Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Testimony before the Texas Veterans Committee.

Greetings Friends and Readers,

It has taken me a while to be able to digest what happened at the committee meeting, and then to be able to write about it. 

I did decide to testify, and I am very glad that I did. There were four of us testifying and a few extra special folks who came to support us.  We got there at 8am, and they were listening to 'invited guests first.  The first two folks took about an hour.  There were updates on many veteran programs, and we heard the Chair of the committee speak over and over again about how these folks need to be taking better care of veterans.  But not one veteran was invited to speak.  

It was finally around 4pm that we got to testify.  Up first, was Arthur...
Here is his testimony.

I was... abhorred at how the Chair treated him after he states what it is that his representivie won't meet or talk to him about.  And she says this isn't the time. Well, yes Maa'm, for us who have watched friends die, it sure as shit is!!! 

Next up was Kate,
 Here is her testimony.

And then Jeremiah, 
Here is his testimony.

And I got to go last.  After the way I felt they treated my fellow veterans, I spontaneously decided that when my timer went off, I was going to keep going. I was going to say my piece, screw the two minutes. We veterans deserved better then  that!  I knew there was no one coming after myself, and while I would never take their time... I did want to do justice for so many.  I didn't mean to be rude.. but we are very passionate.

Here is my testimony.

After Art says what his issue is, the Chair does not ask another question.  We have fired our first shot across the their bow.  If this was not the time and place to speak of veterans mental health issues, when was???
This was one of the hardest things to do, but it was absolutely the right thing to do!

 We will not give up, we will not stop... we will bring home all Texas medical refugees.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the kindness of the Chair's Veteran Committee staff member. He stopped me after the testimony to tell me he was going to be looking into it. His kind words and support means more then I can say.   I hope this will be an opening of dialog between veterans and our State office.
Over and out,

Monday, March 7, 2016

Testimony Coming Up.. Whirling Thoughts...

Greetings Friends and Readers,

I had a rough night last night. Thoughts swirling around.. memories I don't want raising their ugly heads. One of the most circular thoughts was this:

This coming Thur, two veterans will represent all the Texas veterans who wish to be able to use medical cannabis as their medicine by testifying before the Texas Veterans Committee. I have very mixed feelings about this. I know and respect both veterans who are testifying. But neither of them have had the experiences I have had in a couple of different ways. First.. neither is a survivor of military sexual trauma like I and thousands of others are. Our PTSD, and the help that medical cannabis can give us is unique to each patient, but also to us as a group, being in control of our medicine, after having had our control taken from us during military sexual trauma, choosing our best medicine gives us back an extremely important choice. I have asked them to mention MST, and so far, one of them has assured me that she will.  But she cannot speak from the excruciating pain of the actual experience. 

For a refresher on MST..... or if you haven't seen this, please watch it:

 The second part, that is just as vital to me, is my experience as a veteran from a medical cannabis state, that WAS able to talk to their VA doctor about medical cannabis, and far more importantly, have them talk to ME about my medicine and be supportive of it. The experience of an open, frank, honest conversation about the best medicine for my PTSD is very healing. That they also recognized how therapeutic growing my own medicine was to me, and that was also a very healing experience.  Being able to speak about being a veteran in a medical state, where all is open and above board and is one that I think our Texas legislators need to hear first hand from someone who has lived it, and can answer questions about it. 

The difference between being a veteran in a medical state, and all the support that comes with it, as opposed to being a criminal a non-medical state for the exact same medicine is truly ludicrous. I don't need the extra paranoia that being in a non medical state brings.  I can't move anywhere else, this is where my PTSD treatment is. I don't WANT to go anywhere else, this is my HOME now!!!!  My medicine should not depend on my zip code. The VA clearly sees how healing medical cannabis is for vets, and gives us all the support they can in medical states. The mental difference for anyone with PTSD, or any illness is incredibly important.   

I also have some strong feelings about veterans families.  Operation Trapped is a fantastic rally that I am 10000% behind.  But... during working the OT table last weekend, many veterans signed it happily.  But the unhappy ones, were the family, widows, friends of veterans who also wanted to sign something in support of their veteran family member or friend.  I had to tell them they couldn't, and the looks on their faces was heart rending to me. I understand that we want pure veteran numbers in signing the letter to the Gov asking him to meet with veterans. But... the numbers in support of veterans is HUGE. Every person who read the veteran's letter wanted to sign in support of them. The numbers are enormous in support of veterans using it. The letter itself says we know that our fellow citizens support us, why not have a way to show it when they want to? 

 We have been told that that support from legislators will most likely make us the ones they can 'evolve'  on medical cannabis for PTSD, chronic pain and such. Our families have to deal with us, with our fucked-upped-ness. I know that K has become very watchful and protective of me, for like myself, he never knows when the oddest thing will trigger me into a anxiety attack, sometimes of epic proportions. Sometimes I feel guilty because some of his care-free life is forever gone. He will always have to be on guard with me to be sure I don't lose it. Being able to self medicate with an effective medication, and the excellent therapy from Crystal at the Harris County Vet Center have helped me more then I have words to speak. The fact that what I am doing could get me into deep trouble makes me incredibly jumpy. I know some of my dearest friends are spouses of my veteran friends, and I watch them struggle as K does with their veteran's PTSD or chronic pain.  I want them to have a voice.  I feel a mission to help them, but I am afraid of rocking the boat some within the activist community.  

I also want to ring the bell more to the legislators about Vet Centers and the lack of knowledge about them by most of the veterans I meed.  I would like to see the Texas legislature act to publicize them more, although it's really the VA's job to do so. But they don't seem to be doing it. 

On Wed, I drive to Austin so I'll be there early for Thru's testimony. I'll fill ya'll in as to how it goes later.

Over and out,

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Operation Trapped

Greetings Friends and Readers....
It has been a while and much has gone on! First, the above graphic for Operation Trapped.  It is a movement here in Texas, led by Texas NORML's (Retired) Major Bass. The first past is this letter to Gov Abbot, which Texas veterans are signing in droves...

Honorable Gov. Greg Abbott,
 I’m writing today to request an in‐person meeting with you and a group of Texas veterans who advocate for a more inclusive medical marijuana program and currently use cannabis to treat post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and chronic pain related to injuries suffered while serving our country. Our veterans choose to use cannabis as an alternative medication to narcotic pain medications and psychotropic drugs. The medications prescribed by our Veterans Administration (VA) doctors for chronic pain are addictive and dangerous, and the psychotropic drugs prescribed for PTSD have terrible side effects. Many veterans in Texas and around the country testify that cannabis is more effective and safer than the current pharmaceutical drugs used to treat our injuries. 

Thousands of Texas veterans who have served in every war dating back to the Korean War choose cannabis as medication. We are taxpayers, voters, homeowners, and law‐abiding citizens who believe that we have earned the right to make informed decisions about our health. Establishing an inclusive medical marijuana program, strictly regulated by the state, will allow veterans to stop purchasing our medication from questionable sources and to use cannabis safely under the supervision of our doctors. Veterans Health Administration Directive 2011‐004 dated January 31, 2011, directs VA doctors in the twenty‐three states with medical marijuana programs to treat veterans legally certified to use medical marijuana as any other patient with a non‐VA prescription. This directive recognizes that medical marijuana is a valid medication and that state laws allowing it should be respected.
 We know that the citizens of Texas support our right to choose a safe, effective medication for the injuries we sustained while faithfully serving our country. Please work with us to schedule a time to meet in Austin, preferably on Veterans Day 2016.

Respectfully, Major David E. Bass, 
U.S. Army (Retired) 254‐319‐3673 

Operation Trapped is a veteran ­driven campaign to support and rally Texas Veterans who wish to use cannabis legally to treat their service ­related injuries. Veteran signatures indicate support for Major David Bass’ (U.S. Army ­ Retired) request for a meeting with Governor Abbott to discuss medical marijuana access in Texas.

Any Texas veteran can sign the letter 

Information about Operation Trapped and gathering at least 1,000 pill bottles to give to Gov Abbot next veterans day is 


Also, I got my PACT cards, and they look like this:

 I worked a Operation Trapped information and sign up desk here:

It was a wonderful experience!

Now, all this relates directly to my PTSD and my MST. I have had some very heart wrenching conversations with different veterans about this. I have come out of both the canna  closet, and the MST closet. Because my PTSD is different from most military experiences from PTSD, I can give a unique voice to those of us that have survived military sexual trauma, and even more to be able to speak and testify about it. 

I have made and am making more excellent contacts all the time. This therapy IS working for me. If I have to tell my story, and I get choked up... that person realizes it.. and where they may not have been listening much before, they seem to listen much more. I am using my past negative to turn into a positive for our whole state, hopefully the nation!  Voting is upon us, and next year the lobbying starts all over again.  Working all this through gives me a peace of mind I've not had for years. As well as being able to meet and talk with other veterans and MST survivors!  I know I am DOING something!

Over and Out for now,