Sherri Tutkus is the founder and CEO of GreenNurse Group, Nursing Director at Irie Bliss Wellness and host of GreenNurse on the Go Radio Show. Sherri is a cannabis nurse, patient and advocate. She earned her Bachelors in Science and Nursing from Boston College. She is highly skilled Registered Nurse with 30 years’ practical experience in various departments within the hospital and home setting. She is utilizing her expert nursing skills as a medical center specialist, clinical nurse liaison and educator to bridge the gap between patients and the cannabis community. Sherri has been educating and implementing holistic integrative healing modalities within her practice for over 20 years. She educates on the endocannabinoid system and the safe utilization of cannabis at dispensaries, hospitals, clinics, patients homes and she regularly does pop up events, seminars and expos. Sherri is an international speaker and she has contributed to the writing of the first cannabis nursing textbook with her cannabis nurse colleagues that will be available in nursing schools across the country. Sherri is a member of the American Cannabis Nurses Association and founding member of The Cannabis Nurses Network and was nominated as one of two nurses for “Health Professional of the Year” for the 2020 New England Cannabis Convention. Sherri brings passion and purpose to her work teaching bio-psycho-social-spiritual healing using cannabis as a tool.
In this episode, Sherri shares from the annals of intensely personal experience detailing how her entire life went from one of a busy full time nurse, working in hospitals in Boston, single mother of three to becoming completely bedridden, dependent on others for care. She states,
“I’m going to be a little bit transparent today. I think it’ll be really helpful to talk from my own personal perspective in working with cannabinoid therapeutics and mental health in regards to my own mental health. So before I got sick in 2012 I had a history of migraines and ADHD-attention deficit disorder. Both of those were managed very well with medications, working full time as a nurse in the big teaching hospitals in Boston, three kids. I was highly functioning. When I took a hit from eating a bacteria while I was working I ended up in the intensive care unit, with a mega colon, an infectious disease, and it was really bad. So I got sick in 2012, took a hit to my gut. I went from high functioning to not functioning at all”
From here Sherri lays out the journey back and how a fellow nurse at a particularly low point after she’d been put on 16 pharmaceuticals and was “circling the drain of despair”, encouraged her to try cannabis as medicine.
“I was on the other side of the bed, like in a really big bad way, all of a sudden I’m the patient and having to advocate for myself. So not only was it the physical issues that I had, but I also had to deal with the system, the system that I worked in, how is that going to affect my mental health and how are they going to take care of me? The trauma that I experienced from this illness is so overwhelming high functioning to not functioning, home- bed bound in the hospital- couldn’t take care of my kids -could barely eat. I’m just gonna say it like it is explosive diarrhea, and nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, pooping your pants in public. So you can see how literally I can talk about anything. From running around the block naked to talking about poop and stuff that comes out your bum. I was so mortified, horrified that I had this gastrointestinal illness that was debilitating, complete loss of control, it was horrible. And then the issues with eating and being able to take in food. So that spiraled into, mental health issues, the developing anxiety and the depression. And over time, I wasn’t getting better. I had agoraphobia, I was afraid to leave.”
And I’m going to tell you too, and this is the part of trauma that I’m really trying to help patients with now, when I’m working with them because I’ve been there. You know, I’ve been there. I call it medical trauma. And Pharmaceutical trauma.
It was cannabinoid therapeutics that came into my life that really made the significant impactful change, that allowed everything that wasn’t working to start working again and actually allowed me to start processing information from a different place because I was pulled out of the story of the sickness, the story or the trajectory of sickness. an illness. You know, it was the cannabinoids that actually opened the door that allowed everything that wasn’t working to start working again.”
I was utilizing all of the other tools that existed. The traditional system, the holistic system, the functional integrative system, acupuncture, chiropractor, essential oils, homeopathy, you name it, and none of it worked. Why? Because my endocannabinoid system was completely 100% deficient. I was not ma