My son, Austin, lived a happy and healthy first 16 years of his life. He was happiest hanging out with his friends, being outdoors hunting, fishing, and playing sports. Just living life and getting ready for his senior year of high school. But, at the age of 17, his world and ours were turned upside down. Suddenly, the health of our active teenage son was gone due to contracting Lyme Disease, which became Chronic Lyme Disease.
He began having focal seizures, severe joint pain, and chronic nausea and vomiting along with several other health issues. These debilitating medical conditions took a toll on my son’s life and body. Austin began losing weight rapidly because almost everything that he ate was expelled from his stomach, the focal seizures became more frequent, and the pain was so bad that he simply didn’t want to move. Austin no longer went out with friends but stayed home lying in bed.
During Austin’s senior year of high school, he saw over 20 doctors and was prescribed 17 prescription medications to take every day, many having lifelong side effects. He lost about 40 pounds and was too weak to hang out with his friends or to go to school anymore. My son’s body had been ravaged by these debilitating medical conditions. I recall one morning walking into his bedroom to give him his medicines. As I paused, by his bedside, I looked at him lying there and thought to myself “my son looks like a skeleton with a sheet over his body”. Not only was he underweight but his body was so weak by this time that I sometimes had to push him into the doctor’s offices in a wheelchair because he no longer had the strength to walk. After trying the 17 prescriptions and seeing over 20 doctors in about 18 months we were at a loss of “what to do”. Our son looked like he was DYING. I grieved the loss of Austin’s health while remaining ever so grateful to my Savior, Jesus Christ, that I still had him with me. One day I just broke down crying. I asked God to please take Austin’s suffering from him and give it to me. PLEASE, Lord, let him be healthy again I asked. Well, God doesn’t always do what we want and when we want it BUT He did show us a path to restoring Austin’s health and quality of life through the use of medical marijuana.
After much prayer and careful consideration, Austin at the age of 19, made the decision to move to a state with a legal and regulated medical marijuana program. Once he moved, I stayed with him until he was well enough to be on his own. During this time, he became a legal resident of that state, went to see a doctor who recommended medical marijuana, and then received his medical marijuana card which made it possible for him to legally purchase medical marijuana at a highly secure and regulated dispensary to treat his seizures, severe joint pain, and chronic nausea and vomiting. For Austin, medical marijuana WORKED! It subsided the horrible effects of his debilitating medical conditions. I remember thinking to myself after he had used medical marijuana, that “this seems like my vibrant happy son again and that was truly a blessing. Austin was able to eventually stop taking all 17 prescriptions and gained the majority of his weight back. His body could keep food down and receive the nutrition that it needed, which allowed his strength to return! Austin could now “walk and not grow weary”. The seizures and severe pain subsided as well. I treasure every moment that we spend together, never taking his health for granted, because even today without medical marijuana, Austin’s seizures, pain, and vomiting return.