In our Saturday Spotlight, we want to take some time to showcase some of the people that make up our amazing and hard-working team at Canna Care Docs.
Suzannah Rowan – Team Member, Hartford, CT
1. What would you say is your favorite aspect of working at Canna Care Docs?
My favorite aspect of the job is watching a patient come into education extremely nervous, doubting that this is going to work for them, and seeing them walk out full of hope and excited to start their cannabis journey. I often share my story with patients and it really helps them see that this is a real option, and that they could be a success story too. I enjoy educating patients on how cannabis can be used to treat so many different conditions, how to consume cannabis, and ensuring that they are comfortable when they start their journey into cannabis medicine.
2. In addition to working with us, you’re also a medical cannabis patient. What are the conditions you are currently treating with cannabis?
I have been using cannabis for a number of them. I have occipital neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia, zygomatic neuralgia, temporal neuralgia, and facial neuropathy in my peripheral nerves.
3. How long have you been battling these conditions?
I was diagnosed in 2011. I went through over a year of testing, trialing around 50 medications to try and treat my conditions. I found a physician who developed an experimental surgery to treat the cause of my pain, not just the symptoms. From 2012-2013, I traveled back and forth to Washington D.C. and had 4 surgeries within a few months of each other. With no test available to confirm a diagnosis without surgery, this was by far the biggest risk I have taken in my life. With great success from the surgeries and the ability to treat my daily pain with cannabis, this has allowed me to be able to go back to work and have a normal life again.
4. What was the treatment plan your physicians originally recommended to you after you were diagnosed?
They prescribed me most available opioids to treat my pain. In addition to opioids, I was prescribed steroids, anti-depressants, anti-nausea medications, multiple different anti-seizure medications, anti-migraines… Well over 50 different pharmaceuticals at the age of 18. On top of the medications, I also went through many procedures to control the pain. I had multiple nerve blocks, radio frequency ablation, and acupuncture. I was even suggested to receive a neurostimulator implant which is like a pacemaker for your nerves.
This is why I think educating the patients and helping combat mis-information is the most important part of our job. It reminds me of how I felt, hopeless, when I was diagnosed with my conditions and told I would be on opiates for the rest on my life to control the pain. There are other options out there and there is hope. I enjoy getting to be a part of that journey with our patients.
5. Which consumption methods of cannabis do you now utilize to treat your condition?
When I first decided to try cannabis as a treatment, flower was all that was available to me. Dispensaries were not available in Connecticut yet. It was the only thing I had tried that brought me immediate relief. As the medical program developed, I was able to try other options like vape pens and tinctures. Flower and vape pens are how I treat my breakthrough pain now. I utilize tinctures for longer lasting pain management throughout the day.