Tag Archives: pain

Fathoms of Hopefulness ~ Update on Me and Jim

Photo taken by Jim, of a rainbow he saw while on a trip with the plane.

Photo taken by Jim, of a rainbow he saw while on a trip.  There is bright sunshine and a rainbow ahead!

Points of hopelessness
Dots of despair
Junctures of painfulness
Spots of heightened care

Inklings of uneasiness
Moments of tears
Situations of dreadfulness
Nights of worrisome fears

I thought it was finally time to update my readers on me and my husband.

Yes, you read correctly.  Me and my husband.

Prior to my neck surgery, I described it as another bend in the road with my health.  I never dreamed that during my recovery, my husband was also going to face a health challenge; one that nearly took his life.

My recovery is progressing well, but was more difficult than I anticipated, due to a 6 week complication of my lower spine deteriorating from being off NSAIDs.  Things finally turned around to where I went back to work part-time; however, I’ve experienced some dips with my neck, from the added stress about Jim.  Overall, though, God is keeping me strong and moving things along!

Jim’s struggle has been a huge bend in the road.

What started with some testing to decide the source of a fever and abnormal blood values, turned into a succession of two prolonged hospitalizations for him, including three days in ICU, after nearly bleeding to death from complications following a liver biopsy.  He is in the hospital still.

At this point, what we know from the testing is that he has an inflammatory, treatable condition of the liver. Unfortunately, he also needs surgery to remove his spleen and we will then know the cause of the enlargement of that organ.  He also has an underlying secondary infection, but it is responding to treatment. 

The bottom line is that my sweet husband is a very sick man, but God is guiding his team of specialists toward finding answers, and they feel as though he will soon experience restored health. He longs to return to his job as a jet pilot. 

*****

Throughout my journey with my neck surgery, I admit that there were extremely painful moments and dots of despair, times wondering if I made the right decision.  Times of questioning whether I would fully recover.

However, going through this harrowing experience, of nearly losing the love of my life, was worse.  There were absolutely situations filled with dread and plenty of tears.  There were long nights of sitting upright in waiting rooms, praying against worrisome fears.

Here is the good news:

Throughout it all, God did and continues to show Himself mighty.  He performed a wondrous deliverance by saving Jim’s life.  How we praise Him!

As promised, He never left us alone and is still our Shelter in the midst of the storm.

More than anything, I’ve discovered afresh and anew how much I need and can depend upon Jesus.

Friends, as humans we sometimes cower in discouragement or fear, but we need not.  We can instead experience:

Fathoms of hopefulness
Loads of comfort near
Plateaus of healing
Showers of blessings dear

Provision of peacefulness
Interludes of joyful cheer
Strengthening of trustfulness
Manifestations of God’s power clear

God is greater than our mountainous obstacles. With His help, we will make it through.  Because of Christ, we know with certainty that our future is secure in Him.  We have fathoms of hopefulness!

I pray that you have all been well.  I miss reading your posts and interacting through blogging, but my husband needs me more.

Jim and I both covet your prayers.  We would also love to know of any ways in which we could pray for you.

As always, blessings
Sue

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Another Bend in the Road ~ A Painful Saga, Part 5

Around the Bend ~ I laid the bricks for the walkway myself

Around the Bend ~ I helped lay the bricks for the walkway years ago

Wrapped in God’s presence,
Secure in His embrace.
He directs my steps,
Each bend in the road I face.

It seems as though we each have our thorn in the flesh.  Mine is an inherited, early onset of degenerative disc disease that presented when I was in my twenties.  It started with my lower back and included sciatica, but progressed to include involvement with my neck.

These pronounced neck symptoms have forced me to make a tough decision; one that I never intended.

After MUCH prayer, and due to the deterioration of my symptoms with resulting ramifications to my life, I have decided to undergo the three level cervical fusion.

This is after years of trying nearly every non-surgical measure:

Physical therapy, trigger point, deep massage, TENS. myofascial release, chiropractor, traction, injections, stretching, ice and heat, ergonomics, custom-designed pillow, lifestyle adjustments, medications, etc…

For personal reasons, I’ve never wanted acupuncture.

At best, I have merely gotten by throughout the continual roller coaster of pain.  Car and plane trips are huge triggers, but I have always bounced back to a manageable level afterwards. 

That all changed with our latest trips out-of-town.  It’s like I crossed a threshold into a different level with an entirely new set of symptoms, and it is this new normal that drove my decision towards surgery.

Just knowing that any time I travel, I must face significant, lingering neck pain with radiating symptoms is bad enough. However, I now also have an interrelated vertigo with bizarre ear symptoms, which correlates both in intensity and in duration to the neck pain.

The decision was not an easy one, because the what ifs are terrifying.  Not unlike the what ifs that I faced with lower back surgeries, though.  Amazingly, God brought me through those successfully.  You can read about that story, in my series called, A Painful Saga. In fact, I’ve added this post to that series!

The sobering reality is that unless I want to give up traveling, which means that I will rarely see my precious grandchildren, or if I want to live with incapacitating symptoms, I must follow God’s direction and have this surgery.

I realize there are no guarantees.  God has given me a confident assurance, though, that He is directing my path.  That no matter what I face, He will bear me up on eagles’ wings into His presence.

None of us knows what lies ahead.  However, we can rest assured knowing that God already sees around the bend.  He promises to go before, behind and with us: helping, strengthening and delivering.

I believe for a good outcome.  Regardless of what I face, though, I know that God will wrap me us in His loving, comforting arms.  He will carry me safely around this next bend in the road.

“You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.”
Exodus 19:4

*Some of you have medical conditions and problems much worse than mine.  During my convalescence, as God brings you to my mind, I will pray for your needs and for His richest blessings to fall like rain! 

I will do one more post tomorrow before my upcoming surgery, which is scheduled for next week.

Words and photo by Sue Nash/ © 2014

 

 

He Will

At a glance, the only thing that looks different about my post today is that I did not begin with a photo. What you cannot see going on behind the scene, though, is that I am typing this from my iPhone and not my PC (a frustrating endeavor).

There’s a reason. I have experienced a serious setback with my neck pain, and not really sure what caused it. The only thing I can determine is that I did not tolerate the strain from two recent trips. I can usually bounce back, but this time it seems to be heading the other direction.

As a result, I am having to minimize time on computers, since it seems to be aggravating the problem more so than usual. Unfortunately, this includes doing any work with my images. 😒

Using my phone, I can still read and respond to your posts, and also attempt some of my own. As I do, please forgive any typos: me and smartphone typing do not get along!

I desire your prayers, as I am pursuing some measures to alleviate the pain. My journey is nothing compared to what others face, so I hate to sound like a whiner. It’s just that pain is no fun.

But the following passage reminds that no matter the trial, God is right beside us. No matter what we face, He will rescue. He will intervene.

He will.

***

Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.
Psalm 138:7,8

Blessings,

Sue

Lessons and Blessings ~ A Painful Saga, Part 4

I still believe for healing ~ whether while here or in heaven

I still believe for healing ~ whether while here or in heaven

Why can’t the enemy of our souls figure out that his hateful attacks against Christians do not succeed?  Ultimately, God turns it all around for good.

That is just what God did for me.  Despite the suffering, my walk with the Lord only strengthened.  He taught me much, changed me in ways needed and gave me some incredible blessings along the way.

Here are some of the lessons and blessings that resulted from the pain:

 Necessary Changes

*Self-reliance ~ God knows how to get our attention.  He knew that to weed out a stubborn reliance on my strength, I needed a loving dose of total dependence on Him.  This one still tries to pop back up.  Yet, apart From Him, I can do nothing.

*Priorities ~ Stripped of everything that I thought was important, I discovered that God is all I need.  His grace is sufficient.

*Self-pity ~ It was easy to dwell on my pain, but I didn’t have to look very far to find someone with bigger problems.  Everyone has tasted some form of suffering.  Walk a mile in another person’s shoes.

   Important Lessons

*Prayerful Enduring ~ As an alternative to tossing and turning all night in pain, God taught me to endure by spending the time in prayer.  The pain level did not always change, but in the process, God changed me.  It is good for me to draw near to God.

*Compassion ~ Had I never plunged into the depths of pain, I might never have learned compassion for those hurting or understood how some succumb to addiction.  At a critical juncture in my journey, God strengthened me to avoid pain medication dependency.  But for the grace of God, there go I.

*Letting Go ~ Life as I once knew it is not the same.  My lower back is better, but I now have serious struggles with my neck.  While tempting to regret the things I can no longer do, with God’s help I let go of the past and remember all that I can do.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

 Wonderful Blessings

*Loving Support ~ God blessed me with the most wonderful husband.  I already knew that before I began my pain journey; however, he has proven his vow of in sickness and in health over and over and over… Without ever once complaining, or minding having to do housework, he has been a continual source of comfort and support.  You are the wind beneath my wings.

*Comforting Goodness ~ Good in the midst of pain seems a contradiction.  Those of us who know Him, though, attest that God’s goodness is all the sweeter in the midst of suffering.  God is very good, all the time.

*Sharing Suffering ~ Although Scripture teaches that partaking in Christ’s suffering should bring rejoicing, I had never completely understood why until I reached my lowest.  Even at its darkest, my pain was but a drop compared to what He endured on the cross.  If by trusting Him in the midst of my pain I somehow shared in His agony, then it makes what I went through a blessed privilege, indeed.

But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:13 ESV

I would like to thank my readers for your kind and encouraging words during this series.  At a later date, I will post about another hurtful season in my life, but for now need a break from discussing pain.  

Blessings,
Sue Nash/2013

The Dark Night of Pain ~ A Painful Saga, Part 3

I Shall AriseNerve pain is dark.  It encompasses one’s every thought.  Leading up to and during the recovery of my back surgeries, the pain was ‘out in front of my thinking.’  What I mean by this is that there was rarely a moment that the pain did not consume my every waking moment or steal my sleep.  There was never any position of comfort; no escaping its blowtorch agony.

On three horrific occasions, the pain reached a level that it felt as though my sciatic nerve tore from my spinal cord, in a way resembling someone sawing off my leg.  I only wish that I were exaggerating.

During each of those episodes, which lasted several hours, I felt certain that I would not survive.  Yet, in the midst of these unexplainable pain events, God’s presence was stronger than I had ever known possible.

During one of them, the enemy devised a cruel plot to convince me that a loving God would not put one of His children through such pain.  In my weakest moment, he tempted me to question my salvation.  Frail from suffering, I almost yielded to Satan’s lie, but not without much emotional distress.

Crying out to God, I told Him that if the enemy were right, that I had never known salvation, then I would rather not live anyway.  Although my physical pain was immense, the devil’s hurtful lie was more so.  What he did not realize was that his deceitful attempt to harm, God used for good.

When faced with even a remote possibility that my faith was not real, I knew with certainty that if not a child of God’s, life had no meaning at all.  In that cruel moment, when scraped to the core physically and emotionally, I discovered that God meant more to me than anything, even life itself.

I remember so vividly the tenderness with which God reached out to me right then.  The certainty of His love for me washed over me, as gently as a stream pours over polished stones.  I may not understand the why of my suffering, but I will never again allow the enemy to tempt me as to whether I belong to God.

After the surgeries, progression with my lower back was slow, but steady.  Thankfully, the sciatic pain, which had been at the front of my thinking, is most of the time so far to the back that there are times where I must pause to check that it is even still there.  The intense darkness of pain now replaced with God’s healing light.  God is good!

Although I will never return to those earlier strong years, and must now use judgment with physical activities, I am able to work again as a nurse and can zoom on my treadmill.

To finish the discussion of my physical pain journey, I will share next about lessons that I learned, and of how God is sustaining my health, despite problems now with my neck.  It is a story of how He continues getting me through. 

Bear with me, my wonderful readers.  I promise tomorrow’s post is uplifting and not all this dreariness!

*I know that many of you have had or are currently enduring pain.  I would love to hear your story, too, so that we can support each other.

For more of this story, see A Painful Saga

Strength Deteriorates Into Pain ~ A Painful Saga, Part 2

My promise

My promise

A disclaimer:

My health issues are nothing compared to many of you.  Although I have had my share of pain, my condition is not life threatening, nor has it prevented me from returning to doing daily activities for myself, or working part-time as a nurse.  My issues are nothing compared to what many have endured. 

No matter the level of suffering, though, God cares.

 ***

When I was in my twenties, I was the picture of athleticism: energetic, agile and fit.  My physical capabilities included jogging, aerobics, snow skiing, high altitude backpacking, swimming, and tennis.  Although not as strong as some, I could nevertheless keep up with most. 

Confident in my strength, I concluded that it would always be so.  I was wrong.

It was also in my twenties that I first noticed signs of what was the beginning of an early onset of severe degenerative disc disease.  Since my symptoms did not fit the mold, by presenting with typical radiating nerve pain, my associated sciatica went wrongly diagnosed until I reached my forties.  All those years, my doctors just thought that the reason I had to suspend my left foot off of a pillow at night, to avoid anything touching my heel due to the pain, was that there was either an undetected disorder with my foot or I was suffering from a depression that kept me awake. 

It was not until I also began having back pain simultaneously with the foot pain that I pieced the puzzle together myself.  Someone finally believed me when, during a Discogram procedure, I nearly came off the table after “one drop of dye” was inserted into a lumbar disc.  I felt the classic shooting sensation as the fiery pain tracked right across the same spot that had hurt for years. 

My health deteriorated like this flower

My health deteriorated like this flower

The difference in the pain was that it no longer just interfered with my sleep; the unrelenting sciatic pain had begun altering my life.  Unable to do any of the enjoyable athletic pursuits anymore, I was also increasingly impaired in my ability to do ordinary tasks.  After 12 hour shifts at the hospital, I almost needed to crawl to my car, and I spent my time off recuperating.  

 The pain eventually backed me into a corner.  I had prayed, and God promised me healing.  That healing, though, came by way of three excruciating surgeries to free the pressure off a trapped sciatic nerve.  Each procedure caused an already irritated nerve to surge to about a quadruple pain level, and required about six months to return to a “recovery” level.  My painful surgical ordeal consumed three years of my life, but the journey from my former strength into the pain occupied many more, and in a different way, continues today.

Tomorrow, I will continue my physical pain story.  Of my journey through the pain.

For more of this story, see A Painful Saga

A Painful Saga ~ Intro

Cross at sunset

Cross at sunset

I shared yesterday that I would about my pain journey.  Since many people have suffered far worse, and compared to Christ’s brutal agony on the cross, I hesitated to write about my trivial journey.  In addition, I have not experienced total victory over the pain.

However, the Lord reminds me that as we share our stories of past deliverance, it encourages others suffering through similar struggles to keep holding on.  Our testimonies, even if not examples of complete or instantaneous healing are valid stories nonetheless.

Pain is most often physical, but can present in other forms, such as emotional.  Either way, painful scenarios hurt and have a way of altering life, as we knew it.  As Don Piper describes, when he returned to earth after spending 90 Minutes in Heaven, life as he formally knew it radically changed.  He left earth in good health, but returned to a life of continual suffering, because of his injuries in a car accident.  He calls the life he now lives as his “new normal.”

Pain does that.  It alters our lives and brings about another normal.

The new normal for me results from both physical and emotionally upsetting circumstances, each rendering my life completely rearranged.

Throughout each difficulty, though, God has been my Rock. He is my constant in the midst of painful change, and continually strengthens me to trust Him more.  Along the way, each new normal has birthed blessings in disguise.

Just as my pain has been a journey, my telling of such will be one.  In order to adequately describe the circumstances, yet at the same time not overwhelm readers with wordiness, I will share my story in parts.  The first part of my painful saga will be about a traumatic rejection.  Of a time when I concluded God had rejected me.

The precursor to this series is a poem I posted yesterday, Pain Writes a Story Only God Can Revise.

I know that I do not suffer alone.  If you would like others to pray for you in your journey of pain, post a link or share in the comments below.  We are all in this together!

Blessings on your journey.

Sue Nash/2013