My Decision to Treat Fibromyalgia with Cannabis Full-time
I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in October 2017. By the end of November 2017, I had tried and stopped taking two pharmaceutical medications that were supposed to help with fibro pain. Both of them were horrible for different reasons. That was the first time I looked into using cannabis full-time for my pain management. Unfortunately, once I started pricing out the cost to manage my pain with cannabis, I realized it just wasn’t a plausible option.
Next I started to see a doctor that specializes in treating and managing chronic pain. We started out with trigger point injections in my neck and back once every 5-weeks. It was never intended to be a long term solution, but I’ve been getting trigger point injections for the last 8- or 9-months. We’ve also tried a few medications: low-dose Naltrexone, Lyrica, and Topamax. They each worked to some degree, but the intensity of the negative side effects outweighed what little relief I experienced. The worst of the series, however, was the last medication I tried: Topamax.
To be clear, it wasn’t necessarily the side effects of Topamax that led me to this decision; it was the timing of the side effects plus a bunch of other stuff I’ll touch on too.
Topamax caused numbness and tingly in my hands and feet. At first, it was just in my feet and I actually dismissed it as poor circulation. Then, a week into taking the medication, all my fingers suddenly went numb. I was home alone without access to a car or even anyone else to drive. I called the Nurse’s hotline number on the back of my insurance card, and they recommended that I try to (1) call my prescribing doctor to get an appointment that day; (b) call my primary care provider to get an appointment that day; or, (3) go to urgent care as a last resort if I was unable to do the first two.
I was unable to do the first two.
So I called my husband, who works 28-miles away, to come and pick me up to take me to urgent care, which is another 20-miles back in the direction of where he works. Him leaving to pick me up and us driving to urgent care together took an hour all by itself. Then, we sat in urgent care for 2-hours. At the end of the 2-hours, we were able to see the doctor. We were in the room with them for about 5-minutes, during which time they told me that they were not equipped to treat me in urgent care; and, that I should schedule an appointment with my primary care provider.
I was so mad and embarrassed. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, but that was the last straw. I was tired of feeling out of control of my own health. I was tired of taking new medications and waiting for the side effects to kick in. And, I was tired of using cannabis to treat those side effects when I could have been using it to treat my pain all along.
Not to mention the fact that I know what cannabis does to me; but, most importantly, I know what it doesn’t do to me. I also know which strains to buy and which strains to avoid (for the most part). I’ll admit, I’m still not the greatest at dosing because most of my attention was on rationing over the last year. However, now that I’m in a more financially stable position, I can start focusing more on dosing. I am also going to explore other types of consumption methods. Currently I’m trialing dosing with a cartridge. It seemed like the most travel-friendly option. RSO (i.e., Rick Sampson Oil) is the next method-to-try on the list.