Systemic Lupus Erythematosus by Anonymous

My name is Marty. I am 38 years old, married with three children, one of my own.  I am a professional educator with a master’s degree.  I am very successful in my career and have won district and community service awards and recognition for my educational strategies and innovations.  I recently returned to work after a four year period of disability due to systemic lupus erythematosus.

I was 34, had been disabled for nine months, I was taking 15 different medications, some three times a day.  I had been on steroids and plaquenil for three years. 

Eventually I lost my health insurance.  My co-pays monthly were $400.00, and without the insurance I was unable to receive medication except for emergency visits to the hospital. 

For my whole life I had known marijuana as a recreational drug that destroyed lives, and now it was offered as a medicine by someone I trusted, who showed me the insurmountable evidence in the form of testimonials. 

When my husband recommended trying it, I had nothing to lose.  I was living in a power wheelchair and had gained 150 pounds over the past four years due to the steroids and lack of mobility.

As I experimented with the dosage, I began to have a decrease in many symptoms.  I had been taking medication for pain, nausea, dizziness, seizures, stomach problems, swelling, etc.  The new medication immediately relieved pain and nausea.  My seizures began to have less intensity and eventually faded away.  The dizziness from a complication with Meniere’s syndrome was gone.  The stomach problems and swelling had been side effects from the previous medications and were no longer a problem. 

Today I usually smoke marijuana in a small pipe, but I am saving for a vaporizer since it is purportedly better in regard to  tar intake.

The cost is about $100.00 a month.  I smoke an ounce each month-- once a day, usually in the evenings after work.  Sometimes when needed for extreme pain, on days that I wake up and can’t work, I smoke about every six hours.

I’m not saying that marijuana has cured me, but I have been able to reduce the medications I take on a daily basis to zero, and the others to 2-3 times a week.  My sometimes daily visits to medical professionals have ceased. I see my rheumatologist about every six months and a family physician as needed.  They know of my new medicine but don’t approve since it is still illegal here.  I endure some pain as I don’t like feeling drugged all the time, but while the “high” feeling lasts for approximately an hour, the medical benefits last till the next day.  (I endured much worse side effects before!)  I have noticed an intense increase of pain, onset of seizures, and recurrence of symptoms after about three days of nonuse. 

I have returned to a functional life and have lost 100 lbs of the extra weight.  I now work 40 hours a week, keep house, exercise, and enjoy life with my family again.  I was very sick during a significant time of my daughter’s life, and I can’t get that back, but I share quality time with her now.

The legal ramifications of using marijuana for any reason are harsh in my state.  If I am prosecuted, I would lose my job and teaching credentials.  However, as my husband points out, if I don’t use it, it doesn’t matter, because I wouldn’t be able to work anyway.