The following manuscript was brought to us by Chris Roze, the son of author Mary Anne Roze. Mary’s diary chronicles her experiences with Multiple Sclerosis and how she began to use cannabis as a medicine. The diary was only edited for space, but the text is completely the words of Mary Anne Roze. -Ed
In 1982, I began visiting every doctor imaginable . Something was wrong with my eyes. At times, everything I saw was in a fog but what really frightened me and made me damn determined to find out what was wrong, happened one night while I was laying around watching TV. Without any pain or warning of any kind, my vision became extremely foggy and everything in the room became a blur beyond recognition, until in a matter of minutes, those magical pictures on my TV screen faded away to basic black. I was completely blind. It lasted (this first time) for about 18 hours and then my vision returned to normal.
I spent the whole year of 1982 trying to find a medical reason for what was happening to my eyes but the medical profession was baffled. Then I began to experience what I thought were “female problems”. But I couldn’t figure it out. At times I felt the need to “bare down” like we women do when we’re about to give birth, like I was having contractions. But I certainly wasn’t pregnant and at 34, I felt I was too young to be suffering from prolapse (when us young girls get older, our female parts loose their firmness and begin to “fall” and drop – prolapse).
I went to a gynecologist. After examining me, he asked me to wait in his office. There he began to ask me some pretty strange questions for a gynecologist. Like did I have pain or numbness in my arms or legs? Did I have difficulty talking or expressing myself and – DID I HAVE ANY PROBLEMS WITH MY EYES?
Well, I lost it. I think I went nuts right there in his office. Doctors had been giving me a run around for years over symptoms, no one seemed able to diagnose. I grabbed my jacket and when out of there , screaming at the doctor: “What do my eyes have to do with my ass?”.
I broke down and cried, but the doctor remained calm, cool, called his nurse in to calm me down and told me that I was experiencing not prolapse but a very specific form of muscle wasting that he’d seen before, in people who had multiple sclerosis. He called my family doctor.
Many tests later I was diagnosed with MS. Eventually, I was bedridden without bladder control, an inability to move my legs, an inability to use my arms or hands except in jerky movements, no bowel function, very little vision, pain in my eyes, legs, and arms…. basically, I could hear. That’s all I had left. I was in complete despair.
Treatments I’ve Tried
If I had enough money, I’d go in search of that great lost crystal of Atlantis. Since I don’t have that kind of money, I settle for treatments that I’ve researched. I’ve never used steroids or drugs recommended by the medical profession. I use, and continue to use, herbs, vitamins, and concoctions I make up intuitively. I do high enemas, I exercise, I use meditation and visualization. Of course, I have my “down days” and on those days , I eat junk food, smoke cigarettes and curse at the moon. It all helps.
How Marijuana Helps
It seems to be allowing me to have part of my life back. I’m beginning to feel forty again (I’m 51). In reality (now that’s a statement) I believe what’s helped most over the years is my positive attitude, my spirituality and sensuality. But marijuana is making a jumbo difference in the areas of symptoms, especially pain, that had (notice the word had) been uncontrollable. I confess, I will smoke, drink, inhale, eat or stuff into all my private parts, if I have to, that green & orange gem, marijuana, because it is the ONLY thing that has produced positive, quick results for pain and the side effects, literally, blow my mind away. The side-effects I am talking about that are brought on by marijuana, include:
- less spastic problems in legs
- more control over co-ordination
- normal bowel functions
- I’m enjoying sex again
- it feels like I’ve lost weight even though I’ve gained twenty pounds
Hey, I’m gardening, hiking, and running the household again. I’m alive. I’m living.
Exceprts From The Diary of Mary Ann Roze
July 9, 1994.
It seems lately that the only two things I have on my mind are the Tour de France and Marawana. (I don’t even know how to spell it, most likely I will quickly learn.)
I wish I could absorb the Tour de France and those pestering thoughts about marawana through the process of osmosis. But I can’t. These thoughts won’t go away.
I guess I am so tied into Craig’s thoughts because all month long, every day, I am video-taping the Tour de France for him. And there is that damn marawana thing…
Oh God, I even hate to hear the word. I even think I like misspelling it; then I don’t have to recognize it.
Craig told me that there are some amazing discoveries that show marawana can help MS people.
Well I do not want to even discuss this. I tried smoking a joint last year and it was a horrible experience; one I never wanted to have again! I had smoked this one joint someone had given me because on that day I had been suffering with pain. It took all the pain away all right, but the side effects were frightening! Within minutes of smoking this joint, I experienced mood changes every five minutes! Man, it was God awful. I went from happy to depressed; to full of energy to collapsing fatigue; to actually having the urge to bang my head against the bricks! I mean, I’m a flower-child at heart … BANGING MY HEAD AGAINST BRICKS!? was something I sure as hell wouldn’t be thinking about. So I tucked myself into my nice, safe bed and pulled my safe covers around me and kept telling myself that “I’m in control”. Eventually, I fell asleep.
The only time throughout this day that is never-ending, the ONLY time I have had any relief from this suffering, has been 20 minutes during my meditation time. It is so terrible to be suffering like this. Suffering describes perfectly how I feel because every part of my body (except maybe my teeth) is in pain. I hate this. When the pain is this bad, I just cannot function. I can do nothing except suffer. I cannot take any pain medication because my bladder works poorly, and most often in order to urinate I have to strain because the muscles don’t work. If I were to take a pain medication while I have this problem I run a high risk of becoming unable to urinate at all. Codeine will do that. That is all I have used and now I can’t take it. When I need medication I cannot use it, it is too risky. I have to just suffer.
OK, I’m ready. I can’t take this one more minute, not one more day! Hey Craig, I’m listening now! Call me. Tell me how well I am going to be!
I have been in relapse since the second week of May. I can “take it”, I really can, BUT, BUT… I’m so depressed today. More company has arrived. They come at a time when it is difficult for me to raise my one good arm. My hair is a mess. I cannot even stand the clothes on my body, the pain is so bad, so I’ve got my raggy old nightie on. I can’t do housework, the place is dusty, the fridge is empty.
I do not want company here. Not today. Not now. It is so awful, to put a smile on my face and pretend like nothing is wrong. Sometimes I think of having a T-shirt made up that says ” I have MS and I’m suffering today”. Sometimes, my MS is so invisible, no one can see I’m dying. Pain doesn’t show on the outside, so no one sees it.
Oh God, I can’t write about this… I’m too tired. That is kind of funny. I mean as tired as I am, I’ll never be able to sleep with all this pain. Oh, woe is me. Got those books though. I am actually reading them [Pain, Spasm, & Marijuana Therapy by Galen Press; Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine by Lester Grinspoon]. One is really interesting. It is case studies about people who have MS and how they have been helped by marijuana. So I am giving this serious thought. Craig would say “It’s about time”. Maybe it is but I am still scared to experiment with this stuff.
I went to my doctor today. The last time I was in, there was hardly any neurological response on my left side of my body. Today I had hardly any feeling from the waist down. I can barely bend my right leg and the left one is dragging and with excruciating pain I have to almost manipulate it into any position at all. I cannot move my right arm or hand. I can move my left hand a little but it is almost impossible to grip. My stomach is swollen and I sort of look pregnant because I haven’t been able to go to the bathroom. My eyes are a blur and I have very little side vision. It is like I am looking through a tunnel. I told her I can keep my mind and emotions and my positive attitude even with all these problems, but what I can no longer stand is the PAIN.
I CAN’T STAND THE PAIN ANYMORE!
I told her that I had always stayed away from steroids and heavy narcotics because of the side effects of these drugs. Then I put the book about pain and marijuana on her desk.
Honestly, before going into the office, I imagined the whole scene in my mind: I told her what I wanted to use and that I wanted her to get it for me, she exploded, told me off and ordered me out of her office. But it didn’t happen like that at all. She told me she knew nothing about marijuana and its use, only that cancer patients use it sometimes. But she would look into it for me. I was on top of the world that I had finally gotten the nerve up to go and talk to her about it. Then my “father” (Craig) in Vancouver called. I expected him to tell me how proud he was of me, having gone to my doctor and asking to use marijuana legally. But he wasn’t.
He told me that was “great” but it did not do any good. What I should do, he said, was get some and experiment with it, to see, first of all, if it is going to work. Why should I put my doctor all through the paperwork and legal stuff, if I did not even know if it was going to work. He told me I needed to smoke it right now!
He’s right, I have to. I’m scared…
My sweet baby, Garnet [Mary’s husband], is now buying illegal drugs for me. I don’t like that.
I got up feeling very positive about beginning my first experimentation with marijuana. I made a cup of tea, put in an amount of “m” on a slice of buttered bread. Then I drank the tea and ate my “m” sandwich.
Nothing. No noticeable reaction at all.
I was feeling the same as I had the day I had gone to the doctor, so an hour after eating the “m”, I rolled my first joint. Then about five minutes after smoking this, I had an experience that felt like I had a reaction to Niacin. Did you ever take Niacin? Sometimes it causes “flushing” This is a normal niacin reaction, in that the skin turns red, tingling sensations occur and you feel warm all over. I wondered how much niacin was in marijuana.
Fifteen minutes later, things began to happen dramatically and I noticed these things-
- 90% of all my pain was gone!!!!!!!!!!
- I felt like I had lost weight, like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders
- I had 50% more energy!
- my legs are now more easily moveable, they feel rubbery but the spasticity is almost gone
- vision is restored to normal
- sickness to my stomach is gone and my co-ordination is improved by 100%
- I am able to urinate without straining
- I am able to go to the bathroom; it is like I have taken a laxative.
- I feel as if I have had those three drinks of rum that I usually have at Xmas. I feel “tipsy”, very happy.
- I was coughing so bad I thought I would never stop. My chest feels as if I have burned it, my throat feels raw
- food tastes better
- I never once felt “bad” side-effects, the paranoid reactions never happened. I always felt fully in control and able to concentrate normally.
I feel today that there was an effect from eating the “m” as a sandwich, I never noticed it yesterday until much later in the day. Eventually, I became so exhausted, wiped out, that I had to go to bed. My body felt as though it had gone to sleep and didn’t give a damn if I was awake or not. I slept off and on while my body slept continuously. Ha Ha!
I woke up in the night and all my symptoms had returned.
I cried. I dragged myself out of bed, downstairs and rolled my second joint. It kept falling apart, I was shaking so bad (just another M.S. thing). Finally, I smoked it. Ten minutes later I had the same miraculous recovery I had experienced the day before. I went back to bed and slept for five hours. (I’m lucky in relapse to get three hours sleep; the pain is so bad that falling asleep is almost impossible).
This morning about half the symptoms had returned and so after waiting to see if I would become worse, I finally had to give in and smoke joint number three, as all symptoms had resurfaced 100%.
For the first time in two months, I felt like going to town to get some groceries and to at last get out of the house. I smoked up before I got a ride into town (my drivers license was permanently revoked two years ago because of my M.S.).
I just went slow. I mean it was like I was learning to walk all over again and my legs were very weak. So I would do a little shopping on the main street, then I would find a bench and sit down and rest. But I did it!
I spent the whole day like this and naturally I was exhausted the rest of the day, but by smoking another “m” I remained pain free.
I woke up with all symptoms back again in full force. I took my “m”. It made me so sleepy I went to bed and slept.
I woke in the afternoon with all symptoms again returned with a vengeance. And along came more company, another load arrived from Ontario…
I wish I had a magic wand to wave these people away. I prefer to suffer in solitude. Now I had to sneak away to smoke up. I felt like a criminal, and then how would I explain my miraculous recovery after spending ten minutes in the upstairs bathroom. They are going to think I’m shooting up heroin or snorting coke. FUCK!
My little supply of Marijuana is almost gone. I only have enough for two more smokes.
My throat is raw. My chest feels raw. I am coughing during the day. I am wheezing and seem short-winded. I am sort of believing that this will pass and I have begun taking comfrey nd marshmallow root (I am a registered herbalist). It seems as if my need for water is greater, so I am drinking lots and taking all my vitamins and stuff.
I combined a bit of “m” with dried comfrey to see if it wouldn’t be “easier going down” and it was excellent. Only problem was it burnedtoo fast. I’ll try another combination when I get a bigger supply of”m”.
You know this morning, I feel almost normal. I got up at 8 and its now 10:30 and I still feel the same as I did when I first got up. I only have a little pain in the arms and legs. Everything else is gone.
And I have not smoked anything!
Today I walked outside. I looked at my frail garden and all my flower beds… It was the first time in a month that I’d even been able to go outside and look at them. And I walked downstairs today, into the meditation room, the garage and the furnace room, and even got something from the freezer to cook for supper. It has been well over a month since I’d done any of this. It had become difficult for me with the M.S. to do any of these things. It is like I am experiencing some miracle cure!
I have gone in and out of relapses for the last twenty years. I do not have Progressive Multiple Sclerosis; I have the other kind, where I never know how I’m going to be from day to day.
The point I am trying to make is that I have been alot worse than I have been these last few months, and I have also seen some miraculous recoveries. What is different this time, what is remarkable this time, is I seem to be coming back to my normal self much faster and a whole lot easier!
Its a beautiful day in the neighbourhood, a beautiful day in the neighbourhood; would you be mine, could you be mine? Would you be my neighbour?
For some reason, any reason, I cannot for the life of me remember who sings that song. I know it is NOT Mr. Dressup… oh yeah, now I remember, it’s Mr. Rogers!
Why am I talking about Mr. Rogers?
Craig thinks he can tell when I’m high. Says he can see it in my eyes and in my mannerisms or something like that. I finally know what a marijuana high is! Craig bought me a pipe. A HUGE water pipe that looks like a mutant vase. A HUGE BOLD RED ONE.
What was I talking about? Oh yes… this pipe.
I am so “high” it is a little d-i-f-ic-u-l-t to co nc entrate.
I am HAPPY though. Nice touch.
I tried THE PIPE. Excellent! Excellent! I felt like a kid whose father bought him his first ice cream. Craig showed me how to use it and with practice I will become used to this. I sincerely feel this was my first real HIGH. I mean there was no drunkenness, no out of control, just a happy light kind of feeling. We spent the night laughing as I am trying to analyze how I am feeling and Craig enjoying himself laughing at me. I highly recommend smoking up with someone else around, it is far more enjoyable. I haven’t had that much fun for a long time.
I feel the best part of being high is how I become more aware of how “everything seems to to have its own sense of importance, and yet at the same time, I am aware of how everything is all connected, like we are all part of the same thing.”
Craig didn’t get that part, and said when people are stoned they say the darndest things and it all makes sense to them but only them. Well, I doubt it. Someone must know what I mean. Anyone?
Craig has given me so much on this visit. More than he’ll ever know. I tried not to overdo it and had managed to have a rest here and there and that was all I needed. I would take two “hits” with my pipe and I would be able to function normally. There were times when we would be out and it was kind of funny to me, that one leg would be numb and so I would be dragging it and the other leg seemed not to be able to bend and so I would limp on that one.
I cannot believe how my lovely flowers and herbs have all died and in their place weeds have come to claim the soil. Even the earth seems to have been in pain since I have been gone from my garden. I touch them and tell them all that I am back and soon I will heal them and prepare them for their long winter sleep.
I have almost mastered the pipe. Light, pull in a deep breath, hold, exhale, -high- pain free. It is totally amazing.
One hit and that’s it. My normal body is back.