I've found something that actually helps my pain, and that something is high-CBD medical marijuana. If you don't know much about the makeup of marijuana, which most don't, there's a few elements to it, one being Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and another being Cannabidiol (CBD). THC is what most people know about, and it's what makes you all giggly and high, helps nausea, and increases appetite. CBD is a lot less well known, and it's something that the medical community is just now discovering - none of my doctors in New York knew anything about it.
Right now the most well-known use for CBD is for childhood epilepsy, where kids will go from having hundreds or thousands of seizures in a day to only a handful once they take high-CBD oil. There's currently a pharmaceutical company in the UK that's doing medical trials with a drug derived from CBD for this purpose. Because CBD doesn't get you high like THC, most of the marijuana in the United States has been bred to have a high THC content but little to no CBD content. It's just now starting to be cultivated with high CBD levels in states with medical marijuana laws.
I first found out about CBD when I was home for Christmas in Washington state, and tried a tincture made of cannabis oil mixed with agave. You could take it orally or topically, and I tried both. It wasn't high-CBD, and didn't really do anything for me when I took it orally, but topically it worked better than other types of topical treatment I'd tried - Lidocaine patches and Voltaren gel (which didn't do anything). I was told there was a high-CBD tincture but didn't try it then because I didn't really know what it was.
Last weekend I went to California for my aunt's wedding, and was finally able to try capsules filled with high-CBD cannabis oil. I spent the day of the wedding in less pain than I'd been in since this whole ordeal started. I was able to sit with my family for 3 full meals, I swam in a pool with my little cousins, and I danced at the wedding. If you'd have seen me any time in the last year, then saw me on that day, you would have been shocked. I was shocked. My whole family was shocked. Then I got angry.
Angry because I've spent the last year and a half going to a dozen doctors, trying countless medications with crazy side effects, having painful procedures, spending thousands of dollars, and I ENDED UP CURING MY DAMN SELF. Ok, I didn't cure myself, but I found a treatment that works for me that can hopefully help me live a somewhat normal life again. And if it works for me, who else could it work for? There are people on costochondritis forums who have suffered for decades with no relief. There are people suffering from fibromyalgia, arthritis, and countless other conditions who are being given medications and painkillers with dangerous side effects (including death) that don't even work as well as CBD. And our federal government considers it illegal, so unless someone lives in a state with medical marijuana, they can't have access to it. This is what made me angry.
So, now I'm deciding where to go from here, and the best option right now seems to be moving to a state that has a medical marijuana program. Yes, New York just passed a medical marijuana program, but it doesn't take effect for 18 months, and it only covers a handful of conditions that doesn't include costochondritis or chronic pain. I would have to hire a lobbyist to try to get costochondritis added to the list of conditions, and it's unlikely that it would be added because it's a rare condition that usually goes away on its own and is benign. So I'd have to wait 18 months and still probably wouldn't even have access to NY's medical marijuana program.
Pete's work has an office in San Francisco, so we're looking into the possibility of getting him transferred there and moving out to the Bay Area. Not sure when exactly it will happen yet, but hopefully by the time our lease is up in May. I'm really excited about the prospect of living a mostly pain-free life, and am now putting together a bucket list of things I need to do in NYC before I leave. I'll miss you New York, but you kicked my ass and now I gotta go.
Song for today: