Thursday, April 25, 2013

OUCH... it hurts!

I have been sick since January.  It started with the flu and turned into something else entirely.  Stomach pain, chest pains, reflux issues, etc…  I went to the ER not wanting to take any chances of sending my autoimmune disease into a flare-up.  Yes, I have an autoimmune disease.  It’s called Myasthenia Gravis and it causes extreme muscle weakness all over my body in it’s worst moments.  Currently it is moving into remission after seven years of struggling with it.  I have had many ups and downs with this thing.  Let’s just say my life has been unpredictable daily.  I have had to learn to go with the flow and become flexible which is NOT my personality at all.

My visit to the ER led to a trail of referrals to various doctors and multiple tests.  Each appointment or test was delayed by scheduling dragging this whole process out for four months. During this time my symptoms only got worse while the pain increased  (I have been sick for practically my entire semester at Ivy Tech).  Finally after all of this time, my last visit was with a surgeon who concluded that we needed to remove my gallbladder.
It’s finally gone!  I had my gallbladder removed and I am recovering.  I am still in pain, but it is a different kind of pain.  It’s a healing pain which means things will only get better.  The pain will lessen each day and hopefully eventually go away completely.  Yay!  I can’t wait.  Being in pain is very distracting to say the least.  Most people had no idea I was in pain.  Not that I hide it well, but I have a high pain tollerance.  I can do a lot of things by pushing through the pain, but when it comes to really focusing on something… it doesn’t work so well.

Pain is relative.  It affects everyone differently.  I have a high pain tolerance so I can take or withstand more pain than most for extended periods of time.  My husband and one of my sons however have lower pain limitations.  Our pain threshhold is the amount of tolerance we have to endure and push through unavoidable feelings of discomfort.
I have experienced many different kinds of pain in my lifetime as I am sure you have as well.  Pain transcends all barriers.  It has no boundaries.  It touches all genders, races, ages, and cultures.   It is a taste we all must experience. Pain can manifest itself in different forms in our lives.  Heartache from a broken relationship, a scratch on a knee from a fall, facing circumstances beyond our control, the death of a loved one, divorce, feelings of rejection, miscarriage, lost dreams, suffering from disease or sickness, feelings of failure, dealing with a dysfunctional family, the list could go on. No one is exempt from pain.  It touches us all.  It is how we choose to face that pain that makes all of the difference.

Recently I attended a womens’ retreat where I met an incredible woman who has faced a lot of pain in her lifetime. She married a man who has had his own share of pain.  Her story is amazing…. SO amazing I bought a book about her life.  It is called, “Call it Incredible” by Mark Nichols Sims.  This is what it shares about the book on the cover… The "incredible" true story of God's plan unfolding in the lives of two people who, though on opposite sides of the world, are brought together for a powerful purpose.  At the retreat she shared that a contract was just signed to make the book a movie by the same people who brought us Courageous, Fireproof, and Facing the Giants.  That is one movie I DO NOT want to miss.  Stories of real life people who press forward through their pain are inspiring.  They help us see that we are not alone and we can and will make it through to the other side if we keep pushing forward.

Pain is something we will all face at some point in our lives.  It is how we face that pain that determines the course of our future.  Pain can be a tool when laid in the hands of God used to shape our lives.  I remember when I was pregnant going to Lamaze classes with my husband.  They shared with us there various methods of how we could work through our pain. Inevitably we were all going to face it at some point so we needed to be ready.  Some would choose medicine to alleviate their pain; others would push through panting calmly a rehearsed process of pain control; while some would leave all their training behind and face it head on violently.  I am speaking of course in this instant of physical pain, but some of us face other types of pain the same way.

In dealing with my autoimmune disease and all of its countless symptoms as well as side-effects, I have learned various methods of coping that has helped me.  My main source of comfort has been giving it all to God.  I talk to him about my problems and He listens to me.  I have also held on to specific scriptures in the Bible that have encouraged me.  One of my favorites has been…

 “I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength.”  

Philippians 4:13 (NCV)

God gives me strength when I need it most to push forward.  He helps me endure no matter what pain I am facing; physical pain, emotional scars from past hurts, wounding present offenses, or overwhelming circumstances that weigh me down.  God has continued to be faithful to me no matter what.  Another coping method that has been helpful for me to manage the pain has been music.  The song below is one that I played over and over again for encouragement on my bad days.  I have included the lyrics for you to see, as well as a video I played once when sharing my story with a group of ladies.  The words of the song and the video are powerful!

by Laura Story

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It's not our home

'Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

 Click below here to watch the video I mentioned.  It will take you to an old blog post of mine with the video attached.  Enjoy!

We will all face some kind of pain in our lifetime.  It is how we choose to deal with that pain that makes all of the difference.  Don’t face your pain alone.  Enlist friends to come alongside of you to help you push through.  You are not alone.  Pain when placed in the hands of God can create something beautiful.  You are a work of art in the making.  Give God the paint brush and allow Him to work His wonders as He creates a masterpiece with YOU. 

Living to leave a legacy,