My disabilities are two-fold; one I was born with and the other incurred later in life. For nearly two decades, I have suffered from Multiple Sclerosis. My story starts long before that. I was born physically disabled. I am missing most digits on my hands and feet, and have suffered with both Raynaud’s disease and severe pain my entire life. I was a foster child for eight years, and am thankful that, despite knowing the challenges I would face throughout my life, my foster parents took a chance on me through adoption. Throughout countless surgeries and scares they were by my side. No matter what life throws my way, I just keep fighting.
When I found out I was eligible to apply for certification through New York State’s medical marijuana program, I hesitated. I was initially afraid of what people would think. I was also concerned about the effect that the treatment might have on me. After weighing my options, I decided that medical cannabis was an option worth exploring. My conditions had already led me to experiment with countless types of pain medication and treatments over the years, so why not give it a shot?
I began my treatment with Vireo in early 2016, shortly after the program kicked-off. From day one I have worked with the extremely knowledgeable and welcoming team of professionals at the Vireo Health of New York White Plains dispensary to help me establish which form of medication would be best for my condition. Most people don’t realize that every MS diagnosis is very different. However, the Vireo team does. They know that one-size does NOT fit all and helped me to not only mask my constant pain, but to manage it as well.
I have tried a couple of different medications from the Vireo spectrum and have found that the Red Vape Oil provides me with the most relief. Contrary to popular belief I have never felt a “high” from my treatment. The higher concentration of THC has helped to address my painful spasms quickly and responsibly. It has also helped me to regain weight that I had lost as a result of my reduced appetite and chronic stomach pain. I am now able to eat a few small meals a day, a routine that at one point seemed untenable.
Following a recent exacerbation of my MS triggered by multiple other health-related issues, the Vireo team introduced me to the bulk and cartridge products. They walked my husband and I through the new systems thoroughly and attentively, so that I understand how to use them properly on my own. Each team member takes their jobs very seriously and makes sure you are familiar with all options available. The service, products and experience are worth every penny.
Quite honestly, this whole experience has been a complete game changer for me. In what now feels like a previous life, I used to take 150 micrograms of Fentanyl every 48 hours. People are surprised when I tell them how high of a dosage I was taking, but they are even more shocked to hear that this went on for 10 years. I was sleeping my life away. Now, with medical marijuana I don’t have to lean on Fentanyl as a crutch – I am finally free.
While I know that I have made progress, I still have many obstacles that I must deal with on a daily basis. I have bilateral leg braces. I have taken a few falls. I still have to focus on and deal with my health more than most – but finally I have something that helps me get a handle on my conditions, one day at a time. I am able to go to physical therapy again. I can get out of bed before 4 p.m. To a certain extent, I have regained much of my independence.
I finally have a sense of clarity, very different from anything I ever felt when prescribed narcotics or opioids. I can hear and understand what my sons are saying to me. My husband has said that I’m back to the way I was when we got married 27 years ago. The support that my husband and two boys have provided me with over the past several years is so valuable. They have made it so I have have never felt alone on this journey. Now, after all of these years, I am able to give back and be there for them, too.
I have never had the easiest life, but with constant support, perseverance and the help of Vireo, I am able to make the best of it. I cannot put into words how grateful I am for this program, and for the option it has given to people like me, who have struggled for so long without anywhere to turn. I’m not ashamed anymore, because I’ve learned that embracing life, instead of sleeping it away, should carry absolutely no shame!