Am I the only one who thinks this is just batshit crazy?
I have spent most of my adult life in varying degrees of pain. I have had months go by without even the mildest of headache. I have had months go by where I spent 80-90% of my time horizontal with the shades drawn, unable to even answer my phone when it rang. These are not your average “I wonder if I have any Tylenol in my purse” headaches. Migraines attack differently for everyone, but let me share my average experience.
I can usually feel mine coming for days. Dull headaches come and go. My vision changes. I get a little unsteady on my feet. I feel a little nauseous here and there. I drink all the water and try to rest and cut stress completely from my days. Usually, it doesn’t matter. It’s like the wheels are already in motion and all I can do is hold on. Then the real pain hits, all at once. Light is unbearable. Suddenly, I can hear a whisper from across the house. That’s a joke. No one whispers in this house.
It’s miserable. I feel guilty for being useless. I feel guilty for missing work and family events. I feel guilty for not wanting my kids anywhere near me. I don’t understand why this happens to me. As a parent, I feel worthless. As a wife, a burden. As a friend, nonexistent. As a daughter, a worry. As a writer, I’m faced with the unique dichotomy of spinning in my own thoughts for hours on end, but not being able to actually articulate a single one on hypothetical paper.
I’m not alone in this. So many people suffer from migraine or cluster headaches. A lot of you have written me messages about your own experience or that of a family member. I appreciate that, by the way.
So we’ve established that this is a pretty common affliction. I don’t even want to know how many billions of dollars change hands in the pharmaceutical industry. This research is well-funded. Being in the business of pain is lucrative. So how is it possible that we don’t have a single drug that will effectively provide chronic pain relief without it being a trade off for other nasty symptoms? I can get some comfort, but I have to be willing to vomit, risk forming a habit, and I still can’t function well enough to be me? How is that fair?
Why are pain or opioids my only two choices? There is something else out there that research has shown to be natural, more effective for pain, and actually reduces nausea. There’s a freakin PLANT out there that could drag me out of hell and let me feel normal again. This could be the one medication to ease years of pain and let me function, but it’s illegal for me to pursue it as a viable option. That is just bananas to me.
Why is this political? Why is anything political? Money. How many politicians fighting medical marijuana received campaign contributions from people in the pharmaceutical industry? I don’t have the answer. I’d love to know, though. People are living in constant pain, and possible relief is ILLEGAL for them to pursue. I won’t pretend I understand the complexities of legislating and regulating this. I don’t need to! I helped elect people who do. Forty-six states have figured out how to. Surely we can, too. One state over, this plant is making people millionaires. Those people weren’t so afraid of change that they’d let their neighbors suffer.
Do I think Kansas will get there? Eventually. I love this place. I believe in the people who live here. I know we’re not that far away, a few years. I just hope you can see how many of us will spend these years literally and figuratively killing ourselves trying to find relief.