In life, we will each go through trials and circumstances that test us. We then have opportunities to help or hinder others based on the lessons we have learned. I choose to help.
— Disclaimer —
I’d like to begin by expressing responsibly that my personal story is not intended to sway anyone to think that your ailments will be cured or even improved. True, I must by law offer a disclaimer, but I believe it’s also imperative that you understand each person's body responds uniquely to any drug, marijuana in all forms, including full-spectrum CBD, even when within legal ZERO % THC. Results will very. I encourage each and every one of you curious enough to be here, investigating hemp CBD, to do your research. Talk to your doctors and inquire with their support if this is something you can safely add to your treatment plan. And if you do, understand that not all hemp CBD is created equal. I’ve heard stories of hemp CBD companies putting out product at a premium cost, with little or zero CBD content. I’ve also heard stories of companies claiming their product is full-spectrum (inclusive of all unique cannabinoid components) all the while it’s actually CBD isolate, meaning, it’s missing too many elements to carry the quality marks and cost associated with a CBD full-spectrum product, or broad-spectrum; full-spectrum minus the THC. Some people are jumping on the Hemp Hype to make a buck, but that’s not my story. Not even close.
That said, I feel it’s equally responsible that I share my story. In life, we will each go through trials and circumstances that test us. We then have opportunities to help or hinder others. I choose to help. If I can reach just one person who really could benefit from crossing the same threshold that I have, then I’ve done something. But why stop there? The partnership we’ve built with our manufacturers and development of this brand means I can reach so many more, and with transparency and authenticity, remain goal driven to inspire and educate others.
Our first product:
I had discovered, that the CBD cream I had been using to ease the pain associated with Scalp Dysesthesia WORKED, quickly! However, it contained menthol which burned, and left behind a grittiness. So, I set out to develop my own product, which turned out to be luxuriously potent, complex and gentle. I knew I had to share it. From there we developed 4phive and many additional all-natural products.
Before the elixir:
As far back as I can trace health complications, to 18 years of age. I’m going to age myself here, but that’s about 26 years ago and counting. Key is I’m still counting.
I grew up an athlete, always pushing myself to win. A visionary striving for improvement constantly. I thrived on competition, and so what began to happen slowly to my body, marked me with frustration. I recall precisely the time I realized I could no longer run the way I once had done. Couldn’t hold a breath, was blacking-out, and experiencing sheer exhaustion and debilitating fatigue. Upon check-up it was discovered that my triglycerides had rapidly tripled and high levels of cortisol coursed through my body. I looked like the picture of health, however I sure didn’t feel like it. As a matter of fact, I’ve likely looked like the picture of health my entire life, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Skip ahead some time
It was as if what ailed me had a life of its own, and the symptoms seemed to move around my body. I began suffering from debilitating headaches and fatigue that would leave me sleeping for days and required heavy drugs to cope. There are chunks of time that I can’t even remember. What ever it was soon moved on and into to my digestive system. This rendered me incapable of eating, no matter how healthy my diet, without suffering with abdominal pain. During this period of time I had what is referred to as ischemic colitis and was diagnosed with Crohn's. Then undiagnosed and put in a category of total and utter uncertainty.
My team of doctors could all agree that something was wrong, and yet agreed as well that ‘it’ needed to progress enough in order to effectively give it a name. As if this thing had a personality. It was depressing.
Meanwhile, I carried on. I always do
I welcomed 4 fantastic kids into the world and lived a healthy lifestyle. I grew to love great food and appreciate healthy ingredients and made it a part of my life. To no avail, it did little to encourage a pain-free existence. Headaches persisted. Chest pain and shortness of breath persisted. Digestive complications persisted. I suffered from painful and scary esophageal spasms, which did a good job of mimicking what a heart attack may have felt like. Not fun and certainly caused me to panic a number of times. All of this culminated to being put on a liquid diet after some five or so colonoscopies, endoscopies, and hospitalizations later. All before the age of 35. As I began to wean from the liquid diet and reintroduce foods, it was discovered that my body reacted quite violently to gluten. Needless to say, I’ve been gluten-free ever since. 10 years and counting. I seem to have managed a part of the problem with some success. That is, until this ‘thing’ of which still had no name, continued to travel around my insides as if it was on some great and destructive quest.
It was a body snatching-heist, and a scheme to take-over my ultimate happiness and ability to thrive. My zen, my ability to be creative and think freely. To be active, to achieve, and even to hold a job without immense physical struggle.
Going gluten-free helped
I’m not going to go lightly on that, because I’ve educated myself enough on the soil, the foods and ingredients at this point to know the scary realities; the hows and the whys, that some of what is made available to us is toxic. That’s a story for another time.
And yet, even with a careful watch of what I ingested, symptoms persisted and seemed to even divide and conquer. I grew hyper allergic to everything around me. A simple allergy test in a doctor's office ended abruptly as I was instead sent off to the emergency room. My reaction was too severe for them to even determine the allergen and retesting was out of the question. Urticaria (chronic hives) has been a swell symptom since (pun intended). We were clearly adding symptoms to the list, and not getting to the root of the problem.
So, here I am, doing all I can to live a healthy lifestyle, inside and out. Proactively and responsibly visiting with my doctors and leaning on their input, advice, and prescribed remedies. Meanwhile, I had quite literally developed an allergy to the straw fibered floor at my place of work. My ability to focus on anything was beyond challenging, and bouts of sheer muscular fatigue and pain in my limbs caused me to lack the ability to lift one leg up in-front of the other to climb a set of stairs. I couldn’t stand for very long and when I would finally sit, found I couldn’t sit for very long either.
By this time I had failed numerous neurological tests, been sent off stat for chest scans and been poked and prodded and endured countless painful tests. I showed new symptoms, now scalp dysesthesia, which caused me to begin to lose my hair and suffer severe pain on my scalp. It was finally, after suffering a mini stroke (TIA) at the age of 40, that my doctors collectively agreed that I belonged at Mayo Research Hospital.
Mayo was certainly an experience I’ll never forget. It was as devastating and scary as it was an opportunity to capture help and hope. Unfortunately, they still had no answers and sent me home to “develop new symptoms” so that they would one day be able to give this ‘thing’ a proper name and understand it. As if we were waiting on the day we could all welcome ‘it’ to the family. So, I left the building towards my hotel, with my wig in hand, and head wrapped in bandages soaked in blood from the deep biopsies.
Fast forward and pushing boundaries
I continued to work and push the boundaries to thrive, to keep a smile, to remain positive, all the while plagued with basically feeling like garbage left out to blaze in the hot sun…
often times suffering in pain and having no words to describe my sensation of being. I suffered in silence as I know so many others do. I looked healthy most of the time, and sure as hell did all I could to keep a smile, and remain as active as possible. I didn't complain. Hell, I wasn't even sure exactly what I should be complaining about.
Then something shifted. Something became demonstrably different as new symptoms arose. While it shook my world in some negative ways, it was also the marker of tremendous great change which lay ahead. I shed fear. I shed the past. I even shed people. A lot of people.
After 40 years of my insides hurting, as if I was a giant punching bag, I’ll never forget the moment I left work and took myself straight to the emergency room once again. This time because I could no longer walk without crying. It felt like I had glass in my feet. I was near fainting all the time. On top of that my nerve symptoms grew rapidly at this point.
I can only describe the pains in my chest as if a taser would go off without warning. These nerve pains would shoot through my body like a lightning bolt as if different parts of my insides were a target. It would hit my heart, or my lungs, or kidneys. Often it would shoot through my arms and out my fingers, or down my legs and out my feet. The nerve pain was so bad at night that I would often lay awake with tears streaming, with my feet and hands on fire or on dry ice. I felt terrified of what it meant. The pain on my head and scalp was so severe that I didn't dare move once I gently lay my head on my pillow. I would try to remain still and calm, and cry without movement. Prescription drugs for pain were not going to work either, because I had developed an allergy to them as well.
For some time I could not walk and grew so swollen that my feet couldn’t fit into shoes anyhow. The nerves on my head were in such bad shape that my hair really struggled to grow and was literally falling out.
Was this finally enough?
Had I been through enough? Come on, I was now slight of hair, wearing a wig, unable to walk, and suffering from debilitating nerve pain throughout my entire body at random!
As if insomnia was a necessary part of the puzzle, I also hadn't slept a proper night for some years. The dark of night had failed to trigger my sleep system and honestly I have no idea how I managed to function at all.
The tests ensued
This time with more direction based upon the roadmap of collective symptoms. I was diagnosed with Small Fiber Peripheral Autonomic Neuropathy. In a nutshell, this rare disease is often misdiagnosed and difficult to diagnose. It is a central nervous system disorder that effectively wrecks the body and its fine inner workings. It belongs in the Dysautonomia category, such as Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson's. It sucks. It has not escaped me that it is essentially a diagnosis based upon the symptoms and not on the root cause, however, which is frustrating. That is very important to realize and understand. It left me with unanswered questions and a mission.
How did this happen, why did this happen?
The collective presumption of my doctors, and professional interventions I had sought from eastern medicine and holistic whole-self care is that I had suffered from PTSD (or more appropriately PTSS), resulting in high levels of cortisol coursing through my body for a detrimental number of years, caused what they deemed as potentially irreversible damage to my central nervous system. Whether this is true of not, it seems plausible. Essentially, my circuits were fried. I have pure adrenalin running on full at all times and there is no shut-off valve. It doesn't feel good.
On a mission
With a clear mind I embarked on a mission. I was determined to find a better way to thrive after failing to while on a cocktail of drugs prescribed as a means to cope with an illness I was still getting to know. I won’t tell you what prescribed drugs I was taking, because my goal is not to sway those whom may be benefiting from taking them. Remember, we are each different and some certainly do not respond to prescribed drugs in the adverse ways that I had done. That said, it is my personal truth, that I responded so adversely to prescribed drugs that my neurologist had me go through something called pharmacogenomics before she would prescribe me another, for literally anything. This is basically a study of how drugs interact with a specific set of genetics. That’s a rough description, and yes, it’s highly complicated. The end result left me in utter-bewilderment as to how little we know, and how much further we have yet to go to understand our bodies, DNA and interactions with drugs. I was left with so many questions. Science has come a long way, but we have so much farther to go.
My Neurologist Suggested I Try Marijuana
After enduring an incredibly terrifying detox from prescribed drugs, it was suggested by my neurologist that I give marijuana a try. MARIJUANA?! You have to understand that I had always been a drug-free kinda gal, and momma. I was terrified the curiosity would lead to something worse, and worried that school interventions could rob any number of opportunities from my children. So, I didn’t touch it and had even developed a naive stigmatic attitude towards it over the years.
Boy was I wrong. I had even heard stories of children and adults with epilepsy using marijuana and CBD to lessen the degree or even rid themselves of seizures all together, and yet I was still afraid. Lectures at the schools focused on THC and therefore threw the entire category under the bus without further and fair investigation. They really didn't understand or differentiate between THC and CBD, or the intrinsically varied benefits between them, or as they could be safely used as medicine in properly formulated combinations or even as a hemp derived CBD.
Desperate to thrive
So, here’s my neurologist telling me to give it a try. I was desperate to thrive and be pain free. I was desperate to live out the next half of my life. I was somehow also determined to heal and reverse the damage done to my body and central nervous system. Or at least cope with comfortable ease. Was this possible? One has to start with an inkling of hope and an ounce of faith that it is possible. I believe in miracles and get all choked up when I read the many miraculous events in the lives of others. I hope you believe, too. That’s where this new story and 4phive begins.
In a nutshell, I spent half my life progressing in poor health, which came to a head realizing that I was living daily with a consuming burden that I could suffer a stroke or heart attack without warning. I had uncontrollable organ function, blood pressure shooting up to 220 and falling dangerously low just as quickly. Tasers going off in my chest. Walking on icepicks if even I could walk. Debilitating episodes of vertigo and vision disturbances, including temporary vision loss in one eye due to ocular migraines. Seeing halos around everything for weeks in broad daylight is not a comfortable or normal thing, that's for sure. Utter nonsensical insomnia which left me debilitated by day. And the wigs... when my scalp didn’t hurt bad enough to wear one. There was one particular year I actually lived in a hat. Good thing I’m a huge hat fan, long before it became a necessity.
I finally got a medical marijuana card in hand and by now I've had several years to learn the ways and what works for me. I wish I had tried this so many years ago, but I’m not going to regret or lament on that now. I’m going to continue moving forward and share with you how much it’s changed my life. I had also discovered that CBD is most beneficial to the needs of my body, such as calming and regulating my blood pressure and central nervous system.
It made sense to begin considering all of the ways I could apply CBD to my daily care routines.
This is the moment which led to our first product, having discovered that the CBD cream I had been using to ease the pain associated with Scalp Dysesthesia WORKED, quickly! However, it contained menthol which burned, and left behind a grittiness. So, I set out to develop my own product, which turned out to be luxuriously potent, complex and gentle. I knew I had to share it. From there we developed 4phive and many additional all-natural products.
Research CBD and THC
While there are many strains and methods to using marijuana, or a HEMP derived CBD, you each must do the research regarding CBD and THC, as I touched on earlier, taking into consideration each of the varied cannabinoid properties. I’ll just say that there are immeasurable reasons to get started with CBD. For starters, a really high quality product deemed zero THC is legal in growing places and drug-test safe. You don’t require a medical card to purchase. Therefore it’s also legally shipped to most of the world. You can get started immediately! My advice is to seek a broad-spectrum product, which is a whole-plant / full-spectrum with the THC removed. 4phive products are such a quality, meaning they are complex enough to retain cannabinoids and terpenes, is deeply rich in benefits, and minus the euphoric THC.
Many Reasons To Get Started
The many other reasons to get started with a good CBD product are out there on the web, and also found on our Hemp Education page. But speaking from my own experience, I can tell when it has depleted from my system and I need to dose because my nerve pain rears its ugly head, my chest tightens and my breath seems to sit up high, crushing my lungs. My blood pressure fluctuates and my insides literally hurt, and I become easily exhausted. Brain fog sets in, tasers go off in my chest and nerve pain shoots through my limbs like lightning bolts. Not to mention my sleep system also fails, ironically, like clock-work. That may be a bad joke, but seriously, it's at that point that I’m literally done for the day.
CBD calms my nervous system. In a sense regulates it, as well as my blood pressure. It alleviates neuropathy related pain I experience and improves organ function. It would seem it brings about proper systemic function.
I haven’t used a single prescribed drug in a few years now. I don't live in the hospital, emergency room or doctor's office, though I do responsibly visit my doctors as needed for regular visits and health checks. I don’t have off-the-charts allergies. I’m thriving. I can’t tell you I’m miraculously healed and the damage has been a full reversal, however I can tell you that I’ve seen an incredible improvement in my health, far more than I ever knew was possible, and I know CBD plays a tremendous role.
This is my story and I think it’s worth sharing with everyone, because maybe, just maybe, one person out there can benefit.Share this story
— Glossary of Terms —
Autonomic neuropathy occurs when the nerves that control involuntary bodily functions are damaged. It can affect the blood pressure, temperature control, digestive systems, bladder function and more.
The nerve damage interferes with the messages sent between the brain and other organs and areas of the autonomic nervous system, such as the heart, digestive systems, blood vessels and sweat glands.
CBD Full Spectrum
Whole plant, means that the CBD contains all other cannabinoids found in the marijuana plant, essentially retaining its full potency minus the THC psychoactive parts. Some may have a less than .3% THC of some form, yet still conforming to FDA regulated guidelines to farming and production practices of CBD products.
CBD Isolate is cannabidiol refined to strip out any additional cannabinoids, terpenes, and plant components found in the hemp plant. The final product is a fine white powder that contains around 99% cannabidiol.
Dysautonomia is a series of conditions affecting the neural network (central nervous system) that controls automatic processes such as breathing, pupil dilation, and the heartbeat.
There are many different types of dysautonomia, and symptoms will differ for each one. In many cases, symptoms are not visible and occur internally.
However, there are common traits that can occur in people with dysautonomia.
Common symptoms can include: an inability to stay upright, dizziness, vertigo and fainting, fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat, chest pain, low or high blood pressure, problems with the gastrointestinal system, nausea, disturbances in the visual field, weakness, breathing difficulties, mood swings, anxiety, fatigue and intolerance to exercise, migraines, tremors, disrupted sleep pattern, frequent urination, temperature regulation problems, concentration and memory problems, poor appetite, overactive senses, especially when exposed to noise and light.
Entourage effect is the main reason behind the efficacy of whole plant extracts. There are over 100 ‘identified’ compounds in the cannabis plant. While most of these compounds have their own therapeutic benefit, they combine synergistically to provide a far better performance than any single compound, including CBD. Here are a couple of examples of conditions that benefit from the entourage effect:
- Gastrointestinal Disorders: While THC improves your appetite, adding CBD to the mix can help with issues such as anorexia and nausea.
- Anxiety Disorders: THC alone can make matters worse, but CBD counteracts the effects of THC to alleviate the symptoms of stress, PTSTD/PTSS, and more.
- Neurological Disorders: Although THC can help patients with Tourette’s, the addition of several other cannabinoids can ease the symptoms of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and more.
Peripheral Neuropathy is the part of the nervous system that connects the nerves from your brain and spinal cord (central nervous system) to the rest of your body and delivers signals about physical sensations back to you brain. With small fiber neuropathy, the narrow nerve fibers of the peripheral nervous system are affected.
This includes your: arms, hands, feet, legs, internal organs, mouth and face.
Peripheral neuropathy is a disorder that occurs when these nerves malfunction because they’re damaged or destroyed. This disrupts the nerves’ normal functioning. They might send signals of pain when there’s nothing causing pain, or they might not send a pain signal even if something is harming you.
The disorder is uncomfortable, and can often times be painful and debilitating. The most important thing to determine is whether peripheral neuropathy is the result of a serious underlying condition, such as diabetes.
More than 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy exist, and each type has unique symptoms. Peripheral neuropathies are further classified by the type of nerve damage involved. Mononeuropathy occurs when only one nerve is damaged. Polyneuropathies, which are more common, occur when multiple nerves are damaged.
The three types of peripheral nerves are as follows and one or all three can be effect.
- sensory nerves, which connect to your skin
- motor nerves, which connect to your muscles
- autonomic nerves, which connect to your internal organs
The study of how genes affect a person’s response to drugs. This relatively new field combines pharmacology (the science of drugs) and genomics (the study of genes and their functions) to develop effective, safe medications and doses that will be tailored to a person’s genetic makeup.
A potentially debilitating condition that develops as a result of exposure (experiencing or witnessing) to very traumatic and often life-threatening events.
After a traumatic incident, it is common for people to develop some of the symptoms associated with PTSD/PTSS. Our brains are wired to alarm us about the presence and threat of danger, so having a physical and psychological response to trauma is very normal, but the symptoms should eventually diminish. Unfortunately, however, not everyone heals with time.
Additionally, PTSD symptoms may not develop right after a traumatic event; rather, they emerge several months later. For some people, it may even be years later — particularly if triggered by a new trauma.
PTSS is becoming commonly known today as PTSD, developing as a systemic form of PTSD.
Small Fiber Neuropathy
Small fiber neuropathy occurs when the small fibers of the peripheral nervous system are damaged. Small fibers in the skin relay sensory information about pain and temperature. In the organs, these small fibers regulate automatic functions such as heart rate and breathing.
A diagnosis of small fiber neuropathy can be a sign of an underlying health condition, such as diabetes. Often, though, no underlying cause is identified.
This condition causes sensory symptoms such as pain, burning, and tingling. These symptoms often start in the feet and progress up the rest of the body. They may become more severe over time.
Small fiber neuropathy is a type of peripheral neuropathy.