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When Life Becomes A Preexisting Condition

Life As A Preexisting Condition

In the new guy’s version of life in this country, preexisting conditions should be allowed only for those who can pay for them. And one foolish congressman even went so far as to suggest that the sickest among us should be paying more than people who have remained healthy as if chronic illness or cancer, for example, are due to someone’s irresponsibility or negligence. He probably didn’t like it when the smart girl blew the curve in school either.

But here’s the thing. We live in a country where income inequality is the norm and that translates into not enough money to eat well. Most people don’t grow their own food anymore so they have no control over the pesticides used on the crops or whether or not the seeds used were genetically modified into something our bodies don’t recognize.

Instead, we’re put on the treadmill of chronic disease, beholden to the medical community, although well-meaning, who focus on symptom treatment in lieu of actually figuring out how we became sick in the first place. Other than doctors in functional medicine or herbalists and naturopaths, most don’t consider diet, mindset, emotional issues, or environmental factors that could be at the root of chronic illness preferring instead to prescribe this pill or that injection.

I suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for over thirteen years, but it was for that length of time that it was severe. Nothing the doctors did relieved any of the pain, inflammation, fatigue, swelling, or fluid retention that I experienced. Instead, I seemed to stay in one place, severe. When a commercial came on television selling a medication for RA they would always say it treated moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis. I would look at my husband and remark that someday I hoped my RA would be moderate. It was one of those moments of dark humor that got us through those years.

And now that I’ve been in clinical remission for the last six years and off the last of the prescribed drugs since September 2015, my doctor did some blood work and lo and behold, the daily coffees my husband makes that would make a barista blush have affected my glucose level. I got a call from her nurse and she told me that my doctor wants to schedule an A1C test to screen for diabetes. No discussion, or even the glucose number, just go have a test.

Perhaps they didn’t notice in my chart that my primary care doctor when I was so ill had prescribed Metformin after doing a glucose tolerance test and endless A1C tests, diagnosing insulin resistance when my glucose numbers stayed elevated. After becoming a cannabis patient in June 2010 and making my own concentrated medicines at the end of that year, two and one-half months later I was in clinical remission. I began discontinuing several of the prescribed drugs on my own that I could safely do, but when discontinuing the Metformin the same primary care doctor who initially prescribed it helped with that. A change in diet has always been the way to get my glucose number to come down but instead of having that conversation first, it’s test time.

Now with the republicans in the process of destroying health care in this country, the last thing anyone needs is to have a diagnosis of something that’s situational in nature that can then become a preexisting condition. You’d think if Congress wants to go this route of endangering the citizenry so that the wealthiest among us become even more wealthy, they’d legalize cannabis. The tax revenue alone would be staggering. Prescription drug costs would be considerably lower, our collective health likely improving overall, but then the drug companies who line lawmakers’ election coffers might not be so generous at the next election. So the struggle for truth and dignity continues.

Apparently, rape is now a preexisting condition if this monstrosity is signed into law. Does this also apply to children who are raped by their fathers? Will they be punished with a preexisting condition if they report the abuse? The congresspeople who voted for it, my own congressman included, exhibit an astonishing level of moral bankruptcy and have clearly lost their fundamental compassion for humanity. One wonders how they sleep at night, but after today’s kegger at the white house in celebration of their victory, I’m sure they’ll sleep like babies.

If this passes the senate, then women like my daughter-in-law won’t have their pregnancies covered. Medicaid will be trashed and Medicare is next. They’ll leave everyone hanging and people will die as a result. There has never been a clearer example of us versus them ideology than what we’re seeing now. It’s destructive and unsustainable, but it’s full steam ahead anyway.

Even if this doesn’t pass the senate, as members are signaling that it will not, today’s vote gives us a window into the mindset of the people who believe the death of our citizens is an acceptable outcome. But when we finally have health insurance that we can depend on and republicans want to either take that away or make it completely unaffordable, something tells me that our response will be greater than the republicans can imagine let alone survive.

The republicans shouldn’t have targeted women and children in this bill. They shouldn’t have targeted veterans, seniors, or the chronically ill. Because when a mother finds that her child with asthma or cancer can no longer get the care she so desperately needs, trust me the ground will open up around them and shit will get real. Women, mothers or not, are sick of the government’s interference in our lives and as republicans continue their destructive behavior, we’ll pay close attention and then we’ll vote their sorry asses out of office.

I sat by the new hives out in the apiary today watching the new bees become acclimated to their new homes. They exist in unified presence with each other, each one valued and necessary. They work together to feed the brood and to protect their queen. Everything is about the survival of the colony, a notion of family that escapes republicans now in control. None of this surprises me, however, now that the fascist floodgates have been flung open. The cruelty present within the republican mindset is breathtaking. It’s nasty and to think they celebrated with a beer after it was done.

So now we await the Senate’s response. I won’t be holding my breath. Besides, in the process, I’d probably develop another preexisting condition, irresponsible person that I am.

Just ask Mo.

Update: got my blood test results and after Jerry’s insane coffees it was only 114. Now I see why she neglected to mention the number. I wouldn’t have mentioned it either lest I be laughed off the phone. Now ADA recommends <100 even though the test range is 74-106 for fasting 12 hours except that I probably only fasted for 7 or 8. Why does the number keep going down? My theory: it puts more money in the pocket of Big Pharma as more prescriptions are written. Still not drinking anymore of that coffee even though it’s yummilicious. 

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Chronic Illness is Unacceptable

cannabisThe world has lost some cool people in the last few days. First it was David Bowie, then Alan Rickman, Mic Gillette from Tower of Power, and now Glen Frey. Shocking, all of them. But Glen Frey’s death hits close to home for me. I suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for around fifteen years, thirteen of those years it was out of control. Medications prescribed by my doctors did nothing but keep me in the severe range. I would hear commercials on television about medications for moderate to severe RA and dream of the day I would actually be moderate. Because mine went from minor to severe practically overnight.

RA is debilitating

I read that Glen suffered for fifteen years with RA. Fifteen is such an interesting number. My first doctor (I’m on my sixth) told me that most RA patients die fifteen years sooner than other folks. He also was angry that I didn’t get a pneumonia shot before beginning Enbrel, a biologic he prescribed a year into my treatment. Evidently, he couldn’t seem to comprehend that it was his responsibilty to tell me about it and to then have one of his nurses actually give it to me. Instead, he yelled at me. I walked out and never went back. I contacted my primary care doctor and I was able to get the pneumonia shot from her.

My second, third, fifth and sixth doctors are/were nice people. I’m sure they did well in school and know all sorts of things about rheumatic conditions, but they missed the boat with me. Cannabis made the difference, not the drugs they all have prescribed. And it’s sad that it’s taking so much time for the medical community to catch up with what cannabis patients all know. Politically, cannabis legalization doesn’t typically line campaign coffers so to date, it’s not a relevant issue on the campaign trail.

Secondary illnesses are common

Secondary illnesses are common with RA. In my case, fibromyalgia, but for others, excessive inflammation attacks our vital organs and is so destructive. I developed insulin resistance, resulting in Metformin three times a day. My fluid retention that my illustrious doctors NEVER dealt with caused my blood pressure to rise so much that after 10 1/2 years I insisted that the second blood pressure mediation prescribed contain a diuretic. I lost so much fluid in the first two weeks that it triggered a flare that would last two weeks longer than a year.

I developed an infection in my jaw that would result in two dental implants a year later. By then, I was juicing cannabis leaf and including it in my daily smoothies. The flare ended a month before the dental implant surgery. Any surgery is potentially a problem with RA sufferers because we don’t heal well. An autoimmune disease, RA is treated with immunosuppressive drugs. A few days prior to receiving my cannabis card in the mail, my fifth doctor prescribed CellCept which did nothing to end my flare and was a complete nightmare to experience. It’s typically for lupus and to prevent organ transplant rejection. More immune suppression and the side effects were just horrible. So it’s easy to see how we become sick with other issues on top of the RA. How any of us survive this is a miracle.

There must be a better approach

So I’ll end with my premise. Chronic illness is unacceptable. Health is our natural state, but we spend billions each year supporting an industry built on the belief that it is. We become our illness. And it’s easy to see how that happens with RA and conditions like it given their debilitating nature. And it’s not like we’re given a choice in the matter unless we explore other methods of healing.

Anthony William, the Medical Medium, tells us in his new book, Medical Medium that lemon balm kills EBV, the virus that may be the actual cause of RA and other conditions. A article in Science Daily from a study published in 2004 by University of South Florida Health Sciences Center discusses how EBV may be involved in RA’s disease process, and that THC reduces EBV’s effect. Given that I went into clinical remission so quickly after beginning my treatment with concentrates, I have to believe it does more than reduce symptoms.

Last summer I created an herbal formula involving cat’s claw and some other herbs to take daily for my RA. Herbs tone and nourish our bodies, bringing balance and stasis, so that disease finds no purchase. I’ve always been drawn to lemon balm and now I know why. An empath, I naturally gravitate to what heals me. So, I’ve added some lemon balm tincture to my treatment.

I’m lucky to live in a state where cannabis has been legal medicinally since 1998. And last year, we fully legalized. And with all the problems associated with legalization unfolding, at least we all have the ability to choose cannabis in Oregon. I have no idea if other folks can heal the way I did, but why not? Why shouldn’t everyone have that same chance? Instead, those in control appear to want everyone to remain chronically ill. After all, it’s where the money is, and profit rules everything in this country.

And why should any of us run out of time when there’s so much life yet to live?

~ May Goddess bless all on their journey of healing.