Making My Way Back

Written by Mark Pedersen

Written by Mark Pedersen

October 9, 2021

Well, returning to Missouri has been a mixed bag, to say the least, (if you would excuse the pun). I figured it wouldn’t be easy.
Life had been hard, for the most part, throughout my seven years in Colorado, and their courts weren’t about to let me go without taking a piece… and they certainly took a big piece!
Fortunately for me, fate provided the means, not only to pay my court costs so that I could see an early release from probation (it was always about the money), but also to cover my outstanding expenses… and, the cost of the move. All of this was nothing short of miraculous! …and unbelievably timely.
A company that I had helped start over two decades ago, finally sold. Though the payoff from my stocks was hardly a fraction of what I had been promised, it was enough. Literally enough to save my ass…at the very edge of disaster. God, fate or just dumb luck was protecting me yet again… and carrying me to another place.

The move happened very quickly.

There was hardly time to second guess all that was happening. All I knew was, I had this huge, unexplainable angst that was driving me. Something was going to happen – I didn’t know what – but I needed to be ready. I literally rented two additional storage units close to home so that I could begin to stage my things. Every day I carried boxes back to my apartment to sort-out and properly box or haul to Goodwill.
I had no idea that Covid was about to shut everything down. If I would have stayed, even a month longer, I would not have been able to leave Colorado.

The physical part of the move was tough, even with help. But I learned decades ago how to turn off pain. Fueled by adrenalin and comforted by Cannabis concentrate, I was able to do so again. Of course, I paid with back and leg pain for months afterward.
I’m still sorting boxes. Thankfully, basement space negated the need for pay storage.
My daughter and her husband, welcomed me into their home. That was huge. Now, over a year and a half later, each day continues to be a blessing.

Being a legal patient and caregiver is challenging for a crippled up ole man like me. But, it can be scary and perplexing for ANY Missourian that’s wanting to be “legal”.
For those of us with acute physical limitations, the challenges can be quite real. I don’t have the strength in my arms like I used to… and I certainly don’t have the stamina. These are things all physically limited patients should carefully consider prior to growing.
Apart from what so many so flippantly say on social media, growing is about far more than just scattering a few seeds on the ground – if you truly need REAL medicine to treat your illness.
Being a caregiver, even if it’s just for yourself, is real work…and it can be VERY expensive.

I will be writing more about my experiences, expenses and hardships as a “legal” Missouri patient and caregiver in future articles. Stay tuned.

No doubt, my biggest challenge has been my health. As some of you know, I have dealt with respiratory issues for much of my life. That naturally goes with growing up in a heavily polluted lead smelting town. But over the last few years, my health has steadily gotten worse.
Around Christmas time of this past year, my symptoms had grown rather desperate. Unable to sleep, my airways were raw and heavy congestion made it difficult to breath. Sore throat, laryngitis, chest pain – it all made it virtually impossible to think, to eat, and even to rest.
As I said, this has been a chronic issue for me. Back when I was working in powerplants, I would go through this every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was continually under the threat of losing my job because of it.
But it’s never been this bad or lasted this long.

I have known for over two decades that these issues could one day take a turn for the worse. I worked with asbestos, calcium silicate, and ceramic fiber. Hell, I’ve waded through fly ash up to my waste. My friend, Brian Chitwood, had a business back then hauling fly ash from the Ameren powerplants where I worked out to cement factories. The lymphoma he contracted from his exposure led to terminal melanoma, which eventually took his life.
We were continually subjected to carcinogens in those days. The harm these things can do can take many forms – other than and including cancer. The body struggles desperately to expel those tiny yet persistent foreign bodies that lodge so deeply in lung tissue. It all takes time – often years, even decades – to heal and/or to die.
But, time is also what Cannabis has given me. It’s gotten me to here. So far, over twenty years…that in itself is awesome.

This past year, the chronic bronchitis robbed me of my sleep… even more so than in years past. Even worse, it hampered a very intrical means of medicating for me . I took Cannabis oil at night but during the day, I would vaporize. Unfortunately, with this infection, my lungs would be “itchy” and very sensitive to the vapor. The deep coughing that would follow, though productive, was extremely painful and made it quite tenuous to take even a fraction of a dose.
I dealt with this for months. Conventional physicians were little help. Everyone was worried that I had Covid. Nurses and technicians wouldn’t approach me for fear they would catch it – they would literally stand at the door and speak to me from fifteen feet away!
I tested negative twice during this ordeal. I’m now fully vaccinated.

The turning point for me was discovering a prescription steroidal inhaler. Using it in tandem with my Cannabis vaporizer has shown tremendous promise. Also, modifications to my diet to address diabetic concerns. Most of all, finally being able to consume my own oil. Oil that I made. Something I haven’t been able to do for six years!

Of late, I’m incorporating daytime oil dosing. Eventually it will all but replace my smoking and vaporizing. My new oil is much better quality since I now produce oil from what I legally grow. In Colorado, I only had access to trim…and even at that, I had to beg for it because I had so little money. But hey! I had dying babies who needed oil. Cannabis is “variations on the good”. Even imperfect oil had therapeutic value. And…

anything was better than nothing.

With this new oil, I’m sleeping much longer at night and experiencing increased stamina and alertness during the day.

One downside, however, that only the long-term chronically ill can relate to. After experiencing months, even years of inactivity, renewed movement, in itself is almost always painful. It certainly has been for me. But keeping THAT pain in perspective, it is most certainly worth it, considering the alternative!

So, where have I been? Still counseling… still writing. Mostly healing – myself! Every day I commit to far more than I can accomplish, but I continue to move forward, albeit sometimes at a snail’s pace.
Some days, the pain and depression are unbearable. Those days, it’s with great difficulty that I move much beyond my bed. But I do move. I do eventually get up. We HAVE to get up. Even when it seems all too very easy just to lay back in front of the television and fade.
We each have a purpose. The world needs us.

Even with Cannabis, there is pain. That’s ok. We can deal with that…as long as we don’t give up. We have so very much left to do…and we must see to it that it comes to pass. Cannabis MUST be truly legal…here in Missouri and across this country. I’ve said it from the beginning, the only way that REAL legalization is going to happen is if those most effected by prohibition, the chronically and terminally ill… lead the charge. It’s time that we are heard.

“Cannabis is nontoxic. Cannabis is food. Cannabis is the single most important medicine of the 21st century.”

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