As I have discussed on this blog, I am a seriously chronically ill cannabis refugee and am facing financial ruin and homelessness due to the last 5 years of medical expenditures related to my diagnosis and treatment for Crohn’s disease, a crippling incurable and progressive autoimmune disease of the digestive tract. After treating for 2 years with Western medical treatments which were not only ineffective but also making me feel worse, I left my partner, my home, my state, my profession and my previous life behind and traveled across the country to seek pain relief and healing through the use of medical cannabis. Thankfully, I have found significant pain relief and some amount of healing from my disease far beyond what conventional treatments had to offer and I am so grateful to have been able to do that for myself. Unfortunately, after more than 3 years of paying out-of-pocket for out of state lodging and cannabis treatments, at this time, I have nearly reached the end of my personal resources to deal with this issue. Due to forces beyond my control, I am not currently eligible for disability- or need-based benefits despite my unfortunate diagnosis, significant disability, negative prognosis and financial need.
In Part I of this series, I described the mind- and body-shattering symptoms of Crohn’s disease, a crippling autoimmune disorder of the digestive tract that also causes systemic effects like joint pain, skin eruptions and fevers. In Part II, I describe the horror of Crohn’s treatment which apparently one has to actually experience in order to understand or empathize with. In Part III I described my escape from the Western medical industry — after 2 years of suffering with only more suffering to look forward to, and no relief in sight, I packed one suitcase and made a reservation at a vacation rental property in a cannabis-friendly state where I had planned to stay for 2 months and heal myself with medical cannabis. In Part IV I described my treatment successes as well as the fallout and negative consequences of my decision to leave my partner, my home, my state, my profession, and the Western medical industry behind. From there, I will let the reader surmise what would have been an appropriate response from friends and family and hope that they are able to provide that considered, appropriate response if one of their own friends or family members fall ill, and to understand that they themselves are unlikely to receive the same considered response under the same conditions and to be prepared. Being let down by the very people who are supposed to be there for you is a devastating blow.
In this Part V I will describe the actual responses I have received from friends and family regarding my situation which have been so inappropriate, unhelpful and physically and mentally draining that I have had no choice but to cut off all contact with almost everyone I know.
In my experience as a Crohn’s patient, besides the agony of the disease and the difficulty and energy expenditure of finding effective treatments, the ignorant and hurtful things blurted out by friends and family members have perhaps been the hardest thing to deal with. (Oh, and the looming homelessness! But for me at least, the major financial difficulties came a bit later.) The demented things people have said to me started early on and it caused me to perform a snap evaluation of the relationships in my life, as that was all I had the energy for, and I decided I would rather just be left alone. 5 years later, I do not regret my decision to cut ties with almost everyone who I had previously thought cared about me. For some reason, they could not or would not grasp what I was dealing with and their constant drains on my time and energy were making me feel worse.