For Kim of Benson, Minnesota, it happened all at once. In the early winter of 2015, her father—who she adored—passed away and along with him, the remainder of her support system. She was devastated. Shortly after, she was diagnosed with shingles which took the chronic, widespread pain she lived in every day from fibromyalgia and multiplied it; the pain was horrific.
Kim, who has 5 dogs, 7 cats, and several other four-legged friends (as well as two-legged), has been an animal lover since day one; when she was younger, she did not have dolls—she had pets. Raising and taking care of animals is a passion she shared with her father. She also loves to spend as much time outside as possible when she’s feeling up to it.
Kim was diagnosed with fibromyalgia back in 1996 and in 2015 when the shingles came, a pain she never could have imagined accompanied it. Although the rash from the shingles virus only lasted about 2 weeks, Kim suffered permanent nerve damage that she will live with for the rest of her life. She tried every solution her doctor recommended—from anti-seizure medications to opioids and topical medications—but nothing worked. “I tried all of the heavy stuff, and it didn’t touch it. It didn’t even touch [the pain].”In January 2017 when the pain was so excruciating and debilitating that she had to give up the deer she and her father had raised – all 43 of them – she felt as though she had nothing left to live for; there have been many days when the pain led to her question whether she wanted to live any longer.“It’s very emotionally painful as much as it is physically painful. People just don’t understand [my situation],” Kim says, “…Take something that you’ve lived for and then never do it again. I don’t know how else to explain it.”Once Kim’s doctor recommended she look into medical cannabis, she did not hesitate; medical cannabis was her last resort. Once her condition had been certified and she was added to the state registry, she made an appointment at LeafLine Labs.
It took approximately a month for Kim to find her therapeutic dose but now that she has, she has started to feel better than she can ever remember—that’s how long she has been living in pain.“It’s a necessity is what it is now,” she explains, “To me, it’s no different than somebody that needs heart medication. If you don’t take this, you’re going to die.”Before medical cannabis, she describes her quality of life, on a scale from 1 to 10, at 1. Now, with medical cannabis, there are days where she feels so good, so normal, that she forgets to take her dose. She has been able to stop taking all of her prescription pain killers and is now free of all the side effects that came with them.“I don’t even take Aspirin or Ibuprofen [for the pain]. At all,” she shares.
Kim feels as though medical cannabis helps to relieve all pain from the nerve damage caused by shingles and she has yet to experience any side effects from her medicine. She truly believes that if her parents had been able to use medical cannabis when they were sick that their quality of life would have been drastically better before they passed. Medical cannabis helps Kim to care for her pets, spend time outside, and navigate her days in comfort; the relief she experiences gives her hope for the future.