Get ready for some venting and the use of a few passionate words.
My involvement with the medical marijuana movement started from a very dark place, which still makes me angry. I normally don’t share these years with the public, but sometimes the origin story is necessary to understand the premise of the passion.
As a staunch advocate for punishments for those involved in the illegal drug trade, I’ve had many people ask me, “How did I became a voice for medical marijuana?”
Simple. I was forced to see chronic pain from the other side.
I was forced into a position of chronic pain and I saw what true abuse of power can do to patients who need real help.
Do I still promote strong punishments for illegal drug trade? Oh yes! The people behind the Fentanyl pills, made to look like regular pain pills, which are killing people right now, should be held up as murderers.
Those drug dealers are using the new CDC policies to prey on patients who are in pain and have been let down by their government and by their physicians. The drug dealers doing this are using the nationwide panic to purposely kill people with a medication needed by some people to survive. During the Tylenol scare of the 80s, the perpetrator was held up as the murderer, but when drug dealers are killing people based on new policies created by the CDC, the unsuspecting buyers, (the ones the CDC have hurt worse) are being held up as the guilty parties. In reality, it’s the CDC, who behind closed doors, used their infinite uncontrolled power to create criminals from chronically sick citizens (don’t we have enough people in prison in America without forcing normal citizens to become criminals just to survive?).
The people who stand outside of schools to sell drugs to little children or those who get young girls addicted, only to use them for profit, should be put so far under the jail they should never see the light of day again. My position on those situations have never wavered.
When exactly did my position on medical marijuana change?
It happened while I was in the military. Due to many injuries, back issues, and chronic pain diseases, I was left in severe pain on a daily basis. I was allowed to suffer worse than a lost pet in the county kennel. I explained to my medical team what my goals in life were and what I needed to accomplish these goals. My new Physician Assistant (PA) allowed me to take pain medications for my diseases and I was able to function again. I could spend time with my children, I was attending grad school, conducting limited exercise, maintaining my weight, and working at G3 on my Army base. I was hurt and sick, but with the help of my PS, I was still rocking and rolling. I knew I was slowly making a comeback. Even if I wasn’t going to be 100%, I knew I was fighting this mess and my PA knew how to help me.
Then a new physician came in, CPT C. Brill, a total arrogant asshole if I’ve ever seen one. He wanted to become a holistic physician, so he requested and was approved for a large number of holistic classes, then he commenced to use his patients as his guinea pigs. Now let make this clear, we had no choice. We could not leave him as our physician. There was nothing we, as his patients, could do about his actions, without causing ourselves even more harm. He was the only PA we were allowed to see, so any medical help we had, went through him. Each time someone complained about him, he would use his power to hurt that person even more. No matter how many complaints he received, he was the experimental holistic doctor on our base and his research (he was about to retire) would take him to the next step in his life. He did not care about his patients. His only care was for his career.
Let me make it clear, there are some incredibly awesome holistic measures patients can use to help with their diseases; yoga, vitamins, massage, chiropractic medicine, meditation, and more. In fact, I participate in some of these activities when I am able. But when a medical professional forces patients, through lies, intimidation, and abuse of power, to participate in his experiments, then the entire reason for holistic medicine is negated. Bring forced to give up what works for something that doesn’t work (holistic or not) is not healthy for anyone and can cause irreparable harm. I’m not against holistic medication, I’m against the abuse of medical power by medical professionals in any form.
The first month he took over for our old PA, he took all pain medications away from his patients, except those with deadly cancer. Even patients who had severe back issues, pins and braces in their body, shrapnel in their body, and men and women who suffered with chronic pain diseases and could barely get out of bed, were subjected to his outrageous claims of holistic practices alone treating these conditions.
He did not titrate his patients down, as an ethical PA should. No. He told his patients flat out they would follow his way, period. He came to our unit with an agenda and used that agenda to conduct painful procedures on the Soldiers assigned to his office. There was no reasoning with him at all. On top of his experiments, he also ignored and did not follow orders from real medical doctors, such as specialty physicians, from RA offices or Pain Management offices. Soldiers would come to him with records from capable, respected, Medical Doctors, but due to his position, he could ignore the orders. CPT Brill was an entity by himself, allowed to treat his patients as he wanted, even unethically. He was the epitome of abuse of power and an shining example of how military medical care is handled. The lack of voice Soldiers have concerning experiments that harm them and the military carrying out medical practices contrary to their medical needs is exactly why the Feres Doctrine has outlived it’s usefulness.
We were used as his study patients, no matter how much it negatively affected our lives.
The month he took my medication away I was in incredible pain. I started feeling the difference right away. My joints swelled up, I used my cane more, I dropped out of school, and I could barely get out of bed. My brain could not process the amount of pain I was feeling and started shutting down parts of my body to handle the pain in my vital organs.
My blood pressure soared, my blood tests results were scrambled, my face turned bright white many times, and I was dizzy from pain more often than I admitted in public. I honestly think the damage he inflicted on my body will never fully recover. Severe pain changes your DNA and how your brain processes pain and pain memory. I truly believe CPT Brill ruined any chance I had of making a decent recovery.
It was at that very moment, June 2013, I swore I would never allow a flipping arrogant asshole to have that much control over my life ever again. My life means too much to me, for myself and my children, to allow someone I barely knew, whom I did not approve of, to ever control my life 100% and to put me in a position where I could die and the trusted person would not care. I refuse to be just another number to some jerk who only cares about himself. I owed it to my children to fight for my life against someone who didn’t care about out future, but only his own.
How dare that asshole think he could experiment on me (and other Soldiers, some of whom wanted to take their lives due to the pain they were forced to experience) and think I would go quietly in the night. I may not have been able to move from his care, but I made my anger and dissatisfaction well known.
The problem was, no matter how many complaints Soldiers or I filed (or my family filed) our physical well being was not as important as the experiments the Army was allowing CPT Brill to do to us.
My pain became so grave, my right foot swelled up with CRPS (the most painful disease known to humans) and became paralyzed. The day before my daughter’s 25th birthday, another Doctor on FT Campbell took over my pain care and I was put in the ICU on a Ketamin drip. I missed my daughter’s 25th birthday because an arrogant CPT decided his career and his belief was more important than my life. Well, that would not do for me.
While he was on leave, April 2014, I made an appointment to see another Doctor, a real Doctor on post. She wasn’t the best, but one thing we both had in common, we both disliked CPT BRILL, so I was able to really talk to her about my pain and my right foot. Before my PA came back from leave, she arranged to have me as one of her experimental patients. Yes, I was again an experiment, but this was an experiment I had to agree to and I needed to agree to (at least I was given the choice this time). We had to move fast. We had to get approval, my agreement, and a secured bed before he returned. We did.
I was the very first Ketamin patient on our post. Within 3 days my pain had decreased, my foot was working again, the swelling had gone down, and blood flow returned. If it had not been for her I don’t know where I would be now. That three days of “pain vacation” was what I need to keep going just a few more months. I knew I could survive just long enough to escape his torture.
With all my medical paperwork and my retirement very quickly approaching, I was able to get a referral to a pain clinic to get help in the form of correct pain management, such as shots in my back, an upgraded TENS unit, and yes, medications.
I tell this story because, my fight for medical marijuana did not come to me because I was looking for something to do or because I want to get high (I have still never used MJ at all, even though I could pop over to CO or Washington), or because i want people to be able to get high with no consequences, even alcohol and cigarettes have consequences and they are legal.
I became involved in the movement because I saw how medical professionals can use their positions to harm patients in the worst way possible, they are allowed to watch them suffer and force the patients to beg for help which never comes. Some medical professionals, use their positions and attitudes towards something they are scared of and don’t understand, to justify treating patients as second class citizens and puppets in their own screwed up play.
I have seen first hand what physicians can do when they have full control of a patient’s health care. The bad ones do acquire the “god complex” so deeply ingrained, they can justify anything to force their way on their patients. I have seen first hand the suffering they inflict when only their limited knowledge on a subject is allowed to take control of their treatment of patients. This is especially true when the physician has knowledge that his patients have no options
I’m older, educated, I have confidence, and I’m very vocal about my health care and yet, I was still experimented on, against my will, and there was very little I could do about it. I was a prisoner and victim of abuse of medical power. So, what about the Soldiers and civilian patients who have no voice. What about the constant amount of patients, who are so afraid of breaking the law, they are killing themselves everyday instead of risk being arrested and making it worse for their family members. What about them? How can anyone say those patients, who are in severe pain, don’t deserve at least the same care and dignity we offer to dogs in a pound? Why are patients allowed to suffer with chronic pain and this seems to be an accepted course of action by the CDC and some physicians, when a pet in pain is allowed pain medication because to allow the pet to suffer would be inhumane? How does any of this make sense to any government agency?
When I left the military, I did end up with some really fantastic physicians. I worked hard to build the team I need to work with me as I go through this medical journey. I was once more accomplishing a few things normal people would just call living. I call it having a good day. With each passing month, I was slowly having a few more good days. Not only did I have to fight my diseases, but I also had to drag myself up from the damage inflicted on me by my “trusted” medical professional (unfortunately, he was not the first nor the last to let me down, but the most trusted one who damaged me more greatly than all the others).
It has been exactly 2 years since I was in the ICU and I’m finally gaining back what I lost through underhanded practices. I’m finally (again) on the road back to some sort of normal I can live with. It hasn’t been easy and I’ve worked hard to get here, fighting the some really stupid people every step of the way. This year, I actually danced for the first time in 5 years. That wasn’t because of some holistic treatment given to me by some arrogant physician assistant, trying to boaster his career, no that came from real medical help, in the form of a muti-specialty approach, including the correct and controlled application of various medications.
But, now, the CDC and the FDA have decided they wish to punish all patients and do a sweep of all pain medications from every patient, no matter what the condition of the patient or the judicial background of each patient. We patients are not treated as humans, we are treated with contempt and hatred that we dared survive and we dared to want a life worth living.
Again, I fight for medical marijuana because the CDC and the FDA do not put my life nor my family first in their decision. In fact, they even ignored some of the top rated physicians and made policies behind closed doors, to take control away from the patient and their physician, and give it directly to the CDC. My physician is a top rated physician, who works hard with his patients to allow them the best life they can live with the diseases they must face each and every day. Now he must turn control of his work over to whom ever the CDC deems appropriate for their goals. Not only does this put an extra burden on the patients but, when more physicians are added to the mix ( especially those directed by the CDC and not by the patient), the clear standard of care is lost between a Doctor and a patient. These new policies are doing nothing to punish criminals, but will do so much harm to patients. The CDC is allowed to approve some of the biggest discrimination policies in our nation. As chronic pain patients, we deserve treatment with dignity and respect, not abuse and suspicion.
Why am I a huge advocate of marijuana (all marijuana, even recreational), because I’m tired of government agencies (the CDC, the Army, the FDA) thinking my life, my family, and my future is a flipping game. I’m not a number. I’m a human who also happens to be a patient. I may live in constant pain, but by GOD, the more pain you leave me in with your stupid, outrageous policies, the louder I will get. There are millions of patients just like me. They suffer daily because of the games played with their lives. They sit in dark corners, they lie in bed, they hide from society, and some of them wish they could die. They are the chronic pain patients of our nation and they have rights too.
I’m not a number and I’m not a toy to be played with. The more pain you force on me the more I will fight you until my last breath. CDC, it’s been a long 2 years coming back from what CPT Brill did to me and I won’t give my life up again without a fight.
I have a voice and I’m not afraid to use it.
2 thoughts on “How I found myself in the medical marijuana movement”
Story that needs to be told! Some people are so power-struck they’ve lost their humanity.
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Thank you so much Wendy. The journey I have faced since becoming sick is a torturous one. I’m glad I’ve survived so far, but it’s only been recently I’ve had enough strength to tell my story of the struggles I’ve had in the American and Military healthcare system. — Thank you for your continuous support and friendship.