Domenic Nocerino: He Tried Cannabis When Nothing Else Worked
MMJ Patient: Domenic Nocerino, Ontario, Canada
Domenic Nocerino is a 23 year old young man living in Ontario, about 10 minutes outside of Toronto and he’s currently hard at work studying business economics at the local university. He’s been through failed surgeries, infections, and rounds upon rounds of pharmaceuticals. Cannabis has given him his life back, so that he can pursue the things he loves like hockey, soccer, and DJing.
What medical condition(s) have you been struggling with?
How long have you been experiencing your medical condition?
I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) disease when I was 18. I was hospitalized many times and was heavily medicated to help with the inflammation and ulcers in my colon. When I was 20, the medications were not as effective and the UC disease became much worse to the point where the only alternative was a three-step surgery – First step was to remove the colon and create an ileostomy out of the abdominal wall; The second step was to create the J-pouch, which is basically the surgeon using my small intestine to create a pouch in the form of a “J” to act as a colon; And the third procedure was the ileostomy reversal and the connection of the J-pouch to the rectum after it has had time to heal. Unfortunately, months after what was supposed to be my final surgery in 2012, I became internally sick which was a result of a complication with the J-pouch. From then to now, I have been living with this painful internal complication. To fix it, the doctors told me that I’ll have to go through two more surgeries, repeating the 2nd and 3rd steps of the above procedure.
I was hospitalized many times and was heavily medicated to help with the inflammation and ulcers in my colon.
What do you believe caused this medical condition?
It’s not really clear if there is a concrete cause of ulcerative colitis (UC) disease. Most doctors say it’s a genetic disease, but nobody in my family has had any type of crohns or colitis disease in their lifetimes.
What type of medications have you been taking that were prescribed to you by your doctor?
Before undergoing any surgeries, when I was struggling with ulcerative colitis disease, I was taking steroids, an arthritis medication, an anti-inflammatory, as well as antibiotics. To help with post-surgery recovery pain they prescribed me morphine, percosets, and Tylenol 3.
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What side effects did you experience from the medication prescribed by your doctor?
The steroids made me feel physically stronger, like I could lift more than usual for the first 2 hours, but after awhile my mood deteriorated and I got very irritated, like I woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
The arthritis medication was administered to me every 4 weeks by I.V. Directly after the dose was done, I felt very drowsy and most times ended up taking a nap. It also suppressed my immune system, so if I got sick in any way, I needed to go to the hospital immediately because my body was at risk of not being able to defend itself from the infection.
All of the pain medication especially the stronger ones made me feel very doped up, gave me stomach cramps, and sometimes made me nauseous. They put me in a bad mood where I’d be easily bothered and not the easiest person to deal with.
What type of alternative medicine have you tried aside from your doctor’s recommendation?
The only alternative I turned to aside from what my doctor prescribed me was marijuana. I had never used marijuana when I had ulcerative colitis because it was never proposed as a possible treatment. I experimented with it when my ulcerative colitis got worse and it helped tremendously with the internal pains. It gave me an appetite and I was able to sleep through the night which are the major downfalls to UC disease. I didn’t use it until my second surgery because the recovery was excruciating and there was no such thing as a full night’s rest. The pain medications were not as effective, so I turned to marijuana after reading testimonials online about the health benefits like appetite, pain relief, and as a sleep aid.
The only alternative I turned to aside from what my doctor prescribed me was marijuana.
How long have you been using the alternative medicine?
I was off and on marijuana from 2010 to 2011 (when I was 20 to 21). It wasn’t until 2012 after the complications that I approached my doctor about using marijuana as pain treatment instead of a prescribed medication.
How have you felt since you started using the alternative medicine compared to that of your prescribed medications?
Marijuana has really helped me deal with a lot of my daily pain. After experiencing 5 internal surgeries, my appetite has never been what it used to be and my weight loss was a big sign of that, but now I am able to finish 3 square meals with munchies in the middle and I look much healthier. I’m able to sleep through the night; If I don’t use marijuana before bedtime I experience sharp pains and discomfort throughout the night, but now I can sleep comfortably with an ileostomy.
Marijuana has really helped me deal with a lot of my daily pain.
Do you think you will continue with using alternative medicine?
I will continue to use marijuana during the time before my surgeries and through my recovery as well. But eventually, fingers crossed, if I do not have any more pain and am able to sleep throughout the night, then I can look forward to a time when I am an only an occasional cannabis user.