My name is Silvia. I am 41 years old resident of San Diego City. I am a mother of a son getting ready for high school. I am a disabled American.
In May of 2009, I underwent an eight hour surgery to repair a hole in my stomach and in my intestines. It proved to be unsuccessful and left me with two hernias, a hernia of the stomach, and a 22 centimeter wide, mid-line hernia. As a result, I was fully disabled. I am unable to bend over, pick anything up over 5 lbs, and find it difficult to walk for a small amount of time. Also, because of the surgery, my intestines have been moved just above my bladder. At 41, I find myself wearing adult diapers.
After seeing many specialists and undergoing countless MRI and CT scans, it was confirmed over and over that if I were to get the surgery to fix this, I would only have a 25% chance of success.
After being in the hospital for nearly a month, I was discharged and spent the next eleven trying to live while taking Oxycotin and Vicodine. These narcotics, while removing some pain, kept me asleep day and night. These pain medications also caused terrible constipation, which put more strain on my hernias.
Despite being asleep for most of the year, the Trazadone that I was taking – a form of tranquilizer – did not give me rest or relief. Even in my sleep I was focused on the pain I was going through.
As I watched how my body was fighting to function normally, it would have been dumb of me not to realize that I would not live a long, normal life. I had resolved to spend what time I had left with my son and daughter. But they, along with my friends and family, only ever saw me when I was asleep.
I had to resign as my son’s soccer team’s manager, and missed out on an entire year of his life. I also had to resign as president of the Inter Soccer Club, a competitive soccer organization.
Aside from my family’s struggle, my own life was unbearable. I struggled to have bowel movements, making my stomach swell up to its maximum capacity. There are no words for that kind of pain.
In April 2011, I made the decision to seek other means of pain medication. After a long family meeting, we decided that we had nothing to lose, and decided to visit a cannabis doctor. Becoming a Compassionate Use patient was the best decision I ever made.
After I began Compassionate Use, I no longer found myself asleep for days on end. I had the energy to be up and around the house.
I am back in my son’s life, which is right where I belong. I attend back to school nights, meet with his teachers and can even sit and watch his games.
I no longer have problems with my bowel movements, releasing me from the excruciating pain that I suffered before.
The mood changes and irritability that made me so unbearable before are now gone. I can now be with my family without straining their lives as well.
I had no more need to take anxiety or sleeping medication that I had been before. Instead of having fitful, restless days and nights of sleep, Compassionate Use allowed me to sleep regularly, and give me the energy that I needed the next day.
Compassionate Use gives me hope for the future that, though I know I have a short life ahead of me, I can live out the remainder of my days surrounded by the happiness and love of my family.
If the City of San Diego succeeds in closing down the Compassionate Use dispensaries, I will be left with very few choices.
One option is to spend my days in endless pain as my body degrades and erodes from its own dysfunction.
The second option is to go back to my pain medications, which turned me into something that I never wanted to be, and excluded me from my family’s life.
If the City of San Diego takes away my inalienable right to pursue a life of happiness, then my death will be on the hands of every law maker who denies me that right.