Allow me to introduce myself! My name is Amanda, and I am the married mother of 3 beautiful children. I am also a registered nurse who specializes in labor and delivery.
About 7 years ago, I developed some very significant medical problems. After 4 years of struggling to figure out what was wrong with me, I had an episode where the entire right side of my face went numb. Soon after that, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Like always, I was put through the wide array of testing, and prescribed a total of 17 different medications. Some of them helped a little, and some not at all.
The spasticity in my legs was so bad sometimes that it was hard to bend my knees. I was living in constant agony. I had to give up my job as a labor and delivery nurse because I could barely function anymore, and my children began to see a mother that they didn't even know. I couldn't get out of bed because my pain was so bad that I couldn't walk. My husband had to help lift me out of the bath tub when I was in too much pain to do it myself. I was ready to give up.
My name is Amanda, and I am a closet criminal. I can't give you more details about myself, because I could risk losing my children, or going to jail. Why? Because I use cannabis to treat my multiple sclerosis. When I was at the end of my rope, a friend suggested that I try cannabis to help with my pain. At that point, I was willing to try anything, and my life hasn't been the same ever since. Today, I am a vibrant young mom again.
Yes, I still have my bad days. Cannabis isn't a cure for multiple sclerosis, so I will always have some symptoms. But I am living again. I am even traveling again! Cannabis gave me my life back. I take a total of 3 prescriptions now. THREE! And my spasticity is less than a quarter of what it used to be.
Unfortunately, due to our current laws, I have to be a "criminal". I have to risk everything just so I can live a normal life. I want to shout from the roof tops how much this medication has helped me. I am hopeful that one day very soon, our politicians will listen to us, and I won't have to worry any more. But until then, I will have to remain a closet "criminal" so that I can live my life and raise my children.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story.
I’m Michelle Richardson from Norwalk. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2010. MS is an unpredictable, often disabling, chronic disease of the central nervous system which disrupts the flow of information within the brain as well as between the brain and body. This results in a variety of symptoms which are often invisible and don’t look the same in any two people.
My symptoms can range from mild to severe and from occasionally on a given day to every hour of the day and night. It’s difficult for me to process information in my brain, make decisions, and prioritize information. I easily am extremely fatigued, feel pins and needles and numbness in many areas of my body including my face, lose my balance and coordination, have muscles spasms in my arms and legs, and experience pain, which can be so debilitating I can’t speak or move.
Each year I have more symptoms and difficulties because of MS. Current research found certain forms of medical cannabis are an effective treatment for MS symptoms of muscle stiffness, certain types of pain and muscle spasms, and overactive bladder.
Please help those of us with MS and other serious chronic conditions to ease our pain and other symptoms, which can be improved by medical cannabis.
Patient & Caregiver Stories
These stories represent real Iowans suffering from complex medical conditions that need access to medical cannabis right here at home.