Chronic pain

New Beginnings

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Last week my son asked my husband to race him in the backyard.
But when I stood in the yard ready to race with them, my son looked confused.
He doesn’t remember that I love to run – it’s been that long since I have ran.
We started racing and I was keeping up with him…without pain.
We ran through the path in the backyard, upwards of 5-10 times. When we were done, I was winded… but I was not in pain.
I think I know what miracles feel like now…

Is my postherpetic neuralgia gone?

No.

But by God’s grace, a series of treatments, and medicine, I am able to do things like run with my son.

As I mentioned in my previous post, my husband and I decided to pursue an appointment at Mayo Clinic.
Last spring, I  requested an appointment with the neurology department, and by early summer, I found out I did not qualify for an appointment.

My brother had been a patient of Mayo Clinic and he asked his doctor, a pulmonologist (who does not treat this) about me, and she said she’d be willing to see me and then refer me to the appropriate specialties.

Weeks later I was told I had a doctor appointment with the pulmonologist and a neurologist scheduled for Monday, August 4. My pain clinic referral couldn’t be done until I had seen the pulmonologist Monday morning.

I usually don’t pursue something until I am certain that it’s the right thing to do.
But even when we were driving to Mayo, I wasn’t convinced that we were doing the right thing.
It was too risky for my liking.
It was a long way to go and likely a lot of money to spend if I heard nothing new.

The first two appointments were mostly a formality – just a way to get referred to the pain clinic.
By God’s grace, my neurologist’s office accidentally skipped me and the doctor saw the patient that was scheduled after me first.
So by the time he saw me, he felt bad and (we think) spent more time with us in an effort to make amends.
In discussion with him, he told us to visit patient services if we haven’t heard from the pain clinic by the end of the day.

By the end of the day, we followed his advice and we were told I had an appointment 10 days later (which was not ideal).
The woman working in patient services told us to go to the pain clinic early the next morning to see if we could get an earlier appointment.

We followed her advice and went to the pain clinic first thing the next morning and by God’s grace, I received a pain clinic appointment for the following day.

The doctor ended up being very knowledgeable and kind.
He spent a long time with us and together we came up with a treatment plan: a new (additional) nerve medicine, lidocaine patches, and another nerve block that would be done there,

I have had a nerve block done here in Indiana, but after my nerve block at Mayo, I wondered if it was even done correctly here in Indiana.
I was impressed with the level of precision and professionalism with which the procedure was done.
I was done within an hour and we were able to drive home that same day.

I was sore from the nerve block for a few days and it took a week or so for me to get used to the new medicine.
I was so tired that week, I almost stopped taking the new medicine but the neurologist had stressed that I need to give the new medicine a try for a few weeks before giving up on it.
He stated that we are not looking for a cure…there is no cure.
We are just looking to find a way to manage the pain.
He also said that I need to decide what I can handle more – the pain or the side effects from the medicines.
After 7 months of moderate/severe pain all the time, I opted to try to deal with the side effects of the medicine.
I was praying that once I doubled the dose, I wouldn’t be doubly tired.

During this time, my sisters and I were reading One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.
In it she states that  – “Eucharisteo – thanksgiving – always precedes the miracle.”
She lists multiple miracles that Jesus performed after He first gave thanks to God such as the Last Supper, feeding the 4,000 and 5,000, and raising Lazarus from the dead.
She argues “Our salvation in Christ is real, yet the completeness of that salvation is not fully realized in a life until the life realizes the need to give thanks.” 
In John 10:10 Jesus states:

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

By giving thanks in ALL things, it opens our eyes to see God in everything and in turn, we get to experience joy in ALL things and fully live.

I started to sense that I too needed to truly give thanks to Jesus for ALL things – even for my postherpetic neuralgia.

Yes, I could give thanks for my pain.

Because it’s through my pain that so many good things have come:

  • I learned the art of slowing down and enjoying the moment.
  • I have met wonderful women that have helped me care for my kids.
  • I have learned what it’s like to be on the patient side of healthcare.
  • It has drawn my husband and I closer – forcing us to work as one.
  • It has drawn me close to my Savior and caused me to be desperately dependent on Him.

So as I was home adjusting to my new med and feeling quite exhausted and miserable, I whispered “Thank you for my pain.
Thank you for what you have allowed because without it, I would not be who I am today.”

It was about a week later, after I whispered to God in the dark of my bedroom, that I started to feel a significant reduction in my pain.

Did just my words usher my healing?

No.

But I think by giving thanks to God for the hard things in my life,
it placed Him in the rightful place in my heart –
it placed Him on the throne of my heart.
My thankfulness reminded me that
He is God and I am not and
that His ways are always good…even if they don’t feel good.

I knew I was doing better when I started thinking of doing things I haven’t wanted to do in a long time like vacuuming, taking my kids places, going camping with my family, etc.

When we went through our first adoption with our son, the agency told us that we should be cautiously optimistic because it could fall through at any time.
Like in adoption, we find ourselves being cautiously optimistic of my significant decrease in pain.
In the past, my “good times” were always short lived, and so we have started to lose hope that the pain will ever decrease.

And though I thank God and praise Him for the change in my physical ability, I remain hesitant to proclaim His faithfulness to those around me.
I find myself dwelling on the past and being fearful that the pain will return.

In his perfect grace, God has brought Isaiah 43:18-19 to mind:

Isaiah 43:18-19

“‘Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up;
do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the desert
and streams in the wasteland.'”

Through this verse I sense that God wants me to stop looking at the past to try to determine my future.
I need to just step out in faith and trust Him for the healing he has given me today.

So yes, I will proclaim Christ’s faithfulness in my life and thank Him for my pain as well as for the healing that I have started to receive.

I will trust in Him as I step out into “the something new” that He has created for me.

I will only use the past as a stone of remembrance of what He has rescued me from, even if at some point the severity of my pain increases.

May the words of Job, be on my lips…

Job 1:21

“‘The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised.'”

I pray that God will give you the grace to thank Him for ALL things and through your thanksgiving He will perform a miracle in your life. May you be able to step into the new thing He has planned for you today with a grateful and joyful heart.

6 thoughts on “New Beginnings

  1. Thanks for sharing Sue. I didn’t see your post until this morning but it is interesting to read these words this morning after staying up late last night pondering the miracle of sorts that has been happening in my own life. As I was thinking about it last night, I too was drawn to read Job 1. It’s encouraging reading your thoughts and hearing about what God is doing within your own heart. Praying you continue to feel some relief from your pain.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Sue, it reinforced some things for me- really blessed me , comforted me and gave me direction in an area that I’ve been crying out to God for His hand to move in a situation which is extremely close to my heart. Jessica forwarded it to me and it couldn’t have been more timely.

  3. Somehow I missed this one when you posted it… I probably flagged it in my email to read later and, well, didn’t. I’m so glad I have now, though! Can I tell you something? Isaiah 43:18-19 has been a favorite of mine for several years now, though it’s not always at the forefront of mind. Yet, it’s usually in my heart – somewhere. I’ve been having a tough time myself lately (for reasons I’ll tell you about later) and in my prayer time last week, God brought a fresh revelation of meaning to this verse. It was so sweet and wonderful! Then, just yesterday in the Beth Moore study, Jesus the One and Only, I’m doing, she referenced this verse. And now today, here I am reading it again! I love it! Our God is good – so loving and faithful. Yes, we have much to be thankful for, even when life is hard and it’s a struggle just to get out of bed and things arent’ going as we planned or want them to. Thank you for the powerful reminder that thanksgiving puts God back where He belongs – on the throne of our hearts and lives. Thanks be to God! And thanks be to you… Love you, Sue!

    1. Becca – Thanks so much for your encouragement. I’m so glad that God could use this to bless you and to encourage you through His word. He’s amazing like that! Love you friend!

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