Guest Editorial: This Is Personal

By Scottsdale Watchman

Imagine going for a jog on a beautiful Arizona spring day. Ten minutes in, you’re forced to stop. You start panting heavily as you double over. A sense of déjà vu grips you and you get a strange taste in your mouth. A feeling of anxiousness rises in your stomach as if you’re riding a roller coaster. Within ten seconds, it’s all over. As you straighten up and recover, you’re left dumbfounded as to what the hell just happened. 

What I just described is temporal lobe epilepsy in a nutshell. It’s something that I’ve been dealing with for the last several years. A seizure can occur at any time. It’s frightening to deal with and I’m left on edge about when the next one will hit.

In recent years, I had been prescribed several different courses of medication to control this condition. Their names still make my head spin. Carbamazepine. Gabapentin. Primidone. I learned so much about what they did and their side effects, I felt like I could have gotten a part-time job as a pharmacist at the Walgreen’s down the street from where I live. One day they’d work, the next day they wouldn’t. I didn’t know what else to do.

I met with a neurologist in Phoenix who reviewed my history and recommended that I obtain my medical marijuana card. I was apprehensive for many reasons, but primarily because I didn’t see how marijuana could ever serve a purpose. You see, I’m part of the D.A.R.E generation. I was taught that marijuana is a gateway drug that never serves a purpose. I followed my doctor’s advice, however, and obtained my card. I needed to try something new. I needed to weaken the grip that my illness had on me.

Using medical marijuana worked immediately. It helped me sleep better. With increased sleep, I reduced my seizures. Medical marijuana benefitted me and my loved ones.

There is now a proposal to build the first ever dispensary in Downtown Scottsdale near the Galleria. It would replace a tattoo parlor. It’s close to where I spend a lot of time. I have no doubt that it’ll be a first-class operation that will positively contribute to the city and to the lives of those who visit it, just as other dispensaries in Scottsdale have responsibly operated.

My advice to any opponents that materialize, and there should be none, is to do what I do when I have a seizure: take a deep breath and realize that everything is going to be OK.