Patient Story – Victoria Zavala

Victoria Zavala – Systemic Lupus and Degenerative Disc Disease


My name is Victoria Zavala. I live in the city of Lancaster California. I am 36 years old and have a 4-year-old daughter. I suffer from systemic Lupus and degenerative disc disease. I think I have had it for a long time but I was actually diagnosed in 2006 a year after my daughter was born. I went through a lot of treatments and therapies, and a lot of pills. And started to realize that they were not working.

I started using Hemp and Omega products, hemp seeds, oatmeal’s, and hemp milk and it started to really helping me. I was a patient prior to me getting pregnant in 2005 and the medicine was working because I had an injury. I had a back injury in 2002 and from the back injury I gained a lot of weight. I took a lot of prednisone, and steroids. So unfortunately got me really, really big, I weighed 325 pounds. I decided to get gastric bypass surgery.

From the bypass surgery things were working really well. 18 months later I got pregnant. Something I had not been able to do prior to that due to a lot of infertility problems that I had, but in having little medical issues prior to <getting pregnant>. I kept going, didn’t see what was really going on.

After the bypass surgery and having my daughter the reason I had to look for alternatives, 3 months after I had my daughter, I couldn’t breast feed any more. I got real sick. I couldn’t find out what was wrong, I had all kinds of blood tests. They thought I had Celiac Disease, so I had to do a different diet. Then they though I has Wilson’s disease, so I had to watch all kinds of blood work and different medications. Then they thought I had a bleeding ulcer.

It continued and continued with all kinds of pills and the pills weren’t working and I couldn’t work. I was very disabled. It was difficult. I started feeling a little better so I went back to work in the medical field. I was a first responder; I have experience as a nurse. So I went back to work. And I realized I couldn’t keep up my duties physically. I couldn’t lift up a patients leg to do an irrigation, smells really made me sick, I would get cold in the office, my fingers would start to cramp up and hurt, sitting down at the desk for long periods, standing up, doing vitals, pushing the blood pressure cuff.

There were days I would come home and I couldn’t play with my daughter. I would have a headache, I couldn’t eat, and I would throw up a lot. But every day I would go to work. And I started realizing maybe the clinical was too much for me. So I started working customer service, data entry but that didn’t work either. I was having a hard time.

When I realized that I was, my mother asked me what were you using before your daughter was born, what were you using because it was working. And I finally admitted to her that I had been using cannabis before. That I had smoked marijuana. And my pain was going away and I felt better. She said why don’t you try it again.

Well I didn’t know quite what was wrong with me. So when I got diagnosed in 2006, in the summer. I knew that I was on my way to treatment and therapy. Time went on and I started getting treatment and the treatment almost killed me. The treatment was to the point that to this day, I still feel pain in this arm from receiving treatment. From putting putting poisons into my system that was supposed to get me better.

When I went into anaphylactic shock on my last treatment. That was the biggest scare of my life, because as a former first responder I knew what was happening to me. I knew that my body wasn’t handling it anymore, that my body was rejecting it. And that was the day I said “I can’t do this to myself, I gotta find my own way.” And it took me a week or two, and I followed up with a doctor, I checked my hemoglobin’s. My levels went up a little bit higher, but not too much.

So I told him that I’m going back to cannabis this what was working for me and he was an oncologist and a hematologist. And he said go ahead. So I did, and I said I’ll see you. It took me about a month to detox my body before I tried the cannabis. I had to use the hemp products. I had to get off the Fentonol patches, the Oxicontin, the Morphine, the Soma, the Ultram, the steroids, the beta-blockers. Anyone who knows about lupus, knows the pills I’m talking about. Knows about the steroids, knows about the swelling that happens. Knows about how the sun just aches. Knows about the feeling of your veins, the cramping. Your stomach, what it endures off the pills. You find your self taking that pill to cure that problem, and you find that pill has a problem.

Pill after pill, patch after patch. You gotta cleans your body. You gotta get your mind back. It’s more than just your body, your wellness, your health. It’s your mind, your spirit. Your will to live.

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