Patient Story: Lesli Jarvela
Cancer, nerve pain and multiple surgeries ravaged her body. Cannabis gave Lesli back her life.
Fourteen years ago Lesli was right where she wanted to be personally and professionally. Then she got a hard diagnosis. breast cancer. The cancer was invasive so Lesli didn’t have a lot of time to process the diagnosis and figure out what to do next because she needed to act fast.
As a professional healer Lesli knew a lot about Eastern medicine and had she had more time would have leaned toward treating it naturally but since time was of the essence decided to do a combination of Western and Eastern medicine to fight the cancer. She had no choice but to have a double mastectomy. Lesli already had fibromyalgia when she received the diagnosis and the surgery and cancer exasperated that condition.
With her nerves feeling like they were on fire she had to tackle chemotherapy. She had a rough road during chemo with many complications and a myriad of medical mistakes, yet after chemotherapy she got the good news! She was cancer free! She never anticipated that her severe health problems were still to come.
Chemotherapy is tough on everybody. In Lesli’s case it ravaged her. Nerve pain from head to toe, spinal degeneration in her discs including stenosis, bone marrow and spinal fluid loss and a spontaneously broken disc requiring more surgery, muscle damage, unbearable pain and a list of seemingly endless problems. Doctors informed her now that she needed a hip replacement. Unfortunately the hip replacement left her with additional problems and additional surgery. With these surgeries other complications plagued her and she says she felt like she was continually being wound up like on a vize and the scar tissue is like wearing a corset from the inside out.
Sitting was nearly impossible but sleeping was no better. And on top of all the other ailments she was diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome which left her nerves in screaming pain so bad that clothes hurt as well as the touch of a hand. Then on top of the physical pain she went through a divorce and in the process not only lost the love of her life but almost everyone she loved most in the world.
She was grateful for the support of a few devoted friends who fed her when she couldn’t get out to get food and helped her. Yet she spent her days year after year almost totally isolated and alone, with ongoing physical pain and feeling hopeless and depressed, wondering more each day what the point of being alive was. Lesli couldn’t do much else but fight her pain.
The Doctors prescribed narcotics, pain patches and nerve meds, sleep meds and around ten steroid injections a year which she reluctantly took as there were no other choices available. Lesli says, “ I’m a healer but I couldn’t help myself.” Thankfully she often jokes , “I have a spirit that defies even me.” She was determined to find a way to use her love and her healing abilities for others. So blessed with that spirit and knowing a myriad of Eastern medicine modalities she started turning over every stone and went into debt trying to find the solution. “ I tried everything and nothing worked.” Top pain Doctors told me anyone else in my condition would never get out of bed so it was amazing to them that I kept trying.
Finally when Illinois launched the trial medical cannabis program Lesli decided to see if that would help her. She spent time researching different clinics and was attracted to PDI Medical because of their medical and pharmacy model. Lesli says“ PDI Medical and Medical Cannabis has saved my life!” They took me from truly unbearable pain to bearable. It wasn’t an easy road as hypersensitivity made finding something that would help difficult but Joseph Friedman, PDI Medical pharmacist was patient and determined that the two of them would find something that would help. She says “Joseph spent so much time with me, countless hours including always answering my phone calls and talking me through the difficulties to find the right solution. He truly believes in medical cannabis and its ability to help heal with all his heart that he would not give up on me even when I was disheartened.”
I didn’t want to give up either because I intuitively knew cannabis could be transformative for me. Joseph, with his exceptional knowledge and extraordinary patience, empathy and devotion and who always greeted me with his optimism, wonderful friendliness and a hug, worked with me to find the right solution. She says, “ Now I function most days of the week, some days a good part of the day and some days less, but I have come a long way. I think it’s a miracle! The edge is off, I get a good night’s sleep, have energy and less pain. Before every minute, everything was a fight, but now I just get up and do!
Joseph, Elle and Kyle and everyone at PDI Medical have helped me medically with their extraordinary knowledge of the products but they also lift my spirits. Elle shares her kind and gentle spirit and soft hugs. Kyle’s exuberance and joy, work ethic and and compassion and the extra time he takes and gives to talk to me shows his insight that he sees our conversations are healing and joyous for me and light up my day and always with a tight hug. Joseph is always happy to see me, always stops to talk and share, with a welcoming embrace from his heart and although the room is bustling with people he makes you feel like you are the only one in the room. They care deeply with compassion and are always fun to talk both professionally and personally. I adore them all.”
Lesli says, “Joe truly wants everyone well and always goes the distance for his patients with his wealth of knowledge and devotes his time, energy, enthusiasm to them, all the while being passionate about spreading the word that Cannabis has the potential to heal in ways most could not imagine. PDI Medical employees are highly trained. You get hugs ( and now I can get them) and you get Jax the golden retriever who plays with my puppy Angel. PDI Medical is like family. Everyone there knows you, what’s wrong, what you take, suggests new products that may help you more and wants the best for you. Even PDI Medical patients talk to you. Everyone there has a story and is suffering from something so we share stories and empathy.” Lesli’s journey continues. Her Mother became critically ill, a year of nonstop, intense fighting for her to get healthy again. She has been managing her medical care and advocating for her and is caregiving for both her parents for a year now. She says that PDI also helped save her Mom’s life because without them there would be no way she would have been able to help them at all. Her Mom also has been a client of PDI Medical and cannabis has helped her through severe pain caused by major surgeries this year. She says I now have the opportunity to keep them safe, protected and together and that is a blessing. PDI has been life changing. Lesli is in school evolving her knowledge in the energy arts and looking forward to a future. She wants to coach again and teach. She is mostly off her narcotics and getting half the steroid injections. She can go out socially and connect. She can use her purpose to love, to serve to help others heal. She says “From soul crushing to to soul soaring. Cannabis saved my life! I love to dance and now I can and so I dance with joy in my heart and I smile and laugh. I can be the free spirit I am! I am honored and humbled that Barb has written my story for others to hear in hopes they also can have hope and know they have options. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to rave about PDI Medical and cannabis. They have my infinite gratitude and love as surely they have infinitely blessed and graced my life! By sharing my journey it is my fervent hope that I can pay it forward and give others hope by telling as many people as possible about cannabis which I hope will be as miraculous and transformational for them as it’s been for me and to help spread the word that cannabis can give them the opportunity to get better!”