Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I have never tried marijuana, except if you include the time when I was 10 yrs old and 2nd hand smoke was continuously blown in my face, while I was pinned down….I don’t remember much of an effect though.
I have to admit.   When I think of pot...I remember images I have seen from the movies of what being "high" looked like.   Glazed eyes, slurred speech and the unmistakable urge to eat Doritos.   "Pot Heads" was always what they were referred to and these people were reckless and irresponsible. (And they usually had to 'do their business' illegally)

Don't stop reading and get angry -- Like I have said before, I am a work in progress.

Recently, in Colorado, the buying and selling of Marijuana has become legal.   I wasn't shocked that our news has reported "record sales" and "lines around the block" from people who can finally use this stuff, without worrying about going to jail.  
All the reports and studies taken from people who smoke weed, indicated the stuff is safe.   FAR better (and safer) than alcohol, and much more preferred than prescription medication.

I have a lot of friends that use marijuana...I thought I understood why they used it....But it wasn't until I REALLY began reading about it, that I understood the real reason.   It isn't about just some relaxing - stress-relieving side-effect...Although, that is a bonus.
Every-Single-Person I have talked to, told me about how marijuana relieves their pain...Reduces their headaches...and helps them get better sleep.
Below you'll find a sampling of responses from several of my online friends – most, but not all, claiming or hoping marijuana, medical or otherwise, can help with NF symptoms, including headaches, tumors, and better sleep. Some say it reduces tumors, but I hesitate to sign off on that without more medical studies to back it up.
I can't say I'm ready to run down to the local MJ Shop and plop down $250 for a few ounces of weed, and I'm not sure I'd even go after a medical prescription. At least not at this point in my life.

But my husband asked me if I'd accept a medical marijuana prescription for our oldest daughter, who, now 18, suffers more than any of us, between back pain, headaches, and frequent nausea. It made me think, and think that I just might.

In the end, of course, I can only judge for me and my family. And with only two states on board with marijuana outside legitimate medical usage, I certainly won't advise you to do anything that will land you behind bars.

But perhaps the time for the old Cheech & Chong stereotype is over – and we need to recognize that correct usage by responsible adults may be no more harmful than having a beer as you watch the game, and may be dramatically more helpful than the medicine cabinet worth of prescriptions doctors seem to have little problems prescribing.
Thrive On – and inhale if you must :)

So many responses:

Anonymous - My son is about to turn 12 and has NF1. He has had multiple surgeries and has twitches and stings up and down the body plus most all other NF symptoms. He uses the whole Marijuana plant dried and ground and put into capsules. I have a medical card for myself this is how I get it for him. It helps him not have nerve stings and helps him stop his pain. instead of taking oxy, hydro, or Neurontin that he is prescribed. I also use an oil high in CBD and low in THC which is medicinal without the "high" involved. He likes his plant medicine above the pharmacy meds.
Anonymous - My son tried it and said that it made the pain worse. He is in chronic pain all the time and is also requesting that the nerves in his spin be severed to stop the pain in his legs.
Anonymous - I have NF1, and I was just diagnosed with RA/PsA and Raynauds Disease/Erthromelalegia all things that are very painful and progressive. I really can't do Narcs for the type of pain it causes me these new diagnosis on top of all the NF, BS hasn't left me with a very good prognosis and a family member recently started me on smoking a little here and there. Not a lot to lose my brain but just enough to try and take the edge off and maybe be able to relax. I do think they should make it a legal medicine as they do for cancer and some other diseases. I do feel ashamed and sometimes guilty about it at times and I would hate for my 13yr old son to ever know and my boyfriend even asked my DR in front of me if it would be ok if he got some for me and the DR said just don't tell him about it when we do...I don't do it all the time and I never drive when I do so at least I try to be responsible about but still struggle feeling guilty.
Anonymous - Its really amazing for pain. Better than other pain killers. I find that I can function more than with painkillers
Anonymous - I am trying like mad to get a medical marijuana permit here in Vermont. I have never touched the stuff until my husband convinced me about 3 months ago. He had a guy at work make me a "choc" candy (like a Reese's cup I could only eat part of it.. it took about 1/2 hour to work. will have to tell you something, this is the best sleep I have gotten in years. It was able to take the pain off -so that I was able to relax. I have had 3 choc. since and a candy like a life saver. We know how to make our own choc. so if we want to we can. I want to get legal as I am afraid to go to jail I have so much pain for a straight week at a time only 1 time a month.
Anonymous - I personally use it and it does help with my pain more than medication-- it does not relieve all the pain but it definitely helps more the medication.
Anonymous - Hey Kristi.......I treat myself with marijuana for NF pain. I've been going to a Pain Clinic in NH (I live in VT, and am closer border wise to NH than VT). NH won't give me a prescription, b/c I live in VT and they are in NH. If I were to go to a VT pain clinic, I would have to travel 1 1/2 hours.........IT DOES HELP!!!! I wish I could get people to understand this.
Hetty - My hubby uses cannabis and amino acids to manage chronic pain as a result of 20 plus surgeries due to NF1.

Michelle - here in VT we can apply for a medical permit, I am trying got get a permit as I speak.. you don't have to smoke it you can make it into candy, choc. or anything. For me, well lets just say I hope I can get legal. I have never gotten better rest and relief of pain

Amber - If I could use it for medical use I would. I've never heard bad things about it unless you abuse it – duh - lol

George - Weed is a magical herb it helps with pain, anxiety, depression, glaucoma, eating disorders, anger issues, insomnia, Yeah this shouldn't be legal but you got cigarettes that kill people, alcohol that makes people violent and over dosing on it all the time, pills that people take a hand full of and go to sleep and not wake up. It's impossible to over dose on pot you'd have to smoke like 10,000 blunts good sized ones at that and even then you'd over dose on carbon monoxide not THC. Who knows maybe if processed properly weed can help cure cancer and aids... it helps everything else why not give it a shot.

Lisa - It helps me a lot I had spinal cord surgery to remove tumors off my spine- I have ten more tumors in and out of my spine. Surgeries to remove them are dangerous and only be done when critical doctor took me off of pain meds. Afraid when I decline nothing will work, then pain meds have messed up my stomach so weed helps a lot with stomach and chronic pain

Curran - In California you just pay a doctor hundred bucks and they give you a green card - it's real simple here

Derek - Definitely helps with pain and muscle spasm. I am not sure but maybe have shrink in tumors.

Kivalina - I know someone who swears it keeps the tumors from growing.

Cindi - My daughter has NF and uses--she said it helps with the pain of NF

Ayanna - If I knew it would help my NF I would get a card and take it in medical form like candies.

Suzie - I used to smoke quite a bit and then stopped when I moved to a new country and didn't have a source. This coincided with the time that all my tumors grew on my back and chest, when I turned 30. I was symptom-less until then (apart from cafe au laits) and was only diagnosed at that point - suggests to me it may help defeat tumor growth.

Thank You all for your responses...

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


I came across this YouTube video that made me smile.  I absolutely love when I see ads that step out of the box and show the world that "beauty" isn't always wrapped up in a perfect package.

The project calls young women and their mothers to talk about the things about themselves they don't like. Then...snap some "selfies".

Round faces, rosy cheeks, hair, braces--  Wrinkles, fat....

Redefining Beauty.

These "seflies" were blown up, printed -- And Displayed.

Post-it notes were given out and comments were left on the pictures...And surprisingly, those insecurities, were what others saw as something beautiful.

I don't take "selfies"....Unless I am being silly with my kids.  My 13 year old daughter would say that I am "too old" to be taking "selfies" anyway...

But here we go.  Tumors and all.  Let's REDEFINE BEAUTY.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Okay Taryn Brumfitt, I Hear You!

A couple months ago, I jumped on the hot topic of Maria Kang and her "What's your excuse?" article. I wrote my own blog (which you can read HERE) and defended this mama of 3, for her attitude and hard work.

Maria Kang is not your TYPICAL mom.  She is surrounded by health resources...and has dedicated her life to physical fitness.  It works for HER.

SHE still had to put in the make a CHOICE every day.  And what I love about her is that she calls other women out, with no holding back, and I am sure there will certainly be others she inspires. But not everyone has a trainer...or a gym...or the time...or, quite frankly, the discipline. I certainly don't - not to Maria's level at least.

For years, I was FILLED with excuses.  A list that could stretch across a football field and into the bleachers. And ALL of my excuses were legitimate, and excusable excuses. I'd lost weight before, and right after I got to my lowest, I ended up pregnant - imagine that. Two kids later, armed with every legitimate excuse I could find, I found myself weighing more than a LINEMAN on a pro-football team!
(Minus the bulging muscles)

I made no effort to change, and even figured I deserved to be unhealthy.

And this was Maria Kangs point.  She isn't saying women need to look like her to be healthy.  Even when she supposedly "bullies", she's just telling women that the power to DO SOMETHING is THEIRS, as is the power to DO NOTHING.  AND DOING SOMETHING isn't about getting at 2%  body fat, or having a 6-pack, or some number on a scale. It's just DOING SOMETHING!  Something MORE than what they are doing.

Over the last 2 yrs, I have come to realize something.  I absolutely HATE my body.  Even while I can see my "ideal weight" in the distance.  I still have my Jelly Belly, a daily reminder of the SIX awesome kids, and their large heads, I have housed over the years, and on top of all that, I STILL have my tumors.

Losing over 100 pounds has been great.  I've worked VERY hard to do it, and I'm proud of it, but here's the thing....
(I'm a work in progress, so bear with me...)

Who am I looking up to? Who am I holding up on a pedestal to compare myself to?

This has a point....I promise.

I've since run across another mom.  A mom with a more...Let's say realistic point of view. Check her out here -Taryn Brumfitt hysterically drives the point home.  She also refers to Maria Kang, but in a different way. She got me to thinking, and, as you can tell, to writing. She focuses more on being fit 'enough', and balancing her time between herself and her children. That's a goal I can get behind. My kids need me, and while they need me healthy, certainly, if I'm always at the gym working on those six-pack abs, what does it matter how healthy I am, in my absence?

She's also less about the gym and weights approach than she is about aerobic exercise, being active, and being realistic about her eating. I love the "GET OFF THE COUCH...and MOVE" approach. Though I kickbox, and will be joining Planet Fitness later today (if only to get access to a treadmill and bike), I am much more of a "Let-me-help-you-off-the-couch-and hold-your-feet-while-you-do-some-sit-ups" type of girl.  I don't do HARDCORE and really hate the in-your-face Drill Sergeant type motivation. Though if it was Dolvett, I might soften on that...(*wink wink*)

After re-reading Maria Kangs post, I get her.  I get her message.  I even agree with her - to a point.  But reality is that women NEED real-life role models.

LOVING your body doesn't mean that body has to be perfect.

After all, MY reality is FAR different than Maria Kang's reality. I can relate with Taryn MUCH more than Maria, which means I am finding myself SMACK-DAB-IN-THE-MIDDLE.

I have come to realize that it's Okay to NOT have six-pack abs.  It's Okay to have a kid-created Jelly Belly...And enjoy a trip (or two) around the buffet counters - even ones with a chocolate fountain.

In a world where beauty is typically defined by Victoria Secret models, I needed a serious reality check. Thanks to Taryn Brumfitt AND Maria Kang, I got it.

I know for certain that I will NEVER look like Kang, or ANY of the Victoria Secret models....EVEN with plastic surgery....AND EVEN with 8 hours in a gym, locked-in with a top notch personal trainer.

I am Kristi Hopkins.  100 plus lbs down, and in my smallest jean size since junior high!! I still have jiggly thighs and that well-earned JELLY BELLY. Thanks to Nuerofibromatosis, I have tumors all over my body, as well as birth marks, freckles (what my 6 year daughter says "God's Kisses"), and I am FAR from what the world would call physically perfect.

I am ME. Imperfect.  But....Awesomely and Wonderfully made by God.  My challenge in December was to look in the mirror every morning and tell myself how much I loved my body. It was difficult. It occasionally led to tears. It's a challenge I will carry into 2014, until I get it right, and start truly loving my body again. All of it, for what God intended it to be - to embrace ALL of the imperfections that make up who I am.

To be that Thriving Girl - to Thrive with NF, with my kids, with my husband, with my life.

After all...Isn't that the whole point of THRIVING?

May 2014 bring you closer to your Thriving Life than ever before!