Saturday, March 26, 2011

The MJ experience.

I've been asked in emails and on the blog about my Marijuana experience and I've been avoiding the answer because I'm not at a point to give a definitive answer.

That, and I have been relatively busy and kept forgetting. ::grins:: Sorry ladies! I'm a dope.

Instead of wait until I have all the answers, I figure I might as well bring you all along on my journey, such as it is.

The question I get most often is whether or not MJ works for my symptoms. And I have to answer honestly. I don't know.

It's been since September of 2010! How can I not know anything more? LOL Well, I'll tell you.

The only MJ I've had is crap that's scraped from the bottom of a baggie housing homegrown illegal yuck. Did it help me fall asleep? Yup! But I also freaked out and had a panic attack the first time. That didn't work out so well. The next few times I tried less, and that worked better but I still had a migraine and pain. The stuff just wasn't strong enough.

I made the call, excited to get started in the process of getting medical grade stuff. I made an appointment with a doctor through a service that puts patients with Doctors who will look over their symptoms, determine if they are candidates and then "prescribes" the medical marijuana. Sounds perfect.

I go to the doctor's office with my 200.00 and I even went to my general doctor to get a copy of my medical records.

Sitting in the lobby, I answered page after page of information about my health. Extensive. To the point where, the potheads sitting next to me, couldn't figure out how to fill some of it out. I had to smile. But then I frowned, wondering if I would be that dumb once I started to self medicate with MJ.

Doesn't matter. I can't take the narcotics anymore. If I get a little more dumb, so be it! Anything to get rid of the migraines and the depression and pain.

After a forty minute wait, I'm called into the doctor's office and he makes a copy of my ID. He photo copies two pieces of paper for me, and highlights what I need to fill in for the state.

Then he asks me for the money. I hand over the 200.00 and ask him what I do next. He tells me to choose a caregiver.

Well what's that? You're not a caregiver? I ask.

A grower. Someone who supplies the weed.

Okay, so how do I find one?

The doctor tells me he knows a guy. I'm not making this up! lol Maybe this is just how things are done, right?

So he takes down my number to give to his "guy" and I ask what kind of MJ I need and he told me to do research on the internet and find someone who grows what I need.


Oh, and he mentions I'll need an additional 100.00.

What for?

The state's fee. I'll need to mail the check with the paperwork. Now I should mention just how long it took me to get together 200.00. I didn't have an extra 100.00. I still don't have it! lol

So my copy of my ID sits here, wrinkled and ripped with as many times as it's been pushed around my room, awaiting the day I get 100.00 together.

To be clear, I paid 200.00 to fill out a bunch of paperwork, and get this MD's stamp on my paper. He reassured me though, if I were denied, he'd continue to make copies for me free of charge to try again.

I learned more on the Michigan Medical Marijuana forums than I did paying 200.00 to this so-called doctor.

Online I learned that there are different types of MJ for different symptoms. Patients who tried them even report what works best for them and for which ailment.

The bad news? I have no idea who grows the type, and when I do find a "caregiver" they're booked with patients, as one caregiver can only have up to ten patients or some such. I can grow my own...but I don't know how...and I can learn, but can't afford the equipment.

Am I frustrated? Most definitely. The laws are primitive and seem to only be specific when it's highly inconvenient.

For now, until I get some extra cash--not living from paycheck to paycheck, I'm going back to my neuro in hopes that he'll prescribe me oxygen. I've heard that can be good for migraines.

As soon as I can, I'll write up so more stuff on Medical MJ for Fibro, including some things that I've heard about MJ upping the chance for mental issues. But first, I want to do more research and find out what is truth and what is rumor. I know the prescription drug community isn't happy with the legalization of MJ, so who is to say about these "new studies". First I want to find out who sponsored them.

Like always, my friends and fibromates, take care of yourselves.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Medical Marijuana Alternative

As I jump through some strange hoops to find relief for my fall allergies/fibro flare-ups, I'm brought face to face with one of the last few things I've yet to try. Marijuana.

My fears? I'm a writer. I don't want to be out of my mind or sluggish, hungry, and kinda dumb. But the migraine's get so bad, I'd take all of that for a few hours of relief.

So here I am, clutching my Medical Marijuana send-off package with my 100.00 pay off check (I feel I should get a discount on) and ready to take the plunge. I'm also going back to my neurologist to see about these strange head twinges I get at night and to try pure oxygen to see if that can break 7 day migraines.

Pain killers simply don't work for me any more, and the side effects have now made it too dangerous for me to continue.

But there's light at the end of this tunnel I think.

Maybe I'll find Marijuana will work or maybe...just maybe the FDA will hurry along this new drug!

Here's the link:

Let's hope more of this type of medication is found to be helpful for pain sufferers of all types.

Hope you're all feeling well my friends!


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day (Mood Swing Question)

To all my Fibro Mates and their Mates and their children!

You're in my thoughts today.

I've been around blogging under a pen name, spreading the word in honor of Fibro, and I hope you all have found a way to do the same.

Today's letter comes from Francesca.

"Dear Gin,

How do you handle the mood swings with your children?"

Like many answers, this one is best solved by observing yourself. Start up a mood journal with a few simple questions at the beginning.

What medications do you take on a regular basis?
How many hours of sleep do you get and do you feel rested?
Do you take naps?

Then start documenting your days:

-How do you feel when you wake up?
-How do you feel around meals? Any foods trigger irritability? (Sugar and carbs are known to.)
-How is your pain level when you notice yourself feeling down and blue?
-How is your pain level on your upswing? (Sounds like a no brainer right? But sometimes, Fibro Mates pain DOESN'T influence their mood because we're so used to it. I've also noticed at times that I'm crankier when I'm not feeling bad pain, almost as if I expect it to be coming and I'm calmed once the familiarity of it returns.)
-What is said or done when you notice yourself get snippy?
-How do you feel before bed?

Things to keep in mind:

Medications amplify irritability.

Not on medications? How long has it been? Detox takes a while. For me, I'm not myself until I've been off narcotic pain killers for over a week, possibly more.

Lack of energy makes us more snippy, too.

Possible fixes:

-Detox. (If you're on pain medications and you just can't seem to control your outbursts, wean yourself off of you narcotics. Talk with a doctor about this before hand so that you know what to expect. You'll have trouble sleeping and severe irritability at first if you decide this is a good option for you.)

-Awareness. Once you become aware of how quickly you snap off to loved ones and friends, you have to try to run interference on yourself. Go to a bathroom and take a moment to talk yourself out of your sour moment.

-Explain. Tell your children that some of the meds you are on and/or your condition makes you say and do things you don't always mean. Also explain that it will not be an excuse for them to disregard your authority but if they feel you are being overly harsh, to talk through the issue with you.

-Find your triggers. By keeping the journal, you can find out what sets you off. For me, a big one is not being able to find something I *JUST* had in my hands. I snap.

-Find ambition. Happiness is hard to come by, so we need to find a goal in our lives that will make us happy. Something we can actually work toward. There's nothing wrong with having the goal "finding the cure for Fibro" but for your sanity, shoot lower. "I want to help someone with Fibro" or "I want to take a trip to Australia." Your ultimate goal can still be "I want to cure Fibro" as long as you have other goals to drive your ambition.

-Find Energy. With Ambition you need Energy. For me, I find energy in forced exercises (yes I have to force myself most days), acai berry supplements, B vitamin complexes, and simple determination! Try everything until you find something that gives you a little more zing to your day. Some Fibro Mates find this in their medications, but I do not.

I hope, Francesca, that you find a way to curb your mood swings, but you have to also learn to forgive yourself, too. We all snap off some times and though we feel like hell afterwards, we just have to be okay with who we are in the long run. Try to make amends, try to talk reasonably, and hope for understanding from those around you.

All my best to you and everyone,

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Sugar Rush

"Hi Gin,

I noticed in the link of your archive you gave me regarding the monster list it has carb cravings on there. You mentioned you fought with this on the loop the other day and it sounded like you beat it. Can you tell me some of the stuff you did? I crave sugar and chocolate and pasta all the time and I'm afraid to develop diabetes. Do you know if thats possible?


Hiya Beverly!

Thanks for coming by. I know I don't have a lot of new posts but I hope you check the archives often and feel free to ask more questions. Also, thanks for letting me post your letter. I've had so many people want to be anon lately I haven't had much material. LOL

As far as kicking the carb craving habit...I wouldn't say I've kicked it. More like...weaned from it with a few episodes of wagon jumping. (I'm not big on the term falling off the wagon, as I believe it is a decision we make and the word "falling" is a crutch that takes away personal responsibility. Kinda anal of me huh? LOL)

I grew up on noodle dishes and the like, so learning to cook things without pasta took me a while. I, too, worried about developing diabetes especially when I was gestationally diabetic while pregnant. I also had my blood drawn for a test not too long ago and my doctor actually told me to lay off the carbs and lose a few pounds. Well okay! Wake up call for me. So I set up a plan of attack...again. This isn't the first time I've tried to cut carbs but it is the first time I was specifically told to by a doctor and not by a suggestion to help Fibro.

First - slowly retract from carbs. Trying to cut them out completely will result in a wagon jump quicker than you'd anticipate AND it will give you a sense of failure which doesn't help our mentality.

Second - get yourself used to sugar substitutes. (Be careful. Some sugar substitutes can upset the belly. Try a splenda with fiber or another type of sugar sub with probiotics to, hopefully, keep from IBS issues, if you're the type that has them.) Remember to do this slowly or you're going to HATE on sugar subs. lol You may be against sugar substitutes, as the health benefits and risk are often debated. If that's the case, (and even if it isn't) start looking for products that are "less sugar" or "low sugar".

Third - Give sugar free products a shot or two. Remember, nothing is going to taste as awesome as sugar. And after a few days of low sugar/carb intake, give yourself rewards. I talk about rewarding often because I feel without a benefit at the end of the road, we might start asking "what's it all for" or thinking "I'd rather just take the risk and feel like I'm living than eat crap I hate for the rest of my days". (Both things I've been known to think. lol)

Fourth - Don't boycott all carbs. (Withdrawal!) Just work on portions. If you eat a lot of potatoes, cut your portions to half and try to eat them baked instead of fried (if that applies). If you eat noodles all the time, try to add more chicken or meat or veggies and just a little bit of pasta.

Fifth - Snacks are the bane of our existence. For me, I was a chip-hound. I LOVE chips. I switched from regular salty tater chips to tostitos. Once I was able to keep my chip craving back a little, I moved from tostitos to snacking on crunchy vegs to spinach salads. Always? Heck no. Once or twice a week I allow for a chip award. lol

Sixth - Look in healthy magazines for recipes that are sugar free but don't taste it. HOWEVER, if you are a little lazy in the kitchen like me, you can find quite a few short-cuts.

Seventh - Vitamin supplements exist that are reported to curb carb cravings. My memory is failing me but I think I tried some to a degree of success. But, taking so many vitamins can upset the tummy so I know I had to quit a few.

Okay. Those suggestions are what I gave to myself and followed.

So...what do I eat when I have a craving? This is a personal list and not meant to be much of an endorsement. lol
Sweet Tooth Fixes:

- Russel Stover's sugar free chocolate candies. (The first few bites...meh. But the overall taste does curb the chocolate craving.)
- Jell-o Sugar Free Milk Chocolate and Dark chocolate mousse. ( Lemme just say, YUM! and only 90 calories I think. Bonus!)
- Jell-o Sugar Free Strawberry Acai gelatin. (For my Weight Watcher friends it's ZERO points and 10 calories. As a bonus, it also has antioxidants and when I was eating 2 a day to curb cravings and everyone around me was getting colds... I didn't. Coincidence? Possibly but I'm thinking yay antioxidants.)
- Weight watchers Fudge or chocolate ice cream bars. (Again YUM! An excellent chocolate fix without the sugars.)

Noodle Fixes:
- Replaced potatoes with spinach salads or an extra helping of veggies.
- Switch up noodle dishes for rice. I like Basmati. Why switch from one carb to the other? To change your taste buds. It's easier to quit something you didn't grow up loving, but the rice will fill you like potatoe and noodle carbs. It's much easier to cut down on a carb you're not used to. I made basmati rice with every meal (Spring for a rice cooker for 15 bucks to make awesome rice) and then cut down my carb portion to 1/4 cup of cooked rice.

On this regiment, I lost ten pounds without adding to my exercise schedule.

As far as any type of medical proof Fibromates get diabetes because of their carb cravings, well I couldn't find any research that would support the theory but logically, if you cave in to eating a lot of sugars, you're at risk like any other.

I hope I answered your question and gave you some good stuff to try.

All my best wishes for pain-free days.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Happy Spring!

A great time of the year! The snow melts here, and the weather warms to perfection. I usually grab my daughter and wander around the zoo often. We've already been once and it was a great day. One of the best I've had.

The problem was...I had to be drugged up on pain killers. I had to bring a driver, Shy's father, and he doesn't much care for the zoo. We still had a great time, no matter what, but I could definitely tell by the pounding of my head, Spring was in the air!

With season changes, so come the flares. Mine lasted about a month and I was in a pain killer haze. I really dislike pain killers but the fault was mine for needing to depend on them. I'd been forgetting to take my vitamins (as we often do) which resulted in a lack of ambition, so I didn't do much exercising either.

Spring, is the time of year to prepare for Fibro Awareness, so we need to take better care of ourselves; be preemptive! Encourage each other to keep pushing toward days where we look our doctor in the face and say, I don't need anything right now.

I know what Spring does to me. I hurt more, I get a migraine that lasts for weeks, I lose ambition and before I know it, it's halfway through summer.

Not this year!

I'm going back on Acai Berry supplements for energy, popping those vitamins, and walking the dog if it kills me! And it just might.

I plan to start my day with Yo-Plus vanilla and acai powder and granola for energy and to fill the belly. Then I'll take half my vitamins. (B-complex, Magnesium, Vitamin D, Biotin) Next I'll work out for 15-30 minutes starting with low impact exercises until I've built up my strength again. Shower and take care of my skin and hair. The rest of my day is going to be filled with writing, working, cleaning when I can, and I'm going to stay away from greasy fast food as much as possible. (Or at least count calories and carbs so I don't fall into the same pattern of overdoing.) I'm going to eat a low carb supper and maybe have a little bit of something that isn't very good for me because I deserve it for sticking with my routine. After my belly has something in it, I'll take the second half of my daily vitamins because I can't "stomach" taking them all at once. (Amino Acids, Vitamin E, Calcium{sparingly! Every three days for me. Omega 3,6,9) And at the end of the day, I'll treat my face with a calming, soothing masque and rub my body down with body butter to promote circulation and relaxation. Having a plan for taking care of yourself can work, even when we don't stick to every aspect of it (which for Fibro Mates is extremely hard). Don't beat yourself up for what you can't do in a given day. Reward yourself for doing what you can!

Remember, Fibro is a brain disorder. Our brain fights against us. It makes us depressed, it saps our inner strength and we have to fight self-defeating behaviors by not talking down to ourselves.

If you have a few days where you can't do any of the things on your list,'ll get it the next day, or the next. When negativity due to Fibro takes a breath, you use that brief reprieve to get through enemy lines and take control for as long as you can hold on!

I have faith in you, my friends.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a list to complete today! :-)

All my best wishes for pain-free days.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

To My Blogging Buddies

Hiya FibroMates, and Mates of Fibro Mates

Just a quick warning about a trend I've been noticing.

Foreign Pharm spammers are targeting blogs, trying to post comments that are advertisements for their business. Cheap drugs the American government doesn't allow you to have, etc.

Some of my followers have blogs of their own, reaching out toward the medical community, so I'm letting you all know that filtering responses has saved me a LOT of time.

Think about it.

Ohhh btw, I just received a few questions in my inbox this week and I'll be responding to, either privately or in a post if I can. (Have to double check anon status with both.)

All my best wishes for pain free days.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Birthday Week!

It's my birthday week. And those of you who are on my Facebook friends list, know why I take a week.

I'm so forgetful that I figure I might notice my birthday more if I celebrate the week surrounding it. Hopefully, you all follow suit with this idea. It's fun and we deserve more than one day a year to celebrate ourselves and all our accomplishments. Even if the only thing we accomplish is getting out of bed. ::grins::

So enough about me. Without further ado...I'll hit the mail.


I have IBS like you and my flares make them worse. I can't take both at the same time. Any ideas?


I do have some ideas but really we need to find out what is causing your upset. Are you going through more stress than usual? Are you taking more medication?

I'm going to make a few assumptions here. With bad flare-ups we tend to take more pills. More pills means that our digestive tract be bombarded. There's a whole bunch of medical jargon to sift through involving liver function etc. but suffice it to say that what you're taking through your flare-up might be making your IBS worse.

I've read a bunch of reports that talk about aspirin and tylenol and other acetaminophen products playing havoc with the belly but in my case, I can trace almost every bad IBS episode (and I'm talking extremely bad...don't want to leave the house here) to ibuprofen.

Why? I have a few theories. One: I took a lot more of this medication than I should have right after my pregnancy (4 pills every four hours) and when I was first diagnosed with Fibro and advised to take a 3 pill dose every four to six hours by my doctor.

I've stated before (and I apologize if I sound like a skipping CD here) that Fibro patients are known to adapt to their medications and also to become sensitive to them. Something that never bothered us before can one us crazy, make us itch, make us feel sick...worsen our IBS.

Some things to try:

During the days of your lighter. My favorite thing to do when I notice my stomach becoming upset is to start eating soft. I drink green tea with a bit of the splenda with fiber to try to toughen the stool but I "eat soft". Chicken noodle soup, flavored applesauce snacks with reduced sugar, basmati rice with baked chicken (the soft juicy dark meat) and some yo plus vanilla (Best yogurt EVER lol). I eat like I have Gastroenteritis again, giving my digestive tract a chance to heal while still getting to eat.

We often forget about how hard a flare-up hits the rest of our body. We baby tender muscles and joint stiffness and pain but still eat Doritos and broccoli and...for me...Taco Bell.

Give all parts of your body time to heal.

Vitamins can also be a contributing factor. Try to get liquid vitamins when you can.

Also, unless otherwise specified, try to take medication around a meal to help with digestion of pills and vitamins.

Stress is another major factor in both IBS and Fibro. Nothing new there. Find a pastime that can soothe your nerves or find something that inspires you. For me.. Planet Earth the DVD series. I'm reminded of hardships and that life...beautiful life...always moves forward. I also like to think about the saying "this too, shall pass".

Whatever you can find that brings you even a modicum of peace, use it! Bring down those stress levels and those depression bouts that we all are subjected to almost daily.

I truly wish I had a definite answer as to how to make the terrible duo of Fibro Flare and IBS go away. The day I master it, I will shout it to the world, but these tips, small as they are, have helped me.


-give your bowels time to heal after a medication surge.
-eat soft, eat plain.
-take as little medication for flares as you can stand, and look for liquid vitamins.
-find personal inspiration to lose yourself to. Heal the the body.

Make sure you're keeping a food diary as well so you can find out if any particular foods or medications are causing your flare-ups to worsen. Food allergies can develop and attack when we least expect it.

My best to you, Barb, and the rest of my Fibro Mates.

Hope everyone is having 98% pain free days!