Jessie Gill has a history of being a great mother, and a great nurse. When you look at her, you’d think she is just any normal mom, and any normal nurse. But for a period of time, this was not the case; she suffered from excruciating pain that prevented her from being able to do things for her family and for her patients. Luckily, medical marijuana gave Jessie her life back. Here’s her story:
A few years ago, Jessie Gill was supermom. She was healthy and vibrant. Always had lunch packed and ready to go. Always supporting her son’s passion for ice hockey. Going on road trips and adventures with her family. It was a picture-perfect situation.
But this perfect picture got torn to shreds in only a day; while at work as a nurse, Jessie Gill was injured. A patient slipped and when someone tried to help catch the patient, they accidently grabbed Jessie, bringing her to the floor. Instantly, pain shot up her arm and neck.
That night, blinding nerve pain seared up the side of her neck and into her head – this pain has never completely faded. She lives with this pain every single day. She bounced from doctor to doctor and specialist to specialist in attempts to alleviate the pain. Each doctor seemed to have a new diagnosis and a new treatment; but none of these helped. So she agreed to a spinal fusion…which didn’t help either.
It was at this point that workman’s comp decided she had reached the maximum medical improvement, thus halting disability payments and treatments.
Then her job let her go. She felt helpless and hopeless.
Her Mother Suggested Medical Marijuana
Surprisingly, it was Jessie’s mother that convinced her to give medical cannabis a try. Although restrictions are tight in her home state of New Jersey, she qualified as a medical marijuana patient. And even better?
Although it costs her $600 a month, it is worth it. Within only four months of using vaporized marijuana throughout the day, Jessie went from using 10-15 pills daily (opiates, muscle relaxers, antidepressants, and medications for neuropathy) to only one pill a day for neuropathy.
Although the medical cannabis has not healed her, and the pain and dysfunction still exist, marijuana makes her able to live her life. It helps manage the pain and spasms, so she can once again drive her son to hockey practice.
The Downsides of Using Medical Marijuana
It’s expensive, it can be hard to get and there’s a stigma to it.
The New Jersey Medical Marijuana Program is limited. Dispensaries may only sell what they grow. Which means, they often run out of medication and I’m forced to take pills until they can resupply.
But another difficulty for Jessie is dealing with the negative assumptions people have about her as a result of her marijuana use. She says,
“Guests of my home expect to see a cloud of smoke and a tray of joints when they arrive (some are disappointed when they don’t). The vaporizer eliminates smoke but still has a distinct odor. Can you imagine dropping your child off for a play-date and smelling weed? What would you think?”
At first, Jessie reports feeling self-conscious. After all, she did not want to be labeled as a “pothead” or “stoner.” She also initially hid this from her children.
But she decided that she would not be shamed for her medication. This was not fair. So instead, she would work to change the stigma behind it.
She states, ” I am not ashamed of being a mom on pot. Life’s way better than when I was a mom on opiates and valium.”
The statistics and the science available on medical marijuana make her feel more comfortable and safer that the bottles of opiates – according to the CDC, 18 women each day die from a prescription painkiller overdose.
And The Kids?
They’re happy to have their mom back. And they are better educated than most adults are on the topic of cannabis. They know the science behind it, not just the stigmas.
And they are safe from it it too. Just like they never handle or touch pills, Jessie says that they never handle or touch marijuana.