Words I (and Only I) Choose to Live By

Leaving Pain Management? No Suffering Required! Overcoming pain with a natural plant as a medical mystery patient.

What You Need to Know

Good news! My medical mystery has finally been solved, but it was 40 years in the making! I want to tell you my story and introduce you to Lactucarium, the component in Wild Lettuce that has been of benefit to me during times of the intense pain and anxiety that often accompanies chronic health conditions. I am not a medical doctor. I am a person who has suffered with pain for decades, been in pain management, felt I needed to stop pain management due to my conditions, and successfully done so legally (in a state where medical marijuana is not legalized) with the assistance of natural plants. The plant I am going to tell you about today is legal in all 50 states. I am not going to tell you that you need to enter some sort of therapy program or spend all kinds of money on holistic services. Many readers may be skeptical. But, remember, people have been in pain long before opiates were created. They could not function with pain either. Drug companies have instilled the belief in us and the medical community that over-the-counter medications and prescription-strength opiates are the only legal substances that safely work to reduce pain. This is simply not true! I am going to introduce you to one of the legal plant products today that helped me during my time of need!

My Diagnosis(es)

Back twenty-something years ago and maybe even longer, I found myself beginning to rack up different diagnoses and noticed I was not like everyone else. I am 43 now, and I was always fatigued and in pain. People would ask me why I was trembling or accuse me of staring off into space like I was psychotic. I would think to myself I must have just been deep in thought. Right? I mean, none of my school teachers ever said anything to my parents or myself. My parents never noticed anything, and neither did my doctors. But, I could always tell I was not as energetic as the other kids. Even though I hung around the good kids and made excellent grades, I started feeling the need to experiment with substances that controlled pain while during the 6th grade. This was blamed on behavioral problems. I learned to live with the stigma. The only symptoms I had during my childhood that appeared odd to me were that I had been diagnosed with numerous problems with my eyes, lots of tendinitis, and one side of my face is drooping in my senior photo. I also had migraine-like headaches and seemed to have a lot more pain and fatigue than most children and teens my age. I was extremely sluggish and could not wake up, even after 12 hours or more of sleep. Sleep studies did not reveal enough for doctors to account for my fatigue. My big toes had to be surgically straightened when I was at the age of 13. The doctor had told my parents the bones in my toes had not fully developed during childhood and that this had made them get crooked.

In 2002, my son was born. In 2005, my divorce was finalized. I did not want my son growing up around the constant arguments, which mostly centered around the pain and fatigue I figured I was experiencing as a new mom. I had received a bachelor’s degree at this point and worked full time in retail management. I would come home barely able to spend any time with my son due to the fatigue, and sometimes the pain would cause a noticeable limp. I had been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, degenerative disc disease, arthritis of the spine, curvature of the spine, bursitis in both hips, heel spurs and plantar fasciitis, and of course anxiety and depression all by the end of my 20’s. I received countless injections of steroids into every part of me that had inflammation...yes, including my eyeball for a bout of inflammation in my eye. At some point during all of this, I had gone to the ER with some numbness and tingling in my face and had been told it was my anxiety. I was then put on different medications from a psychiatrist for Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

In 2007, doctors decided to do a total thyroid removal due to a goiter that had formed as a result of the Hashimotos. By this time, I had also come down with something that felt almost like the flu, but yet I was not coughing or sneezing or having to blow my nose. However, my nose was bleeding, hair was falling out, strange rashes were appearing, and I was running low grade fevers. This lasted for about two months. I had my first visit with a rheumatologist around this time. All blood work was checked, including thyroid, vitamin/mineral levels, ANA, RF Factor, CRP, Sed rate, etc, etc. Nothing was communicated to me, but as I learn now I had been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Sjogren’s Syndrome . I was not offered any medications to control these diseases, but I was told by the rheumatologist that I needed to see a doctor who specializes in infectious diseases. By the time I got back to primary care to ask for a referral, my symptoms were gone, and his reaction was “Why see the doctor then if you don’t feel sick?” As I now know, it was very important that I see this infectious disease doctor, because it would have been to at least rule out Reactive Arthritis. At the time, this would have possibly allowed my rheumatologist to put me on medication to slow the progress of the Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjogren’s.

In 2009, I was still a single parent and had graduated with a masters degree in a psychology-related field, being that I could definitely empathize with people experiencing "anxiety". I graduated with a 3.97 GPA. In 2010, my son was diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum, and I moved to my current city to make sure he was in a good school district. I got back into retail management, even though it felt like my body was falling apart and the fatigue was unending. I was having more and more problems with the pain, “staring episodes” and “looking psychotic”, but no doctors seemed concerned, and I kept calling it my anxiety and wondering what was wrong with regular people who would call me out on these weird hallucinations they must be having. Also in 2010, the diagnostic criteria for rheumatoid arthritis changed to allow people to be prescribed the appropriate medications earlier on with the disease and without having positive blood work. However, I was still lost and searching for answers, because no one had told me I had been diagnosed with the RA and Sjogren’s.

The Big Decision

In 2013, I had another episode of my flu-like illness without the coughing/sneezing/stuffy nose symptoms but with the nosebleeds/rashes/hair loss/fevers. However, this time it was different! This time all my joints swelled up, and the pain and fatigue was simply unbearable for two years. I was again able to see a rheumatologist, and he finally told me I had what looked to be Seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis with Neurological Features. I was still the single parent of a child with a disability. I was finally put on medications to suppress the disease, even though it had by this time caused arthritis in all my major joints and spine, erosions in the bones in my hands, damage to my heart and eyes, and all those things I listed above. Without having any positive blood work, I am basically a mystery patient to my rheumatologist. I have symptoms of RA and several other autoimmune disorders, but nothing is clear cut. I was at my wit’s end, and how RA can cause neurological features was definitely causing me some anxiety at this point. The pain was unending. I cried at the computer every night for nine months. I had to make the decision to either stop working and stop being a good parent to my son or get on some sort of pain medication. I chose relief with pain medication and steroids. (And, please keep reading...this story is going to end so much differently than you may think it will.)

By 2014, I was still having all this pain and fatigue but had started having random bouts with tingling and numbness. This time my whole body would get numb, especially my back, shoulders, and arms. For the first time in my life, I realized I had a hump on my back. Sometimes my vision would be affected with flashes of light or blurred vision. Sometimes I would hear things. Sometimes my ears would feel full. Sometimes I was losing chunks of time, like my short term memory was being affected. Sometimes I could not remember common words. All these issues seemed to improve with steroids, but my rheumatologist had started telling me he could not see any evidence of the RA or any other autoimmune disorders being active to keep me on steroids. However, he would not say anything else. It turns out he couldn’t ethically say anything else, or at least that is what I believe. I kept telling him that something else was wrong and decided he just did not know what he was talking about. You know that blood work can be wrong. That is why I was diagnosed with “Seronegative” RA. No other rheumatologists were interested in seeing a single parent now with horrible insurance with a miniscule mystery case of Seronegative RA with Neurological Features that apparently was in remission. I was just going to have to keep fighting with this same rheumatologist to get him to see I needed steroids and pain medication. And, he did for a while. I told myself that even though I was a single parent of a child with a disability and had my own disability that I was going to do something great. I continued being a store manager, studied for the LSAT, and got into law school with a scholarship. Unfortunately, I was taken off steroids, and those psychotic-looking staring episodes reared their ugly head in law school, and without saying too much about it, I did not last very long in law school. 

A Neurological Nightmare

In 2015, I am realizing there must be something wrong with my head, because other people are really starting to notice it, and I am starting to notice it. I start working on getting into a neurologist. There just aren’t that many neurologists who want to see a patient who had my horrible insurance either. I finally found one, and at this time I was blaming the numbness and tingling on my rheumatic issues. I was also having massive troubles with muscle spasms and jerks and twitches, which I was also blaming on my rheumatic issues. I convince the rheumatologist to put me back on the steroids, and I tell this neurologist I am having some memory loss and about the losing chunks of time and forgetting words that gets better with steroids. Sometimes doctors just ask about the one issue you are there for, when you are there for a variety of issues. In my case, I said it was memory loss. The memory loss is the one problem that was causing me trouble being productive, but I was dealing with so much more. He does not check my reflexes. He does a short EEG and comes back with an epilepsy diagnosis. Apparently I am having some sort of absence seizures, he says. I try just about every seizure drug in the book, and nothing is working. I am questioning the epilepsy diagnosis, because I can tell all my other doctors are questioning the diagnosis as well. However, this neurologist is a better salesperson than I am and wants to put in a VNS implant in me to help with seizures. I had just had the VNS implant installed when my Internal Medicine doctor gets me into the seizure monitoring unit at the largest research hospital in the state. Of course, they don’t find any seizures, but I am on steroids at the time and don’t have my neurological issues while on steroids.

At this point, everyone is saying I am not having seizures, and no seizures in 6 months means you can legally drive in my state of residence. I have a shouting match with my father over the phone saying I need help, because something is not right with my body. But, my parents are looking at me like nothing is wrong and that I should have been going to church all these years and found another man to help take care of myself and my son, and that I am supposed to keep being the single parent who works full time with a disability while also taking care of her child with a disability. I do realize my parents owe me nothing, but I also know that you should ask for help when you need it. I was yelling HELP as loud as I could! "Help! I am either in pain or cannot feel or control my body! I feel as though I am living under water or being strangled! Everything is hard to do!"

No More Politicians Calling the "Shots"!

This is war!!! About this time, along with his Autism Spectrum Disorder, my son is diagnosed with both diabetes and a rare genetic disorder. I am having to drive 45 minutes both ways to get to and from work and to all these different doctor appointments for both my son with myself on up to 15 different medications while also dealing with possibly misdiagnosed cognitive issues. About this time our new state laws restricting the use of opiates are kicking in really strong, and though my old medication regimen had been working just fine, doctors are starting to feel the pressure to change things around. I was taken off my prescription for my anxiety medication (which actually was helping my muscle spasms as well) and also forced into pain management. However, some days I was numb and tingly. Other days I was in so much pain I could not function. Some days I need I only need one pill, but some days I need three or four pills. I told my pain management doctors though that I did not want an increase. I figured this would suffice if I needed couple more pills on some days and a couple less pills on others. If I needed more on one day, it should not matter I thought, because I would not be able to take so many the next day. This kind of use was not okay, and it made it obvious to me that pain management was not going to meet my needs unless I asked for more pills to have on the days I needed more pills. People with conditions that cause chronic pain do not experience the same amount of pain each day, and if we continue doing things in our state the way we are, chronic pain patients will continue to have to ask for extra pain medication they do not need. I did not want the temptation to have extra to use on days I did not need to use them. The system is failing us! So, with my neurological issues now getting worse, losing my five senses, autonomic nervous system functions, and experiencing my memory loss and confusion and feeling like I was being strangled, I told them I was in no way able to keep up with my medications at that point with all my other responsibilities and would prefer to quit pain management so I would not mess things up more than what I already had. But of course, what am I forced to do? Keep working with all my disabilities while being a parent of a son with disabilities!

I was still having random bouts of pain and needed to find a legal, all-natural alternatives that would ease up the arthritis pain on days I could feel pain. The pain from RA has been compared to the pain of bone cancer, and prescription-strength NSAIDS and OTC medications were not helping. Marijuana and CBD with THC are still not legal in our state, not even for medical reasons, and CBD was not helping. Anti-seizure medications were not helping. The act of going to a doctor these days and asking for pain medications is indeed very stressful and embarrassing. Many doctors cannot tell who is an addict and who genuinely needs pain medication. And, with my work schedule at the time, and all the doctor appointments for both my son and myself, and how strict the politicians were being on members of the medical community, I could not just go to the doctor and demand pain medicine.

Lactucarium was one of my answers, and I am going to give you a link to where you can obtain it in its most-potent forms as well as seeds to grow it yourself. By the grace of God, I was able to get into a new neurologist. He checked my reflexes and found out they were becoming absent. He asked me about the spikes on the EEG that my previous neurologist had done, and I was able to tell him those were muscle spasms. He did an EMG and nerve conduction study, and found neuropathy. And then, a brain malformation called a Chiari Malformation was found. I was then sent to a neurosurgeon who found out I have a rare complication of my already-rare brain malformation called a cervical syrinx (which means I have a cyst in my spinal cord), and I was officially diagnosed with Syringomyelia. The syrinx that is in the cervical/neck area is a short chunky one that is blocking the flow of cerebrospinal fluid to and from my brain and also destroying the spinal cord, causing both pain and paralysis throughout my body. My autonomic nervous system is failing, and yes, I lose chunks of time and still get confused on occasion. I struggle with catching my breath. I had brain surgery in June to fix the Chiari Malformation to help the flow of cerebrospinal fluid to the brain. However, my cyst was left in place with no shunt put in to see if the cyst would shrink on its own. I must wait a year.

All-Natural Legal Pain Relief 

Some days I am numb and tingly while others, the pain causes me to be in dire straits. I still have my autoimmune disorders on top of the Syringomyelia, and I believe that somehow they are all related. But, you know what? This is okay, because I have found an all-natural plant that has been used for pain, anxiety, sedation, and insomnia for centuries and kept secret by our ancestors! It is one of several legal plants that can be used as needed. The plant I am discussing in this post grows around these parts for about six weeks out of the year and is ripe for the picking for only about two weeks. What is this plant, you ask? The plant is called Wild Lettuce, and its secret is lactucarium. I want to thank you for reading my story and introduce to you to one of my favorite stores, BestWildLettuce.com! Please stop by for a visit! It's true! You do not have to take opiates or use THC-laced products to get some pain relief! 

DISCLAIMER: Although there has been research done over the years, the statements I make have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please know this blog is my personal opinion, and I am in no way, shape, or form stating that I do not recommend seeking advice from a medical professional.