I am a registered card holder and user of medical marijuana. My name is David Lewis, and I have chronic pain, depression and anxiety due to my service in the Vietnam War.
I am a fourth-generation Montanan and I am 68 years old. I use medical marijuana to manage medical issues that began after I returned home from Vietnam.
In 1969, I lived in South Vietnam and was a member of the Brown Water Navy squadron called VAL-4. My unit provided ground support to other troops. I returned to Montana in 1970 full of anger, hatred and herbicides. They sprayed Agent Orange within only two miles of us nine times.
In 2008, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs added ischemic heart disease to the list of Agent Orange illnesses. Strangely, that announcement made me feel better because now there was an explanation for the heart issues I had since returning home.
On Nov. 23, 1985, I had a heart attack at the age 37. Since that time, I have been in the cardio catheter lab a total of 16 times, have had over 20 angioplasties, 12 stents and one nuclear treatment. In 2005, I had five bypass grafts on my heart. That led to my chest being cut open four times in an attempt to rewire my sternum. Three out of four attempts failed.