By Mark Heinrich
Introduction from Mark Heinrich
I have the pleasure of introducing TY readers to a most courageous young man called Preston. I have been following Preston’s case for some time now, after seeing an amazing video on YouTube where this young man spoke out about Tourette’s and his use of cannabis to treat it.
That video is here – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vlki3GpFsdI It was very confronting to view and it struck a chord with me.
Preston’s Tourette’s is quite bad. It impacts in all aspects of his life, yet you would not know it as the kid is bubbly and bright, with a real passion about his use of cannabis to treat his symptoms. I urged Preston to document his ill- ness, and also to expand on his videos at Youtube.com so that others could learn from his experiences. He has gone and done that. BRAVO PRESTON!
Many people are unkind and laugh at folks with Tourette’s. I know that after you read Preston’s story, you will be standing and applauding this brave young man.
My name is Preston Desue. I am nineteen years old, and I suffer from Tourette’s Syndrome.
At 11 years of age my first bout of tics started when I was at a youth center. They were having a party for anyone who wanted to attend. How it started was – I was just sit- ting at a table and someone came up to me, I don’t remem- ber who talked to me, but I remember after words. Everyone was somewhat freaking out; about what, I was not sure of at the time.
I was taken to the hospital
and eventually I was diagnosed with
motor tics. It was only the muscle fibers ticing the first time. After that it changed
into motor tics, but was not disabling.
The tics manifested before bed time as head jerks and arm rising.
The tics became a bigger
problem in the 8th grade. It was
after we had moved
to Tennessee a few months into enrolling
I was in class and my arm was rising over and over. I knew it was a motor tic since I had them before. After that the tics started changing. I started standing up, clapping and stomping repeatedly, all at once. Sometimes the tics made me jump out my chair while at other times it made me throw stuff. Other times it was just clapping over and over. It caused me a great deal of pain in my hands.
When I went to the doctor to see if I could get some med- icine, I was prescribed Zoloft. The medicine had no effect on my tics and caused extreme dizziness to the point I passed out when walking. I discontinued usage. We were planning on trying another medicine but the tics died on their own, and then turned back into minor motor tics. The second time I had a bout of tics I did not know it was tics. I would stutter constantly. That is a form of Palilalia. I assumed it was just because I got really nervous. At the time I did not know of this form of tic.
The next time I had a tic bout was in the 12th grade. It started with neck jerking and eye blinking. The tics start- ed changing and getting stronger. The neck jerking and eye blinking became stronger, causing a lot of immense pain in my eyes, neck and shoulders; the only thing I have to help the pain is to get massages. I also started symptoms of coprolalia, saying words like shit and fuck. The tics became so bad I had to become homebound from my school, only going one day a week. I was luckily able to graduate school in time.
I tried again to find some medicine that could ease my tics and bring me some relief, but none of the medicine worked. They would either make me sick or have no effect.
How I found Cannabis worked through all this – I was smoking with some friends and just noticed I was not tic- ing any more. I was not sure at the time what made it stop but assumed it was the Cannabis.
So I waited until the next day when I was ticing again, and smoked some more Cannabis. The tics went away, and it was an almost instant effect! I was instantly over joyed and told my mother.
After that, I stopped searching for treatment since the other medicines, Tenex, Haladol and Orap, had no to ill side effects on me.
The kinds of tics I have, started to become quite self-inju- rious and severe. I have started punching myself in dif- ferent parts of my body, from chest to legs to face and head. I punch walls, cabinets and whatever else is near. I have also banged my head against the wall a few times. As well I started biting my arms and heading walls and such. It causes me great deal of pain in my arms and makes it hard to pick up objects.
The coprolalia has increased as well, to saying several curse words and phrases: while the coproprxia, or ticing lewd gestures, increased and became worse. I have echolalia and echopraxia, or echoing people’s words and actions, as well as palaila and palaprxia. All forms have gotten worse.
Motor tics I have range from cart wheeling and running, to giving the finger and other lewd gestures. Without being able to smoke Cannabis, the tics become so severe that I am in so much pain I cannot walk or even leave the house. I become scared to do my laundry since my wash- er and dryer is located downstairs, and I fear slipping in my shower and hurting myself. I have difficulties fulfill- ing my hygienic needs, like brushing my teeth and cloth- ing myself.
The only able time I get relief from my tics without the use of Cannabis is when I am sleeping or during the week when my tics wane. After that, my tics will increase and change, with new tics being added and old tics being sub- tracted.
It is only because of Cannabis I have some kind of normality to my life and am able to function as well as I do now.
Tourette syndrome (also called Tourette’s syndrome, Tourette’s disorder, Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, GTS or, more commonly, sim- ply Tourette’s or TS) is an inherited neuropsychiatric disorder with onset in childhood, characterized by multiple physical (motor) tics and at least one vocal (phonic) tic; these tics characteristically wax and wane. Tourette’s is defined as part of a spectrum of tic disorders, which includes transient and chronic tics.
Tourette’s was once considered a rare and bizarre syndrome, most often associated with the excla- mation of obscene words or socially inappropriate and derogatory remarks (coprolalia), but this symptom is present in only a small minority of people with Tourette’s. Tourette’s is no longer considered a rare condition, but it may not always be correctly identified because most cases are clas- sified as mild. Between 1 and 10 children per 1,000 have Tourette’s; as many as 10 per 1,000 people may have tic disorders, with the more common tics of eye blinking, coughing, throat clearing, sniffing, and facial movements. Tourette’s does not adversely affect intelligence or life expectancy. The severity of the tics decreases for most children as they pass through adoles- cence, and extreme Tourette’s in adulthood is a rarity. Notable individuals with Tourette’s are found in all walks of life.
Genetic and environmental factors play a role in the etiology of Tourette’s, but the exact causes are unknown. In most cases, medication is unneces- sary. There is no effective medication for every case of tics, but there are medications and thera- pies that can help when their use is warranted. Explanation and reassurance alone are often suffi- cient treatment; education is an important part of any treatment plan.
The eponym was bestowed by Jean-Martin Charcot (1825–1893) on behalf of his resident, Georges Albert Édouard Brutus Gilles de la Tourette (1859–1904), a French physician and neurologist, who published an account of nine patients with Tourette’s in 1885.