My AutoImmune Journey

You know the saying “The stars were aligned”?  You typically hear it when there are a series of events or signs lead you to a certain place in time, a positive place.  When things work out perfectly and you find yourself flooded with something wonderful, positive, and life changing.  Well as it turns out for me, the stars were in fact aligned, but simply to remind me that my body hates me.  I went in to see my primary care doctor because I was having extreme stomach bloating and pain, I walked out with an undiagnosed autoimmune disease (basically).  As if the world wasn’t already tired of hearing about my first medical condition, this is the beginning of my new medical journey for me…

August 22, 2016

This is what I looked like mid workout, week 1 on my first new training block utilizing BFR (blood flow restriction training).  I was over the moon and so beyond excited about finally feeling (semi) consistently well enough to have some structure in my lifting/exercising.  My coach put together a fantastic 100% fully customized training block for me and I could not wait to dive right in.

My AutoImmune Journey

Unfortunately after two weeks of feeling fabulous, my body decided it had enough of feeling good and I was put right back into a huge flare up.  Since February, my flare ups were only lasting 1-3 days and typically controlled with extra rest and taking it easy with any/all activity.  Not this flare up though.  I was pretty much knocked out cold and down for the count.  It was the first time in 7 months where it was bad, and I mean bad bad.  What made things even worse was I started to have daily stomach issues.  My back was on fire, my nerves were going crazy with extra numbness & tingling, AND my stomach was out of control.  I literally could not move because everything hurt from my toes right up to my hair.  Worst flare up this entire year, hands down.  This is what my stomach looked like for a good deal of that flare up.

My AutoImmune Journey

After a handful of days spent like this, I remembered my primary care doctor had ordered some blood tests for me to do months prior.  At the time, I was instructed to wait until pain was at my highest because the tests were supposed to gauge my inflammation levels amongst a few other things like ANA (a marker for possible autoimmune diseases).  As far as pain goes, I had brought my levels way down already this past year (all naturally mind you), so I completely forgot about having these blood tests done.  However with something new clearly going on at this point, I luckily remembered they were waiting on me at the lab.

My AutoImmune Journey

In all honesty, I didn’t expect anything would arise from these tests.  I knew my inflammation would come back high (especially mid flare up), but certainly wasn’t worried about anything else.  Once my flare up was over, my stomach would go back to normal and all would be back to my routine.

Nope.  Didn’t happen quite like that.

Instead of being able to see my tests results online like I usually do, I got a call from my doctors office requesting me to come in for an appointment to “discuss my results”.  That’s NEVER a good sign.  You do NOT want any doctor asking to see/talk to you because of blood work or imaging.  Oh the flood of emotions and anxiety and uneasiness that went through me for those 2-3 days until I could actually speak to my doctor!  Literally one of the very first things out of my husbands mouth was “Get OFF the internet.  Do NOT Google ANYTHING!”  Unfortunately, I’m stubborn and didn’t listen… and my husband certainly take his own advice because as soon as he would leave for work or head out to pick Makena up from school he was scouring google for autoimmune diseases, symptoms, signs, etc.

Two peas in a pod:)

As it turns out yes my body was clearly inflamed, but my ANA test actually came back “abnormal” as did my C3-C4 levels.   I had elevated antinuclear antibodies running right through my veins.  NO wonder why I feel like my body is attacking itself sometimes… it actually IS!  Now we just need to narrow down which of the up to 80 autoimmune disease/s I have.  The sooner we figure out what else I have, the sooner I can come up with a plan of attack!  Some people rather lay in bed, pop pills, and complain… not me.  I’m ready to fight!  5′, #funsized, and possibly your worst nightmare.  I don’t play.

Step 1: more blood work, lots more blood work

My AutoImmune JourneyMy AutoImmune Journey

Step 2: a long conversation with my doctor spelling out every single strange thing I have going on day to day.  This includes what I experience with my spinal disease and other random issues that have continued to progress even while bringing actual pain levels down.  This was the basic gist of things:

  • sacral/lower back burning (24 hours a day)
  • numbness/tingling/pins & needles/nerve issues (mainly lower body 24 hours a day, some upper body arms/hands intermittently throughout the day)
  • urinary, vaginal, and rectal numbness (24 hours a day)
  • heavy legs
  • painful/stiff joints (mainly right lower body in hips, knees, ankles, and toes)
  • difficulty finding words and speaking (this started becoming more prevalent last November/December)
  • extreme episodes fatigue where I can’t even open my eyes
  • spasms/involuntary movements (something that recently just started)
  • balance issues
  • leaking urine
  • mouth ulcer (typically once a month I get one little raised sore/bump somewhere in my mouth that’s filled with clear fluid.  Once popped the sore goes away completely within 1-2 days.)

How’s that for a big giant puzzle???  What’s so difficult in this new journey is that so many of the pain/symptoms I have from my spinal disease mimic many autoimmune diseases.  The main one being Multiple Sclerosis.  Now that’s scary to think about huh?  Yup, our minds were initially racing at top speed (separately of course because no way would my husband ever want me to see his anxiety).  So many things to rule out.  So much to consider.  So many more changes on the horizon.

When diagnosing an autoimmune disease some people have a very specific list of symptoms that point directly to a diagnoses.  You have a butterfly shaped rash on your cheek, chances are you have lupus.  You absolutely cannot eat wheat because of an allergic reaction, you have celiac.  You have major insulin issues that are difficult to regulate, you have type 1 diabetes.  You lose a patch of hair on your scalp, you may have alopecia aerata.  You have swollen and inflamed joints, you have rheumatoid arthritis.  Some autoimmune diseases can more readily be diagnosed.  Sadly, I’m not in that category.  I’ve never taken the easy route, why would I decide to start now :).  Moving on…

Step 3: an EMG study to test my how my nerve and muscles are functioning

Every step of the way… this one is right there with me.  My biggest advocate, supporter, and basically best person I will ever know.

My AutoImmune JourneyMy AutoImmune Journey

My AutoImmune Journey

Smiling for the picture, but extremely anxious for testing!  I had no idea what to expect.  I knew I would be stuck over and over again with needles AND have electric shocks done for the study, but no clue how much it would hurt.  Of course I anticipated the worst which always makes this horrible.  Fortunately, its far less painful than a shot… quick and simple.  I would not have anxiety again if I had to repeat the test at any point.  It’s uncomfortable and not exactly how I want to spend an afternoon, but nothing like I was expecting.  Easy peasy!

My AutoImmune Journey

My AutoImmune Journey

These were the basic marks the neurologist made.  Lots of tape measure and pen marks all over my legs, feet, and hands.  I looked like a 2 year old who had just discovered the art of line making!

My AutoImmune Journey

The good news is that all of the extra blood tests came back within normal range AND there is NO permanent nerve/muscle damage… yet!  One of the biggest concerns with my spinal disease is long term erosion as well as permanent nerve damage.  Because Tarlov cysts actually grow ON the spinal nerves, over time they will begin to show more prevalent signs of damage which cannot be reversed.  I already have erosion in my sacrum which puts me at high risk for fractures and breaks, but luckily my nerves and muscles are still in decent-ish shape.  The longer that spinal fluid sits on those nerves though, the more likely it is my condition will progress and be permanent.  For now though on this very day… I’m safe & thankful!

Step 4: the brain MRI

Oh. My.  God.  I don’t think I’ve ever had the amount of anxiety I had leading up to this scan.  Forget MS, honestly the only thing I was scared of was finding out was that I had a tumor in my brain.  I knew many people suffering with multiple sclerosis were managing symptoms and the progression of the diseases, but tumors and brain cancer?  Not quite as “simple”.  It’s a whole different ball game.  Although my husband didn’t show it outright, I knew he was just as nervous as I was.  He’s a pretty touchy feely kind of husband, but on the trip into the hospital he would NOT let go of my arm.  I don’t know if he was trying to calm himself or me, but I thought it was pretty cute…

My AutoImmune Journey

My AutoImmune Journey

Its a running joke in our family and amongst close friends that ever since my spinal disease diagnoses, I no longer “adult”.  I’ve given up nearly all tasks including bills, bank accounts, household stuff outside of cooking/cleaning, speaking on the phone to most people, and ALL things paperwork. Nope, no adulting for me!  I leave it all up to this guy and he happily does it ALL:) In all honesty, he wouldn’t have it any other way.  My husband THRIVES on taking care of me and those around him.  It’s in his nature, his blood, and his heart.  Am I not the luckiest girl in the world???

My AutoImmune JourneyAlrighty, lets do this… shout out to my radiology tech who took the BEST care of me.  He knew how anxious I was… how could he not know with me crying all over the place as soon as he said he was ready for me?!  The tech spent at least 5 minutes calming me down, talking about his wife and how they actually got a divorced a few years ago but were brought back together, asking about my family and my spinal disease, and putting me completely at ease.  The very last thing he said to me “OK, so do me a favor while you are in there?  I firmly believe in the power of positive thoughts.  As we do the scan think of ALL things positive.  Think of all things that make you happy.  Think that EVERYTHING will be alright and the scan will come back NORMAL”.

Yes sir.  I know I can do that for you… power of positivity… it’s second nature for me!  If there is a positive light to be found in darkness, I promise you with all my heart… I have already discovered AND felt thankful for it!  I got this…

My AutoImmune Journey

And sure enough… without disclosing any official results, I already knew the scan was normal by how the tech spoke to me!  He was uplifting, kind, sensitive, empathetic, and went so above & beyond his call of duty.  THIS my friends is what the modern medicine needs MORE of.  True patient care!!!

And as if I didn’t expect this… my husband also needed to touch me the entire way home even though our hearts and minds were more at ease now.  Dear God, I LOVE this man…

My AutoImmune Journey

Step 5: next stop is a cervical spine MRI thats scheduled for next Wednesday, October 26!

Step 6: During this whole new journey, yes I was researching various autoimmune diseases but I have also been extremely diligent in figuring out some sort of “treatment” for myself (OUTSIDE of “modern medicine”).  Since my insurance, most doctors, and traditional forms of medicine have failed me so terribly this past year I knew I would need to have a back up plan in place just in case I’m left in the dark (again)… totally helpless (again).

Regardless of what I’m actually diagnosed with I’m also a HUGE believer in being PROACTIVE!  We already know I have something, my body is in fact attacking itself so instead of turning to prescription drugs for a quick (only masking) fix, I went full throttle on alternative therapies & treatments.  Because I’m such a big advocate of using natural methods to treat medical conditions, it was time to kick things into high gear with a new regime.

I’m looking forward to sharing the new nutritional/dietary changes I’ve implemented which have actually showed HUGE improvements in nearly all of my pain/symptoms!  So so amazed and excited.  Next post will be dedicated to FOOD and the new lifestyle I’ve adopted!  Stay tuned friends.  Until then, wish me luck on my next MRI and hopefully tracking down exactly how my body is attacking itself:)

Cheryl - October 20, 2016 - 5:54 pm

Praying you get some answers!

Alaina M - October 21, 2016 - 2:39 pm

Corina, I have followed you on ig and Pinterest for a few years now. I recall seeing you post about becoming ill, however this is the first time I’ve been back to read your blog since. I hope you find some answers and from the looks of it, you have an amazing team of Dr’s on your side. Not to mention a family fighting for you! I just wanted to say I’m praying for you and pulling for you! I was diagnosed with GPA when I was 12. Previously known as Wegeners Granulomatosis. It’s a Vasculitis/autoimmune. I’m 25 now, and I continue to amaze my Dr’s, not only with my lifestyle but with my positive attitude and how I look at it all. Attitude is everything. And I LOVE seeing how positive you are. You don’t see that a lot with chronic illness. I see my disease as a blessing that has shaped me into the person I am today, without it, I don’t know who I would be.
So with that, thank you for being yet another positive inspiration, not only in my life but to others who follow you too. You never know what battles they might be facing as well. God bless and feel free to email me with any questions or comments or even just to chat.
Take care!

Kids Breakfast and Lunch Ideas: Week 8

‘Stress free PUMPKIN PIE BREAD PUDDING and prepped daily school lunches will change your life!  Make sure your kids get a healthy start everyday with a balanced breakfast and fueling nutritious lunches!’

Still a week behind with my daughters breakfast prep and lunch ideas, but WILL be caught up in the next few days!   I figured with back to back home made healthy AWESOME-ness I have going on these past two weeks… you’ll forgive me.  Aside from a 1-2 days where I was out of commission, I’ve been feeling great!  When I’m feeling great I’m active, exercising, energized, and feel like I can take on the world.  Well the world may be a stretch, but I do end up finding myself in the kitchen much much more preparing meals, food, and recipe developing.  With pumpkin season upon us and a daughter who loves bread pudding (all things that involve BREAD actually), this new recipe was an easy choice for breakfast prep!  I present to you…

Pumpkin Pie Bread Pudding


This also happens to be a gluten free version, but if you do eat wheat you can easily swap out the gluten free bread for a loaf of French bread, challah, or whatever bread you love.  While my daughter does NOT keep a gluten free diet, I started to about a month ago for new health issues (will go more into detail about that soon).  Since I knew this recipe would be more than what Makena needs in her breakfast, I decided to make a version that I could happily enjoy myself as well!


What a glorious decision.  There was no way in hell I would be able to resist at least one serving so instead of torturing myself, gluten free it is.  Luckily my daughter was nonetheless wiser and loved it all the same!  Really though.  Whats not to love?  Do we see those edges, the loads of pumpkin spice flecks, and that texture?  Perfection.


What’s even better is that this bread pudding version is far more nutrient dense than traditional ones that are loaded with sugar and have minimal protein.  This one though?  LOADED with protein and fiber which will help with staying fuller longer!  I love recipes that have balanced nutrition!!!  If its important for YOU, then it should be equally important for your KIDS (even more so if you ask me).  So here we have WEEK 8 of breakfast prep for my #1 girl (and some snackage for myself)…


I paired a portion of the pumpkin bread pudding with some cantaloupe and sausages for variety and more FUEL for the day!  When morning arrives and its time for Makena to eat, we can grab the container from the fridge, remove the cantaloupe, microwave the bread pudding and sausages, drizzle on some maple syrup, and then return the cantaloupe!  Breakfast served in under 1 minute with barely any effort at all.


Guys, the edges on the bread pudding are soon perfect!  My daughter prefers the soft, squishy center but not I… the top and corners of bread pudding are life (I’m a center portion girl for brownies)!  The flavor is so much more concentrated on the crispy bits… mmmm.  Mouth is watering!  Luckily after I portioned out Makena’s servings, I had enough to stuff my face for a couple of days as well.

Check it…


And a little extra maple syrup to bring it all together!  You won’t need much at all because the bread pudding is plenty sweet enough on its own.  The syrup really just pulls the flavors together and gives it a bit of extra moisture.  If its good enough to top your pancakes and waffles… it’s good enough for bread pudding!


That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!  Pumpkin Pie Bread Pudding with maple syrup… yeah, this was an extra special breakfast prep for me and my girl.  So much YES here friends!  Such an easy recipe that only takes a handful of base ingredients (bread of choice, eggs, egg whites, protein powder, milk of choice).  It’s a great option for weeks you want to make something homemade, comforting, delicious, AND easy to boot!  Hooked on protein bread pudding!!!

And with a switch of gears (but still thinking about pumpkin pie bread pudding), here were Makena’s lunches the week before last:


turkey sandwich, Chez Its, hummus, carrots, and cucumber

Meal & Food Prep For Kids


Leftover Italian meatball sandwich with provolone/parmesan, popcorn, pear, and Glutino chocolate wafers

Meal & Food Prep For Kids


Chickpea pasta salad with chicken, red cabbage, carrots, celery, and homemade Italian dressing, grapes, Veggie sticks, Annie’s chocolate chip cookies

Meal & Food Prep For Kids


Leftover chicken chickpea pasta alfredo, mixed berries, carrot pieces, and chocolate chip Snackimals

Meal & Food Prep For Kids


Salsa chicken salad, carrots, pumpkin tortilla chips, and strawberries

Meal & Food Prep For Kids

That’s it for this week friends!  See you in a few days when I post WEEK 8 and I’m officially caught up with this breakfast/lunch series.  Happy Tuesday, make it a great one and be thankful for all of the blessings in your life… I have no doubt there are many (even if you can’t find them, dig deeper!)!!!

Here are all of the previous prep weeks right at your finger tips:








And find me on Instagram for daily food inspiration, ideas, and tips:


Pumpkin Pie Protein Bread Pudding

Serves 9
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 40 minutes
Total time 45 minutes


  • 2 Large whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup "Pumpkin Spice" MuscleEgg egg whites (or replace with 2 whole eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 scoop "Snickerdoodle" PEScience protein (30% OFF coupon below)
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin spice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 loaf of bread (I used Glutino gluten free)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat a 9x9 pan with non stick spray. Cut bread into 2" pieces and place in greased dish.
In a large bowl or blender add eggs, egg whites (or extra eggs), milk, extract, spices, and protein. Mix until well combined. Pour over bread pieces and let sit for 2-3 minutes ensuring each piece is soaked with liquid/batter.
Bake for 35-40 minutes until edges are browned and crisped. Serve warm with maple syrup... and ice cream if you like :)


NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (makes 9 servings): calories- 158, fat- 6 grams, carbs- 19 grams, protein- 7 grams PER SERVING

PEScience Protein



Medical Marijuana For Chronic Illness

Medical Marijuana

When it comes to the use of marijuana in any form or for any purpose, I have found that people tend to place themselves one side of the fence or the other.  You either fully support it or you don’t at all.  There may be some “gray area” for people, but I have found that unless someone has something like cancer, marijuana its still considered taboo.  It’s part of the reason why I have hesitated for so long to write and publish this post.  Unfortunately there is a huge stigma attached to ANY cannabis use.  When you use the herb in any capacity you are typically labeled a pot head, hippie, or full blown drug addict.  And believe me, up until 6 months ago I carried many of the same preconceived notions about general marijuana use.  Even though I knew cannabis oil was being used for things like epilepsy/seizures, cancer, PTSD, glaucoma, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, autism, and Parkinson’s I was still somewhat on the fence about the place it has to treat other chronic conditions and serious medical issues.  I assumed people seeking a medical marijuana license were in it solely for the purpose of getting “high”.  Stoners rolling up a joint or packing a bong, smoking, coughing, laughing hysterically, and then gorging themselves to satisfy those darn munchies!

Don’t tell me that’s NOT what you think of when you picture someone smoking weed.  Save it.  I know I was right there with you…

However as I’ve said before, when you begin to live a life almost entirely bed/couch bound due to the extreme pain from a chronic pain disease like mine, you become desperate to find ANY bit of relief.     Traditional medicine prescribed by doctors usually comes with a huge array of side effects (both short and potentially long term) and in my case, NOTHING helped ease any of the pain and symptoms I was having.  Not only that, my doctors at Kaiser offered NO help or treatment or options or even suggestions on what I could do to help alleviate symptoms or slow the progression of my disease.  I was actually told NOT to come back to the neurosurgery department because there was absolutely nothing they could do.

Thanks again Kaiser for always putting your patients first.  Yuck, shame on you!

Modern medicine (and my insurance company failed me)… miserably.

Sure, I was having prescription drugs thrown at me but also told “Sorry I can’t help you” then shoved out of the doctors office.  Not only that, my condition was quickly causing me to fall into a deep depression. I felt helpless, hopeless, useless, and the side effects from the meds I was prescribed were causing suicidal thoughts, I cried ALL of the time, the pain was growing, my symptoms were progressing quickly, our lives’ were turned upside down, and I lived every single day in fear when I woke up because I had NO idea what my body would decide to do.  I lived minute to minute knowing that anytime, as each second passed there was a very high probability that I would feel utterly broken again.  Most days I could barely walk, my husband needed to carry me upstairs to bed and even to the bathroom sometimes when it was really bad.  I could no longer shield my family from seeing me at my worst and I was tired of feeling absolutely helpless.

So after living in absolute HELL for six months where the only ‘activities’ I was doing were my daughters volleyball practices & tournaments, I began to do some research on marijuana.  I wanted to see real studies, I wanted to know the science behind the plant, I wanted to know what it was specifically that was helping people, and side effects (short and long term).  It didn’t take long to realize I was completely and utterly clueless about marijuana (as is the general public).  Within the first few hours of my “research”, the stigma I was attaching to those seeking out a medical marijuana license was completely absolved.  Gone were the preconceived ideas and visions of Cheech & Chong bong sessions.

One of the first things I discovered was that there are over 60 different compounds within the plant (some would say closer to 80-100).  Each compound has its own purpose, effects, and own unique medicinal benefit.  Here are the most well known:


THC & CBD Video

Wait what???  You can actually use marijuana and NOT get high?

Yup, absolutely!!!!

THC is the cannabinoid that produces the psychoactive effects so when you use a product with larger amounts of THC content, the more high you can/will get.  On the flip side though, CBD is 100% NON PSYCHOACTIVE.  You could take an entire bottle of high CBD tincture (not recommended) and will not feel the slightest bit “high”.  You can take CBD during the day, just before work, while exercising, with dinner, before attending an event, at bedtime, going bowling… it doesn’t matter.

CBD will NOT get you high!

Not only that, I also learned that CBD made from hemp (the stalks of the cannabis plant) is totally LEGAL in ALL 50 STATES!  You do not need a medical marijuana license, it can be order right online, delivered directly to your mail box, and nobody can say a thing about it.  As long as the THC content (that psychoactive compound) is below 0.3%, it won’t matter if you are in a legal MJ state or not.  In most cases if you are using quality products (from a reputable company who also offers lab analysis), CBD in your blood will not even show on a drug test.

I’m sure you’ve heard of children who suffer from seizures utilizing marijuana for a treatment option right?  A large number of seizure patients are using a strain called “Charlotte’s Web”.  You can watch this video below for that story (just click the picture).


Can you imagine being a parent of a child suffering with something like 300+ seizures a week?  What if you had to watch YOUR child go through seizure after seizure, scared, in pain, in and out of the emergency room, and still on numerous HEAVY prescription drugs which aren’t helping much anyways… would you turn to marijuana as a “Hail Mary” pass?  Perhaps.  Never say never.

And certainly you are thinking to yourself, “Well Corina, you don’t have seizures or cancer.  Your medical condition is entirely different.  Marijuana can’ help with your issues.  You just want to get high!”

Not true, even a little bit.

CBD is actually where I first started.  While I didn’t have seizures, I learned that CBD was providing relief for many of those suffering from things like PTSD, anxiety disorders, depression, headaches, sleep issues, inflammation & gut issues, and of course pain.  I ordered from a reputable company online, they offer FULL lab analysis on each of their products (SO important), it required no medical marijuana license, they would ship right to my doorstep, AND because the THC content was less than 0.3% (most are 0% THC)  I wouldn’t get high.  Awesome.  Let’s see what this is all about.  I prayed and wished and crossed my fingers and toes I would be provided with some relief…. any amount of relief would be welcome.


Since CBD needs to first be built up in the system, I wasn’t hopeful I would feel any effects in the first couple of days.  I had heard first hand from many individuals that it took them at least 1-2 weeks before enough CBD was built in their systems to notice any changes.  Not me.  First dose of CBD I immediately felt more relaxed and anxiety improved almost instantly.  A huge sense of calming came over me.  After a few days, I noticed some minor changes with pain but nothing like I was hoping for.  If I was only looking to help with issues like depression, anxiety, headaches, and minor aches & pains… CBD would suit me just fine.

After a few weeks of regular CBD doses and only small dents being made with my pain, I knew it was time to step things up.  I had heard over and over again that to get the full benefits of the plant, all/multiple compounds should be present.  The “entourage effect” is basically what you have when you get to see the full cannabis plant in ALL of its glory… THC, CBD, terpenes (the flavors within marijuana), CBN, CBG, amongst many others.  This is the biggest reason why the pharmaceutical drug “Marinol” isn’t an ideal treatment for those suffering with chronic OR acute issues.  Marinol only contains THC, not any of the other therapeutic compounds found within the plant AND Marinol is SYNTHETIC!  Yuck.  You’ll get high, but will also be missing out on nearly all of the true therapeutic benefits of the full plant.  Take a look at this chart which shows which marijuana compounds work for specific medical conditions.  Each cannabinoid has its own unique profile and therapeutic value.


Pretty extensive list huh?

Full plant usage for me it is then!  However, I wasn’t about to go to a dark alley and buy something that might be laced with God knows what.  I had to do it legally, I had to find HIGH quality products, and I had to speak with someone who was knowledgeable that could answer ALL of my questions.

On February 25 of this year, I finally worked up the courage to get my medical marijuana license.  Again, I knew I needed something stronger than CBD alone and I was extremely hopeful.  I needed all of those other wonderful therapeutic compounds to attack my disease/s and everything it was doing to my body.  I had no idea what to expect, where to go, who to talk to, and kept this secret from EVERYONE.  What was the point in disclosing anything that could potentially cause problems in my family or with friends without any evidence marijuana would actually help me?  It was a journey I decided to take alone until I knew either way if it would help.

Let my story here to give a brief run down of how darn easy it is to get a medical marijuana card here in San Diego… you look up a “medical marijuana doctor” in your area on google, a ton of doctors pop up, you choose one thats closest to you, you make an appointment, you fill out some paperwork (maybe 2-3 pages), you meet with a doctor or staff member and tell them your ailments, and you walk out 5 minutes later with your MJ card.  It’s HILARIOUS how easy it is here in California.  Again, since I had no idea what to expect I had brought my medical records, charts, notes, etc. and nothing was even looked at.  The entire process took about 20 minutes total and I left the office thinking “Holy crap.  What did I just do?  Is this ‘license’ really legit?”


Yup, it was.

From there, I went to my very first dispensary that was about 5 minutes away and registered myself with the company.  Scared, anxious, and feeling totally out of place… my preconceived view of a dispensary was immediately shattered within the first 2 minutes of stepping through the door.  The greeting I got was NOTHING like I’ve ever been given at ANY doctors appointments.  I was viewed and treated as a “patient”, not a tweaker.  EACH & EVERY single person in this dispensary was OVER the age of 45-55… no joke.  These were men and women coming from work, going to work, soccer moms, people in business suits, grandparents, people who I would have never expected to see at a place like this!  I was SHOCKED!  Not one single “druggie” looking person to be found.

Not only that, the lady working behind the counter spent at least 45 minutes with me answering EVERY single question I had.  Every concern was addressed.  And each product that could potentially help me was discussed.  I didn’t feel rushed or pressured.  The staff was kind, discreet in their ‘patients’ conversations, and much to my surprise had a HUGE variety of products.  Yes they have plain herb to smoke of course, but an even wider selection of oils, edibles, tinctures, pain patches, creams, ointments, baked goods, and even drinks.

I got a serious and extensive crash course in marijuana during that hour.  The woman I spoke to broke down everything I needed to know.  She told me things I had no idea about… but am EXTREMELY grateful she did!  Here are a few of the lessons I was taught:

  • There are three different ‘varieties’ of marijuana (sativa, indica, and hybrids which are a mix of the the two).  Indica plants are short with fat green leaves and are great for evening use, relaxing, wonderful for sleep, reducing pain, and is stress relieving.  Sativa plants are taller with long, thin, light green leaves are typically used more for day use.  Sativa strains actually give you some energy, are uplifting, and great for pain relief.  And then hybrids which are a mix of the two dominate  varieties (sativa and indica).
  • Our bodies actually have a BUILT IN cannabis system.  Wait, did you really just read that correctly?  YES you did.  The human body (as well s animals) have something called an endocannabinoid system (ECS) which contains a group of receptors in the brain, central, and peripheral nervous systems.  Cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and Cannabinoid 2 (CB2) are the two main receptors and as with each strain of cannabis, each receptor serves a specific purpose.  CB1 is primarily found within the brain and CB2 is within the immune system and is geared heavily towards INFLAMMATION.  Bingo for me!
  • In order to get the FULL benefits and therapeutic effects of the plant, it should actually be ingested NOT smoked.  When you smoke marijuana, the high is nearly instant.  It passes immediately through the brain so you get hit hard and fast, then the high is diminished.  When you ingest THC and marijuana compounds it actually passes through the liver where its metabolized.  The process takes longer so the effects are very different.  It’s a more gradual process when ingested. Not only that… taking oils and edibles is obviously a much better option for your lungs.


  • High amounts of CBD can actually counteract the psychoactive effects of THC which leaves people with less of an actual “high”.  So the fact that I continued to take my CBD oil every morning and at night actually reduced any chances of feeling psychoactive effects.
  • CBD is actually naturally occurring in mother’s breast milk… this was SUCH a fun fact for me.  It’s like we were designed to use the herb from the very beginning!  You know that “milk drunk” term you hear all of the time with newborns… yup, CBD compound found in cannabis my friends!
  • Different strains, different products, and different dosages can effect EVERYONE entirely differently.  What works great for someones pain may not be optimal for someone else, so its extremely important to test out strains and products.
  • QUALITY dispensaries who carry QUALITY products will also be able to readily provide FULL lab analysis on everything!  This was HUGE for me.  Unlike the herb some may buy on the street which often times is laced with other drugs and synthetics, you SHOULD know exactly what you are buying and using.  This lab report will show the breakdown of each compound, its ratio with the other compounds, and exactly what you are buying.
  • Marijuana products at dispensaries are EXPENSIVE.  Sure you can buy herb which is a little less expensive than edibles for the most part, but again… ingesting various compounds is best.  Pricey, but best to treat medical conditions.  This is NOT a cheap medical route to take by any means.
  • Did you know that The United States actually holds a PATENT on marijuana???  Now this is a discussion for a different day, BUT I find it pretty damn ironic that a government who fights so hard to ban marijuana usage, mark it as a SCHEDULE 1 drug thats just as “dangerous” as LSD,  and who also claims it has NO therapeutic/medicinal value would go through a patent process.  Money, greed, and big pharma… your cards are showing.


Yeah, that last one is a doozy huh?  Really makes you think?  Modern medicine, government, and pharmaceutical companies, you disgust me…

So, I remember walking out with my little brown bag filled with a bottle of CBD oil, an ointment/rub, a sativa edible, a THC only oil, and an edible which contains both THC/CBD and thinking OMG, what have I done?  I was excited and nervous, but even more ready to give this a try.  It would either be a game changer for me or a complete waste of money and time.

On February 25, the same day I decided to seek this alternative form of treatment/relief for myself, EVERYTHING changed.  After the very first dose (and it was a very small amount, only 1/4 of ONE edible gummy), I immediately noticed a HUGE difference.  It wasn’t even just with pain which was why I wanted to try marijuana in the first place of course.  The high anxiety levels I had, the depression I was falling into, and the lack of sleep I was having nearly instantly disappeared that same day, no joke.  Of course I didn’t know at the time if it was mere coincidence or the fact I wanted to believe so bad something, ANYTHING would help… but that day was a huge milestone for my medical journey.

I was still hesitant to tell anyone and had to make sure this was really legit.  I continued to take regular doses of CBD oil each morning, CBD in the afternoon, and then a small bit of my THC edible or oil at night before bed.  All of the fears I had about walking around high, having my kids see me all loopy, and feeling anxious and paranoid (like I had on the handful of occasions where I smoked in my twenties) were completely gone!  Again, smoking marijuana is SO vastly different than ingesting oils and edibles.  Because I was only taking small amounts of THC at night RIGHT before bed, I was always asleep by the time ANY psychoactive effects even had a chance to take effect.  Remember that when ingested, it has to pass through your system to metabolize.  That process takes a good amount of time to occur.  I was finally winning and making progress!  Sleep sleep sleep= recovery, regeneration, and reducing inflammation.

The biggest test of my new cannabis ‘routine’ would come on our yearly trip to Lake Tahoe.  Prior to getting my MJ card, I could usually only sit for about 5-10 minutes at a time because it simply hurt too much.  Car rides were always excruciating, brief, and on trips/errands taking longer than 15 minutes, my husband would usually have to stop for me to stand up for a couple of minutes.  A 9+ hour car ride AND a week vacationing in Lake Tahoe would be all the proof I needed to “come clean” to my family and friends.

Test was not only A’ced with flying colors, it exceeded everything I could have expected!

In case you missed THIS post…. not only did we make it to Tahoe with having to take very few stops, but our time spent there was absolute perfection.  I took all of the precautions I needed, took my time moving around, went slow, took breaks, rested in between activities, and knew my limitations.  BUT it was the most “normal” I had felt in over EIGHT months.  If you would have asked me last December if I could take a trip like this, I would have said NEVER in a million years.  Those days and trips and outings were long ruled out after my diagnoses.  My health would continually decline and eventually I would not be able to walk.

Upon leaving that trip, I was more than hopeful.  I knew I was better with having marijuana compounds in my system and it was absolutely undeniable.  Family noticed I was getting better, friends did, strangers weren’t looking at me because I was having a hard time walking or in a wheelchair.  I knew my quality of life was dramatically improving. And I knew getting my medical marijuana card was one of the BEST things I could have proactively done for my medical condition.  Without ANY doubt in my mind, marijuana changed my quality of life… TEN FOLD!

So there you have it friends and family… I’ve come ‘clean’:)

My hopes with this post is to attempt to change the thought process and preconceived ideas about legalizing marijuana.  Since its an election year and many states have something on the ballot with its legalization, I knew the time was now.  I’m not a druggie.  I was never a huge drinker and actually haven’t had a single sip of alcohol in over 5 years.  I take ZERO prescription drugs, my pain & symptom routine is entirely managed with herbs, vitamins, supplements, meditation, stretching, and movement whenever possible.  You (nor my kids) will ever see me walking around high or intoxicated in ANY capacity.  I’m not dependent on marijuana and if I ever decided to stop taking it, I could do it safely at ANY point without the need to wean off or anything else like that.  Cold turkey with ZERO repercussions.  And most important of all… marijuana helped improve my quality of life.  It’s helped me:

  • battle depression from chronic pain
  • relieve ALL anxiety I feel on a daily basis
  • taken away EVERY single daily CSF headache & migraine I was having
  • allowed me to sleep 6+ hours a night, every night for my body to heal and cells to regenerate
  • reversed my pre diabetic blood levels
  • reduced stress
  • AND of course reduced my overall pain & symptoms (nerve damage, muscle spasms, reduced joint pain, regulated all of my stomach issues, eased pain during my monthly cycle)

Cannabis States

So before you turn up your nose at me and classify me as a drug addict, please please please I dare you to walk (or attempt to walk) a day in my shoes!  I guarantee you without a doubt in my mind, if you felt every sensation I feel on a DAILY basis/24 hours a day… you too will see that its NO WAY to live.  I’ve found something that helps far beyond ANY medication I was prescribed.  It’s exceeded my expectations and I’m beyond thankful to live in California where I’m entirely within my rights.  Don’t be so quick to judge ANYONE that chooses to medicate themselves with cannabis.  And yes, I whole heartedly consider cannabis medication!  There are people with true ailments, very real pain, chronic AND ‘silent’ conditions which you don’t see physically occurring on the outside, and people who do NOT have cancer but live their lives’ with the same uncertainty who have turned to cannabis use because it WORKS for THEM!


I’m one of thousands and thousands and  thousands of people who have seen the true benefits of cannabis.  I’m proof that regardless of whether you think marijuana should be legal, it should be an OPTION for EVERYONE.  We can go to the store and stock up on kegs of beer, 10 bottles of wine, hard alcohol which have ALL proven to be less than optimal for health.  We can gladly and legally take the prescription CRAP drugs that are thrown at us which often carry a long list of side effects, only mask our conditions, damage other organs, AND often be lead to dependancy.  But we aren’t allowed the complete rights to this plant thats helping SO MANY children & people?

Something is wrong with the system.  It’s time to change it.  It’s time to change the vast general publics misinformed views and ideas.  It’s time!


Jayne - October 17, 2016 - 4:26 pm

I’m so happy that it is helping you. I believe this is a miracle for so many people. I do not take it but wouldn’t hesitate if the need arose. It has and is helping so many people and so much better than all the prescription medications docs are giving people with so many side effects. I hope you get so much relief from it and if anyone judges you then they are not reading all the info. Best wishes and continued improvemen.

corina - October 17, 2016 - 5:36 pm

Fortunately, I’m well beyond fearing the judgements! No matter what anyone says or how hard they disagree, this is the path I’ve chosen and I stand by it 100%! Thank you so much for your comment and kind words. They mean so much to me!

Cheryl - October 17, 2016 - 7:01 pm

Thank you for sharing this!! I live in Arkansas and medical marijuana will be up for vote for us in November. I know so many people opposed to it because of the stigma so I appreciate you clearing that up and if you don’t care I would love to share this post on my FB page.

I am glad that you have found something that will not only give you relief from the pain, but also still allows you to maintain a quality of life!

corina - October 17, 2016 - 8:04 pm

Oh absolutely!!! Share away with anyone and everyone you think could benefit from some information!!! Thank you so so much!

Blair - October 21, 2016 - 2:40 am

This was a super interesting post! Thank you for writing it, Corina! I have never used marijuana, and have been a bit on the fence about legalizing it. However, hearing your story and experience about how it has addressed your chronic pain puts this issue in a new perspective for me. I have OCD and have to take several daily medications to keep my symptoms at bay. I hate taking them because I know they are hard on my internal organs. Medical marijuana could be a good solution with no adverse effects. I really appreciate you sharing your life with us. Stay positive and kick this illness’ butt!

corina - October 21, 2016 - 4:09 am

yes yes yes!!! This is exactly why I chose to share this part of my life!!! Thank you for taking the time to read my article and words. I truly appreciate it. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions :) I’d be happy to answer them if I can!

Brenna - October 21, 2016 - 5:54 pm

Corina I am really glad you have found something that works for you. I am in total agreement that prescription drugs should be avoided whenever possible. I am from a state where Marijuana is legal for both medicinal and recreational purposes and I know tons of normal, good people that use some form of marijuana. I really think that how people view Marijuana usage is really changing. And if you find something that works for you you shouldn’t be afraid to share that information. Thanks for sharing your journey.