TRUCE Patient Stories
My journey down the path of cannabis discovery is like many medical patients. Symptoms led to doctor visits, which lead to failed therapies, and desperate hope for answers. Mine is a story of chronic pain, long suffering, and above all, hope.
My name is Doug Rice. I am a recently retired firefighter paramedic, with over 30 years of experience in pre-hospital emergency medicine. During my career, I served as a structural firefighter, industrial firefighter, paramedic, hazardous materials technician, EMS Instructor, Fire Officer, and was “red card” certified as a wildland firefighter. I was also certified as a Level 2 fire service instructor, a Level 1 fire investigator, and carried numerous certification levels for major incident management (NIMS/IS 100, 200, 300, 400, 700, 800). After 5 years as a part time firefighter and 28 years full time, I retired in July 2016 at the rank of captain, which I held for 19 years. I was also a member of FEMA Utah Task Force 1, and responded to Ground Zero at the World Trade Center with the task force in September 2001. I was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 that has been linked to my time at Ground Zero.
Headaches…we all get them, but this one was different. I woke up in March 2011 with a strange burning headache over my left eyebrow. When the pain did not go away, I visited the doctor. I was put on antibiotics for a supposed sinus infection. Instead of getting better, the pain quickly escalated to a 9-10 level and spread to other areas of my head and face.
Amanda Ellis Graham
My name is Amanda Ellis Graham. I am 37 years old and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 19 years ago, when I was just 18 years old. I am a 4th generation autoimmune patient living with MS. My great grandmother and grandmother, had crippling Rheumatoid Arthritis and my mother has been living with MS since I was born. In June of 1998, I had my first symptom that didn’t go away. My right leg went numb, then the other. I was terrified and didn’t want to say anything. When my right eye went blurry from optic neuritis 3 weeks later, I finally went to my Mom. I was diagnosed very quickly by my mother’s neurologist with one legion, July 20, 1998.
In April of 2010 I was involved in an ATV accident. I fell down a cliff in Fish Lake National Park with my ATV and was crushed multiple times. I broke my L3, L5, S1, shattered my sacrum, broke both hips, fractured my right ankle and shattered my right heel.Thus began my chronic pain journey and discovery of the benefit of medical cannabis. For five and a half years I went thru countless surgeries, lost my ability to have children, and was on 13 medications taken multiple times a day.
As a member of the LDS Church, I seek to live my life by its standards. But over the last several years, I’ve been faced with a challenge. In May 2012, I was walking underneath a stage during a campus activity. It was dark, and I couldn’t see the 12-foot pit in front of me. I fell, breaking my neck and back after hitting my head on a steel beam and the concrete bottom. Since my injury, I’ve had spinal and vertebrae complications, arthritis, fibromyalgia and constant moderate to severe pain.
In September of 2014, I lost consciousness and collapsed at work. Soon after, I began to experience urinary incontinence while sleeping and awake. Worst of all, I began having moments of disorientation and dizziness to where I could not walk, several times a day. During these episodes I would forget where I was and my vision would effectively prevent me from walking.
In loving memory of Kelli Hessheimer
My “story” begins the summer of 2012. I had just had my baby boy in April, and was breast feeding when I found a lump that I had thought might be a clogged milk duct. I went to my doctor who agreed with my suspicion and gave me advice as to what to do. However, the lump didn’t go away. In fact, it seemed to be growing and getting harder. I went back to the doctor about a month later and she expressed some concern and set up an appointment at the breast care center for a mammogram.