacement.
    She’s been through two back surgeries and now has what’s considered a ?failed back?.  She has a herniated disc at L34, L45 is bulging, and L5S1 is bone on bone.

    Anne has Fibromyalgia.  Once referred to as arthritis of connective tissue, Fibromyalgia is classified by the presence of chronic widespread pain and tactile allodynia.

Anne has replaced her prescriptions with Cannabis

    Anne has Myofascial Pain Syndrome.  Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) is a painful musculoskeletal condition, a common cause of musculoskeletal pain. MPS is characterized by the development of Myofascial trigger points (TrPs) that are locally tender when active, and refer pain through specific patterns to other areas of the body.

    Anne has Chronic Pain Syndrome.  Chronic pain is defined as pain that persists longer than the temporal course of natural healing, associated with a particular type of injury or disease process.

    She has been through chemotherapy to try to kill her extra white cells, to slow the illness? degenerative progression.  It made her terribly ill and caused her hair to fall out. 
    She was continuously in pain.  Her physician had her on a daily regiment of six class two narcotics, muscle relaxers, and sleeping pills.
    Nothing that the physicians and specialists tried stopped the pain and progression of her disease.  They told her that she would be in a wheelchair by the time she was 40.

    Now at 38, she doesn’t know what life holds for her.  All she can hope for is some measure of quality of life.  She really wants to go back to work.  That would give her fulfillment. 
    She’s up for a third spinal surgery at Duke University Hospital.  She’s had six major surgeries in the last eight years.  She’s praying that this time it’ll work; that it will help her start again.
 
    Though her church background forbade her from using cannabis for any reason, when she was thirty-three years old, she tried it for the very first time when she suddenly lost her physician and her scripts stopped.  In one fall swoop she was forced to come off OxyContin, Morphine Sulfate, Percocet, Dilantin, Valium, Flexural, Robaxin, and sleeping pills. all at one time. 
    Cannabis, though illegal, was the only medicine available.  Without it she doesn’t think she would have survived the ordeal.

    The first time that she dosed with cannabis, she felt that she was free again.  It helped her with depression and elevated her mood.  But most of all, it freed her from unmentionable pain. 
    Anne was physically devastated, as much from the pharmaceuticals as from her illnesses.   She believes Cannabis can free her from both.

    Modern science is confirming that Ann is correct when she says that Cannabis relieves many of her symptoms.  Doctors and researchers listen to Professor Raphael Mechoulam, who first isolated THC in Israel  in 1964, at a Clinical Conference on Cannabis Therapeutics, hosted by Patients Out of Time. In this video, Dr. Mechoulam explains the role of Cannabinoids and Cannabis as an anti-inflammatory agent – highly effective for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis, as well as it’s neuroprotective properties. 

Cannabinoid System in Neuroprotection, Raphael Mechoulam,PhD                    

With her condition properly managed with Cannabis, Anne truly believes that she could go back to work. If only the medical community did not discriminate against her medicine through random drug testing.
   
    Now that she has found a holistic alternative to her harmful pharmaceuticals, she would like to have her healthcare supervised by one of her local pain management clinics, but all that she has applied to have refused to treat her because she uses cannabis. 

    She has done her research.  With all that she has been through with conventional medicine, she insisted on being thorough.  What she found was a wealth of medical evidence, all affirming that cannabis was the safest and most affective medicine available to treat her illnesses.

    All she wants is some measure of quality to her life; to safely, legally, and sufficiently treat her illnesses.  For her, Cannabis is what she needs.

    View all our Patient Testimonies at www.youtube.com/cannabispatientnet. Patients and prospective patients, we need your help.  Please consider giving us your video testimony.  Together, we are strong, together we will abolish prohibition, once and for all.