Tag Archives: SB 1182

The Fight Grows On

 

FemaleCannabisClusterThe buzz has not worn off.  Pennsylvania House of Republicans passed medical marijuana!!  This is really happening!!  So many people told me, “PA will be last.”  We proved them wrong!  We have won a great battle.  The war wages on.  There are many Pennsylvanians left out of Senate Bill 3.  Smoking is prohibited.  We can have oils and tinctures, liquids and edibles, but not grow our own plants.  It is not a perfect bill.  Some say it’s not as good as SB 1182, which was the first medical marijuana bill the Senate passed in 2014.  The House let that die.  I had serious doubts that the House would ever vote on SB 3.  I am happy to be proven wrong.  I am happy to have a new baseline to work from.  Things can only get better now!

Medical marijuana is one step closer to my ultimate goal of full legalization.  Chairman of the Health Committee Matt Baker argued against this bill in part because activists want a complete end to prohibition.  He would like to help the sick, but the risk that some people might want full legalization was too much.  Representative after representative got up and spoke about the heroin crisis our state is facing.  Matt Baker claimed that marijuana “primed the brain for heroin.”  He spoke over and over again attacking the bill from opposing sides.  He made me yell and cry and then laugh my butt off.  He told a dramatic story of a building collapse leading to the death of a man who was “diagnosed with marijuana.”

My blood boiled when he said that he had a letter from the “American Epilepsy Society” begging him not to pass SB 3.  I don’t know who the American Epilepsy Society is, but they sure as hell don’t speak for me.  They are not the voice of epilepsy.  The Epilepsy Foundation is.  They are all on board.  Anything that reduces one seizure, one second of one seizure, is a miracle.  A miracle!!

Matt Baker wanted you to believe that the epilepsy community is against medical marijuana.  He’s a liar.  I am active in the epilepsy community.  I know all the groups.  I never heard of the “American Epilepsy Society.”  They are not a real epilepsy advocacy group, just a name that sounds official.  Everybody who knows anything about seizures is 100% behind medical marijuana.  Anything that helps.  Anything.  I am so relieved to no longer be a criminal.  I’m just a patient who wants to feel better.

So what is next?  The bill is not perfect, no bill ever is.  The Senate has to agree to the changes.  The governor promises to sign.  Then the grass will start growing.  We can figure out things as we go. Currently SB 3 allows for treatment of HIV/AIDS, seizures, epilepsy, autism, sickle-cell anemia, Crohn’s disease, cancer, ALS, PTSD, MS, Parkinson’s Disease, inflammatory bowel disease, damage to the spine and nervous system, neuropathies, Huntington’s Disease, chronic pain and glaucoma.  I believe the list will eventually expand.

What does this mean for Erie County?  That depends on whether we want to be part of the party or not.  There will be hundreds, maybe thousands, of jobs created in growing, producing, and distributing marijuana oils.  I see no reason why we shouldn’t be at the forefront of this.  We have empty buildings just waiting for something to do.  We have fresh water and empty storefronts.  We have thousands of sick citizens of Erie County who will want medicine, as soon as possible.  It’s already too late.  We can’t wait any longer.  Permits will be given, licenses will sold.  Doctors will have to take a brief class on medical marijuana.  All this can start happening as soon as next week.  The movement isn’t over, it’s really getting started now.  All the years of hard work are finally paying off and the real work can begin.  Sow the fields and plant the hemp and marijuana that will grow our economy.

Now is the time to act.

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PA Goes to Pot!

 

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016 was a historic day for my Commonwealth!  Medical marijuana, which has been growing moldy in the House basement, was taken out and given the light of day!  Senate Bill 3, The Raymond Shafer Compassionate Use of Cannabis, was finally voted on in the House of Representatives.  It passed 149-43.  Medical marijuana IS coming to Pennsylvania!  The Senate has to concur with the changes the House made.  Then it’s on to Governor Wolf’s desk.  He promised to sign whatever time, day or night, that the bill hits his desk.  He was there for the vote and tweeted “Now is the time to act!”

Senate Bill 3 passed in the Senate with a vote of 40-7 in May 2015.  The House tried their best to kill it.  They sat on it and did nothing.  The head of the health committee was against it, so it didn’t have to get heard.  Rep. Matt Baker wanted to kill medical marijuana.  He failed.

I cried like a baby.  I bawled.  My cats gave me odd looks.  My kids didn’t quite know what to think.  Why was the boring political TV making Mom cry so much?  I felt relief like I have never known.  My state finally believes in me.  All these years, all I wanted were less seizures.  My state said no.  Yesterday, they said YES!  It has been such a long road, covered in seizures and bumps and bruises and blood.  So many activists died while waiting.  The end is finally in sight!  PA has been languishing in prohibition for far too long.  All of that is drawing to an close.  The light at the end of the tunnel is bright green!

A great pain rose off my chest when the vote came down.  The cloud lifted and the haze cleared.  I’m not a criminal!  I don’t have to  move to Colorado!  I can stay here and get the treatment I deserved.  I’ve cried about it so many times.  Now they are tears of joy and relief and happiness.  Treatment is within reach for me!  I am satisfied I will be able to get my precious medical card.  I’m an epileptic.  I can’t stay conscious!  We should all know this by now:  Marijuana reduces seizures.  This law is for me!  Of course, the fight is not over.  There are many people who are left out.  I promise you, I won’t stop fighting for you. Now we can be healthier while we fight.

As if all this wasn’t enough, Industrial Hemp Senate Bill 50 passed the Senate 49-0.  We are on our way to join only a few other states who allow hemp to be grown on large agricultural scale.  It is a legal crop.  Let’s grow some hemp!  It will be a lucrative crop for our state.  Hemp has a few more hoops to hop through.  They need to get a hearing in the House.  The House is a lot less friendly than the Senate.  They stonewalled medical marijuana for YEARS!

It may take years to get Pennsylvania’s programs running.  Not everyone is happy with SB3.  I’m giddy for the baby-step in the right direction.  Two steps forward and one step back is still one step ahead.  It has started.  It cannot be undone.  We are not a pioneer in this fight.  Pennsylvania is late to the game, but we’re here now~!

In the meantime, we need to educate our doctors.  We need to let them know they will be protected when they prescribe medical marijuana to their patients.  We need them to know why they should.

Today we celebrate!  The tides have turned.  They are green and foamy.  Pennsylvania will be growing marijuana and hemp.  Hemp was once our major crop.  (Why do you think there is a town named HEMPFIELD?!)

We are bringing hemp back to Hempfield!  

We are bringing compassion and cannabis to the sick and hurting!

Please remember who voted against compassion and vote accordingly.  Election Day is April 26th.  Many House seats are up.  You can check the vote here.

To all the Haters who said we couldn’t do it:  Put this in your pipe and smoke it!  Enjoy this picture of The Capitol Building lit up green in honor of SB3!

Th House goes GreenWe weren’t last!

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Promises, Promises

seeds and stems

The end of spring session draws near.  It is almost summer break.  Everything needs to be done RIGHT NOW!  I can appreciate that as a procrastinator myself.  However, I was writing basically the same article last  year.  I wrote to my State Representatives to beg them to take mercy on the suffering Pennsylvanians who could be treated by cannabis.  Last year SB1182 passed the Senate and just needed the House to vote.  Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis passed the Pennsylvania Senate.  The House just needed to vote.

That bill died with the end of session. Now the next legislative session is heading home for summer break without passage of medical marijuana.  SB3, a re-working of SB1182, passed Senate months ago.  I was promised it would pass by the end of June.  The Speaker of the House Mike Turzai sent it to the Health Committee instead of voting on it.  Rep Turzai once ran away from medical marijuana advocates.  Ran away.  I watched the video, it was something else.  Rather than even listen to the medical marijuana advocates, he ran away.  He pushed that bill away too.

My Representative Pat Harkins says he supports SB3.  It doesn’t matter.  Rep Matt Baker, Chairman of the Health Committee, promises to let it die.  He takes money from pharmaceutical companies and he denies states rights when it comes to medical marijuana.  He is a Republican from Tioga. I’m not surprised if you haven’t heard of it before.  I’ve lived in Pennsylvania for nearly 38 years and I had never heard of it before.  Matt Baker sits on top of SB3.  It’s not on any agenda.

I am involved with several online advocacy groups.  A few days ago, word went around that State Rep. Nick Miccarelli, also Republican, District 162-Ridley Park, decided/was convinced to file a discharge resolution to circumvent Mr. Matt Baker.  He spread the word that he would file this uncommon, but legal, discharge resolution on Friday, June 26, 2015.  Mere days before the end of the semester.

We celebrated the news!  We got tingly with excitement.  We didn’t need to let one man stonewall the will of the people.  Polling consistently shows more than 80% of Pennsylvanians approve the immediate passage of medical marijuana.  Maybe it would happen, this time.

Now, straight out of left field, State Rep Ron Marsico, Republican from Dauphin County 105 District, says he will introduce his own bill to legalize medical marijuana.  He promises this bill will go to the House Judiciary Committee for immediate passage.  He heads the Judiciary Committee so, he might have some pull there.  The Judiciary Committee has been holding hearings and interviewing patients for months.  They would rather control the future of medical marijuana than not.  Time for the Hail Mary Pass.

None of my advocate friends of medical marijuana knew about this.  We have been calling our Representatives all day.  I noticed the bill was not yet introduced.  He just promises introduction.  Who will flinch first?

There are more than a few doubts about Representatives Marsico’s motives.  We are waiting to read the language of this promised bill. His official press release says that the bill would “support a narrow, regulated measure that allows compassionate use of medical marijuana but takes special precautions against abuse or diversion of marijuana for non-medical purposes.”

I am happy for any movement on the issue.  Baby Steps, baby!

If you know a single, seriously ill person, don’t you want them to try whatever helps?  Cannabis is easy.  It grows like a weed.  There’s already a cultural shift nationwide.  PA is not exactly a forerunner here.  There are hundreds of successful businesses to learn from in the 23 states with medical marijuana.  We can still be in the top half of the country, Lucky Number 24!

Marsico’s official release promises no more than 5 medical marijuana companies to be throughout the state.  That’s good enough for me.  Erie is the third or fourth largest city in Pennsylvania, depending on how you count.  We are sure to be included in the five.  Five is better than zero.  Five is infinitely better than zero.  Mathematically it can’t even be defined how much better it is.  I will take any bill to start.  Of course, the cities will get the marijuana first.

Erie used to be an industrial powerhouse, a beautiful “gem city” on the naturally protected Presque Isle Bay.  We used to be a fresh-water fishing capital, and a necessary link on the Great Lakes Shipping chain.

Now there are more empty building than I care to count.  The city is demolishing blighted homes full time.  They tear down houses every day.  Many, many, empty factories sit crumbling.  I imagine them awash in green.  All the jobs and medicine to treat all the sick people could be grown here.   Pennsylvania needs jobs.  Governor Tom Wolf promises Pennsylvania is “Open for Business.”  Look around the country, money is being made hand over fist in Colorado (and Washington and Oregon and Alaska.)  They are giving the residents tax refund checks.  My friend who lives in Colorado can buy legal marijuana with her tax refund checks.  She did.  The state of Colorado approves!

I just want less seizures.  I just want to go to my son’s soccer game without having a seizure, getting confused and disoriented, and then sleeping the rest of the day away.  There are centuries of medical evidence, published in well-respected scientific journals.  Marijuana can help prevent and lessen the severity and frequency of seizures.  There are centuries of evidence.  I am not making this up.  I have discussed this with my doctors.  They all agree.  None of my numerous doctors have disagreed.  They all gauge their responses, as we “live in the wrong state.”  But nobody has flat-out told me I am wrong.  Just living in the wrong state.

Dear Pennsylvania House of Representatives, you could change that today.  Do the right thing.  My friend’s mother recently lost her fight to cancer, medical marijuana came too late for her.  Don’t let it be too late for the rest of us.
Any day now…

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Representative Baker is a Big, Fat, Faker

Pennsylvania

It seems that marijuana is in the news everyday.  More states are fully legalizing it, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, District of Columbia… Ohio could be next?!  There is a movement for a referendum on the ballot in November.  Vermont has a bill, SB 95, in their state Senate.  Everyone is waiting for California to legalize it already. Entire countries are allowing home cultivation (Hi Germany!).  Ecuador is considering decriminalizing all drugs. The US Senate Appropriations Committee just voted 18-12 to pass a bi-partisan amendment to allow the Veterans Administration (VA) doctors the right to discuss medical marijuana with their patients in the 23 states where it is legal.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is teasing me again.  The PA Senate passed a medical marijuana bill!  For the second time.  A medical marijuana bill passed in the Senate last year.  The House let it die.  The House would let me die too. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives will probably sit idly by and name bridges for dead veterans.  I am all for naming bridges for veterans, but maybe the townships and county governments could do that.  The House of Representatives does not need to do that. They should be talking about the veterans who committed suicide after traumatic brain injuries and post traumatic stress disorder.  Veterans who could have been treated with marijuana.  No, those veterans don’t get coverage on House Floor.  When they do get is short and fleeting.  The House is stringently opposed to medical marijuana.  Senate Bill 3 is not on the docket.  Its sister bill, House Bill 193, is stuck in committee.  The Commonwealth wants to wait for the Federal Government to act first.

There are scientific medical studies being published almost daily that show the numerous medical benefits.  At least three of my neurologists and my primary care physician agree that marijuana is a hopeful “new” treatment for my epilepsy.  Brain Doctors agree!  The Epilepsy Foundation agrees!  Some of my epilepsy friends successfully use cannabis to prevent seizures.  My Facebook friend Ricardo gives his daughter “Tuffy” cannabis oil that he has to make himself.  It has saved her life.  I love Ricky’s posts and pictures of Tuffy.  She was previously living a nearly vegetative state.  She had  hundreds of seizures a day and needed a helmet.  Ricky fought New Jersey to legalize medical marijuana and get Tuffy medicine.  She is a growing little girl again.  Cannabis has given Tuffy her life back.  The pictures are amazing.  Her new-found freedom from seizures is a blessing.  It gives me hope.  Cannabis IS medicine.

I don’t have much hope that the House will help me.  I have been on this roller-coaster for too long.  Even if the House did discuss SB 3 on the Floor, it probably doesn’t have enough Republican Majority votes. It’s not going to get me any relief anytime soon.  I can go to my neurologist and we can talk about how we live in the wrong state.  She would prescribe me medical marijuana if we were a different state.  I have been going to this doctor for over ten years.  She is deeply familiar with my condition. She recognizes the benefits of marijuana.  But the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, with their lack of medical expertise, says no.  I wasn’t even happy when SB 3 passed 40 to 7.  It passed last year as SB 1182 with 43 votes.

Senator Pat Vance got up before the vote and basically lied.  She said the National Epilepsy Association opposed medical marijuana.  I don’t know who the National Epilepsy Association is.  It was certainly not The Epilepsy Foundation, who is the actual voice for epilepsy in the USA.  The Epilepsy Foundation is in full support of medical marijuana.  FULL SUPPORT.  Whoever Senator Vance spoke to is not representative of the real epilepsy community.  I almost had a seizure I was so pissed off at her misrepresentation.

The head of the House Health Committee, Representative Matthew E. Baker promises not to do anything.  One person is mucking up the works.  He represents a small percentage of Pennsylvania citizens.  His district is distinctly mountainous and rural.  There aren’t many people living in Tioga, Pennsylvania, the largest “city” Mr. Baker’s District  68.  As of the 2010 census there were only 41,981 people in Tioga.  The total population of District 68 was 60,512.  There are 12.79 million residents in the Commonwealth.  I did the math, that’s less that 0.004% of the population.  I would wager a guess that there are more white-tail deer in District 68 than people.  Even the deer would support medical marijuana.  They love to eat it.

According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, nearly 90% of Pennsylvanians support medical marijuana.  Matt Baker is keeping medical marijuana languishing in the House Health Committee.  One person is preventing a vote on the House Floor.  One person is preventing democracy.

I just want medicine.  Colorado and Washington are rolling in tax money from legal marijuana.  LEGAL.  In Pennsylvania I can’t get a prescription from my brain specialist.  The House of Representatives would rather have me and millions of Pennsylvanians suffer.

It doesn’t matter that my Representative Pat Harkins said he would vote yes.  He is in the cock-blocked minority.  It doesn’t matter that Governor Wolf is holding round table discussions with the Attorney General and advocates and doctors who agree.  Governor Tom Wolf says yes, yes, yes.  Baker says no.  He receives money from pharmaceutical companies.  Pharmaceutical companies that have an interest in preventing medical marijuana.  Does anybody else find it concerning that the Chair of the Health Committee gets money from drug companies?  It seems like a conflict of interest to me.

I’m guess I have to take my advocacy to the President.  He’s the last hope of the empire.  He could write an Executive Order legalizing medical marijuana.  He could reschedule marijuana, he could legalize marijuana.  He could do any of the three.  He’s on Twitter now.  I’ve already Tweeted to him about this.  I am very persistent.  Tweet.  Tweet.

Mr. President, Please Free the Weed.  You know you want to.  I know you can do it.  Congress might try to stop you, but they can’t.  They don’t get anything done.  Please.  Please.  Pretty-please with a cherry on top.  I just want to have less seizures.  I wish I could schedule a seizure for you so you could understand my life.  I read your memoir.  I know you are a compassionate man.  

Do what is right.  Matt Baker won’t.

Last night I was snuggling in bed with my kids before bedtime.  Out of the blue, my 11-year-old daughter said it was “pretty impressive that Mom was still alive since she could have died so many times, because she has so many seizures all the time.”  Kids say the darnedest things…

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Pennsylvania State Forest of Dreams

not just for hippiesCannabis_sativa

Once again I pin my heart and my hopes to the legislative process.  SB3 is being introduced into Pennsylvania Senate.  Last year the Senate passed SB 1182: The Raymond Shafer Compassionate Use of Cannabis Act, but the House refused to play fair.  Since it was an election year, that bill died with the end of session.  We have a new year, a new session, a new governor, and a new name for an old bill.  A bill that could have been the law by now.  But former Speaker of the House Sam Smith refused to bring it the House Floor.  We start over again at zero.  Whether or not the new Speaker of the House, Mike Turzai, will play fair has yet to be seen.  We will get a better idea on Tuesday.  Will he run down the hall and refuse to meet his constituents who want medical marijuana today?  (True story, he ran away last year.)  The Senate Bill 3 is about to be put on the docket and the advocates are ready to rally.  The snow storm will not stop us!

We have a green tide of popular opinion on our side and gubernatorial election promises to boot.  Pennsylvania had one of the only Republican incumbents who lost their seat in November: Ex-Governor Tom Corbett.  Our new Governor Tom Wolf campaigned on a liberal platform that supported our school, taxes on gas and oil companies, and immediate passage of medical marijuana.  That’s what he promised us.  I am going to hold him to that.  We all are.  Pennsylvania is sick and tired of waiting while our sick people suffer.

Tom Corbett’s lame excuses are cast aside and we will consider that facts.  23 other states allow medical use of cannabis.  Philadelphia has decriminalized marijuana.  A possession offense warrants a ticket, not a warrant.  Recreational marijuana is for sale in Colorado and Washington.  Washington DC, Alaska, and Oregon all voted to legalize marijuana in November.  Colorado raked in so much tax money from the legal sale of marijuana they sent their residents a tax rebate.

Don’t sick people in Pennsylvania have a right to feel better?  I would be there on Tuesday for the rally, but I can’t drive.  Seizures stole my driver’s license several years ago.  I have a hard time getting to the grocery store, I can’t get to Harrisburg to show them my face.  It would be nice if I could.  I want my legislators to know how terrible seizures are.  I had a seizure last night.  It was a short one, I didn’t fall over, I didn’t get hurt.  Now I am as tired as a hibernating bear.  I wish they could see me and understand.  I would love to tell my story and trail off…  lost in a seizure haze…  Cannabis can help us.  It has been used to treat epilepsy for centuries.   How can you let us suffer?  The Epilepsy Foundation is in full support of medical marijuana.  “Not one more second lost.”  One second is too many.

Epilepsy is just one of hundreds of conditions that can be helped by medical cannabis.  The fact is anybody over the age of 21 can walk into a store and have a pot party (real thing) in one state and be arrested for self-medicating in ours.  It’s cruel.  Which side of history are we on?  Pennsylvania signs boast the slogan “First in Independence.”  Everytime I see the sign I snort.  We won’t be first in independence until sick people have the freedom to medicate themselves as we see fit.  TWENTY-THREE states allow it.  We are wallowing in the nether world of prohibition.  I just don’t want to have seizures.  I want to stay conscious all the time.  I don’t want to have to explain to my kids why mommy can’t do anything with them today.  They know.  They see the worst of it.  If your parent or child was sick, wouldn’t you want them to have a safe and proven effective natural treatment?  I do.  Pennsylvania General Assembly, I’m looking at you.

Drug_bottle_containing_cannabis

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No Common Sense For The Commonwealth

Cannabis_plant_from_'De_historia...'_Wellcome_L0051246

I have long been a silent supporter for medical marijuana.  But I was afraid to really speak out.  I was a Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” kid.  Would the moms shun me at the school if they knew?  It was safer to stay silent.  So what happened?  Charlotte Figi happened.  When Charlotte’s Web hit the news I cried.  I was so happy to see this beautiful little girl reclaiming a life that she almost lost due to seizures.  I was so happy for her and her family.  And then I cried for my children… They have to live with a mommy who sometimes screams and falls down.  That is the worst effect of my epilepsy: my kids have to see me have a seizure.  If you’ve seen a seizure you know, it’s pretty much the worst thing in the world.  If you haven’t, lucky you.  I hope you never do.  Unless you work in Harrisburg or DC: I would love to have a seizure in front of you.  You will be rightfully frightened.  Seizures change everything.

Parents in Colorado and New Jersey and Pennsylvania are fighting to get their children marijuana.  How could I stay silent?  It IS a matter of life and death.  Seizures kill.  Epilepsy is a terrible disease that holds us in a cold grasp until we die. People die from seizures and seizure related injuries everyday.  Over 50,000 Americans lose their life every year.  For me it’s all about seizures, everything in my life is about seizures.

Medical marijuana can SAVE lives.  The Epilepsy Foundation supports medical marijuana.  The nation’s largest epilepsy organization is advocating for marijuana.  That’s huge!  The seizure preventing effects are visible and undeniable.  ALL epileptics need access to this natural medicine that is recommend by Surgeon General nominee Sanjay Gupta and my personal doctors.  I’d like it if Pennsylvania would allow me that courtesy.  23 other states would.  I’m tired of my government treating me like a criminal.  I’m not a bad person.  I just want to have less seizures.  I want to stay conscious at ALL times.

The Pennsylvania Government denies that there is any valid information in the hundreds of studies not done in Pennsylvania.  All the scientific literature does not matter to them.  They insist that they would have to re-do the studies here.  But they won’t do the studies.  Science doesn’t matter to them.  The fact that the federal government has a patent on cannabis (Patent #6630507) means nothing to my so called Representatives.

I read the studies.  The information is there for the taking.  The internet grants us immediate access to governmental documents and scientific journals.  I am convinced.   Marijuana has been known for CENTURIES as a treatment for epilepsy.  Why should I suffer for being born in the wrong century and state?  I just want to be able to grow a plant and stay conscious.  Marijuana can help.  There is anecdotal evidence.  There is scientific evidence.  I’ve had too many seizures to just sit by and wait for Pennsylvania to grow up.  For years I suffered in silence.  I felt so alone in my unstable state of consciousness.  I thought that nobody understood me until I met other people living with epilepsy.  I need to educate the world about my deadly, deadly disease.

I was diagnosed with Temporal Lobe Epilepsy was in 1997.  I was 20.  I went to bed with a headache and woke up in the hospital, talking to my mother on the phone.  She asked me where I was.  I didn’t know.  I had no idea why I was on a phone.  The last I knew I was sleeping.  I could not believe that I had a seizure and was in the hospital brought by ambulance.  It was the first time, but not the last.

They kept asking me what kind of drugs I was on.  That made no sense.  I don’t take drugs. I had taken a biology exam and came home to sleep.  They tested me.  No drugs.  I was confused and angry.  I had another seizure coming out of the bathroom holding the warm container of my own urine.  I don’t remember much else.  Days later I saw a Doctor.  I can’t remember his name, he was just the first of dozens.  He told me I had Idiopathic Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.  It was a diagnosis that I could barely understand despite my years of college anatomy and physiology.  He also said Seizure Disorder but I liked that term even less.

I understood I had a seizure or I was trying to understand that. But I didn’t really believe it.  And I certainly didn’t believe that just because I had one seizure meant that I was going to have another.  I was wrong.  Poor Past Katie, she was so wrong.  That wasn’t my first seizure.  It was just the first time somebody saw me have a seizure.  Over time, as I learned more about my seizures, I realized I had hundreds of un-diagnosed seizures.  I have had seizures my whole life.  I will have them for the rest of my life.  Hopefully they won’t kill me.  I think that every day.

My diagnosis  has not changed over the years.  It’s still Idiopathic (Unknown cause) Temporal Lobe (part of the brain on the side, controls memory and emotions and so much more) Epilepsy (lots and lots of uncontrolled burst of electricity in my brain.)  There is still no reason, no cause, no warning when a seizure might happen.  My brain has too much electricity.  Yee-Haw!  It’s a rodeo!

I’ve gone years without seizures.  Ah, the good years; the sweet seizure-free years.  The longest I went without a Grand Mal (a massive, convulsive, secondarily-generalized seizure) was seven glorious years.  Now I am happy for seven days sometimes.  It’s been 14 days today.  I am finally feeling normal again.  My body has more or less physically healed from the last seizure.  The depression has lifted.  But who knows for how long?

This year the record is 42 days seizure-free.  Then I ended up in the hospital with gallbladder disease and had a cluster of seizures in June. They played fast and loose with my seizures in the hospital.  They gave me so many different injections and bags of saline and radioactive isotopes.  I don’t know what they gave me.  I had a seizure in the bathroom.  I bit my tongue and bled all over myself.  I wandered the halls and looked for my husband whom I had sent home.  I couldn’t remember doing that.  I was dazed and confused: lost in the hazy aftermath of a seizure.  At least I didn’t fall out of bed that time.  I woke up covered in blood and vomit and had no idea why.  Nobody in the hospital knew.  They don’t know how to treat me.  There is no way to treat me after a seizure.  All I can do is sleep and wait for my brain to reboot.  Seizures are exhausting, for days, for weeks at a time.  It’s not just the half hour that I lost, it’s everything that comes after.  My most recent seizure brought me a bruised rib.  But I didn’t fall down the stairs!  I fell into the banister instead.

I would try any plant that could help.  I’ve tried all sorts of minerals and supplements that I found referenced in the medical texts as a treatment for epilepsy.  Marijuana comes up again and again.  There is enough evidence for me and 85% of Pennsylvanians.  But I don’t have safe access to the strains that are curing epilepsy.  Charlotte’s web isn’t available in Pennsylvania.  The variety matters.  Think of marijuana like peppers.  You wouldn’t say that an Orange Sweet Bell Pepper was the same as a Ghost Pepper.  Jalapenos aren’t the same as Banana Peppers.  They are all different strains of the same plant.  Plants are like that.  When you are in a state with marijuana prohibition, there is no choice but one: whichever one your Dude has at that point in time, which changes all of the time.  Nobody else wants to consume marijuana that won’t even get you high. Children in Colorado are allowed to but I’m not.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania doesn’t trust me to live my adult life and make decisions about my body by myself with the advice of my doctor.  More than one doctor would prescribe me marijuana if they could.  I have been told more than once.  Neurologists talk about it with me at length.  We are all hopeful for “new” treatments.  But I am in the wrong state for that.

Is Pennsylvania part of the United States or not?  Nearly half the country would allow me medical marijuana.  It’s as free and clear as beer in Colorado and Washington.  But not Pennsylvania.  I am stuck here in the prohibition years.  No medicinal plants for me.  My seizures don’t matter to the legislators of Pennsylvania.

Seizures are being prevented. How can you allow us to go without treatment?  It is a cruel and unusual punishment.  

And that’s why they call us Pennsyltucky.

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Filed under Essays, Living w/ Epilepsy, News

Sick Pennsylvanians Hope Up In Smoke

house party

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has failed me yet again.  The PA Senate took pity on me and a few of my sick friends.  The Pennsylvania Senate voted 43 to 7 to approve the Raymond Shafer Compassionate Use of Cannabis Senate Bill 1182.  It passed!  43 to 7 is a wide margin.  It represents Pennsylvanians’ beliefs.  We want medical marijuana.  But the House won’t put it on the docket.  They are stingy like that.  They want to wait until after the election.  Because they should.  Because this is a voting issue.  People’s votes will depend on the politicians’ stance on medical marijuana.  They might be able to keep their jobs if the House doesn’t vote first.  My Republican relative just switched his vote for the Democratic Gubernatorial candidate after watching the debates.  He switched because of Tom Wolf’s stance on medical marijuana.  We care!  We want our sick, loved ones to have access to medicine.  Marijuana is an herb, more natural than the grass that grows on your lawn.

This might be a minor midterm election for the rest of the country, but not in Pennsylvania.  It’s a high voter turnout year.  Our state government is up for grabs.  People are passionate about this election.  We all hate Governor Tom Corbett.  There are so many reasons why Pennsylvanians are united against him.  Number One: Education.  Number Two: Fracking.  Number Three: Medical Marijuana.  Number Four: Jobs.  I could go on.  Corbett has the lowest approval rating of all US Governors, wallowing in the mud at only 24%.

Let’s not forget the pending charges against our “Notorious G.O.V.” from his previous term as Attorney General.  Tommy chose not to prosecute Jerry Sandusky: The Rapist of Penn State.  Voting is essential.

I’ve been hearing a lot about reaching out to the millennials, getting them out to vote.  I wholeheartedly support it!  I wish Gen X would vote, but we’ve long since given up.  Thanks, Florida.  Thanks, Ohio.  When Bush stole the presidency, an entire generation of voters fell off.  I try to convince my friends to vote, but many, many, of them will not.  It always comes back to Bush.  We were bright eyed voters, and suddenly our vote did not matter.  Then the rest of Bush’s term happened.  Gen X doesn’t vote.  They aren’t even targeting us with Rock The Vote.  I am a poll worker.  I see the age gap.  The older citizens vote the most.  I thanked the few first time voters.  There were only two.

One vote does count.  I have my position at the polls due to one vote.  My husband wrote me in.  I’m elected!  Four more years, Baby!  We don’t have to let Bush happen again.  We can vote in other people, we can control our government on a local level.  We can vote out Tom Corbett and legalize medicinal marijuana ASAP.  I don’t want to wait until Tom Wolf is sworn-in.  Perhaps the Lame Duck Congress will see which way the smoke blows.  They won’t vote before the election.  There is one day of session scheduled between now and the election.  I like to pretend, but I know they won’t.  I watch them Live on TV.  The House of Representatives is a circus.  My Representative claims to support me.  Since they won’t vote on it, I can’t really know.  People are dying while the House does nothing.

I wish they could see me have a seizure.  Or at least ask my children.  THEY know how I suffer.  They have to take care of me sometimes.  They are the ones who tell me that I had a seizure.  There are safer medicines I could be taking.  I’m not making this up.  I dare you to do a Google search about Clinical Cannabis Studies.  There is plenty of scientific evidence.  I do my internet research, not just wikipedia.  I read the scientific journals online.  The good stuff might not be found until you dig through 20 or 21 pages of a Google search.  I check them all.  This is not new information.  These are reputable scientific publications.  Marijuana is found in Chinese medical texts from long Before Christ.

I had to defend my seizure meds to my insurance company.  They didn’t want to give me such a high dosage.  I don’t want to take it either.  I’m not okay.  It’s been a  week since I had a seizure, that I know of.  But deep bruises are still emerging.  Could these bruises still be from last week?  Have I had another seizure that I didn’t know about?  My ribs have not stopped hurting yet.  Apparently bruised/cracked ribs take a long time to heal. The last time, before this seizure, I gave myself a concussion.  I was glad that I didn’t break my nose.  This time I’m extra happy that I didn’t fall down the stairs.  I did run up and down the stairs to vomit a few times before I was fully conscious.  It is as scary as it sounds.  My laptop didn’t survive the seizure.  I found it on the floor, covered in coffee, much like myself.

So I’m voting for compassion.  It’s my issue.  It is not just my issue, 86% of Pennsylvanians agree!  We need medical marijuana!  Right after we re-fund the public schools and tax the oil and gas companies.  That oil is NOT going anywhere and neither is medical marijuana in Pennsylvania.  The only question is how long will be have to wait?  How many will have to die?  Any single seizure is a chance to die.

The Speaker of The House likes to mute his microphone.  Sam Smith doesn’t want to address the dying people who are waiting for medicine.  He doesn’t want to hear what we have to say.  He doesn’t want us to know what he says either.

Dear PA~ Rock The Vote!  Take Back The House!

I’m voting for Governor Tom Wolf and Lt. Gov. Mike Stack.  I’m on the border of two districts, so I support House Representatives Pat Harkins and Curt Smith; US House Reps Karith Strano Taylor and Dan LaValle.

I sure hope you vote out Sam Smith, Jefferson County!   #turnoutforwhat

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Filed under Current News, Living w/ Epilepsy, Living with Epilepsy, News, Non-fiction, Rant