“I have Parry-Romberg disease. It started to show signs when I was about six, when I was very young. It’s an extremely rare illness and experts don’t know what causes it – there are 26 diagnosed cases in the United States. And there are about 500 diagnosed cases in the world.”

“I’m also married with a daughter and am a homemaker. My husband and I have a little homestead and we just try to live as independently as possible.”

“I’ll be 40 this year and through my adult life living with Parry-Romberg some other things have come with it because it’s a progressive disorder: I also have trigeminal neuralgia and systemic scleroderma. Those are quite mean illnesses in themselves. There are people who have them without having Parry-Romberg. But I just rolled the dice and got hit with quite a few of them.”

“Trigeminal neuralgia is also unfortunately called the ‘suicide disease’ because over 50% of people who are diagnosed with it end up taking their own lives. The physical pain is just that bad. If you’ve ever grabbed a hot wire and gotten electrocuted… it basically feels like being tased in the head continuously.”

“I’ve been utilizing cannabis for about 20 years to help with the pain. My diseases are so rare that they’re considered ‘anomaly disorders,’ so the pharmaceuticals used to treat them are very intense. One of them is used with cancer treatment, a chemo-type drug. As far as pain management goes, that’s the only other option.”

“There are so many side effects and dangers with opioids and taking them for an extended period of time can really shorten your lifespan––not to mention the host of other problems. This condition is going to stay with me for my entire life, so I’d much rather utilize something more natural, like hemp and cannabis.”

“Being a medical patient, it would just be really nice if the government would get out of my doctor’s office. I’ve gone to multiple pain specialists and they’ve recommended this. It helps prevent the necessity for opioids, it’s natural and the side effects are practically non-existent.”

“I would love to see cannabis decriminalized in Idaho. Ideally, I don’t want to sign up for a government program just because I have a disease and need it to manage my pain. Plus, what happens often with medical marijuana programs is that you have to pay the state each year – when you’re already ill and unable to work, that seems like it adds a lot of weight to the process. But anything to help move the ball on this issue helps.”

“There’s a bill called the ‘Sgt. Jeremy Kitzhaber Medical Cannabis Act’ that was just introduced and I’m really hoping that goes through. I think it’s gaining some traction and getting more support. It would be a good step forward.”

“I’m not a recreational user. For me, medical marijuana and decriminalization would be so important. It’s really hard to have life revolve around doctor’s appointments and diseases as is, but to also have it revolve around the drug war just makes it all harder.”

“Everybody in my community thinks it should be decriminalized, at the very least for medical marijuana. I think a good majority of people have seen what it does medically and how it can improve lives like mine. I’m really hopeful that will lead to change here in Idaho.”

Katie Donahue
Emmett, Idaho