My name is Tramese “Missy” Byrd. I am an African American, LGBTQ, disabled Veteran. At the age of 18 I signed a Division One basketball scholarship to the United States Air Force Academy. The campus felt like home, until I started acting differently and did not know why. During my junior year I began having manic episodes of depression. I would act out with no explanation. I remember yelling, running away, sobbing, and hiding for no apparent reason. I stopped having my periods, the doctors told me it was stress. I began lactating, and having never had a child before, I could not comprehend it. I did not find out for months that I had a tumor
growing in my brain. I spent those months in constant fear.
I lost weight, developed a stutter, and for the life of me I could not bear to look anyone in the eye. I felt so wrong, so ashamed, I felt like I was going insane. I developed PTSD, anxiety and depression from those months of fear. The brain tumor essentially tricked my body into thinking it was pregnant. I lost my periods, and after my body assume that I “had my baby” I began to lactate. It was as if I was a pregnant cadet with twins trying to handle the already hectic stressors of military life. When I arrived at my next base, Joint Base Lewis McChord, my life changed. I was checking in to the new facilities and I met with my new primary care team. My doctor found my brain tumor in one 10-minute session with me. She did what no one in 8 months at the Academy could do, she saved me.
My doctor was able to dissipate my tumor with holistic practices. After retiring from the military, I continued this holistic path and began researching medical cannabis. I am 24 years old but my body is not. As a result of the trauma to my body during my military service I am a 100% disabled veteran. The chronic pain in my back was enough to keep me from enjoying everyday activities, and the headaches from the tumor kept me in dark insolation. I will be the first to admit that the negative stigma associated with cannabis made me very hesitant to try it. For this reason I am thankful to my tumor and my chronic pain, I needed them to convince me try cannabis despite the stigma.
When I first started taking medical cannabis, it honestly felt like a light had come on. Not only could I walk, I could run. Not only could I engage with the world again but with people! I dropped everything, packed a bag and went on an adventure. Since January 2018 I have been to 14 states, 4 countries. I am experiencing the life I thought the tumor had taken from me. The best part of this whole experience is my baby blazn. I realize now that I actually did have a baby back at the Academy. My company, blazn, is a direct result of how this tumor has shaped my life. blazn is a platform to educate the general population on the healing effects of medical cannabis. Many people are suffering from chronic pain, PTSD, anxiety and depression.Consistent relief is not only needed but deserved especially to those that have served our nation.There are many veterans that could benefit from the use of medical Cannabis. Apart from education and the legislation that surrounds cannabis our recreational platform has been created for the lifestyle cannabis consumer. For every activity and experience that one enjoys there is a strain, much like a wine paring to go with it.
My idea for blazn stemmed from the realization that we as a community of cannabis users do not have a platform to be ourselves. My health, my wellbeing, my overall
quality of life has been drastically increased by medical cannabis. I can travel alone, sky dive, run, I can hike to see the sunset without the pain in my body stopping me. I can do these things because with medical cannabis my body feels its age again. What if there was a platform for creative thought, and our unique passions, where we can not only learn about the healing effects of cannabis but take it one step further and pair strains to our own unique experiences? blazn is that platform.
Call to action: If you or someone that you know is a veteran and has a powerful story about how cannabis has increased their quality of life, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Office: WeWork SLU, Seattle
Personal Insta: @TrameseByrd
Blazn insta: @whatsblazn