I have been living with lupus for the last 24 years. During this time there have been periods when I was in remission. The first time I went into remission I thought I was cured and I would live a pain free life! Boy, was I wrong. The second go around, not only was I diagnosed with lupus, they added on Fibromyalgia. Since then, I have also been diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis, myofascial pain syndrome, costochondritis, and neuropathy. My body is constantly fighting itself.
In 2013 I started seeing a new doctor. After telling him all the medications I was on, he hoped to change some of the medications I was taking. He did the necessary blood work before changing any of my medications and the test showed that my liver enzymes were extremely high. They started doing more tests to try to find a medication that wouldn’t harm my liver, and would also ease the symptoms of my illnesses. After two years of testing and two different doctors, they finally did a liver biopsy and discovered that my lupus was attacking my liver which was making my enzymes sky high and diagnosed me with non-contagious autoimmune hepatitis.
At this point, I was on two high doses of steroids, one for my liver and one for my lupus. Then, I get a call from my doctor. She told me that she was putting me on the liver transplant list because she had diagnosed me with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). She prescribed me a new medication to combat the PSC. This shook my world. I don’t have the best track record with transplants to say the least. In 2008 I had a horrible staph infection in my eye, which led to the scarring of my cornea. I have had two corneal transplants, but I’m still legally blind in my right eye. My body is already constantly attacking itself, so a foreign object from another human has already proven to not mend well. This was the hardest two weeks of my life. I was learning information online about PSC- never diagnose yourself on Google! I was thinking the absolute worst. It takes about 15 years to receive a liver transplant, and after more research, I realized that with PSC I may not even live long enough to receive a transplant.
At my follow-up appointment, my doctor told me that I did not have PSC. Meanwhile, my liver enzymes kept going up. I was very upset with my doctor and she knew how I felt. No doctor should ever call a patient and give them this information over the phone, especially without being 100% sure! At this time, I asked if I could stop taking the medication that she prescribed to me over the phone and she said no. My main question was WHY? I came home feeling extremely disappointed in my doctor and the whole medical field.
I started researching how to help myself through a holistic approach. I found a Naturopath who put me on herbal supplements and vitamins. I watched a documentary on Netflix called Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. This documentary made me realize that enough was enough! I needed to get healthy on my own terms. Against all my doctor’s recommendations, I decided I needed to get off all my medications. I started juicing and I changed my diet. I stopped eating processed foods and I bought organic whenever possible. It took me 8 months to completely get off all of my medications. My doctors were truly amazed that I was able to stop taking all my medications and they were even more impressed by how much my enzyme levels had dropped.
I felt happier and healthier, however, my body was starting to the feel pain that had been masked by all the different medications I was taking before. I started to suffer from severe back pain. The back pain was so excruciating that I laid on the floor with my legs up on a yoga ball for four months while using a tens unit. I knew if I went to my doctor he would put me on narcotics and muscle relaxers and I didn’t like the idea of that. I couldn’t stand or sit for more than 30 minutes at a time. I was seeing a chiropractor and he kept telling me to hang in there and that things were going to get better, but they weren’t. I decided to find a new chiropractor because the previous one wasn’t listening to me. My new chiropractor thought she had an idea of what might be causing my chronic pain, but wanted me to see another doctor to be sure. The doctor she recommended diagnosed me with myofascial pain syndrome and we started on a different recovery plan. I started acupuncture, cupping, deep trigger point massage, exercising and started seeing physical therapists along with my chiropractor. This is also when I started working with Shannon, trying to figure out which CBD products would help with my pain. Shannon took me across the street to the dispensary to explain to me what I needed, how much and when. Throughout the next couple weeks, Shannon would check on me to see how things were working and we would either increase or decrease or completely take me off of a product and try something different.
I am now able to control my pain through the use of CBD. I use various different products from tinctures to topical creams. I know many people are afraid to try this approach because of the stigma attached to cannabis, but I’m so happy that I did. Not only has cannabis helped my back pain, it has also helped my lupus and liver. I am a much happier and healthier person because of using CBD.