Six years and eight months ago I woke up with a tingling sensation in my left hand. When it didn’t pass for the whole weekend, I made an appointment with my doctor. Thinking it might be carpal tunnel, even though it didn’t fit that very well, we made an appointment for the first of many, many tests. By the time I had that first test the tingling had spread all the way up my arm. In the next several months it continued to spread until a year later I had tingling on the entire left side of my body. Its a very strange feeling. My left eyeball tingles but my right one doesn’t. The left side of my tongue tingles but the right side doesn’t. Around six months into the process, the tingling started to be accompanied by pain. I have three types of pain. General muscle pain like the kind that happens when you do a new workout, sharp shooting pain that is completely random, and a bone pain that literally feels like someone is taking a tool and scraping the bone. Thankfully that one only happens in my arm and fingers. All of this is completely limited to the left side of my body. By the time a year had passed I was on painkillers twice a day. The doctors were sure that I had MS because it was limited to the left side, but could find no evidence of it. I had three MRIs (which are horrible torture devices), countless blood tests, brain tests, and a horrible muscle test where they stick two needles in you and send a shock through one and use the other one to measure the reaction. Being sick is not very fun. The worst part is that over six years later, I still have no diagnosis. I’ve actually had three doctors tell me that I am just plain weird. Yup. That’s pretty reassuring. Years of tests and constant disappointments took their toll. It was a constant emotional roller coaster or thinking that I was finally going to have some answers, but finding none. A couple of years ago I stopped going to the doctor all together. I still have no answers. But at year two I started seeing a homeopath. I am currently on no medication and am starting to now actually see some upward progress. For years we were just able to control everything and stop it from getting worse but with the introduction of an osteopath, I’m starting to actually make progress towards getting better.
Being in pain every minute of every day is a life changer. There are days that it hardly affects my life, but I have spent many days relegated to the couch. There have been times that I pilled up pillows in specific ways because I was in so much pain that the couch felt too hard. Some days I can get on the floor and play with my kids, other days I can’t get out of bed. I’ve learned to regulate my life to avoid episodes. I have to get the proper amount of sleep all the time, exercise is a huge help, and I try to avoid stress and over scheduling. Although with three kids and ministry, that’s completely impossible at times. Living in pain becomes a way of life. I had to quit studying piano and I just know that after a trip to Chicago, I’m going to need a few days to recover. While its not fun, and I’ve had to give some things up, I fully expected that at the rate I was going I would need assistance walking around year 4-5, so I am so incredibly thankful that whatever this is has slowed down and I can still live a mostly normal life.
My pain is physical, but everyone has pain. Just because everyone’s isn’t physical or every day, doesn’t mean that everyone doesn’t experience a great deal of pain in their lives. Because of the nature of mine, I’ve done a lot of study about the lessons I can learn from pain. Mostly because I was really hoping if I hurried up and learned the lessons, God would take it away! But He hasn’t, and I’ve had time to learn a lot of lessons. So I wanted to start a blog series on the lessons from pain. I think that lessons from pain can apply to anyone in any situation because lets face it, life is painful. No one’s life is as rosy as is appears to others. If there would be any silver lining to pain, it would be to be a blessing to others. We’ll walk through some Bible verses, learn from some Bible characters, and just enjoy a good study.