Hope for the Mom Living with Chronic Pain

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This is a small glimpse into the life lived in chronic pain. 

This is a very hard post for me to write, because I am going to be vulnerable. I am usually fairly private and keep my chronic illness limited to family and close friends. But, it is time to spread the word so others might be encouraged.

Eight years ago, when I was 38 years old, through a series of odd complications I was diagnosed by blood tests with Rheumatoid Arthritis. At that same time, the doctor also diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. It was one of the hardest years I’ve ever been through. I had to quit my job because I could no longer perform it, and I was trying new medicines that were failing me time after time. I finally got a second opinion. This new doctor uncovered things about me that the old doctor had not picked up on at all. Again, more medications were tried, and failed.Living with chronic pain - downward spiral

It seemed everything was just spiraling downward, because it was, literally! I got psoriasis from one of the medications meant to help my RA. I had degenerated discs in both my neck and back. I had both shoulders and both knees operated on over that eight-year period due to arthritis. My knees have degenerative osteoarthritis. My hips hurt, my muscles hurt, and my lower legs hurt from neuropathy. My hands, wrists, and elbows hurt from the RA. I have arthritis in my feet, too. I have Sjrogrens. This is what chronic pain looks like to me, every day. 

Yes, I’ve tried the diets. Yes, I’ve tried juicing. There isn’t much I haven’t tried; when you are in this much pain you will try almost anything for relief. 

What happens on a daily basis? I’m afraid to move too much because I already hurt so badly. But, I need to exercise. I have to cancel plans frequently because I feel too bad or too wiped out to do the task or even to go out for fun. I feel I can’t be depended on, and I hate to feel that way. I am a loyal friend and want to come through for people. I have to let that go. 

Days are often spent with heating pads or ice packs on me, trying to get the pain under control. I have been through deep depression and feelings of hopelessness, but also feelings of great encouragement when I see how God takes care of the details of my life. When I am feeling well, I treasure the time with sweet friends and family. 

I have learned to take care of myself, but this didn’t happen overnight. My family is so incredible, they are just too golden for words. My husband is one of the most precious, godly men you will meet. He makes sure I am taking care of myself, even if that means giving something else up. My children have basically grown up under this illness, and they are two of the most thoughtful people I know, always asking how I am feeling and checking on me. That is a huge blessing. I also have a few friends who deal with chronic pain, so we are able to encourage one another. 

I have learned to daily get my strength from the Lord God alone. I cannot do this on my own, and from my experience, you will save yourself a lot of unnecessary suffering if you will just go straight to God with your dependence. 

One of my favorite books I’ve read is by Joni Eareckson Tada, called A Place of Healing. It deals with the questions surrounding why we may or may not be healed this side of heaven. One of my favorite quotes in the book is this:

The truth is, in this world it’s a 100 percent guarantee that we will suffer. But at the same time, Jesus Christ is 100 percent certain to meet us, encourage us, comfort us, grace us with strength and perseverance, and yes, even restore joy in our lives. Your Savior is 100 percent certain to be with you through every challenge. 

I think that sums it up so well. He will be with us no matter what phase of life we are in. Are you struggling intensely? He is there. Are you having an “easy” phase of life right now? REJOICE!  He is there! Are you somewhere in the middle? He is there, ready to meet you right where you are. There is no place we can go where He cannot reach us.  

I don’t know the path God has for me tomorrow, but I know I just have to take one day at a time and lean into Him. I don’t understand all the medical mysteries of the world, but they are there. I know I am to give thanks in all circumstances, and some days that is harder than other days. I am just grateful that He is right there with me. He is right there with you, too.

 

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An avid collector of black tole trays, you could find Stephanie at any antique shop on any given day. She has a passion for collecting art; after taking art history in college, this girl was never the same! She loves to daydream, read, eat lunch with friends, and most importantly, spend time with her family. She is very organized and detail oriented. She does not consider herself to be a creative person, but has to push herself when faced with the challenge of doing things outside her comfort zone. And, she laughs! She loves seeing the humor in the smallest things and thinks we should all have a good laugh every day. Dealing with Rheumatoid Arthritis since 2009, her biggest supporters are her precious husband of 24 years, David, and her two wonderful children, Jane and Gib. The sensitivity they bring to her is not overlooked, but humbly appreciated. She cannot begin to describe all that they have done for her, but just know that she thinks she has the best care in the world. They are truly golden. Her favorite Bible verse is Exodus 14:14, "The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still." She depends on the Lord for daily strength and knows the battle is not hers to fight alone.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Steph- thank you for your vulnerability. I am so encouraged and blessed to read how God has carried you through such difficult days over the last eight years. You are a dear soul and He is using your story! Thank you for blessing my life in countless ways for so many years.

  2. Stephanie…..thank YOU for your words of strength. Love you and appreciate your courage to write, be vulnerable to encourage others.

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story and your heart! It was just what I needed today. God has used you to encourage me and I thank you for that.

  4. Appreciate the post. My wife showed your post to me bc she said it sounded like I wrote it. Have lived 26 of my 41 years fighting chronic pain. Will pray for you!

    I had a question as you mentioned one of the meds you took for RA gave you psoriasis. I’ve had psoriasis onset in the last 2 years while taking a ton of meds and haven’t been able to figure out why. If you have identified a specific med you are taking that caused that, would you mind sharing here or shooting me an email? My pain mgmt dr, primary care dr, and dermatologist haven’t been able to figure this out.

  5. Hi @WB. Yes, I know it was Humira that caused my psoriasis. It was hard to diagnose, and its odd bc Humira is also used to treat psoriasis. My Dr discovered I cannot take a biologic that has a TNF agent in it.

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