CBD Brothers Review; a healing hand

So me being me, I had to go and get a load of illnesses typical pain killers don’t work on. Yep, I just had to be difficult.

As mentioned in many of my posts, I was diagnosed with M.E at just 13. If you’re unfamiliar with the medical condition M.E, it’s a chronic illness that will more than likely last for life. The two main factors of M.E, although there are many, is pain and fatigue; both of which completely wipe you out every single day in some form or another.

Pain has always been an issue for me, as I’ve gotten older my pain levels have increased, sometimes slightly and sometimes drastically. In therapy or specialist appointments, we have this brilliant little thing called a pain scale. This pain scale isn’t designed for people with zero conditions that live a fully functioning life, but for the fighters that experience pain on hourly basis. 1 is mild and its hardly there. 10 is the most excruciating pain you have ever felt, the pain that makes you question your sanity.

On most days, my pain ranges from a 6 to a 8; it’s there and I know it is and it’s really bugging me but life’s life and you just have to put up with it. Fun. On my worst days I’ve wanted to physically rip my own hair out of my skull, also of which, is fun.

Over the years, I have tried a fair few methods of easing pain. Some being natural remedies like creams, some being baths and heat, some being medication. Well, let’s just say if my pains a 9 I don’t give a crap about the natural remedies and I want some damn painkillers.

I have tried different strengths of Co-Codamol, and neurofen and Co-Codamol at the same time. Then a few others thrown on top because by this point I just don’t care, and yet none have seemed to work. Heat is a good way of taking the edge of though.

Recently I have tried CBD tablets, produced and sold by CBD Brothers.

‘The original alternative’

CBD brothers use whole plant cannabis and hemp extracts imported from Europe to produce their range of products, all of which contain high levels of Cannibidiol as well as other vital cannabinoids. Everything is completely safe and organic, with no side effects what so ever. The doses come in different strengths depending on pain levels, all at which are priced very reasonably considering the difference they have made in my life.

CBD
CBD Tablets

I haven’t been on these tablets for what most people would consider a long time, however I have had several months to experiment with different strengths and see how my pain levels have been effected.

CBD 1
Quick example of one of the strengths for the capsules

So far my experience with these tablets has been nothing but positive, so I am really pleased with how well they have worked considering nothing worked before. Taking the pills regularly has meant my overall daily pain has lowered and I haven’t been so dependant on painkillers like Co-Codamol which I don’t like taking for personal reasons.

Daily pain alone being lowered enough to notice has certainly been amazing, however my migraines have also been helped with the tablets; although not fully taken away by any means.

For headaches and migraines, you can easily purchase the CBD Brothers balm which I tend to use when I have a headache. The palm is also helpful for muscle pain, although it hasn’t been as effective as the tablets in that particular area for me personally.

CBD palm

My sleep has also bettered from taking the tablets late at night, which overall is helping my energy levels as much as a good nights sleep can actually help someone with a chronic fatigue based illness. I suffer from bad dreams regularly, sometimes up to 4 times a night so waking up is part of my nightly not so wanted routine. Since taking a dose at night, my dreams haven’t been so vivid and sometimes I am able to sleep through the night without waking up once.

There’s a huge stigma around medical marijuana, even in the forms you don’t smoke it with no side effects what so ever. However, it’s helping me hugely and I will carry on taking different strength tablets while also trying their other products in hope of bettering my every day pain further.

To my parents, fighting along side me.

To my parents,

I will never be able to thank you both enough for the life you have given me despite my illnesses, the hours and energy spent on comforting me, and the countless hours, days, weeks, months and years you have both spent fighting along side me through thick and thin.

A simple thank you will never do, and it will never be enough for the endless love, support and patience you have shown me continually in many a time I was bewildered and frightened. However, thank you is a start.

Nothing goes unnoticed, nor will it ever. Hours after hours spent on teary nights, doctor appointments, private specialists, research, medications, planning out my days so I can focus more and put my mind at rest, staying by my side through the dizzy spells, the flare ups, the nausea, power naps, panic attacks and spending your days with me so I don’t get lonely. I am so thankful for all that you do, for doing the unthinkable and for being the best parents a kid could ask for.

I think many people seem to forget that although it was my first time dealing with M.E or a chronic illness, it was your first time too. I needed you to be brave and tell me everything was okay, despite having a million and one worries worm around inside your heads. I can only imagine how hard that must of been to put your own worries a side, and hold my hand through everything that didn’t make sense to you, let alone me.

I know every struggle I face affects you just as much as it does me, every inch of pain and all the messy, unpleasant experiences my illnesses brings along with it, affects you too. I often think about how I would be if the rolls were reversed, and if I had to sit by and watch you two suffer as I felt powerless, longing to help you in some way. Well, I don’t think I’d be very good at it, to say the least. You amaze me.

Every sleepless night, every pain ridden moment, every time I have felt abandoned, you have been there to scoop me up, place me in your arms and talk it through. Every time I have wanted to quit and give in, you have taught me that fighting with every inch of my body is worth the happy, incredible moments I will experience in life, no matter how small. Amongst things, you have taught me to be kind and considerate because you never know what happens behind closed doors, and despite how I may feel from time to time, I will never be alone as I will always have you, my best friends. You have taught me to be brave.

Thank you for talking me through the panic attacks, pushing me to strive for my goals, teaching me to never give in and for holding my hand every step of the way. Thank you for sticking up for me, telling the docs where to shove it and for making sure I know I’m loved. Thank you for making me laugh too, joking about this crappy situation and not the ideal one I had hoped for really makes everything a lot lighter, being deep and depressed does nothing for me. Thanks for making me laugh through the pain and tears, for taking the piss out of me and for treating me no different to any normal kid, with a few exceptions of course. Thank you for showing me my fighting spirit.

I know I stress you both out, I know you don’t sleep and I know you worry more than you should. I just hope you know, I try every single day to show you how thankful I am to have the parents that I have. You guys are my best friends, to some people that might be weird but you are. However, I know that parents like you aren’t common and I’ll be damned if you aren’t made extremely aware of this.

You have shown me the true meaning of courage, passion, love, strength and bravery and that alone would have been the greatest thing to ever happen to me. You are the reason behind every fight, past, present and future. I love you. As long as I am fighting, I know you will be too, right by my side, hand in hand, smile on your face.

Thank you for loving and supporting me, for never giving up on me, for making me laugh till my stomach hurts and showing me the fighter within me.

5 things you learn being chronically ill

Like the majority of people out there, no one tends to appreciate what they have till it’s gone. A common mistake yet still a mistake at that.

When your worst fear breaches the surface of reality, our point of views are drastically changed of how we see the world and the people inhabiting it. Yes, I’m talking health.

Just like many, until I had everything stripped away from me with one mighty snap of life’s jaw, I took my normally functioning body for granted. Granted I was 9, but none the less. Now, being ill obviously has a lot of down falls to it but it does have it’s ups too. Occasionally, maybe. Sometimes.

Taking a step back from life and watching it from the side lines really improves your ability to see what’s going on, how people react to your situation and how they typically treat the average ill person. So here are a view things you learn being chronically ill.

1. People are genuially quite rude to the disabled and ill percentage of the population.

I have noticed, as has my family, being in a wheelchair pretty much makes you invisible to the normies. Now you’re properly thinking that doesn’t make any sense what so ever, wheelchairs are unmissable right? Wrong.

Using my wheelchair for day outs, or distances I can’t walk means I can do a whole lot of observing from down below. Personally, it’s hard enough being in a wheelchair at 17 being pushed by my 13 year old brother without adding to the chaos it brings. I am constantly cut up, pushed infront of, elbowed, walked over, and hit round the head with some stupid ladies handbags. I’m not sure why and how exactly but I’m very much convinced I’m invisible as soon as my bum touches the seat. Magic.

2. People are quick to judge.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to complain of such things, but it’s 100% true. I have a blue badge to help aid me and get me though the tough days. Even on a good day, I may need it as I can’t walk to distance intended for healthy people to get wherever I’m going. As I’ve mentioned before, I also use a wheelchair to get around the place. Anybody would think I’ve just slaughtered a new-born baby by the looks I get given. I’ve heard on multiple occasions that I don’t need my wheelchair, I shouldn’t be in a disabled parking spot or I’m simply just too young to be ill. The looks I’m given can be absolutely heart-breaking, making the whole ill and 17 concept even harder to cope with.

3. Friends don’t always stay.

Over the years, specially at the start of the whole diagnosis process, I’ve lost my fair share of friends. I don’t know what it is exactly, but maybe when you become ill you get a free ‘please run away’ sticker slapped on your forehead.  As many stressful periods of a person’s life often does, a chronic illness or if you’re lucky, multiple (insert sarcasm here), filters out the true from the fake. It hurts, but you find out who’s in it till the end and who isn’t. You can call it a curse and a blessing.

4. People are selfish.

As I’ve mentioned previously, for a large portion of my time spent ill, I spent the majority of it watching from the side lines as everyone else continued embracing life and all it’s glory. I can’t say I was any better when I wasn’t in this position but it’s something that is now incredibly obvious. Unless it personally affects their life or them, people don’t tend to care all that much.  I can’t say this is the case for everyone but from personal experience, it’s a large majority. I had no visitors or cards, not even a single text from outside my close family (parents and brother). I was 13, bed bound and persuaded I had met life’s end. Even now 4 years on, I can’t say it’s got much better people wise, I’m still waiting on that text.

I suppose being ill has enhanced my ability to care for others, and to thoroughly understand the loneliness and overwhelming feeling someone gets when facing a stressful ordeal. I can honestly say, hand on heart, I have been there for as many people as possible in the last 4 years as humanly possible and still currently am.

5. People are highly uninformed on the majority of chronic illnesses.

Everyone has heard of cancer and rightly so. However, what about the 50 million other illnesses, disabilities and chronic conditions a percentage of the world’s population face every single day? I have learnt that most people haven’t got a clue what my illnesses are, what the do or even that they are a thing. There is little to no funding for research and only a few specialists covering my conditions in the UK. It is unbelievable how uninformed  and oblivious the general population is. Yet again, I can’t say much as I hadn’t got a clue till it smacked me in the face. I think this is why it is so important to spread awareness not just among the chronic illness community but outside of it too. Friends, family, the weird guy wandering the streets. Anyone.

It’s all part of my experience learning to dance in the rain.

 

 

Identity Thief; losing yourself to a chronic illness

When living with a chronic illness, in many ways our identities feel taken from us. Whether you live with one illness, or twenty, you are mildly or severely affected, a bit of who we are is striped from us and replaced with the longing ache of who were once were, the person we wish we were.

No matter how much we cling onto the person we were prior to the dreadful diagnosis, sometimes when we look at ourselves in the mirror, we won’t always recognise the person before us. We change in so many ways, although not all bad as being ill can develop us in ways we don’t even realise.

Theft of identity while living with any illness is often predictable, one of the biggest aspects of being newly diagnosed. We’ve all been there, yet not all of us regain the control we need, the control we want.

It is truly devastating to be suddenly restricted by the name of an illness you can’t even pronounce and have no say on the changes being made to your lifestyle and you as a person. We learn to change how we do things, our hobbies and the things we once truly loved. Living in the word of doctors appointments and flare ups mean we have to make tough decisions and these decisions can be just as troublesome to make as anything else.

I’ve had to stop doing so much, simple things from netball games, to walking with my friends into town without worrying about the journey back. Things closer to my heart such as horse riding and playing on the trampoline with my brother. Losing everything at once overwhelmed me with nothing but confusion and the fear of losing myself. I know I won’t ever be that person again, I will never live without pain nor will I ever be illness free. That’s the harsh reality.

I think the fear is being seen as your illness rather than the person the illness has swallowed. I used to and still do fear I am seen as the girl in the wheelchair, rather the girl with the great sense of humour. The girl who was too young to be ill, rather than the girl who loved to paint. I fear I am seen as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis rather than Maddie. Seen as POTS and EDS rather than who I really am. Not only did I fear that others would see nothing but the illness, I felt like I had lost a great part of who I was.

I think the trick is to understand that you can be both the new and the old you. Let the girl with the chronic illness stand out as much as the old did and don’t for one second let it define who you really are. I think we should embrace both the old and the new, after all an illness shouldn’t stop us from being who we are at heart but we should also allow it to build our character. It took me a while to understand that although I had changed drastically, I am still myself. I have learnt to appreciate and accept that although I am not 100% who I was, I am now more capable of understanding others needs, I love harder than ever and I appreciate every single thing I have and am able to do. Yet I am still as interested in music, art, I still love animals and reading and I’m still as quirky, sarcastic and smart as I have ever been.

I am not the sick girl. I am the happy, nerdy, quirky, horse loving, arty mess of a girl who just happens to be sick.

What it means to be strong

Strength is often thought to be categorised as muscular or physical ability of a person, rarely is it appreciated for the strength of someone’s heart and mind.

It should come of no shock to know it hasn’t always been the easiest for my family and I, 1 step forward 2 steps back. Whether it’s been due to illness, passing of loved ones or trouble makers, there always seems to be another obstacle in the way just after passing the last. I think it takes a certain strength to deal with the hand we were given and to every single time come out stronger.

I don’t think everyone is strong, I wish everyone could be but I think it takes a certain type of person to be given hell and then proceed to come out stronger than ever before. We often find ourselves in a place we would rather not be in, like many do, but many a time we see people spiralling down rather than climbing up.

Strength is being given hell and rising above it. Strength is fighting a war you’ve already lost and carrying on. Strength is knowing what suffering, pain, anger and heart ache feels like, and learning to over come each obstacle no matter how tricky. Terrible things happen to good people, people that don’t deserve the golden platter of doom, served with a side of extra doom and a splash of more doom. Terrible things that make us want to cry, punch, kick, scream. Obstacles that project the illusion of drowning in our own emotions, continuous waves. Things that make us want to give up.

However, strength is not about being seen to be okay, to not look broken or as if you’re struggling. Strength is about crying, screaming, being angry at the world and giving it the middle finger. Strength is about allowing yourself to be weak, and then picking yourself back up and carrying on. Telling yourself you’re good enough, tough enough, strong enough and worthy of every damn fight it takes to be happy. No matter what.

I know that determination and strength doesn’t appear over night, and it doesn’t come in swings and roundabouts. I know that the strength I carry, the strength my family carry, is worked for every single second of the day with the scars and bruises to show for it. No matter how many setbacks, no matter how many times I fall, we fall, we will set our goals and reach for them with all our might.

Not everything is easy, it never will be and I know that, I’m sure you do to. So when I’m reaching for my goals, when my mum, dad, brother and I are trying to push through the tough times, I remember that there is beauty and always will be in the many imperfections and perfections of life.

Dizzy Driving

As I’ve just turned 17, learning to drive had very quickly moved up to the top of my priority list the coming weeks before my birthday. There isn’t much difference from the casual 17 year old that wants to wiz about the place in a flashy new car and me. Apart from the small problem of being chronically ill and having the attention span of a damn gnat. Small problem I said, small. Very, very, not so very, small problem.

So this very small, not so small problem, is something I’ve decided I can overcome, if I listen to what this hot mess of a body has to say.

I’ve recently had two driving lessons, the first of which started on my birthday, and I was surprised with an actual car. Yes, you heard me, read me, correctly. I’m incredibly grateful for such a wonderful surprise and I truly am so thankful for that along with everything else my parents do for me.

So far, so good. My lessons are going very well, and I haven’t had to cancel one yet. It’s early days and I have a way to go, but so far the excitement of driving has distracted me from any symptoms I’m feeling, right until I get home. I don’t know if it’s because I have to concentrate on keeping myself safe or not, or because I’m so excited every time the lesson comes around. Either way, I’m not complaining.

Of course there will be days I feel like I’ve been running that much I could actually star on Scooby Doo, but I’ll face those days wisely. I don’t run by the way, like ever. If I ever run, it’s either away from something scary or towards a fridge. Either way, you’d better come with.

Brain fog is as much as a problem for me as fatigue and pain is, so not screwing up massively and plummeting into the nearest lorry is a good sign so far. I haven’t found listening and understanding what Lee (my driving instructor) is saying too hard. In fact, I would very easily say that your instructor is the most important part of this process. If I had someone who didn’t break it down for me, wasn’t aware of my disabilities and had little to no patience with me, I’d be in a completely different state of mind right now. My mum made sure that he was suitable before we even welcomed the idea of booking with him.

As far as actual lessons and my fatigue go, if I wake up and I have that gut feeling I’m not going to be able to even talk normally today, the lesson will be cancelled. I’m not about to risk anyone’s life. Actually passing will be similar. On days I really feel like I can’t, I will ask someone else to drive me. I may not like it, and I may very well have to have a good old talk to my body, a good telling off, but its better than anyone getting hurt. I could never live with myself if I hurt someone, so I will just have to suck up my pride and ask for help. Shouldn’t be too hard, right?

I haven’t just thought about driving, and how I will have to achieve my goals using alternative routes if push comes to shove, but also what I should carry in my car. Now the obvious stuff like a spare tyre and a first aid kit isn’t what I’m talking about. I’m thinking more, ice-cream backup spoon, well spoons, medication, heart rate monitor and a million pair of sunglasses. Maybe a million and one if I’m feeling extra sassy that day. The spoons for well, duh ice-cream, medication for surprise headaches and back/joint pain, a heart monitor just in case my POTS wants to come out and play, and the sunglasses to prevent any headaches in the first place. I’ll add to the list as we go, but for now I think that’s a good start.

I’ve been looking forward to being able to drive for a long time, as many new doors are opened and a little bit of independence is given. It’s early days though, and I have much to experience.