Sunday, August 12, 2012
As a child, I had two dreams of careers that I had wanted. The first one was to be a writer, I love the process of putting the pen to paper and letting the words flow from the tip of the pen onto the paper. I loved using my words to create an atmosphere and a mood. I loved pulling others into my world, into my head, and through the adventure of emotions. Like a roller coaster, I was able to pull others through the highs of excitement and down to the lowest darkest parts of myself. My second dream was to become a massage therapist. I began giving back massages to my father, uncles, and grandpa's. I had very strong hands, so strong that I actually bruised one of my uncles shoulders from the deep tissue massage... don't feel bad for him I had asked him to tell me if it began to hurt. In school I combined my two loves and wrote an essay about my love for massage therapy and won a scholarship. With the money I paid for classes in Reiki.
When I was in sixth grade I began to notice that my hands would have sharp shooting pains through my shoulders combined with an achy pain between my hands. When my family would play cards, as we would do very often, I wasn't able to shuffle the cards any longer because the pain would begin to shoot. As the year progressed my hand pain would make it hard to hold a pencil and write in class. I went to years of testing. At that point I had a fear of needles and was claustrophobic and had a difficult time with all the blood tests and the MRI's. The doctors were not able to find a causes. I got moved from specialist to specialist. I got sent to a Neurologist that had me get an Electromyography done. The technician inserted needles all over my body at different points and attached the wires to the machine. I was told that I could not move or talk because it can change the results of test. As the test was going I was given shocks. The pain was unbearable. Then the tech looked at my dad and let out a little laugh and said, "Your daughter is strong, I accidentally had it turned up too hard. This would have had a adult in tears." I thought my dad was going to jump across the room and punch him. It was at that point I quit. I couldn't go through any more testing.
The doctor said that I had symptoms but they couldn't find the cause. He gave us some long name, or it seemed long as a child, of what I had. We couldn't remember the name but think, based on how he described it, that it is fibromyalgia. It was so upsetting. The doctor decided to give me medication to see if it would help me with the pains. The doctor put me on a medication called Neurontin. After taking the medicine the first time, I woke up and was unable to move any part of my body except for my eyes. I was terrified and wanted to call to my mom but my mouth couldn't move. I lay there for a few mins with tears streaming down the sides of my face but was unable to wipe them away. Finally, I was able to scream out to my mom. The doctor explained that it is normal. The paralysis went away after what seemed like an hour. After the doctor raised the dosage I was finally finding some relief. I would still be in pain but I could at least do the things I needed to do.
As the years continued the pain became worse and began to spread to my feet. I couldn't lay still at night and would have pain shooting through my feet into my legs. The dosage again was increased. It ends up that the dosage he had me on was more than any adult should be on, and I was just a child. I was taking 900 mg three times a day. In school, timed tests with essays were terrible. I wasn't able to write more than a couple sentences with out having pain overtake my hands. Then in high school, I had a strange fluttering in my chest, became lightheaded, passed out, and hit my head on the stereo equipment. My dad found me on the ground and they ended up taking me to the ER and then to my doctor. They made me go through EEGs, EKGs, and I had to wear a heart monitor for a period of time. They could never figure out what was wrong with me but as any new driver would hate, I was told that I couldn't drive at all for six months.
I had to go off the medicine my senior year when I became pregnant. The doctors said that due to being on high doses of medicine, for the pain and for bipolar, when I became pregnant and for the first few months they said the baby had a 97% chance of being mentally disabled and 98% chance of being physically disabled. Thankfully, Abbie was born with no health concerns. In order to go back on the medicine my doctor wanted me to go back through all the testing.
It is now fifteen years after the pains began. They have spread to my back, neck and hips. I have learned to live with the daily pain. There are times when I think, "I can't make it another year with this," but I just remind myself of the fifteen years I have survived. In some ways it has kept me from things I wanted to do. I have a hard time doing my daughters hair, holding them, playing games and chasing them around, writing, opening jars, and so many other things. At the same time, God has given me strength. He has provided the peace I needed. I pray that I am healed, but I am also thankful for this "thorn in my side" because it keeps me close to the Lord. I have to draw into Him. I am finally at the point where, once we have insurance, I am willing to get testing again and maybe get on a medicine to help. Until then, I will trust God to help me. This post started because today for the first time since sixth grade, I was completely without pain. My body felt like butter and I was able to sleep and relax. Even if they are momentary, I am so thankful when God gives me times of peace, whether it is physically, emotionally, or spiritually. He knows when I need rest and today he gave me rest in all of those areas.
2 Corinthians 12:7b-10 "Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Thursday, June 7, 2012
Within days of having had open heart surgery, patients are encouraged to walk around the hospital as a form of exercise. Why does the heart need exercise so soon? Is it all the way healed already?
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight."
The reason I bring this up is because I am learning that there is not much difference between the way you treat a physical injury and an emotional one. Both can take sometime to heal. Both may need intervention from someone trained in the relating field. And both can affect your everyday activities. I find myself asking, "how long do I heal before I begin to exercise love and acceptance again? Am I ready?"
The heart needs to exercise soon after an injury for a few reasons. It helps the doctors see if the heart is working correctly after the surgery. It is important to have a blood flow to the area to increase the speed of healing. It is also important to make sure the body doesn't atrophy. The heart is not healed all the way, but slowly getting into a exercise program that is monitored by a doctor can ensure a faster healing.
When someone becomes emotionally wounded it is very natural for them to take some time to heal. Unfortunately, they can become comfort with their isolation and actually end up slowing down their healing. Their emotional connection can atrophy and they can be left not knowing how to trust and grow in other areas of their life.
So in knowing if it is too soon to be rehabilitating my emotional wounds, I need to ask myself a few questions.
1. Would the doctor say it was safe? The doctor looks to see if there is any risk of immediate harm and if my heart could handle it. My answer: In this case I am in no risk of harm, there might be some difficulty getting back to what seemed normal and natural but it will come with time. Yes, my heart can handle it.
2. Do I have realistic expectations about my recovery? I think my expectations are pretty realistic but I need to make sure I don't push myself to recover too quickly.
3. How will I monitor and know when I can increase the rehabilitation? I will use scripture, the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, and my comfort level. Doctors often tell you to listen to your body, if you think you are over doing it don't push yourself too much.
It is time for me to open up my heart again and begin a new level of healing. I am cautiously excited at what God can and will do.
Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heartand lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight."
Psalm 147:3 "He heals the brokenheartedand binds up their wounds."
1 Corinthians 13:7 "It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
Matthew 5:48 "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."