Cannabis In Real Life Exclusive: Gina’s Story

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This is a Cannabis In Real Life reader submission. Read how cannabis has worked wonders for Gina and improved the quality of her life. We hope her story will inspire you to share yours too!

When I started with cannabis, it wasn’t even known what it would do for me.  As soon as I went to the dispensary for the first time, even though overpriced I knew it was the right thing.  Over the next 18 months, I tapered off all of my prescribed pain medications, because I wanted to. 

-Gina N. Salminen

Dear CannabisIRL,

I wanted to share a few things about Cannabis and Facio Scapulo Humeral Muscular Dystrophy. 

I was diagnosed with adult onset Facio Scapulo Humeral Muscular Dystrophy in 2012.  The condition often presents itself with precursor signs of Scapular Winging, losing the ability to smile in teen or early adult years.  Dux-4 is the muscle wasting mechanism.  Dux-4 is only supposed to be expressed when a fetus is in the embryonic stage of development, but in FSHD it does not shut off through full development, which leads to the causes of muscle loss most often in the shoulders, face, and legs.

In 2014, and 2015 at Chicago Rush, with Dr. Anthony Romeo, I had bilateral Scapulo Thoracic Fusions.  Bone marrow is used to replace the dead muscle underneath the Scapula. 

In November 2015, I started in the Minnesota Medical Cannabis program because I was six months post-op, on way too much pain medication that wasn’t really ever effective, losing muscle still, and not really able to continue with any physical therapy I needed to rebuild from fusion.  When I started with cannabis, it wasn’t even known what it would do for me.  As soon as I went to the dispensary for the first time, even though overpriced I knew it was the right thing.  Over the next 18 months, I tapered off all of my prescribed pain medications, because I wanted to.  I slowly added pool therapy, and Biofeedback to exercise and break my own pain cycles.  As I did this, other physical therapies began to finally pay off. 

I have gained back 40 pounds of proper muscle.  I have been walking unassisted without any AFO braces for almost 2 years now.  I am still in Occupational Therapy and now some intense Neuromuscular retraining.  I have had to relearn a lot of things to rebuild those Neuro pathways.  It is a lot of hard work, but the results are so very worth it!!!
Gina N. Salminen 

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