Alternative options need to be taken seriously
BEFORE cluster headaches, my wife and I trusted the system.
We believed government policies on health were curing people. That was before my wife suffered cluster headaches.
It took four years for her to be correctly diagnosed.
With every medication came a host of side effects - depression, weight gain, isolation, suicidal thoughts and cruelly, migraines.
Still, we had faith and believed the specialists and neurologists who said they would "stop at nothing" to find a cure.
Then, inevitably, they gave up or suggested psychotherapy.
After one last let-down earlier this year, we hopped a plane - an incredible feat of courage and stamina for a cluster patient - and flew to Canada, a country that has boasted medicinal cannabis for nearly 20 years and actually wants to help people with some of the most painful conditions regain quality of life.
Three months later and back home, my partner is taking part in a THC/CBD medicinal cannabis trial for chronic pain. It is no cure but grants her some OK moments instead of never-ending dread and searing pain.
It is an amazing plant. More research is needed into alternative medicines such as cannabis, LSD and psilocybin - currently trialled at Yale and Johns Hopkins in the US and Melbourne's St Vincent's Hospital - so our aspirational nation that brought the world cochlear implants, medicinal penicillin and electronic pace makers can grant those living in pain a life worth living.