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Tag Archives: Multiple Sclerosis

 

Terri Garr suffers from Multiple Sclerosis   
    I just finished watching CNN’s piece on Teri Garr and her private battle with Multiple Sclerosis. 

    I grew old with Teri, though I always thought she faired better with age. I enjoyed her many movies and natural beauty.  Very funny, too.
    Who would have thought this morning, while watching a very young Teri Garr on an old rerun of Star Trek and commenting on how attractive she was then, that later that same day I would be Blogging on her.

    Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic, potentially debilitating disease that affects the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and spinal cord.  Doctors and researchers think the illness is probably an autoimmune disease, which means that your immune system attacks part of your body as if it’s a foreign substance.

    I was curious if Teri’s maintenance, if not remission with this illness may be due to her using Cannabis.  A little research showed that she is a paid spokesperson for a pharmaceutical company.  I can see how that might inhibit any admission from her to using Cannabis.
    Further research revealed that Ms. Garr has served as Chair for the
National Multiple Sclerosis Society since 2002 and as Chair for the Women Against MS.
    Garr said back in 2005 that she won’t advocate medical marijuana for MS-related pain because she doesn’t want her 11-year-old daughter trying the drug. But she agrees that as a
relaxer, pot is “probably better than booze.”.   Obviously, she is quite familiar with its Anti-anxiety properties.

    But a lot of research has come out since then.  The National Multiple Sclerosis Society has, in fact recently come out with their own endorsement of Cannabis for the treatment of MS.    
    The odds are looking very good that Garr doses with Cannabis. 

 Joe uses Cannabis to treat his MS

    “There are several drugs out right now that can’t stop multiple sclerosis, but they can slow it way down,” Says Garr who has also suffered side effects. “They also made me puff up like a balloon. So I looked horrible. I hated that.”
    The first time I read this, I jokingly said that if the bloating was due to weight gain from overeating, Cannabis may be the culprit, but that’s obviously not the case here.  Terri’s symptoms appear to be more pharmaceutical by the way it sounds..  Definitely not something to joke about.

    I truly do hope that Teri uses Cannabis if for no other reason than to offset the symptoms from her pharmaceuticals.  According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society ,these are approved drugs for treating MS and its symptoms:

 Avonex:  An Interferon beta-1a drug, Avonex’s primary benefit is as an anti-inflammatory.  Side-effects include  flu-like symptoms, injection–site reactions, depression, seizures and liver problems.   A one month supply of Avonex can run anywhere from $1600 to $2000.

Betaseron is a Interferon beta-1b drug.  It’s an E. coli derivative.  Its primary benefit is also as an anti-inflammatory.  Side effects include depressed mood, anxiety, trouble sleeping, restlessness, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself, bruising, swelling, oozing, injection-site reactions, weakness, headache, muscle pain, weakness, stomach pain, swelling in hands or feet, skin rash, and irregular menstrual periods…other side-effects may occur.

Copaxone:  (Glatiramer) How Copaxone works is not fully understood, but it appears to reduce relapses.  Side-effects include can include anxiety, back pain, chest tightness, diarrhea, ear pain, fever, flu symptoms, infection, flushing, joint pain, loss of appetite, mild redness, pain, itching, nausea, neck pain, nervousness, painful menstrual flow, rapid eye movement, skin nodules, stomach pain, sweating, swelling of the legs and feet, vomiting, weakness, weight gain, abnormal thinking, dizziness, fast heartbeat, memory loss, tightness in the throat, tremor.

Novantrone:  (Mitoxantrone) Novantrone is used to reduce relapses.  Among it’s side-effects are:  rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, chest pain dark pink or bloody urine, fast or irregular heartbeat, fever, chills, sore throat, persistent cough, increased, decreased, or painful urination, mental or mood changes, anxiety, depression, mouth sores, inflammation, severe pain, persistent tiredness, weakness, shortness of breath, sinus infection, sudden, unexplained weight gain, swelling of the hands, legs, or feet, unusual bruising or bleeding, vision changes.

Rebif:  Rebif is used to reduce relapses, as it seems to be the cover point for most MS drugs,  as well as the fact that researcher have no idea how this one works, either.  Side effects include:  drowsiness, flu-like symptoms, headache, tiredness, fever, chills, back pain, muscle aches, weakness, pain, stomach pain, rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue, change in vision, chest pain, dark urine, depression, feeling cold or hot all the time, infection at the injection sight, seizures, suicidal thoughts or behaviors, unexplained change in weight, yellowing of the eyes, or skin.

Tysabri:  Tysabri is a monoclonal antibody.  It’s also a very dangerous drug.  It’s usually given to patients who cannot use other MS treatments or for patients with whom other treatments don’t work.  They don’t know how it works, either.  Side effects include diarrhea, headache, joint pain, muscle cramps, pain in the arms or legs, tiredness, rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the muth, face, lips, or tongue, changes in balance, eyesight, strength, or thinking, chest pain, or discomfort, chills, dark urine, depression, dizziness, fast heartbeat, feeling cold, fever, flushing, muscle pain, nausea, painful menstrual periods, painful urination, right-sided back, stomach, or side pain, severe or persistent headache or tiredness, shortness of breath, sore throat, suicidal thoughts or attempts, swelling of the hands, ankles, or legs, tremor, vaginal discharge, itching, or odor, vomiting, yellowing of the skin eyes.  By the way, this is not a complete list either.

     Chances are, Garr uses Cannabis for medicine.   Why do I believe that?  According to recent statistics from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society one out of every two MS patients already use Cannabis.  That’s not only good odds, it’s good reasoning on behalf of the average Multiple Sclerosis patient.  After all, using Cannabis means the average MS patient won’t have to use as much harmful pharmaceuticals, or maybe not use any at all.

     Dr. Denis Petro is the consulting Neurologist for the Multiple Sclerosis Patients Union.  In one of our Patients Out of Time videos, Dr. Petro remarks on the fact that there are currently no less than 7 clinical trials that prove that Cannabis does have anti-spasticity benefits for the MS patient. Petro, whose research regarding Cannabis spans over 25 years, is frustrated by our government and media’s refusal to recognize what other countries the world over already accept for years, Cannabis is real medicine.     
    “Drug companies only want to do research on something that will bring money down the road.” Concluded Petro.

Dr. Petro speaks to the press regarding Cannabis treatment for MS

    All things considered, if all Teri is experiencing is bloating and she’s not experiencing any of the other more lethal side effects of prescription drugs, I’d  have to say she’s either using Cannabis, or miraculously fortunate.
    The only prescription drugs available that actually benefit MS patients cause terrible side effects, that is, except for one, cannabis.  And cannabis allows MS patients to use less prescription drugs while increasing their effectiveness.

    250,000 to 350,000 people in the United States have been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis by a physician. Tell me again why Medical Cannabis is illegal…

    To view more of our Medical Cannabis Testimonies, please visit our youtube channel at www.youtube.com/cannabispatientnet/.

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    This is my friend Jack.  Jack’s a pretty remarkable guy.  Jack has MS.  I’ve interviewed a number of people with MS, but none quite as remarkable as Jack.

The first time I met Jack was in 2006 while traveling across the country with Journey for Justice 7.  My good friend and Denver Caregiver Diana McKindley agreed to introduce me to some of her patients.  Jack was number one on the list.

Jack is slowly making his way back from Chronic MS

    At the time of my interview, Jack was still having difficulty talking.  So for the interview, Diana agreed to read a short speech to me that Jack had prepared.
    We take for granted the choreography of muscles required to sustain speech.  Jack has to concentrate and apply great effort to do what comes naturally for us, even when all he is trying to do is say a few words.

    In 1994, Jack was diagnosed with Chronic MS.  This progressive form of Multiple Sclerosis is the similar to what claimed the life of comedian Richard Pryor.
    In November of 1994, he woke up and tried to stand.  He fell and never walked again.  Two months later, he lost his speech.  He moved from Breckinridge, CO to Denver to live with his Mother.
    Growing weaker, his older sister told his Mother to put him in a nursing home.  He was in a nursing home three more times.  His mother asked him to make her his legal guardian. 
    Now bedfast, people would speak in front of him as if he was already dead.  This is a common complaint from MS patients, according to Diana, Jack’s caregiver.  “They may appear to be in a coma state, but in fact they’re wide awake.  But they’re treated like they’re dead.”

    Jack was moved in with a black man with cerebral palsy.  Every day, the man would come over to Jack and tuck a Cannabis bud down between Jack’s teeth and gum, to sooth Jack’s discomfort.  Jack told me that he would suck on it all day.  It helped him get through the discomfort he was experiencing.
    He was given a G tube and was put on a liquid diet with a pump.  His health was at its lowest.  He weighed 85 lb.   He couldn’t move at all.  He was on a drink liquid diet only.  He started praying to God.  He said, “It made me feel better. ”

    Six month later, Jack’s Gall Bladder was removed.  Following surgery, the nurse was talking to him as if he could respond.  His nurse leaned over him, looking into his eyes, and asked him if he would like a drink of water.  He thought that would be good, so with all his strength, he winked at her.  She screamed with joy.  The nurses and doctors surrounded him. 
    He had no movement for two and a half years.

    In November of 1998, Jack was healthy enough to have his G tube removed.  By  December, he was able to eat soft foods.  He was now up to 100 pounds.  He Started speaking, one word at a time at first, and began moving his left arm, left foot and toes.
    In Jan. of 1999, Jack applied for section 8 housing, by July they had found him a place. 

    At the time of my interview, Jack was living by himself.  He’s witnessed many miracles.  He now speaks sentences.  He feeds himself.  Brushes his teeth, holds his own glass.
    He gets three visits a day seven days a week from his health agency since he was still not able to cook, clean or bathe.  But he’s proud of what he can do. 

    The pain Jack suffers now is in his neck.  It is not related to his MS.  He has a narrowing of his spinal cord.  The doctors told him that he would have a 50-50 chance of correcting it with surgery.  He’s on a lot of pain pills – 100 Percocets per month, 40 Dilantins per month, and a Morphine patch ever three days.
    Using Cannabis allows him to cut his pharmaceutical use in half.  With Diana’s help, Jack was in the process of setting up his own Cannabis garden.  He wants to grow his own medicine to save money.  He’s hoping to eventually be a legal caregiver as well and help others who are chronically ill.

        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 met Mandy at Joplin’s Cannabis Revival 2007. A resident of Joplin, Mandy has found that medicating with Cannabis allows her to work in spite of the fact that she has been battling Multiple Sclerosis for several years now.

Mandy has Multiple Sclerosis

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.