Living With Disabilities


I recently came across an article titled “6 Things About Chronic Pain You Didn’t Know You Knew“.  While reading I thought, “This is a fairly accurate description of my life for the past 12 years”.

I have 4 different types of arthritis: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, fibromyalgia and several old injuries from indiscretions of youth, including a few spinal injuries. On a scale of 1 – 10 with 10 being the highest, my average daily pain level is between 3 – 4. Then there are times like this past week after my back went out again, the pain jumps up to 15+.

Trips to the ER bring cocktails of morphine and valium which zonk me out for a day or 2, and usually makes me sick. Chiropractors won’t touch me anymore because of the degeneration of my spine, and the latest physicians recommended surgeries only give a 40% chance of success.

So I use exercise, diet, homeopathic and herbal remedies of every kind, along with massage and pain pills, hot and cold packs, and rest. But mostly, I pray.

I pray for strength, healing, courage, and determination. I pray for a cure, to end the suffering. I pray for miracles, and I give praise and thanks for the good days and the mobility I have left. I also ask to be used as a blessing to others, in sharing hope and encouragement. That’s one of the main reasons I created this blog.

When my lower back went out last week, it caused immediate waves of intense pain which dropped me to my knees. I knew what was coming next, as I’ve been through this before. The spasms started just above my left hip and radiated in every direction from there, with the muscles playing a sort of tug-of-war with my spine. As I started to feel somewhat dizzy and sick, I cried out and began to pray.

In times of intense pain, I’ve noticed my prayers also become intense. In between the short gasps for air were short cries of “Dear Jesus”, “please, no”, and “help me”.

Eventually, with the help of my 11 year old son and a cane, I was able to get to my recliner and got seated. After getting an ice pack on my spine and taking a muscle relaxer and pain pill, I cried. And I prayed hard. Once the valium took effect, I drifted off to sleep for about an hour.

In the past when my back has gone out like this, after about 3 days it starts feeling a little better. This time was different. For one thing, there was some slight paralysis in my legs. And the muscle spasms were pretty constant, continuing to cause waves of pain through my spine, hips and legs.

Since I had run out of muscle relaxers and the only pain pills I had left were ibuprofen, there was not much relief from the pain and I couldn’t move very much. But from the lack of movement, stiffness began to increase throughout my entire body, causing even more discomfort. I continued using ice packs and heating pads, and generic arthritis rubs, which did bring some short term relief.

All in all, the whole situation caused a lot of stress, discouragement and fear. Thoughts were racing through my foggy mind of “what if” situations. Things like “what if I become fully paralyzed”? Or “what if the pain doesn’t go away”?

Since I couldn’t do much of anything else, I did a lot of reading from the bible. And as my mind was drawn to the subject of suffering, I decided to read the book of Job. It definitely gave me a different perspective on the subject. For one thing, it made me quit feeling so sorry for myself.

I also read from the New Testament, several passages regarding suffering for the cause of Christ and how it should be considered a blessing and privilege. (2 Corinthians 1:5, James 5:10-11, 1 Peter 4:12-13, Philippians 4:11-13) I know that those references were more along the lines of suffering from persecution, and that is not what my suffering comes from. But still, pain is pain, regardless of what is causing it.

While I was reading these scriptures, I remembered when I had read them before, and how I admired these people for their courage and commitment. I thought about how I would respond to being tortured for Jesus’ sake. I thought, “I could handle it” (referring to being put to death by stoning or beheading). I’ve always been tough and stoic, and able to handle all sorts of different types of pain and injuries, in the past.

But in dealing with this current episode with my back, I found myself pleading, “Either cure me, or kill me! I can’t handle this pain anymore.” That’s when I realized that even though I may not be facing persecution in the ways of the apostles, I am facing persecution, of pain. That’s why I could identify so well with the description in the article about chronic pain. I knew that there was no way possible that I could deal with that intense pain, not on my own. I remembered the bible promises that God will never leave or forsake me. And though there may be times when I feel alone, if I start to pray with my whole heart, I can feel His presence with me.

It’s been over a week now since my back went out, and I’m happy to report that I am slowly regaining movement and feeling. There is still pain and spasms, but not to the degree that it was. My physical condition is improving, but even more importantly, my spiritual condition is improving. While my body may deteriorate, my spirit will continue to grow stronger, as long as I keep my heart and mind on Jesus.

I thank Jesus each and everyday, because He is the only reason and the only way I can make it through these pains and keep going. I know He will heal me, if not here on earth, then when I get to heaven. I know there is a way through the storm, there is hope. And His name is Jesus.

To everyone out there who is suffering, whether it is from physical, mental, or spiritual pain, please know, you are not alone. Don’t give up! No matter what illness or disease or affliction you may have, put it in God’s hands. Trust Him. In the end, He is the only One who can help us.

I will keep all of you in my prayers. God bless, Amber.

* For more information on arthritis, please check out The Arthritis Foundation.

* I’d also like to introduce a new partnership with Endless Pursuit, a faith based Multiple Sclerosis nonprofit based in the Pacific NW.

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About Amber Lea

Life was meant for caring and sharing, and that's what I do best. My words are seldom polished or rehearsed, they come straight from the heart. For the past 20 years I have been in education and information services. In the last 3 years, I have been writing articles on Wordpress & Faithwriters. My first book, "Faith, Hope & Miracles" has been published and is now available on Amazon.com The faith that God has given me has changed my life. My goal as an author is share encouragement, faith & hope in God's great love. ("This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you". John 15:12) My son and I share a small log cabin in the mountains of Alaska with our 2 dogs and 3 cats. Our frequent visitors include moose, fox, bears, eagles and owls, and occasionally a human or two.

Posted on January 21, 2014, in Articles, Encouragement, Inspiration, Just Thinking, Miracles of God, Noteworthy, Prayers, Testimonies, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Wow Amber! I feel like I know you! I suffer from pain too…several injuries; head, neck, shoulder, back (Scoliosis, fusion, steel rods), no cartilage left in both my knees and probably my hips too…now my spine is under attack…at least that’s how it feels. I am on synthetic morphine and high dosage of anti-inflamitory. Have developed a Hyatis Hernia due to meds. I have numbness and burning in my left hand as I type this…so hard to type sometimes. Anyways, you get the picture, I can relate. But my one saving Grace is my faith. I was given the gift of faith from a young age and without God, I would be long gone by now. Instead I have been able to live a full life! He found me my soul mate, He gets me through those long dark nights!
    I just wanted to add that what I believe God is teaching me through this, is to cling to Him…if I wasn’t suffering so, I would feel that I could do it all myself. I am, like you, a tough as nails person. Very self sufficient…smart, successful…at least that is the lie…the truth; It’s all God. All I can do is my best…which is barely enough 🙂 God does the rest. There are time when I’m laying in bed, whimpering like a puppy so I don’t wake my husband, and crying out to God to just go ahead and be done with it…I”m so done! Then I repent and I feel his presence so strong in the room…He’s right there and suddenly I’m aware that I’m feeling peaceful and sleepy and I drift off to sleep! This has happened several times…He is forever faithful!
    Keep on sharing your story to give hope to others. Thanks God for Amber!

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    • What a wonderful testimony of God’s goodness and strength! You are so right, God wants us to rely on Him and know that He is in control. He is our refuge and our hope. He knows just when to place the right people in the right place to bring encouragement where it is needed most, and He wants us to share it with others. Thank you for sharing, and may God bless you and keep you in His arms. – Amber

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