The Soldier and the Squirrel introduces children to the Purple Heart

through a loving story of a friendship between a newly wounded soldier

and Rocky the squirrel with his backyard friends. This story began as a

blog during my first year in bed after my incident. With much

encouragement, it is now a book and has been placed in the

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library & Museum. Please watch the video

on the About page to learn for the Soldier & Rocky are changing children's






Glorious Rejoice Dots Glitter





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Canabliss - My Introduction to CBD and Its Effect on Pain

I have not mentioned this before. Sometimes its takes time to reflect and realize what needs to be shared.  And Lordy knows I share everything. Even a little side boob. There was one thing that helped me survive my flares aside from the machinery and pain devices in my body, the dozens of medications we have attempted or I am on, that alleviated the excruciating existence that has been the past six years. Cannabis. It sounds so much more civilized than Marijuana. I never would have believed it until my son did some research - now, I don't exactly know what kind of research - and showed me a video. At that moment I was curled in a fetal position asking God to pass a cup of sugar. This was last Christmas and that particular flare had been ongoing for about six months. 


For those who don't know, I have Arachnoiditis and CRPS of the spine, the two most painful conditions on the McGill Pain Scale above childbirth and Phantom Limb. They can last weeks or months with labor-like contractions in my spine that last 3-4 minutes each- with a peak that literally feels like a baby's head is crowning - every 15-20 minutes around the clock. This last one lasted nine months. Just enough time to have the kid! Oh, on top of that, when they peaked my thighs felt like someone was shoveling the muscles off my femurs with butcher knives. Damn that does not sound like fun. 


In any case, name the drug I met the thug. I tried every medication a celebrity has ever loved. Nothing would take that pain away. Nothing. 


Until I met Cannabis. 


Now, the one thing many folks don't understand is it's not like us pain patients are laying here toking all day, and the kind of Cannabis we use is not the fun and happy kind or I'm sure we'd be a lot happier and having more fun. One of the forms I take when needed is prescribed by a doctor and is Medical Grade oil No.5. Sounds like a perfume, right? Number 5 means it is half THC and half CBD. CBD is the hemp oil that is burned out of the leaf that contains a majority of the healing aspects of the plant. CBD is not psychoactive. This means that it does not change the state of mind of the person who uses it. However, it does appear to produce significant changes in the body that result in medical benefits. 


I order my capsules from a company called Statewide Collective who I was referred to by my doctor, Dr. Franklin at Greenbridge Medical on Wilshire in Santa Monica. Statewide has you sign a couple forms, send in a copy of your prescription (all scanned in and sent via my phone) and anytime you need an order it is on your doorstep within 24 hours. 


For anyone who has ever felt a stigma about Marijuana, please know I did too, and I even grew up in Hawaii with a friend's grandmother (Tutu) growing it (Pakalolo) in her front yard. I had seen news segments on its use for medical conditions, but when your pain is shredding your body from the inside out the last thing you think is going to help is a puff off the happy stick, smoking trees or mowing the grass. 


However, when you have tried every possible medication known to one of the most accomplished pain management doctors in the world, it's kind of hard to just say, "No". It was the last resort for me. The nude beach of medicines when you throw up your arms and just say f%*# it. 


The sad thing is, I had used it before, but it made me feel paranoid - and guilty for having tried it. Plus, I wasn't in pain so how would I have known it helped for pain? Although it did make me pretty numb. 


Back to the video. A man stood mid-sentence facing his friend's camera holding a vaporizer in his hand. His hand was shaking terribly. I assumed Parkinson's. But he was so young? Whatever the condition, his youthful complexion belied any aging state, a scruffed beard patched just enough to suggest otherwise. Several young men scattered a room befitting a college student - Then came the sobering part. An honest confession of a life too similar to my own. One with a semi-colon, paused for an extension of something else that it could someday become. He explained the doctors, prescriptions, and battles lost. Then he lifted the vaporizer with Cannabis oil to his lips, and with one inhale, the tremor in his hand stopped. His hand was suddenly doing what hands are meant to do.  He exhaled and held his hand to the camera like an airplane without turbulence. An applause from his audience - and a silent one of my own. 


It was then that something stuck. Neurologically this had to make sense. It calmed his nervous system. Perhaps it could calm my own. I had heard of people struggling for years then finding Salvia-ation. I had seen it in the news, parents begging insurance companies to cover the one thing that saved their baby's life, so why was this the video that struck a chord? It was from my son. He is the one who asked, who pleaded for me to watch, really watch, and to take the leap, and so I did. 


Due to the neurological and inflammatory autoimmune conditions, Dr. Franklin suggested the Number 5 capsules. 


The moment of truth came as soon as I opened the package. Little red and white capsules like Nurse Jackie. It took about 45 minutes to an hour until the peaks of the spinal contractions began to quell. Suddenly the bracing of my hands into the bedsheets were left hanging, waiting for that moment that never came. I was managed just enough so that I could endure each contraction.  For anything at all to help manage this level of pain (documented as 1000 on a scale of 1-10) was unthinkable. Anything similar would need to be a hospitalization with hoards of the most potent IV steroids and opioid medications allowed and even then my doctor always had to push the envelope for me to receive even the slightest bit of relief. In all of his twenty years of specializing in CRPS, he had never seen a case like mine - I'm not bragging or edging for the Pain Patient of the Year Award, but simply to clarify the enormity of the impact Cannabis usage has made on my quality of life. 


Outside of an active flare, the capsules masterfully cover what other medications have tried and failed horribly. 


Since my stem cell transplant I have changed my capsules to a Number 4, which has less THC and more CBD as the neurological flaring has subsided. I am now dealing with more of the bone pain from the mechanical issues, than the neurological tantrums. It's like somebody finally took them, sat them in a corner and threatened to take their candy away. The Number 4 also makes me less sleepy during the day. 


According to CBD Oil Review, here are some documented facts about CBD:


10 CBD Facts You Need To Know

#1: Key Ingredient

Cannabidiol is a key ingredient in cannabis, one of more than 60 compounds unique to the plant and grouped under the umbrella term “cannabinoids.” Cannabidiol, otherwise known as CBD, and THC are usually the most common cannabinoids in the plant and are therefore the most widely studied.

#2: Won’t Get You High

CBD does not get you high like THC does. THC causes euphoria by binding to special CB1 and CB2 nerve receptors in the brain. CBD does not bind to these receptors, so cannabidiol does not get you stoned.

#3: CBD From Hemp is Legal

CBD can be made from medical marijuana plants or industrial hemp plants. Marijuana is illegal under federal law but legal in some states. Industrial hemp when grown in other countries can be imported legally into the United States, making it easier for consumers to get CBD treatment without breaking the law.

#4: Cannabinoid Levels Vary

CBD and THC levels, known as cannabinoids, vary between plants. Marijuana plants grown for recreational use tend to be high in THC and varying amounts of CBD. Industrial hemp plants are very low in THC while medical marijuana plants are typically high in CBD.

#5: No Prescription Needed

It is legal to order CBD made from industrial hemp plants online for use in any state without a prescription. Individuals ordering CBD products made from medical marijuana plants must live in a state where medical marijuana is legal and have a prescription.

#6: Has Medical Value

Scientific studies show CBD provides therapeutic medicinal benefits. According to a 2013 review published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, soothes nausea and vomiting, acts as an anti-oxidant to reduce free radicals that cause neurodegenerative disorders, and works as an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling. CBD also stimulates appetite and relieves pain.

#7: Benefits the Mind

CBD also combats psychological issues, including working as an antipsychotic to combat psychosis. Additionally, CBD works to reduce chronic anxiety and depression disorders. These benefits of CBD are also helpful for patients struggling with temporary anxiety and depression resulting from a more serious medical condition.

#8: Combats Cancer Spread

CBD products may reduce the spread of some types of cancer cells. The National Cancer Institute reviews several studies that show cannabidiol may have a protective effect against cancer. This review includes research investigating the benefits of CBD treatment for a variety of cancers, including breast, colorectal, and lung cancers.

#9: Reduce THC Fallout

CBD counteracts the negative effects of THC. According to research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, CBD seems to prevent THC-induced memory impairment. CBD may also ease paranoia and other negative side effects commonly associated with THC.

#10: Helping Children with Seizures

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted University of California at San Francisco researchers permission to study the effects of the purified cannabidiol drug on children with uncontrolled seizures. Study participants are all between the ages of 1 and 18 years, and all suffer symptoms resistant to conventional treatments. Many participants have Dravet syndrome, a condition that begins in early childhood and causes frequent, disabling seizures on a daily basis. The FDA and Drug Enforcement Agency promise to monitor the research closely. Pending FDA approval, more institutions will take up the study.


I hope this helps to clarify not only what CBD is, but the impact it can have on a life. 


So the next time your kid insists you watch a YouTube video about something that just might change your mind, it might not be such a bad idea but to give him a moment of your time. 

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