Pain. It can break the strongest of us. Sometimes it is sudden and sharp, cracking like thunder, sending bolts of electric agony through us. Other times it might roll in like a fog, slowly enveloping and separating us from the world until it is our new normal. Pain can suck the joy out of life, if you let it. Christina Evans knows all-too-well about pain, but she chose to do something about it and changed her life for the better.
Christina’s story begins in 2006 when she started to experience neck pain on a regular basis. Usually the discomfort would last about a week, and then life would return to normal. Over the course of the next three years it began happening more often, and soon things began to get worse. Her limbs alternated between numbness and pain, she endured two pregnancies made difficult by her mysterious condition, and was forced to wear wrist braces just to do simple tasks. Then one day she woke to find the entire left side of her body numb, and what wasn’t numb was radiating with intense pain. An emergency MRI was ordered and Christina finally discovered the cause of all her pain: syringomyelia.
Syringomyelia is a very rare disease in which a cyst forms within your spinal cord. As the cyst grows over time it compresses and damages the spinal cord, causing pain, weakness, numbness, migraines, bowel control issues, difficultly with speaking and swallowing, paralysis and more. Some cases of syringomyelia are treatable, usually with surgery, but not Christina’s.
Without a cure, with the cyst growing and her pain increasing, Christina struggled to live a normal life. She couldn’t work, could barely parent and was considering going on disability. She lived in constant pain and a drug-induced haze.
“I was taking pills up to 5 times a day,” says Christina. “Maximum doses of anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medication, nerve pain, different opiates, muscles relaxants, maximum dose pain killers. I would get injections in my spine monthly to calm the pain.”
After hitting her lowest point Christina decided she needed to make a change, and just do… something. Eventually she discovered yoga, which was the start of her healing journey. The ancient practice helped to restore some mobility to the young mother, but it didn’t remove the pain brought on by her incurable disease.
During the many hours she was bedridden and barely able to move Christina did what so many of us do, she spent time online: connecting with others, researching her condition, looking for hope in alternative places. It was there that she first began to hear about cannabis oil. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, Christina decided to give cannabis oil a try.
Christina started slow, taking a tiny dose and slowly building her tolerance. Within three days she felt a difference, sleeping better and feeling good. Within a week her chronic pain had noticeably diminished. By the end of her second week she began to reduce her reliance on her other medications and by the end of eight weeks she was almost completely weaned off of her many pills.
Month by month Christina has continued to improve, her migraines are thing of the past, the anxiety and depression are under control. The nerve pain, restless legs and night sweats are gone.
Recently she went to visit her neurologist and get a new MRI. Neither one of them was prepared for the results. The cyst on Christina’s spine had actually shrunk, her spine is healing. Her physician, unsure at first, is now fully behind her continued use of CanniMed 10:10 cannabis oil and yoga practice.
Her life is hers again. She’s back at work, at a new job at her yoga studio. More importantly she’s rediscovered her love for life again, and cherishes every moment.
“I’m virtually pain free,” she enthuses. “I’m enjoying being a Mom and being with my kids.”
It was all because she chose not to let the pain win, to fight against it, to take a chance.