Chronic pain adventures
I have always been sensitive to pain, but it became profoundly worse just before I got pregnant 5 years ago. There have been multiple tests done over the years but no one could tell me why the pain was getting worse, why I started having tremors, why I couldn’t sleep at night why that when I drink out of a cup or a glass, the liquid pours right out of the corner of my mouth or why here and there I have started to stutter ever so slightly. I would just receive painkillers of all sorts. But now I feel that we are close to a diagnosis. I pray and hope that we are at least.
My stomach couldn’t handle all the pain killers that it needed to digest and so as I am writing to you, I am starting a new trial pain treatment for people with severe chronic pain. I am lying in a bed, I can see my happy place through the window at a distance. I cannot really see the letters clearly but the yellow and blue are still very visible throughout the drops on the window. Can you guess which store it is, my materialistic happy place? Hehe.
I am typing slowly and with much caution because I have a needle sticking in my hand, not liking it. I’ve decided that I better wear sweat pants next time because you try doing up jeans with a needle sticking in your hand, not fun. There are also some wires in the way, they will be monitoring my heart. I’m not alone, people are coming and going, many who look much older than me, but one or two must be in their 20’s…pretty sad when you think of it. But the atmosphere here is not heavy. On the contrary, the nurses are constantly talking, I hear them talking about future vacation trips, talking about their children. The other patients are not shy either. It’s actually quite pleasant.
Besides for the needle sticking in my hand.
In my experience of chronic pain, the most persistent emotional response is a discouragement. I can eat healthy foods, take vitamins, get regular exercise(hahaha), sleep nine or ten hours—and still wake up tired, stiff, and sore. The emotional toll of the physical symptoms is immeasurable but’s that’s where my faith makes me stronger and I’ve realized that it’s become a crucial part of my daily dependence on God. Don’t get my wrong, I’ve had heated conversations with God, I even realized that I was angry with Him. Why did He not chose to save me from the events in my life? I mean, common, honestly. f you knew me you would agree that the things that I have experienced in my life would be great material for a movie/tv script.
The past again
I was angry because He had caused a lot of painful things to happen in my life, and I couldn’t understand what He was doing. Every plan I had for my future had been whisked away in one blow. I felt like I was treading water in the middle of a vast, dark ocean. Even worse, I was trying to reconcile the bad things that had happened in my life with the picture of the good and loving God I had always been taught. It seemed only pain had come from following Him. I’d felt deep loneliness since my husband went away. I felt even more lonely stuck at home day after day, unable to explain to my friends what had happened to me. Plus, I was desperate for answers that doctors were unable to give mine about my physical pain. They would just link it to my emotional pain.
And so one day, as I sat on my bedroom floor feeling worn, defeated and paralyzed by physical and emotional pain I yelled at God. I cried, and I yelled. I accused him of causing all my pain, and eventually, I had nothing left. No tears, nothing more to say, just a broken body and spirit on a bedroom floor. It was His turn to talk.
God does not cause my pain, but He will make all things work together for good. It’s His promise.
With the eye of faith, I saw Christ on the cross. God, in a human body, taking on physical pain far greater than my own. Thorns in his head, blood dripping down his face, nails in his hands and feet, love in his face. I felt his pain in my own body, the pain in my muscles and back intensifying as I looked at him. But I also felt him holding me like a child.
I knew in my heart at that moment that nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:39). I was completely overwhelmed with the knowledge that my God not only knows what’s wrong with my body even when no human doctor does, he also knows my physical pain more intimately than anyone else ever could. The loneliness of suffering and the frustration of not having answers were taken away in an instant. I felt a physical burden lifted from my body and my heart.
Until that moment, I had never understood the relevance of Christ’s death on the cross to the details of my daily life, my pains and my joys. Only in the light of the cross could I make sense of my own suffering. This reminder is the positive result of my pain. In moments when I feel overwhelmed, I remember Calvary. I thank God for the precious gift of my salvation because on some (small!) level I have begun to understand the cost of my salvation.
Chronic pain is a constant reminder that my life is not my own; it has been bought with a price.
A note for those of you who do not agree with what I am writing here, my dear friends and loved ones, faith and belief constitute a journey. It’s a very personal journey and one each human experiences, whether you know you are traveling or not. To have faith in a power greater than yourself or not to have faith; these are choices. As part of the free will we are given when we are born, we can choose to believe or we can choose to think it’s all baloney.