These are the stories of the Utahns whose suffering could be mitigated through access to safe medical cannabis. Cannabis is proven to mitigate the symptoms of some of the gravest conditions including multiple sclerosis, parkinsons, and cancer. The choice to use cannabis should be a decision between a patient and their doctor.
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In 2010, just five years after graduating from the University of Utah and just three years into her marriage, Jessica Gleim started to experience pain across the left side of her jaw and teeth. And this after a lifetime of dentists raving about her “great teeth.” At her dentist’s firm suggestion, she went to see an endodontist, a doctor who specializes in root canals.
“I finally couldn’t take it anymore. They told me to pick a tooth and they drilled. It ended up being an unnecessary root canal.”
Even after that excruciating yet avoidable procedure, the pain remained. In fact, in a shocking turn of events, her localized pain evolved. It moved from her teeth and jaw to shooting pain radiating up into her eye socket, temple, cheek. Within 10 days of her root canal, the tooth pain was back, and coming from the exact same tooth! Jessica promptly returned to the endodontist, and was told she was instead experiencing phantom tooth pain. A diagnosis that did nothing to help her address her suffering. And like most patients struggling with pain, with no relief in sight, she took her health into her own hands.
“I had been doing research and discovered a condition called trigeminal neuralgia. I finally went to see my general practitioner. She said it was a 'possibility' and sent me to see a neurologist and to get an MRI.”
Lora Romney has been married for almost 24 years and has four almost grown (and very tall) children who she says give her life meaning and endless joy. She has devoted 23 years to a career as a real estate accountant. She loves to walk her dog, play the flute, read and camp with her family.
Lora’s life changed forever, when in 2011 she awoke to a strange burning headache that would not go away. After a sinus surgery and opinions from five different neurologists, she was finally diagnosed with atypical trigeminal neuralgia: a facial nerve disease.
“Since that day, I haven’t had a day without pain.”
Kathleen Dennis, 67, was raised as a self-described “Army brat,” and moved with her family all over the U.S. before settling down in Utah in 1982. In addition to having a long, successful career working for the Federal Aviation Administration, Kathleen is a proud mother and grandmother.
After retiring in 2006, she and her husband spent some time in The Netherlands planning to bicycle and explore the country. Shortly before this trip, Kathleen had been having difficulty standing up due to joint stiffness, so she had gone to see a chiropractor about her pain. While the chiropractor’s treatments did help, the relief was only temporary and minimal at best.
While in The Netherlands, Kathleen’s pain worsened and became excruciating. She decided to go to the emergency room in Amsterdam hoping to find relief. Unfortunately, the hospital staff told her it would be at least a six hour wait to see someone. Out of frustration, Kathleen and her husband left and considered cancelling the rest of their trip.
“I couldn’t walk through an art gallery without sitting for long periods at every opportunity.”
Linda Stay is a giant in the Saint George, Utah community and is a symbol of the community. In December of 2014, Linda found a lump on her breast. After a biopsy she was diagnosed with Grade 3 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC.) The aggressive nature of the tumor and the high risk of recurrence mean that Linda was forced to undergo a bilateral mastectomy and 8 rounds of chemotherapy. After consulting with physicians, oncologists, and a naturopathic, Linda decided to undergo an aggressive chemotherapy treatment regimen.
This wasn’t Linda’s first bout with cancer, at the age of 35; Linda was diagnosed with a brain tumor and fought it successfully. She juggled raising 5 children, owning a lollipop factory, and serving actively in her church. This fight left her with Cushing’s disease, which has left her body’s immune system weakened and the treatment of her breast cancer more difficult.
Daniel Mason lives in Layton, Utah. Raised in San Diego it was there that Daniel began his family. In 2004 they relocated and began skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing, it was around this time that Daniel began his career at Zions Bank.
In 2007 Daniel began noticing that his right thumb twitching once in a while but he thought nothing of it. Over the next few years it slowly progressed and eventually his entire right hand began twitching. His wife was certain that it was attributed to possible nerve damage as a result of an earlier heart attack that left him with two stents. She had remembered seeing Daniel have what appeared to be some sort of seizure as they were wheeling him into surgery for the heart attack.
Tamra Carter is a resident of Southern Utah. She has two beautiful daughters and a very loving family. She loves camping, hiking and reading. She grew up with epilepsy as well as watching her sister suffer from seizures. She lived a life full of adventure and tried to never let the seizures control her life. It just was what it was. She seemed to outgrow the seizures and only had them off and on throughout her twenties and early thirties.
Until one day while at work, she felt an excruciating pain in her head and had a seizure at work. At the time, she was working two jobs and lost both of them because she was unable to work. Her seizures worsened and she was having anywhere from eight to twelve seizures a day. Luckily she was offered a job where they were ok with her seizures and she started taking medicine to minimize them.
Marie Maxfield was born in California but moved to Utah when she was 11. Marie is a professional musician and has taught band, orchestra, and has participated in many local symphony orchestras including as a conductor.
She moved with her family from Utah to California in August of 2014 after having suffered from many health issues for years including Crohns disease, migraines, severe anxiety, kidney stones, interstitial cystitis, and fibromyalgia.
“I have had many surgeries and hospital stays over the past 20 years. I was in constant pain, every single day. At that point in time I was taking over two dozen pills in the morning and another dozen or so before bed.”