Troy’s Healing Story
You’re sitting in a patient room, the constant glow and hum of fluorescent bulbs is the only thing you can focus on. They seem to absorb something from you as you wait for a doctor to do his polite knock before entering the room. His face will tell you everything you need to know when he walks in, but he’ll go through the process of verbalizing it all the same. He’ll look down at the charts to avoid having to tell you you’re stuck with their contents. Everything changes right there. You may never experience life like you did the day before again.
It’s one of the worst single moments a person can have.
Troy Bergfeld has done it four times. Four different life-altering diagnoses promised him pain, discomfort, and potentially, the end of his life. Troy has had a lot of life thrown at him in his 38 years and he’s found a way to shut out the noise, limit the pain and rediscover the part of himself he lost to the pain.
In his sophomore year of high school in a small town in Iowa, Troy began to notice that his classmates and friends didn’t seem to feel the same way he did. In comparing himself to others he recognized that something wasn’t right and shared it with his parents. After several trips to a doctor’s office, Troy was diagnosed with severe anxiety and ADHD. Growing up in a small-town, Troy says it wasn’t common for kids his age to go on medication for things like that. An old school mentality was the unspoken law of the land and his parents didn’t want him to get pushed into pills, so he went on struggling with the two conditions for many years. Like many other young people struggling with issues like this, he turned to alcohol. He saw himself and others going down a path that could have an unfortunate end, and for some it did.
In 2013, Troy suffered his first grand mal seizure. If you’ve never seen one, it is a violent series of muscle contractions and loss of consciousness that can be extremely painful and very dangerous. Troy’s seizures continued and he began to seek medical advice. He went through scores of prescriptions, countless treatments, rigorous evaluations. He spent so much time in hospitals and doctors’ office’s it began to feel like being at home was a vacation. After all the efforts, no cause could be determined. No test could provide a clear answer. No doctor could provide a clear path forward to a healthy life, free of these debilitating events. To complicate things even more, Troy was diagnosed with epilepsy as well.
Life had even more for Troy. He went into a doctor’s office to treat what he believed were kidney stones. Troy says he had no idea what was to come, but all he needed to see was the doctor’s face, holding that shiny piece of paper with his X-Rays to know that it was cancer. He had worked in the healthcare industry before and had seen it all happen. Just not to himself. It was stage 2 bladder cancer. A litany of tests, treatments, and uncertainty were coming for him again.
He wasn’t himself anymore. The prescription drugs dislodged him from who he had been his entire life. His life had become a haze of appointments and an aimless trudge through pill bottles and blunted pain.
He wanted it to stop, so he started trying to find an answer of his own. After many Google searches and many conversations, he found cannabis, and similar to the way his life had been changed when the doctor entered his room all those times before, his life changed in an instant. He had found something that brought him undeniable relief.
"Finding medical marijuana is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life,"
“Finding medical marijuana is the best thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life,” Troy says and it’s not hyperbole. Troy says all of the issues he’s been faced with can be relieved in some way from smoking cannabis. With the right products, his anxiety can be reduced. His pain can subside. He can feel the hazy cloud of narcotics fade into a vapor and begin to reclaim what he lost. Himself.
Cannabis may not be the cure for cancer or epilepsy, but it can be the solution for managing your life with those issues. Cannabinoids can block pain receptors in the brain and cannabinol can train the brain to redirect messages of pain to reduce the effects of conditions that cause it. It can also relax the nervous system and help reduce the conditions that cause seizures. Medical studies are beginning to support these ideas more prevalently too.
When we asked Troy how he found the Mountain, he was honest. “It was right down the street,” he told us, “but now, from the moment your foot hits the pavement and you open that door, the atmosphere is just amazing. They treat me like Troy and not like my diagnosis. I don’t walk in the door and they see cancer, epileptic, they don’t see that.”
We’ve loved getting to know Troy and his passion for sharing his experience with the healing this plant can bring the world. He wants to change the narrative. “I’m not here to tell people to change their minds,” he says, “but I am here to ask people to do some research and stop seeing it the way people used to.”
After his discovery, Troy changed his entire medical team to healthcare professionals who believed in the efficacy of cannabis for his conditions. He says he always received pushback from his former doctor and medical staff, saying that medical research didn’t show that cannabis could be used in his case. When he decided to tell them that despite their recommendations, he was using it anyway, some of his medical providers praised him saying that it was something they wanted to tell him to use, but couldn’t legally make the recommendation. He decided to dismiss this team and focus on working with doctors and providers who embraced his choice of treatment.
Stories like Troy’s don’t have to be rare. If we can continue to share our experiences and advocate for change, more people will have a lightbulb moment like this, when everything changes and they grab ahold of something they thought they lost.
“You can keep your life on so many pain pills or you can get your life back and be relaxed,” Troy said, “I’m grateful for medical marijuana and the friendships it has brought me.”
Right back at you Troy. Right back at you.
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