Loki's Story

I’m sure now that the legality of marijuana is barreling through the United States, my story will be fairly mundane, but it’s mine. And it’s important. I am just another cancer patient in the droves of cancer patients that take advantage of medical marijuana in the state of California. I have never been a fan of any drug, outside of the ones I am prescribed by the doctors treating all of my conditions, and I am one of few that has never dabbled in anything more than alcohol when I was a teenager. I am extremely new to this form of treatment, and I believe my experience to be part of what is shaping the change towards the legalization of marijuana, whether it be medical or not, across the entire country. The last 15 years of my life have been a fascinating clusterfuck of information and an insanely wild ride composed of near constant hospital visits and doctor appointments. Also, after 27 years of life, and at least 10 of those dealing with serious and chronic health problems, marijuana has entered into my life, and I don’t see it making an exit at any point in the near future.

 

                   "I was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes at 15 years old.  This was my first major diagnosis..."

 

My health problems began on February 28, 2003 after many months of strange occurrences with my body. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes at 15 years old. This was my first major diagnosis, my first stay in a hospital, and my first time needing to absorb massive amounts of knowledge in a matter of days. It was an extremely confusing time for me, but, if we can be honest with one another, once I got the hang of everything, it became quite manageable. The more serious issues would come a very short time later.

 

 

 

 

 

I was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) on September 8th, 2005. Now for a short lesson, as I’m sure none of you have heard of any specific type of leukemia; There are 4 types of leukemia, separated into 2 categories. The two categories are chronic, meaning slowly progressing, and acute, which characteristically comes on suddenly and, if not treated, progresses quickly. Of the 4 types of leukemia, the one I have is the rarest, and at diagnosis, I was told that only 2% of CML diagnoses are under the age of 65. I was barely 18 years old when I was diagnosed, and only in my second week of college. The whole experience moved extremely quickly. The day I was diagnosed I was also put on a fairly new chemotherapy pill that was designed specifically for my type of leukemia in order to avoid the necessity of a bone marrow transplant. I will let you do your own research on most of this, as I’m sure you’re not at all interested to learn exactly what is going on in my body on a molecular level, but you should know that because of the treatment I chose, I deal with daily chronic pain and occasional nausea. With my pain alone, I am on constant opioid pain management. I have been on massive amounts of narcotics every second of every day since diagnosis. We’re talking about 10 years of constant Oxycontin, Oxycodone, Opana, Fentanyl, Hysingla, Dilaudid and Methadone treatment, among many other narcotics over the years. I can no longer have anything like Norco or Hydrocodone, as it is comprised mostly of Tylenol, and with the amount of narcotic that I need, combined with my insane tolerance to these types of medications, the amount of Tylenol that I would ingest daily becomes way too high of a risk for my liver. C’est la vie, no?

 

 

 

So now let’s go ahead and get to the reason for my writing this; WEED! And vaping weed! At the end of 2012 I decided that enough was enough with the pain medications. At this point, I have no idea if my pain is actually "real" or if it’s just my body’s addiction demanding for more drugs. I also have serious brain fog and memory retention problems that are more than likely due to my drug habit, and the only way to find the answers to these problems is to just eliminate the drugs out of my system for a little bit. So, since the end of 2012, I have slowly been eliminating narcotics out of my system. After many years, I am finally off of Oxycontin and Oxycodone. I have switched to an extended release medication that is in a completely separate class than Oxycontin, and I couldn’t be more excited by this. I am still on loads of Fentanyl, though, and I currently have 4 different delivery methods of the drug in my home. I use a Fentanyl nasal spray and sublingual spray for breakthrough pain. It acts immediately and only lasts for an hour. I rely on these drugs the most to deal with my pain. Last year I was prescribed a pharmaceutical cannabis medication by the name of Idrasil to attempt to treat my pain without the need of narcotics. At the time, I didn’t have a California driver’s license, nor did I have the medical marijuana prescription letter. Even though this is a legitimate pharmaceutical drug, I still needed to follow California’s cannabis laws in order to fill it. This is one of 3 cannabis drugs that I know of that are pharmaceutical drugs that have been approved by the FDA and have the possibility of being covered by your health insurance, depending on the plan you have. The reason Idrasil caught my attention was because my doctor had stated that it wouldn’t make me high, unlike Marinol and Sativex. I would still very much like to try this medication, but my current pain management provider fears the lack of studies being done on this drug. So, after hearing this, I began to open a dialog with all of my medical professionals regarding their thoughts about marijuana. I was so surprised to find that all of my doctors were actually in full support of my trying it, though I was told to stay away from smoking and to stick to the liquids. My pain management doctor informed me of a dispensary in Venice that he had been to before ("for science"...) that was supposed to have a decent selection of CBD herbs and liquids. I was referred to a doctor by the collective to get my letter, and after getting my letter, I went to the Rose Collective in Venice to see what it was all about. At 27 years old I was stepping into a dispensary for my very first time. I wasn’t really very impressed with the Rose Collective as they gave me the same exact answer to every single, very specific question I asked; "Everybody reacts differently with these things, so we can’t really tell you how it will react or work with your system"......... Really?! They also made sure to state about 20 different times that they deal with many cancer patients as they have an oncologist that works in the office above the collective. This was probably my biggest issue with the place. This woman, whom they refer to as an "oncologist", states that she is a public speaker on her business card….. Her name on her business card was not signed with M.D., and on the front of the card was a picture of her with her tongue sticking out, wearing a shirt that was very pro-weed while giving the "rock on" hand signals. After 15 years of dealing with doctors, this is not one. And the fact that she is sold as one is very misleading. I was not very appreciative of this at all. I take offense because I wonder how many people come to see her rather than an actual doctor that could actually treat an affliction. I have never side-eyed anyone, or any group of people, so fucking hard in my life, but, while side-eyeing with strength, I went ahead and bought a Bliss 2:1 CBD to ThC tincture, a small package of Cheeba Chews, and 2 very small amounts of herb that was recommended to me by the gentleman that was working the counter that night.

 

In celebrating me finally partaking in the marijuanas, my fiance purchased a vape for me, as I don’t smoke and don’t want to. In 2011 I took Welbutrin to quit smoking, so now, even the thought of me smoking makes me physically ill. My lungs even begin to burn. Also, I hate weed. I hate the smell of it, I hate the taste of it, I hate everything about it. This becomes a problem when I am needing to smoke to treat severe nausea. My fiance uses a little one hitter pipe and saves the vape for me to use with whatever I feel I may need for that day. I have attempted to use the pipe, and I will use it to treat nausea, but as soon as I inhale, I immediately feel a need to vomit. Even after exhaling, the taste is enough to make me dance with, and sing to, the toilet. At least with my vape, the taste isn’t as harsh, and the smoke is definitely not as harsh! I would still rather not smoke at all, but I find it to be most effective. My fiance and I purchased my vape at Smoke Shop in Burbank. It’s located off of Olive Ave and Victory Blvd. I cannot speak highly enough about the man that helped us. He was so informative and so logical about the whole process. He even broke everything down well enough for a noob like myself to feel comfortable doing everything on my own. We purchased a Hebe Titan 2 vaporizer pen and a metal herb grinder from this man, and I expect we will definitely go back for any future purchases of smoking devices. Now, as this is my first vape pen, I have no way of comparing it to any of the other brands currently out there, but from what I can tell, any difference in price is basically just due to brand name. We were told they all work the exact same way and do the exact same thing, which made our choice much easier. With the Titan 2, I can even choose at what temperature to burn my herb at, which is actually super helpful when running on low. I find that it works very smoothly, it heats up fairly quickly, and I appreciate the display that tells me what the temperature is and how much charge I have left on the battery. I also love that it is charged with a micro-USB connection, which I have more than enough of laying around my home! I find it hilarious when I attempt to smoke out of the pipe after having used my vape, because my lungs immediately begin to burn, my only thought is to puke, and I want nothing more than to get the taste of ash out of my lungs. My fiance would like to purchase a bong at some point to see if my lungs would agree with that as well, but we will see. I’m currently extraordinarily happy with my Titan 2, and after finding my current dispensary, I could see myself continuing to medicate myself far into the future.

 

I currently go to California Compassionate Care Network in North Hollywood. This dispensary has a huge selection of herb, edibles and liquids. From what I can tell, so far, their employees are also very knowledgeable of their products, and they can easily navigate you through their supply based on your needs. When I went in, I told them I wanted something that was high CBD, wouldn’t make me high, wouldn’t dry out my eyes, and wouldn’t make me hungry. This led me to their CBD strain, which has worked so well for me! I don’t get high at all, but I can definitely feel my nausea and my pain either go away, or fade significantly. This, alone, was exactly what I was looking for, but they did better than that. When I asked them for something that would give me motivation to get up and complete daily tasks, I was pointed towards their Holy Grail, which is absolutely my favorite strain of theirs! It’s amazing! If I am behind on the housework, I will smoke a bit of that and then start scrubbing dishes or floors or toilets! This location has also been in business since 2006, so they have a long history of developing products that fit the needs of their customers. This also means that they are a safe bet to use. They have developed a wide enough clientele to maintain their business, and they follow California state laws, which is important for me. A dear friend of mine recently found this dispensary after his former dispensary was raided and shut down. He was on his way to do some shopping when he saw police cars outside the building and the owners in handcuffs on the sidewalk. An interesting point he brought up to me was about his paperwork and records of his visits that were stored in that place of business. What happened to it all? I understand that these businesses must follow HIPPA privacy laws with your personal information, but who’s to say it was destroyed? These things make me so very nervous, so I’m glad I found the California Compassionate Care Network. They have been, and will continue to be, in business for many years, so the likelihood of this location being raided is slim to none.

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