Primary Medical Conditions: Chronic Arthritis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Fibroid Tumors
I am a 44 year old massage therapist, who relocated to Santa Cruz County in 1986 at the age of 18 from Tulsa Oklahoma. I came to the Santa Cruz area fresh out of high school to pursue additional training in massage therapy. I was only planning on being here for a year or two, but somehow, after falling in love with this place and the people I have met here, I just couldn’t go back. I currently work in an alternative medical clinic doing massage.
I suffered multiple fractures, (8) of my right hand and forearm, including a compound fracture of the radius (the one closest to the thumb) right at the wrist joint, at the age of 16. I was in a full cast to shoulder for 6 months, undergoing traction of the right arm every week for 6 weeks. At the end of six months, I was told that I should have surgery to place metal plates and pins in my hand and wrist or never be able to use it properly again. My insurance wouldn’t pay for the surgery, so I have been trying alternatives to surgery since that time. I suffer from constant arthritic pains in my wrist and forearm, a dull ache. When the weather changes my thumb and wrist swell and become so painful that I am unable to work or do much of anything.
At the age of 35 I also developed leiofibromyoma, or fibroid tumors in my uterus.
I was placed on various pain medications when I first fractured my arm, but I am allergic to codeine, so I had reactions to many of them. The one they tend to prescribe most often are (NSAIDS) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Tylenol with codeine, or Celebrex, but I have reactions to both, so I just stick to aspirin for inflammation (swelling). I also have had cortisone injections in the thumb and wrist which offered very little if any relief and it is incredibly painful. The only needles I use now are acupuncture, and I get far better results. I work in a clinic that has ultrasound and cold laser so I am able to treat myself regularly while at the office. This is especially helpful during rainy season.
I do still have a current prescription for Lortab, as it is the only pain medication I can take, but it still upsets my stomach which renders me useless while on them.
It was suggested to me that I try certain stains of marijuana to help relieve swelling and pain by a naturopath here in Santa Cruz, after I was diagnosed with the fibroid tumors. I had noticed that my hand felt better often after partaking with friends in my youth. As I began to do some research and experimenting with various strains and methods of consumption, I have been able to stay off of NSAIDS, which have horrible side effects on your liver and other organs, as well as reduce my intake of prescription pain meds to almost nothing. It also calms my stomach when I do need to take the pain medication.
I have been consistently using marijuana for medical purposes for about 14 years now. I had tried it before, but not so much was I thinking of it as medicine at that time. I prefer to smoke it with a glass pipe or vaporizer, as I really enjoy the taste and smell. I have also eaten it which tends to wipe me out and leave me useless. I am currently experimenting with topical applications and mixing them with Chinese herbal remedies as well. My consumption is directly related to my pain levels; the more I work the more I will have to smoke because unfortunately my work is causing further strain on my thumb and wrist. Also the weather, when it rains the pain goes through the roof. I have had dreams where I chew it off it hurts so bad. Using marijuana relieves the swelling, redness and reduces the pain to a manageable level so I can do my day to day tasks and be a functioning part of society, without any assistance from government programs.
I try not to use my medications before I work on patients, so I don’t use in the mornings, mostly an after 420 kinda girl.