Pete Davidson

Pete Davidson, Saturday Night Live Cast Member, Says He Uses Marijuana for Crohn's Disease

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If you use marijuana medicinally, you are in good company. Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson told High Times he smokes marijuana as a way of managing his Crohn’s disease.

“I found that the medicines that the doctors were prescribing me and seeing all these doctors and trying new things… Weed would be the only thing that would help me eat,” the 22-year-old comedian said. “My stomach would be in pain all day and I wouldn’t be able to eat, but then I’d smoke and I can eat and do my shows.”

Like many who use marijuana medicinally, Davidson said he gets offended when people call him a “pothead.” “I wouldn’t be able to do SNL if I didn’t smoke weed. I wouldn’t be able to do anything really. Me performing not high has gone awful. It’s awful for me because I don’t feel well.” (Editor’s note: It’s important to note that while Davidson refers to smoking marijuana as getting high, most people who use marijuana medicinally do not use it for its recreational effects.)

While Davidson admits to smoking marijuana for medicinal purposes, it is unlikely he uses medical marijuana. New York, where Davidson lives, legalized medical marijuana in 2014, and began opening dispensaries in late-December 2015. New York has some of the strictest medical marijuana regulations, only offering it for a small number of conditions, and while Crohn’s disease – a type of inflammatory bowel disease – qualifies for medical marijuana in New York, the state prohibits it from being sold in a smokeable form.

You can watch the full interview below.

The Mighty reached out to Pete Davidson for comment and did not hear back at the time of publication. 

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When an Ostomy Gives You a New Lease on Life

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Michael Osso is the President and CEO of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. This piece originally appeared on The Huffington Post.

Gaylyn is a daughter, a sister, and so much more. She works full-time and enjoys volunteering for local organizations, dancing, yoga, and reading. Gaylyn is a successful, happy, beautiful young woman. But what many don’t know is that she has an ostomy bag, making her one of  750,000 Americans living with an ostomy.

Gaylyn was diagnosed with an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) when she was 14 years old. The summer before she entered high school, she began experiencing intense abdominal pain, diarrhea, and significant weight loss. She went to her doctor and after some diagnostic tests was diagnosed with a severe case of Crohn’s disease — a painful, medically incurable disease that attacks the digestive system.

To treat her disease, Gaylyn’s doctor prescribed a regimen of corticosteroids, a biologic therapy, and an immunosuppressant. However, she became immunodeficient, developed shingles twice, and lost all of her hair. Despite these complications, she stayed on the medications for years, hoping they would start working and her pain might finally subside. After exhausting all medication options and living for a decade in excruciating pain, she needed surgery to regain some quality of life.

The road wasn’t an easy one. Between 2005 and 2011, Gaylyn had three surgeries to treat her disease, with the final one leaving her with a permanent ostomy. During that surgery, she had her colon and rectum removed and an ileostomy (surgically created hole) was created in her abdomen for the elimination of waste. “My quality of life improved, hope resurfaced, and something that I least expected to emerge from this surgery grew stronger — self-love,” Gaylyn said.

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Gaylyn showing off her ostomy

Despite the stigma surrounding having an ostomy, Gaylyn says that having her colon removed was the best thing that has happened to her. She is not alone in her sentiments — we hear frequently from patients who say that having an ostomy turned their life around. For example, Meg, a 23-year-old ulcerative colitis patient, says having an ostomy enabled her to “regain her independence.”

Diagnosed with ulcerative colitis when she was just two years old, Meg lived for 17 years with a j-pouch (an internal waste reservoir) before having it reversed in 2013 and turned into an ileostomy.

“Having a stoma has given me more freedom, confidence and opportunities in life that I didn’t have before. I still have my battles, but living with an ostomy bag gives me the tools to keep going,” said Meg.

As seen in the cases of Gaylyn and Meg, ostomies can alleviate debilitating pain caused by diseases like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, colon cancer, and more, and lessen the frequency of hospitalizations. The benefits of ileostomies, colostomies, urostomies, and more are plentiful; however, regardless of the positive impact on a patient’s quality of life, there is a significant stigma surrounding these life-saving devices.

People often speak negatively about them, perpetuating myths such as “people with ostomies smell,” “only old people have ostomies,” and “you can’t be physically active with an ostomy.” These myths couldn’t be farther from the truth, and perpetuating them can be extremely harmful and isolating to the patients who are already benefiting from an ostomy.

October 1 is World Ostomy Day — I encourage everyone to use this day to raise awareness about all types of ostomies and combat the misinformation and stigma that exists by showing that having an ostomy is not an end, but rather a new lease on life.

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I’m Waiting for My ‘Can’ts’ to Become ‘Cans’ Again

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I had a successful year with my Crohn’s disease after rebounding from a year that was filled with ostomies, surgery, ICU and intubation. I could “get up and go” whenever I wanted. I didn’t have to worry about going out and having “an accident” or “having a flare.” But I took my one year of being pain free for granted.

Can’t wasn’t in my vocabulary. Now it seems to be the only word I know.

I’m in that horrendous medical limbo where no one can pinpoint what’s wrong. My colon is full of inflammation and needs to be removed, but if that happens, I will only have my small intestine for the rest of my days. Family members have offered their colon to me in hopes it would help, but it wouldn’t be beneficial.

I’m also making the transition from the “kids world” to the “adult world.” I had been told this day was coming, but I never believed they’d actually do it to me. They wouldn’t just kick me out. (Spoiler: They did.) I had nine years invested in the children’s hospital.

I try my best to function the best I know how, but it seems like every plan I make, the word “can’t” always finds its way into my life.

I make plans with old friends — weeks in advance — then two days prior to the event, I find myself sending a text saying I can’t get out of bed.

I plan to participate in local pageants. I pay the fee, buy my outfits and then I find myself messaging the director saying I can’t participate because I’m in the hospital.

I do something simple like plan to eat dinner with my boyfriend, but then I find myself pushing the plate back and saying I can’t because I’ve spent all day on the toilet and food won’t help.

Always backing out makes me feel horrible and “flaky,” but thankfully, I’m surrounded by such a phenomenal support system. They just “get me.”

The lesson?

They won’t last forever. As my family always says: “Right now, you’re in the valley. The trip up the hill may not be beautiful, but once you reach the top of the hill, the view is great.” Soon my “cant’s” will become “cans” again, and it will be ever so sweet when they do. 

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'The Snackcident': My Pitch for (Another) HBO Show About Sick Girls

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I just binge-watched all five seasons so far of HBO’s “Girls,” so spoiler alert, just in general to everyone in my proximity at any time. It’s permeated the fabric of my thinking almost to the level of “The Simpsons” or “Seinfeld,” in that every situation that arises in real life (or every idea I have for a TV show, as “South Park” bemoaned) reminds me of something I already saw Hannah Horvath or Shoshanna Shapiro do.

Some of the funniest parts of “Girls” are scenes about deeply personal or embarrassing health issues like STDs, self-bludgeoned eardrums, and job-jeopardizing OCD. These are serious and legitimate health issues that deserve attention (even the eardrum — “nothing smaller than an elbow!”). But none of the major characters really have known non-psychological chronic health issues. I think that makes sense because of its small sample size. Outside of my CCFA support group, I hardly knew any people my age with major medical issues till I was in my 30s – or, probably more accurately, I didn’t know I knew any.

In real life, “Girls” creator Lena Dunham has endometriosis and adenomyosis (as do I), but stated in her book, “Not That Kind of Girl,” that “early on, I made a promise to myself never to use menstruation as a comic crutch or a narrative device in my work. Never to commiserate in a group about which pills actually take care of cramps. Never to say anything but ‘I have a stomachache.’ And I do.”

I understand Dunham’s stance on this without her spelling it out, and I struggle to explain it beyond giving examples like she did. I groan at just the thought of “Menopause: The Musical” and all the tired clichés it must invoke, jokes involving hot flashes or vanished libido. I squirm when a woman tries to force emotional intimacy by sassing over how we gals have it so tough and the men should be required to serve us strawberry daiquiris and fan us with banana leaves while we watch Lifetime movies with our feet propped up (even though cocktails and TV melodramas sounds amazing). And I also recognize that, although it’s unfair how our moods crash and our bodies gush and our pain levels spike once a month, promoting special treatment for these differences is the kind of thing that fuels comments about how it’s irresponsible to elect a woman president because what if that special red phone starts flashing and she has to decide whether to drop nukes while she’s on the rag? 

But is this a comedic rule of illness in general or just of “female” illness? I think it’s a rule of embarrassing illnesses in general. Lady-troubles humor and butt-chaos jokes have in common that some people think any mention of them is outrageously funny because it’s taboo or gross or naughty. While I happen to feel that these topics – most topics – can be funny, being icky or NSFW is not sufficient in and of itself for humor to take place. Diarrhea noises and exclamations of “it must’ve been the Mexican food!” aren’t funny; they’re just lazy and well-worn and boring.

So, what if Shoshanna had Crohn’s? Dunham goes on in her book to explain her gynecologic issues in a way that is funny because it’s matter-of-fact, detailed, candid and relatable. Crohn’s can be “funny,” too, in this gallows-humor kind of way. Like how actual medical professionals have asked so many of us whether Crohn’s is contagious. Or how one friendly young nurse confided in me that her heart wasn’t really in her current occupation and she really shouldn’t have dropped out of her grad program in English – right before she administered me anesthesia. Or a private-school-educated doctor who teased me (after having just met me, blood still crusted on my abdomen after a major surgery, and withdrawing from sweet, sweet IV morphine) for going to a “party school” for college (while not inaccurate, I prefer the term “happiness school”). 

How many people have told us in an offhand way that “oh, I knew someone with Crohn’s,” but followed with an awkward “she, uh, ended up dying”? Not as many as have tried to force-feed me info on IBD “cures” including ionized water, organ meat, special toothpaste and grapes. How many people have called me scared that they have Crohn’s (aka “scared that they might have to live my life”), then call me breathlessly relieved the next week that thank God they just had food poisoning, OK bye!

In my 20s, having Crohn’s meant pretending not to. The night before my first small-bowel follow-through (which starts with drinking a liter of strawberry-scented pulverized rock that seems just like radioactive chilled Elmer’s glue, while your throat rightly tries to vurp up every gulp), my roommate somewhat inconveniently threw a rowdy rugby-team party at our apartment. And all I did to adapt for the test was make sure I finished my last tequila shot before midnight. If I was ever awake at 11 a.m. in college, it was either to go back home to nap after an 8 a.m. class, or to down a few beers before kickoff (go Dawgs). And the 24-hour Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin Robbins was a near-daily appointment, unless I responsibly planned ahead and bought extra croissants and munchkins for the next morning. Hence the college happiness.

But in your 30s, things can fall apart, and someone like me who has been falling apart since my 20s finally has some company and camaraderie. It’s like Nick the recovering heroin addict in AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead” – Nick has felt adrift and disenchanted with the structured adult world for years now and already had to scrap his way through each day to survive. So now the big change for him is not that there are zombies (walkers/roamers/biters/floaters), but that the rest of the world is now lost and struggling along with him. In fact, he’s got the advantage of a head start.

So since I got a jump on this illness thing, I’ll be a voice of a generation of sick ladies, and start my own HBO show, called “Ladies,” or “Thirties,” or “More Like Hurties” or “Hurty Thirties.” Or “All the Sick-le Ladies” (that could actually work for a reality show on just women with sickle cell anemia — called it, that’s mine; dibs on T-Boz, too). 

Until then, HBO’s “The Sopranos” character Adriana La Cerva will have to be TV’s reigning face of IBD. Adriana’s gastroenterologist told her she’d soon look like Jerry Lewis from all the steroids, and her fiancée Christopher Moltisanti’s best joke he could muster was “my smelly Valentine.” Which is pathetically unfunny, and so then kind of makes its way back around to being funny again, just like the things we’re used to dealing with. 

Follow this journey on KatieMcLendon.com.

Image: Screenshot from HBO’s “Girls”

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Married With an Ostomy: The Day I Wish My 13-Year-Old Self Could See

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They never really came out and said it, but I’m pretty sure my parents thought I was destined to be a spinster.

I had problems making friends when I was younger, and being stuck in the hospital with Crohn’s disease for two years didn’t help. It also didn’t help that after ostomy surgery I was overweight from steroid medication and awkward from having been isolated for so long. I was the easy target for the teenage boys to make fun of, not to date. I didn’t have boyfriends like my friends did. I was the “single” girl in my group of friends.

My dad would always ask me, “When are you bringing a boy home?”

“Ugh,” I would think to myself and roll my eyes at him.

I’m pretty sure my parents thought my ostomy was the reason I wasn’t bringing boys home.

I think that it was actually one of the biggest fears they had when deciding if I should have surgery. Would Jessica be able to find love with a bag on her body? Would men find her gross? Would she be comfortable enough with herself to be open to love? I think they thought all those things. At least, I thought they thought those things.

Well, I can tell you that me not bringing boys home was not because of the bag.

Not dating in my teenage years was 100 percent the product of me being the most awkward and self-conscious* human being on the planet and not at all because of my ostomy. As soon as I escaped my awkward and strange teenage years, I had no problems dating. None.

*To be clear: self-conscious due to my weight and looks, not at all because of my ostomy.

Yeah, yeah, I say this all the time — I can do anything anyone with a full set of intestines can do! And it’s true! Finding love, however, was the one that always kind of had me worried.

For those who have followed me throughout the soap opera that was my love life, you know that dating with an ostomy wasn’t a problem.

OK, scratch that — finding boys to date was never a problem. Dating was a “pain in the butt that I don’t use,” because the boys were sometimes jerks. Oh, and them being jerks had nothing to do with my ostomy and everything to do with them just being immature young men. Dating sucked until I found Matt, the perfect match for me. We dated, we moved in together, and then we got engaged.

Holy crap, we got engaged.

portrait of bride and groom looking at each other

You know how most little girls spend years and years dreaming about their wedding day? I did all that, up until I got sick. I stopped, thinking it would never happen for me.

Until, well, about one year ago when all the things that have to do with weddings overwhelmed my entire existence — date, venue, food, drinks, invites, decorations… and, suddenly, I began to worry things that I hadn’t worried about in over 10 years:

Would my Crohn’s act up from all the wedding stress? (Even though work stresses me out every day.)

Would I have an ostomy leak during the reception? (Even thought it rarely ever happens to me.)

How would I get to the bathroom multiple times throughout the evening in what will surely be an extravagant dress as only I would wear? (Even though I hadn’t even picked my dress.)

What would I even be able to wear? Could I even wear a real wedding dress?  I didn’t know.

I don’t know what it was about the idea of a wedding, but I have not worried about how to dress with an ostomy, bathroom usage or leaks since I was 15, but here I was, worrying about it all over again.

I was suddenly aware of exactly how worrisome and life-altering an ostomy can be. I was reminded of how all-consuming an ostomy can be.  It worried me that the most important day of my life would be ruined by the very thing that saved it.

I had forgotten, to be honest.

Thankfully, careful planning and attention made the day go off without a hitch and I can finally take that list called “things I thought I might not be able to do with an ostomy bag” and check off something new:

Getting married.

I didn’t get sick, even with the extra stress, I was able to keep my ostomy in check, I had the most amazing group of women to keep me going…

And I got to wear the (tightest, most form-fitting) dress of my dreams.

With.

An.

Ostomy.

photo of woman wearing robe and photo of her wearing a wedding gown

Looking back, I don’t know what I was so worried about. I go through every single day with an ostomy without any problems! This was just a good reminder not to take anything for granted.

It’s funny, because at some point during the reception speeches, it was said: If 13-year-old Jessica could be here now, she wouldn’t believe it was happening. 

After all, without my ostomy, this day would never have happened.

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How My Therapy Pet Helps Me Cope With My Crohn’s Disease

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After being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at the young age of 9, I was given two choices: See a psychiatrist or get a therapy pet. At the time, my mom was strictly against all animals, especially animals in the house, so I went to my first appointment with a psychiatrist.

The appointment was a total bust.

I am quiet as it is, and I don’t like to talk about things that upset me, so I didn’t see myself opening up to a psychiatrist. I didn’t get a pet, and I didn’t go back to counseling. I attempted to cope on my own.

Fast forward five years, I wasn’t in remission and was falling deep into depression and overwhelmed with anxiety. I was so overwhelmed and didn’t know how I was going to continue to cope with my disease on my own.

Then I met Nina.

I am beyond thankful that Nina came into my life when she did. Nina is a border collie, and I am convinced she has a motherly instinct when it comes to me. She can sense I am going to have a flare days before it happens. She helps me with daily tasks, such as walking down the steps, she stays at my side, she listens to me when I am upset and she is honestly my best friend. I couldn’t have asked for a better dog.

If I could say anything to friends with a chronic illness, it would be to get a therapy pet. The joy Nina has brought me cannot be matched. She’s increased my physical activity because it’s important for her to walk daily. She helps me cope with my disease, she’s shown me what a true companion is and she’s taught me more about friendship than any friend I’ve ever had.

My therapy pet not only saved my life, but she continues to make my life better.

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