My name is Rebecca Thorpe, and I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and a small business owner in Noblesville, Indiana. I have suffered from a condition called trigeminal neuralgia (TN) for seven years. TN is a neuropathic chronic facial pain syndrome affecting the trigeminal nerve, and if you’ve ever had a tooth abscess, migraine or sinus infection, you have an idea of the type of signals that your trigeminal nerve is capable of sending to your brain. I experience this pain every single day, and once even had an attack that lasted four solid months.

It is one of the most excruciatingly painful conditions known to our species, but it is also a very rare condition which means that research, new treatments and education are poorly funded. Treatments available to me in the state of Indiana are either risky brain surgery or a lifetime of medications that make me feel horrible and come with serious and sometimes fatal side effects. I’ve been on those medications for seven years now and I’m running out of time before they do irreversible damage to my body and brain. There are no medications that have been approved by the FDA for TN, every single one is prescribed off-label because there is nothing specific to my condition that has made it through the FDA process.

I recently took a trip out to Colorado and tried various delivery methods for cannabis and found many that provided better symptom relief than the harmful anticonvulsants for which I currently have no other option but to take here in my home state. I have a disease that is the most painful disease known to mankind and Indiana tells me and other patients that we don’t have a right to use cannabis, but I’m running out of time to wait for Indiana politicians to tell me I can treat my condition. Cannabis has never made me do the things that my current medications have made me do. I have never mixed up my words, fallen, experienced a seizure, passed out or vomited due to cannabis, while I’ve been hospitalized due to the medications that Indiana will allow me to take.

Every candidate running for office in Indiana should know that if you don’t speak up that you approve of this, you wont get my vote, you wont get the votes of other TN patients, and you wont get the votes of thousands of other patients in Indiana that want the option to use cannabis for its therapeutic benefits. There are numerous chronic conditions out there, and we need help. We’re tired of getting vague answers from politicians that they may support it if there’s more documentation or if there’s more studies. When you’re taking medication that is literally killing you, there isn’t time for more studies. I went out to Colorado and I did my own damn study.

If Indiana doesn’t get it’s act together, I’ll be forced to move away from my husband, my kids, my grandkids, and my small business to establish a residence in state that has more compassion for those whose only legal treatment option is a medication that has a possible side effect of death. It brings tears to my eyes to even think about this possibility.

This is why now is the time to just do it. Even if it means listening to your constituents.