Mark EdwoodsA PERSONAL
Things happen for us, not to us. This tenant can be found in most of the worlds' spiritual traditions. It means to say that whatever people, places or circumstances we are faced with in our lives, we should view them as though we had chosen them, no matter how unpleasant they may look.Underlying this is the understanding that challenges are catalysts for personal growth, discovery and learning and not random events where we’re a victim of unfortunate circumstance. Jani’s story exemplifies this principal in so many ways.Here’s Jani’s story in her own wordsI was 18 and my baby sister was having a birthday party. My parents castle which I decided to run and do a forward flip onto. I landed badly in one of the seams and injured my neck seriously. My mother however, brushed it off, insisting that I was fine and did not need medical attention.

In hindsight, that accident was the catalyst for so much of what was to direct the rest of my life.

From that point on, I suffered continual stiffness and chronic pain in my neck and shoulders. This eventually began to affect my mental well-being, suffering a deep depression and severe anxiety, and I began to self-medicate with whatever I could get my hands on. As you can imagine, that didn’t go well. After 8 years of substance abuse, I finally took the decision that I did not want to die, and so I cleaned up my act, found my life partner and we had 2 kids. Still to this day, looking back, the fact that I carried 2 babies with a spine broken in 2 places blows my mind!
Needless to say, it was very uncomfortable.
Whilst so much was going right in my life, I was still dealing daily with chronic pain. By the time I was 38, the pain had become unbearable. I couldn't function past 1pm, anxiety and fatigue were at an all-time high. At least twice a week, I would have the most violent migraines, and I lost all feeling from my knees down. I couldn’t sleep because, unbeknownst to me, I had tiny bone spurs growing into my spinal cord. It took me a while … Like 22 years, but I finally realised that something was seriously wrong.

After visits to a GP and various specialists, I ended up with an orthopaedic surgeon who, after MRI scans, picked up that I had two very badly herniated disks in my neck. I was then referred to a neurosurgeon which led to me having emergency surgery in the form of a double spinal fusion.

It was during the months between my first visit to the GP and the surgery that I picked up an unpleasant, and very unexpected addiction. I was prescribed Tramacet (later changed to Tramadol as the Tramacet wasn’t strong enough) and Trepiline (an opiate and a benzodiazepine) by the GP to manage pain after my first visit. I had been assured by both the GP and subsequently the neurosurgeon that Tramadol was a perfectly safe, non-addictive medication.

I was on these meds for roughly 3 months before going in for the surgery. It was during my post-op recovery that I discovered I was experiencing withdrawal from my medication.

The withdrawals were hideous. Even the morphine I was receiving for pain management after the surgery wasn’t able to mask the Tramadol withdrawal. In my experience, Tramadol withdrawal was 100 times worse than heroin withdrawal. I went straight back onto the Tramadol – I had to. This surgery was not the end of the story. The fusion failed due to dodgy hardware that the surgeon implanted, and further surgery followed. All the while I was trying to manage pain, hold down a job, look after two children and try to wean myself off the Tramadol. It wasn’t working.
I had to find a way to get off the Tramadol and yet remain functional.It was through my research on the internet that I came across Kratom. I read story after story about how people in the US had managed to get off opiates comfortably, using Kratom. I ordered some online. And was completely blown away! I was expecting it would help somewhat, but it took the withdrawals away completely! I was able to start a new job on day one of being off Tramadol. I used Kratom to get me through the first 3 months and then weaned off without an issue, except that the Tramadol and Trepiline had messed up my brain so badly, I now suffered severe debilitating anxiety, and I still required a third surgery to implant a titanium disk into my lumber spine, so again, in serious pain. I went back onto the Kratom, and once again, it changed my life, managing all these issues in one safe, natural plant.

It was this experience that fired a very passionate interest in Kratom and other natural plant-based medicines, but for the severity of my symptoms, Kratom really was the only thing that worked whilst still being able to manage my very busy life.
One just has to read the testimonials (or watch YouTube videos) of the many, many people who have successfully come off multiple addictive and dangerous substances with Kratom.It’s now being touted as a new wonder drug. I dedicated over 3 years to researching and educating South Africans about Kratom, which ultimately led me to creating the successful business I have today. It’s a truly wonderful thing to be able to help others who share stories similar to my own. So, there you have it, there was definitely purpose to all the ‘challenges’ I’ve faced since that jumping castle accident all those years ago.
On a final note, I’m well aware that there is a good deal of negative press about Kratom. This doesn’t come as a surprise when one considers that it is not controlled by the pharmaceutical industry. I like to remind people how marijuana was, until very recently categorised as an illegal, potentially dangerous substance.