Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Indeed, this poor blog has been neglected. The reason for my recent absence from the blog is internal, rather than external like Heather's reason. My excuse is the increasing amount of pain I'm having due to the bulging disc in my neck. (I still dislike the word bulging, as much as I did when the problem was first diagnosed last year. Isn't it one of our language's worst?) In the past few weeks I've gone from pain now and then to pain for many days at a time, a few days of lessened pain, and then jumping right back into the serious pain again.

There isn't a position that's comfortable, and some are downright painful. Lying flat on my back causes my right arm to go numb within minutes, tight clothing on my neck or a child's arm around me causes acute pain, and after emptying my strap-across-my-chest purse to the very barest of necessities I'm ready to give up a purse completely. I quit jogging over a year ago and now any amount of serious walking (like to The Boys' school) causes lasting pain. I can't eat normally, as it generally requires me to look down at my dish; I often pick my bowl/plate up and hold it nearer my face. (I'm finding myself choosing smaller dishes lately!) Walking down stairs means cocking my head to the side slightly and relying heavily on peripheral vision. I don't pick up either of my boys unless I miss it so much I'm willing to pay for it physically for a day or two.

After more than a week of this last month I found myself depressed and questioning how a Christian is supposed to deal with pain. I believe in a sovereign and loving God who moves in our best interest in light of his glory and omnipotence. He heals some, and allows some to suffer for reasons beyond my comprehension. I can't imagine why he hasn't healed me, but I know he is able and all his actions are for his glory. But when you live out the day-to-day burden of chronic pain it gets hard to focus on God. I find that it's easier and more natural to be angry that I can't sleep adequately and that I can't lift my own groceries or put my boys to bed that to lift up Jesus' name in the midst of the storm I'm in.

It got to the point that I felt my real life slipping away from me and being replaced by the presence of pain. I began avoiding friends and responsibilities and sleeping at every chance I had. I envisioned (often still do), pain as a person, one who I carry with me at all times; an unwelcome presence in my bed, at every meal, hanging on me, sucking my life away.

The verse that I find most comforting is when Paul says (about the "thorn in [his] side") that God's grace is sufficient. Some might say that's lacking faith that God will heal me (there's another post: the guilt a hurting Christian carries for not being healed), but I've asked, he hasn't and yet His grace is sufficient for me. Somehow, in ways I can't yet see, his strength is being made perfect in my weakness.

Before anyone suggests them, I have read Where Is God When It Hurts? (excellent book) and have CS Lewis' The Problem Of Pain. At this point I'm finding that I want my reading to take me away from the subject of pain. I don't have a real desire to examine it right now.

So there it is, my excuse. I hate bringing it up because I hate whining about it, when lately it's been the inevitably answer to questions of "how are you?" and "where have you been?". Just know that I'm not currently drowning in it and I hope to stay in touch a lot better.

Next Monday I have a procedure at a nearby English hospital with a pain management specialist. It's going to involve injecting something into my spine epidural style. I'll let you know how that goes.

post signature


  1. So sorry you're going through this, Reese. I've had a couple of issues with chronic neck and shoulder pain, so I do understand the overwhelming life-altering pain. It overtakes every waking moment, affects eating, sleeping, every thought, reading was always the least of my desires. I'll pray that the procedure reduces your pain, and that God will heal your body.

  2. Hi, Reese!
    It's good to hear from you, although I hate that your news wasn't good news. I'll be praying for you and for your appt. next week. You are missed here!

  3. Oh Reese, I am so sorry! Please don't feel like you are whining. We want to hear. I am praying for you.