Crohn's Disease by Rose Wheeler
I'm a 40-year-old wife and mother of two young boys who was
diagnosed with Crohns disease in September of 1993. My story begins in
Austria in 1990. I am a military spouse who looked forward to a new
adventure with my husband, and 2 children who at the time were 3 years and 6
months old. We really were having a wonderful time traveling in Europe,
going to places that people save a lifetime to be able to visit. In 1992 my
life came to a complete stop. My father became very ill, with open-heart
surgery and other serious illnesses. I flew home (California), on an
emergency flight to see my father go through a quick successful recovery.
A week after my return to Austria my father had two strokes,
which left him speechless. I went through a lot of stress to say the least,
and this is when my health started failing. The best way I could describe my
symptoms was that food was POISON to me. When I ate or drank ANYTHING,
within 5 minutes I was on the toilet bent over in severe pain and
experiencing hot flashes. I spent more time in the bathroom than any other
place in my home. I was very weak, nauseated.
With every bowel movement there was much blood and mucus, and I
became seriously depressed. It was very difficult for me to care for my
At this time, not knowing what was wrong with me, I could
only think that I was actually going to die. My abdomen felt bruised all the
time, and the last thing I wanted to do was eat. I then began what seemed a
roller coaster ride of seeing different doctors and having different tests
done, which to say the least made me in more pain than ever. This was our
last year in Austria before returning to the States.
One month before leaving, and many 7 hour trips one way
(these trips would take us 10 hours due to me having to stop to use the
toilets), the doctors told me the small bowel series revealed findings
consistent with Crohns disease. I was still not prescribed any meds for
my symptoms. The doctors felt it was better to give me a consult to see a
doctor for further testing and follow ups, and to begin my medication
treatment after our return to the States. I can't express enough how this
affected me in a negative way. I really didn't think there was hope for me
to get better, only worse.
I then was introduced to marijuana before leaving Austria,
and within 1 hour I could not believe that the pain, bowel movements and ALL
my other symptoms were relieved. Now my major concern was the illegality of
marijuana, and putting my husband at risk in his military career. I had
serious thoughts of getting busted and my children being taken from me. I
quit the marijuana after a week of smoking it, only to have all those
terrible symptoms return.
Once we returned to the states I began taking 750mg of
flagyl,1500mg of azulfidine, and 1mg of folic acid per day. My life started
to turn for the better. But after two years, I began experiencing migraines
and feeling as though I was going to pass out at times. I then chose to try
smoking marijuana, and putting my family at risk again with the idea of me
getting busted for something I KNEW REALLY helped me.
I felt no one could know I was smoking, not even my husband.
I wanted to so bad tell my doctor how much smoking marijuana had relieved my
symptoms, but knew I couldn't.
I never got busted, but I did quit all medications. I will
never forget my last visit to my doctor, telling him that my symptoms were
gone and I wanted to quit the meds. He agreed with me that the migraines and
dizzy spells were a side effect of the meds, but encouraged me to come back
if ANY of my other symptoms returned..
I wished so bad that I could have explained.. I have not
taken any prescription meds for my Crohns since 1995.My only problem now
is easy access to marihuana. We now live in a VERY small town in Washington
State and I would not only be putting my family in jeopardy but my job, and
my life. In the past 6 months my symptoms have come back, and I will have no
choice but to go through a complete medical testing evaluation. I know the doctor will prescribe medications for me to
take. I can't explain how depressed that makes me, to know what works for my
disease, only to be so let down due to it being illegal.
When I say my prayers at night for family and friends I will
be honest to say I pray some day that marijuana will be legal to use in my
case. Until then I will continue to be consumed with my disease, and live
with the stress of knowing what I'm putting at risk to be able to live a