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WholesomeCo patient replaces 15 different medications with medical cannabis.
After a life-changing car accident and multiple medical procedures, using pain medications became a familiar routine for Susan Jane. The addictive properties of opioids she was prescribed made a life without consistent drug use seem unattainable. Cannabis being legalized in Utah offered the patient a more holistic way to heal. Medical cannabis has shown Susan Jane a life that is pain-free yet still allows her to feel connected through her body and mind.
Initial treatment options
Susan Jane was involved in a car crash that resulted in her needing shoulder surgery and multiple metal implants throughout her neck and back. Following her procedures in 2001, the most common treatment for alleviating postoperative pain was a prescription for pain pills. From 2005 to 2015 Susan Jane relied on a full-time use of opioids, medicating multiple times each day.
For nearly 10 years, using various types of narcotics was the only way in which Susan Jane knew how to find temporary relief. This lifestyle ultimately led to an unsustainable dependency where uncontrollable thoughts and actions consumed a body she no longer had control over. Although the circumstances she faced for many years were frightening, her story could have ended much worse without the proper resources she had available.
A full-time burden
Susan Jane's monthly prescriptions at the time included oxycodone, morphine, tramadol, and ibuprofen for pain management. Additional medications then became necessary to ease the side effects of pain pills such as remedies for nausea, constipation, and allergies. A few other specific prescriptions included Ambien for sleeping, Xanax for panic attacks (which she has since replaced with an emotional support animal), and Celebrex which caused her seizures and hospitalization.
Constantly medicating affected Susan Jane's well-being to the point where she felt numb. “It was so much I couldn't even function,” she says. “I had no life. I couldn’t work. My children couldn't even have people over because I would do all kinds of crazy things in my sleep”.
If Susan Jane could describe her time using opioids in one phrase it would be “Just Awful”. Not only was her physical body struggling, but she was also suffering from brain fog, poor sleep, and anger outburst that impacted family relationships and the lives of loved ones. “When I look back at it, I apologize to my kids all the time,” she says.
The artist within
Before her accident, Susan Jane loved expressing her artistic side. For 25 years her creative energy helped build a successful career as a makeup artist. While taking so many medications, responsibilities at work became a lot for her to handle. She eventually became mentally and physically unstable, forcing her to rely on others to keep her business running.
Aside from her career, Susan Jane had a passion for dancing and karaoke. The opportunity to practice unique hair and makeup styles made attending comic con conventions with her children one of her favorite activities. The artist took advantage of any chance she got to express her creative and lively personality before her hobbies were replaced with drug use.
Breaking through the barriers of traditional medicine
Thankfully, Susan Jane recognized unhealthy, negative patterns were taking over her life. Although prescription pills can be rightly used, they were not a healthy long-term option for Susan Jane. With guidance from her pain management physician, Susan Jane attempted to limit the number of drugs entering her system.
In 2019, cannabis was legalized for medicinal purposes in Utah. Susan Janes' doctor suggested using cannabis to help treat her persistent symptoms. Although it meant she would need to visit another health provider licensed to prescribe cannabis, she decided to move forward and get her medical card.
Finding what works
With an open mind and willingness to heal her body in a more natural way, Susan Jane saw no harm in giving cannabis a try. After only one month, a body that once required 15 different medications could function using only medical cannabis. Using cannabis provided Susan Jane with an opportunity to heal without the negative repercussions.
Since 2019 Susan Jane has made tremendous progress in her healing journey, finding physical strength, peace, and mental clarity. While reawakening her creative side, she enjoys expressing herself through her own hair and makeup styles. Her 150 lb. Great Dane appreciates regular walks, and Susan Jane loves being able to control her four-legged friend that is larger than her. Being able to make rational decisions allows her to spend quality time with family without the fear of acting out of control. “I live a completely different life from when I was on pain medications,” she says.
Paying the price
The high cost of using cannabis is one of the most difficult parts for Susan Jane. As she is still disabled, performing outside jobs is the only way she is able to afford her medicine. She wishes insurance companies saw cannabis on the same level as other prescription drugs,
“They covered prescription costs before, what is the difference?” she says. It is the only method that has worked for the patient thus far, so she finds a way to pay the price.
“Using cannabis is a no brainer”
“Everything I have wrong with me, there is something in the cannabis line that can help,” says Susan Jane. Aside from her car accident injuries, she was born with a brain condition called Chiari malformation that requires additional attention and medication. Chiari malformation is a condition where part of the brain extends beyond the back of the skull, putting tension on parts of her head and spinal cord. While using cannabis, she no longer needs the medications to treat migraines and discomfort caused by her brain condition.
Susan Jane's son was also diagnosed with Chiari earlier in life and had the opportunity to have it surgically fixed. Although his symptoms are now less severe, he still experiences regular headaches and migraines. After doctors wanted to prescribe her 26-year-old son oxycodone and tramadol, Susan Jane suggested cannabis instead. She had experienced the side effects of using these drugs firsthand and she did not want her son to become addicted, especially at such a young age. He is now in the process of learning what cannabis strains and products work best for his condition.
Dependency is real
As a recovered addict, Susan Jane emphasizes the obsessive behaviors that often come with being on so many pain pills. With cannabis, she doesn't experience the highly addictive urges she used to face. “With the pills it didn't matter if I could still feel the last one, I needed another,” she says. Susan Jane notices that after consuming cannabis she can go hours without having to remedicate. The medicine does not consume her mind, if anything it makes her more aware of her thoughts and actions.
“Pain medications seem to make your head think your pain is gone and then you do things, and it would make the pain worse. Cannabis seems to let you know when you are doing too much, your brain doesn’t become numb.” While medicating responsibly, cannabis helps Susan Jane ease pain while still being able to function with a clear mind. “Even if you are taking pain pills because of the way they make you feel, you can get the same joyous, happy feelings, or whatever it is you get, from cannabis. It just doesn't debilitate your brain,” she says.
Susan Jane's cannabis treatment plan
Various different cannabis strains help Susan Jane navigate her pain while remaining present in her body. Euphoric, mood elevating effects of edibles help her conquer the day while evening calming effects help her sleep and remain pain free throughout the entire night. For immediate relief, Susan Jane knows she can always turn to flower or her vape.
As someone who is disabled, Susan Jane loves that WholesomeCo pharmacy delivers. Online descriptions help her determine how each strain will affect her body and treat her personal conditions. Being a patient at WholesomeCo has shown her how many different options there are to consume cannabis, which can be helpful for patients who do not necessarily want to smoke or vape.
Susan Jane wishes everybody would accept that cannabis is a healthier and more natural way to heal. She feels confident in her decision and would recommend cannabis for any ailment one is struggling with. As she leaves a life of doctor shopping and feeding addiction with pills behind, Susan Jane emphasizes that “cannabis is worth it.”