Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Human Suffering-nothing pretty about it!

In my early years of learning to live with Chronic Pain-I was on a mission~came Hell or high water, somebody was going to find out what was wrong with me, fix it and and I could get back to my normal life.  If only it could have been that simple, as I found out while making the massive round of visits with doctor after doctor~~one telling me "Well, its all in your imagination"  and I recall sobbing hard as we left the building and not caring who saw me or what they thought, and I began to see the reaction of people as they saw me in Pain~~some had their own quick cure "Oh you need a good massage-that will fix you."

 People were slinging doctor's cards at me~~I tried to listen as they told me of how their family member had been cured, all I had to do was see this doctor~~ everything would be okay.  They turned away from me~~seeming to be in a rush, and I knew Suffering was showing on me.

 Some dear friends reminded me that I did not use a Cane last year-now it is with me all the time!  I needed those words of honesty~it helped me to see the need for Surgery.  They looked at my Suffering and spoke words I needed to hear~~and they give a solid promise to Pray for me.

Yesterday I pushed myself to join friends for Christmas-they knew it was the last thing I wanted to do~~another friend was there-an older gentleman who suffers with Pain and it seems as if Pain is chewing him up, day by day.  As we sat at the table~~I had my elbow propped on the table, holding my head up to ease the Pain-my eyes traveled toward my friend and there he sat-in the exact position as me.  Nothing was said-sadly Pain was doing all the silent talking and it was not pretty!

He didn't stay long~~it hurt to see this gentle man in such pain, and I understood how bad we both must have looked. Its very hard to see Human Suffering and it can be very ugly-so please Pray for them and realize~~God will hear your prayers.

God be with my friend who is in the dark valley of Pain-help him please to find moments of peace.  Please know I will always pray for all who must fight this battle.

Martha

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Struggle to say "Merry Christmas"

A wish for joyous holidays should be easy to say~~two simple words that usually bring a smile to the face of another, but try watching the face of an employee whose store rules are "Firm" with tough
instructions to  say "Happy Holidays!"  They are in fear of slipping up while rushing customers through the shopping lanes and someone might here them say "Merry Christmas!"

I would like to know how we got to this place~~living in fear of words, if we say them, a person might be offended and all I can think is how sad this all has become.   Why do we find issue with a greeting that begins with the word MERRY~~yes I have heard all the objections with the other word
that follows~~~ CHRISTMAS.

These two words are not meant to cause harm, insult, or be a reflection of our own beliefs  we would push onto another who thinks differently?  My heart says this issue has gotten so far out of hand-our world is hurting and this is a time when we need to express friendly greetings toward our fellow human beings.

In a perfect world-I am walking down the street and suddenly hear a group of voices-all saying the same word over and over, "Merry Christmas!"  Then I hear a flutter of joyous wings-Twenty precious Angels, led by six special Adults have just passed by me.

God bless everyone.
martha


Friday, December 21, 2012

The Pain Train never stops~~~

 I forgot Chronic Pain  has its way of dropping "New Pain" into our lives-the load seems almost too much for a body to bear at times, but I grit my teeth and keep moving.  Thats why I am comparing the constant
additions of Pain in my life to a Moving Train that never stops-no matter how hard I might plead with the
conductor to Let me Off.  Everything in my life seems to have been turned upside down and I can clearly see the changes as I realize nothing will ever be quite the same again.


So I feel the need to vent~~suddenly I can't blow dry my Hair~~~the simple act of raising my arm now
brings a scorching wave of new Pain!  The new solution was obvious-get a shorter haircut~~its tough when
you know there is no choice about it-you just have to do it!

Two years ago walking was easy for me-but  now the fear of falling is very real as I keep my walking cane close by~~this is another new Pain problem and the "solutions" are not easy to accept.  My walking cane
is easier to accept~~~~it was hand crafted by my dear 98 year old friend who is a Master wood Crafter
and he labored to make this cane fit perfectly for me.  I look at his aged hands~~knowing how they must
ache at night and think "he never complains" but just keeps on going and doing his work.  No venting by him-He knows God is taking care of him.  Perhaps my Cane serves as a wonderful "spiritual reminder" to
trust God and know I am in HIS hands.

So its time to quit venting, step away from the Pain Train~~strengthen my body and spirit as I can and keep moving along.  I will get through this-one day at a time.

God be with those who suffer with Chronic Pain-help us all to find our way through the dark nights and lonely days of  Pain.  You are all in my prayers.

I wish you a blessed Christmas.  Let us all pause and give thanks for the Gift of Jesus.

martha

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Pain is a force to be dealt with~~



When you live with Chronic Pain-it continues to teach lessons that will never be forgotten.  One example is the way Pain can sneak up~~as changing weather approaches and you  suddenly feeling helpless as Pain rises in your body~~suddenly areas of your body are aching and you feel wrapped up in its grip.  Trust me when I say this-Living with Chronic Pain is one of the hardest battles anybody can face.

During the last few months, I had noticed a "change" in my Pain~~ my bad leg seemed almost numb, my shoulder had started to hurt-and I knew something was wrong. Tests were done, and we had a clear answer to the change~~a piece of Disc was pressing against a Nerve and a bulging disc in my neck was causing Pain
like I had never felt before!

My doctor had me come in for injections to "put a dent" in the Pain-hoping to get things calmed down.  It was a busy morning, the place packed with people-all there for some Pain relief.  Suddenly with no warning, the Pain in my neck, shoulder and arm felt as if somebody had lit a match and everything was on fire!

I heard my name called, and stumbled to the doors of the procedure area.  I  usually manage a half-hearted "Hi-how are you doing" to the nurses, but  I began crying-nothing was stopping these tears from flowing!  It felt like I was filling up a bucket with all the tears~~it scared me because I could not get a grip on anything, and  managed to tell the nurse that I would need help in getting the hospital gown on-my arm was not going to work for me.  She saw the "mess" I was in and sat beside me, gently explaining the tears were a way of my body releasing the stress of so much Pain~~and told me it was very clear to see Pain was working me over.

Thats when it hit me~~ now I was in the midst of brand new problems-serious ones and with that comes New Pain~~it will require new changes, adjustments, surgery. All I can do is take it a day at a time.

I will never doubt the force Pain can bring our way-but with prayer and time, I will find my way through
this new "bump in the road" and keep going.  Yes-I could use some extra prayers right now and I will be
grateful for them.  Just know-I promise to say extra ones for you too.

God bless all who battle Pain.

martha

Saturday, December 15, 2012

WHY?

One word-in the last two days its been repeated over and over~~in anger,  anguished sobs,  begging pleas,  screams of a parent's Worst Nightmare~~Why did Twenty innocent children have to leave this world in such an act of violence?  Why did Six of  their treasured teachers, Principal, Counselor--Why were they taken from the children?  Why did one person burst through doors and take everything from so many?

As adults we ask WHY-with deep frustration that answers will not come, but when a child asks WHY~~just the word is heart-breaking for us to hear.  They ask in complete innocence~~not aware of Violence, until it burst into their sweet young lives~~~and they will never be the same again.   

I sit here, searching for comforting words~~~to help families, police officers, medical personnel, teachers, and all the people across this globe who are repeating the word over and over-WHY?

Pray-speak words of Prayer for these wounded families~~~make it simple "Please Help them God."

Your prayer is heard. Think of the repeated agony for the parents as the faces of their precious children start to be seen by the entire world~~these parents cling to each other and it is the Worst reminder of the cold fact that Violence suddenly entered their world.  Prayers will help~~we might not see it but a single Prayer can help a grieving family find their way through the next few seconds.  Their world has stopped.

It sounds impossible in these raw days~~but another family has also fallen apart as they ask Why~~and realize there is no place for them to hide or run from their own personal agony.

God help us all as we struggle through the days ahead.

martha

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Easier "Said" then Done~~~~

Taking a Hard Look at Myself!

Yesterday I blogged about "Giving it Everything you Have" as I connected with a photo taken during the fury of Hurricane Sandy and saw Medical Personnel working to hold life together for those who had nothing to fight with.  Thank God they were so dedicated~~think of the "Stories" they will share with their children and future grandkids.

I also shared about my own Doctor~~how wonderful she is and without question, I would be lost without her!  Yet it seems that Reality checks are always waiting for me-guess it goes with the Pain, and last night
my Wake up Call hit!  It was time to shut my computer down and head to bed~~ I had been sitting with my legs propped on the desk and when I rose to get out of my chair-my bad leg seemed to have vanished!!  It was completely Numb~~ Reality was here  "Well Kiddo-what are you going to do now?"  My office door was closed but I could hear the TV and figured a loud Shout for my husband would do the trick~~but after several times of yelling for him-I knew he was in his office and could not hear me.  Thank God for cellphones-I called him, calmly telling him I needed his assistance.  He came running to help me and the
leg began to feel as if it still belonged to my body. 

Humbled, Frightened, Freaked out~~ so many emotions flowing and then it hit me, I had written a blog post about "Giving it everything you Have" in Fighting back at Pain~~now I had to face a sudden reality of how it felt to have Nothing left in my leg-no support, just a cold Numb feeling.  It was time for a Reality
check of my thoughts- "Its okay to have some give and take in the Chronic Pain Battle" but all is not lost-its a period of change. I don't like it~~but I must face it.  

May the Lord watch over all who are suffering on this night.

Martha

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Giving it everything you have~~~

Focusing on the Patient
AP Photo-John Minchillo

This amazing picture was one of many taken as a group of dedicated Nurses worked in a dark stairway during the fury of Hurricane Sandy!  Some were adult patients, and others were the smallest ones-tiny
premature babies who require numerous machines and equipment to help sustain their life.  The Hospital had  lost all power during the storm~backup generators were failing but nothing stopped these Professionals from
Giving it Everything they had- They were breathing Life into the patient-look at their faces~filled with  intensity and determination as they worked in conditions  none had dreamed could happen.  Years of endless Training is being pulled together-to give each patient a chance at life~~this photo almost speaks to the storm- "We are in Control here-No Storm is going to stop us from our Job! " 

I have learned over the years to be my own advocate-simply put~~opening my mouth and speaking up for myself as I face health issues.  Each Doctor, Nurse, and Assistant deserves my respect and I try very hard to do my part in giving it to them~~but there are times when a "Patient" can teach a needed lesson 
when we see our words are not being heard.

God must have known when I fell from the tree that I would be needing a Doctor who would stay the course with me, hear my words, watch over me, give me the hard lessons to keep me on the right path-like jerking my stubborn mind back into line and helping me understand the long journey ahead of me.  I know she will be with me for the full distance~~as I asked her last week "Will you be with me for the Surgery?"  She looked at me with great love and then said "Of course I will be there" it was music to my ears. 

When dealing with Chronic Pain, there will be times when we stumble across the path of a person in the Medical field who knows nothing of our health history-and we find ourselves repeating all we have been through~~old procedures and medications are being suggested~and we feel our words are falling on deaf ears.  At these moments-its time to give it Everything You have~~step up to the plate and FIGHT
for yourself!  Yes you will step on toes, words will come flying out, some of them can't be taken back-but 
whether it be Doctor, Nurse or an Aide~~they too have a responsibility to listen to the Patient. 

I had the best example of "listening skills" being taught to me last week when my Doctor told me this latest news and said "I noticed how you had been describing your pain lately~~it was different and something told me there was a bigger problem and we needed to find it!"   She listened to me~a room full of patients also waiting to be heard and yet she picked up on my words being different and for me--
She was giving me Everything she Had inside her as a Trained Medical Doctor.

There will be many new lessons for me to learn as I prepare for this surgery-but in those moments of doubt and worry, I will pull this picture up and see a group of Medical Professionals Giving a tiny baby their all, as the good Lord helped guide them through that dark night.

Living with Chronic Pain is beyond mere words~~just keep giving it your all and ask God for His help.

I keep all the faces of Pain I will never see in my prayers-please keep me in yours.

God be with you.

Martha






Sunday, December 9, 2012

Fighting back Fear~~~

Its been a long time since I have had any surgery done~~you do tend to forget all the apprehension, worry about complications, all these Fear have come rushing back and seem to grow stronger each day.
.

I  know my doctors and have complete confidence in them~~~they work like a well-oiled machine together and that puts me in the best hands possible.  My faith tells me God is watching over me,  HE will be in that operating room with all of us.  This helps to calm my fears, and its vital I get this conquered before the Surgery~~its important to go into any surgery with your mind clear, no anger, no fears-just drawing on my inner strength as I put my body into the doctors trained hands.

Today has been rough~~we have a strong weather front coming in-bringing us much needed colder weather and thats good-but for anyone who suffers with Chronic Pain, the battle gets really hard as your pain level rises and keeps rising until the weather finally arrives and that lovely "pressure" eases down.  Its also very different now as I experience "New Pain" that is now part of my life and with all this, Fear really has its way of sneaking in and growing!

As a couple, its one of the first times in our 37 years of marriage that we haven't talked an issue over and over until we know its settled~~~perhaps its because there is Fear in both of us and we don't want to worry each other.  Tonight as we watched a movie-something hit me and I knew, it was time to discuss what is ahead of us~~my dear husband-no matter if he was watching the best show in the world, he puts everything on hold, turns the volume off and we begin talking, covering all the issues and assuring each other that all will be fine.  I felt like a weight had been lifted off of me~~Matt's love and calm assurance were simply waiting for me to grab hold of.  This is what we do, we trust God and lean on our Love for each other.

 As we finished talking, a long ago memory hit me~~My Dad was facing major surgery and we didn't know if he would make it through the operation.  I chose to walk beside him as they rolled him toward the Surgery Room~~we stopped and both of us knew I had to back away and let God take over.  Daddy looked at me and said "Well Sister, this is it.  I probably won't see you again for a long time"  fear had a grip on him~~but I knew how strong he was, I looked at him, and said "Daddy, I will see you in a few hours-everything is going to be fine, God is watching over you and I love you!"  I will never forget the look on his face~~my words had given him a life-line and he grabbed hold of it.  We hugged and as they rolled him through the doors, he lifted his aged hand and waved at me!

That memory helped me to understand my own fears that I now face~~~many people were praying for my Dad and he came through a lengthy operation in great shape.  I have prayers of so many wonderful people who are lifting me up and asking God to be with me and help me through this.  Fear eased and I feel much 
better~~~as Matt said "Martha-this is something we can get through together!"  That was all I needed to hear, and I know he will be doing a lot of praying!  

Its okay to be afraid-but know there is a loving Hand just waiting for you to reach out to-God is always there for us.

God bless all who battle each day with Chronic Pain.  I pray you find moments of relief and a bit of Joy.

martha

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Reality~~what comes next?

It feels like I have been running a long slow race~~hoping to keep an edge of Martha against Pain, and during the past few years, I felt like everything was going well.  Pain had not left me-I wake and it has my attention-morning , noon and night~~but I still could do my pretend running against Pain.  Last night as I lay resting on a warm massage table in my Pain management Doctor's office-feeling relaxed as she began viewing a massive stack of MRI film~~so many images of the "Inside Martha" for her to view, I felt no fear as I trust her massive experience and keen eye.  Suddenly I heard "Piece of Disc broke and pressing the Nerve" everything changed in my Race against Pain!

The room was darkened as she viewed the films, my husband sat in stone silence as I snapped to attention at the sound of those words~~I know my Doctor's voice and there was a cold reality to her words.  She asked us both to look at the film as she showed the latest damage to "Inside Martha" and that word followed-the one I dreaded to hear~~~Surgery.  So this was the reason for my bad leg  going Numb, the added Pain I was feeling lately~~~at this moment I stopped being the Patient and leaned against my Doctor, letting Tears flow.  I can't begin to imagine the emotions running through her~~~this was not the time for her to be my Friend-she had to be my Doctor and keep me focused on the serious problem in front of us.

A cold reality hit~~~Matt was too silent, I feared what was running through his mind as he carefully got me
home, and finally spoke "You are going to really need my care-a lot more than usual" and I felt like this
latest problem had just added another anchor around his loving neck.  But life keeps moving-no matter the
situation and I could choose to face this like a grown woman or simply stick my head in the sand and hide
from this news.  Reality hit again this morning as I opened the Fridge~~ suddenly Matt stood beside me,  frustration boiling  out as he told me "Didn't you listen to your Doctor last night?  You can't lift anything over a quart of Milk anymore-do you get it now?"

Yes I now had Reality in front of me and it wasn't pretty~its been a day of  quiet reflection for both of us,  we can't plan anything out~~certainly can't get our hands around this New problem-and have no real clue as to what comes next...

For a brief moment last night~~it felt like I had given up, but as I stopped crying and sat up to be a Real Patient with my Doctor~~she took a sparkling funny Christmas Necklace from her neck and put it around mine-her time to be the Friend and say "Something tells me you could use this now!"  

The path will be rocky~~ups and downs will come, but God is beside me and I will face each day, knowing
                            ~~~~~~~~~Pain Won't Beat Me~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Keep looking up~~and know I pray for you.  If you don't mind, please say One prayer for me.

Martha


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Christmas~~could Bubble Lites help?

Does anybody remember these?

Yes,  I recall these special Christmas Lites~~~it didn't take long after they were plugged in for sparkling Bubbles to appear and  I wanted them to go on forever!  Many years had passed since I saw these special lites-when they suddenly appeared in one of the Christmas isles~~~filled with thousands of items waiting to grab our attention as we dream about decorating the Tree-then worry about having enough money to cover
this Holiday.

Seeing the old Bubble Lite photo took me back to many Christmas gatherings~~some were wonderful, filled with love and joy-everyone happy to be together, sharing memories and good food~~we were still free from the Commercial Christmas.  I recall shopping with Mom ~~seeing names on her list and a dollar amount next to it-reality hit me as to the financial burden this holiday was bringing. My parents worked hard each day, exhaustion showed on both of them but they kept going.  One Christmas memory
stands out~~ I had reached teenage years and was pushing Moma to decorate the tree.  She was holding a box of silver Icycles~~as I suggested "One at a time goes on Moma-not a handful." 

 I will Never forget the look on her face as she glared at her teenage daughter, who was daring to give
 suggestions on Tree decorating~~I stood frozen- as a full box of Silver went flying through the air, landing on the tree in a messy clump!  She stepped back, looking at her work~~then turned to face me
 "Well Daughter-how do you think that looks?"  I gave a weak smile and kept very quiet!

At that moment I thought her actions were terrible~~but later when the house was quiet, I stood at the Tree, fixing the Silver Clump and it hit me hard~~ Mom was dead tired from a full day of work, a huge Christmas meal lay waiting for her to prepare~~ I knew there would never be enough Bubble Lites to help make this Christmas magical.  

 As Christmas arrived, Moma was surrounded by her grandchildren, taking great delight as each package was opened.  We noticed that she rarely opened any of her presents~it was easy to see where she found Joy~~it was with Family-regardless if the holiday was good or mixed with stress and emotions.  She had no need of a Tree, great food, wonderful gifts~just to be with family was her blessing. I missed too many Holidays with her~it is a heartache I carry deep inside, but something tells me she would whisper 
words of love to me "Daughter-remember One day, One smile at a time!"

If I could give One suggestion for Christmas~~don't worry about the Bubble Lites-enjoy the Love God has for each of us.  

Martha



Saturday, December 1, 2012

Remembering What my Granny Taught me~~

Embroidery Piece-done by Martha

This is the largest piece I have done~~somewhere along the line I lost count of how many hours I put in on this one piece.  It hangs on the wall of my office with Nine other Pieces of work~~I worry about running out
of space to hang them all-but something tells me I will figure New arrangements out and my hands will stay busy~~cherishing an art taught to me by my dear little Granny. 

With each stitch I took on this piece, memories came flooding back- I was a little girl, sitting quietly beside Granny~~watching her make beautiful pieces of work-and taking time to show me how each stitch was done.  Her lessons went way beyond teaching me how to make a certain stitch~~I didn't understand at the time what she meant by "Idle Hands need to stay busy-this work will take your mind away from all worries."  Now I have a full understanding of those words and I hold them deep in my heart.

I close my eyes-Granny is sitting on a old sofa, surrounded by an array of colors of Embroidery Thread, scissors, special needles to help remove a unwanted Knot from the Thread, new patterns waiting to be created by her hands, and one special item laying close beside her.  It was a very old Bible, worn by years of other hands turning pages~~ verses marked with Red ink, that held a special meaning for her.  

One day I watched her hands working on a New Piece of work~~when she paused to reach for the Bible, reading it and then taking the Pen to mark a verse.  The child in me had to ask "Granny, what made you stop working, to read your Bible?" Her eyes were fixed on me, taking a few seconds to find words a child could understand~~~~
 "Well my hands do get tired and my mind starts to worry~thats when I will turn to my Bible and by golly, the Lord will always have a message for me-one that eases my worries!"

That steady look never left me~~as if she wanted to be sure I understood her message-but I had one more question~~"Why do you mark the Bible Granny?" I can still see her smiling at me "I mark it  so I don't forget it!  This Bible-is very special to me~~~It was my Mother's Bible and I love it!" 

Many years have passed~~I still hold the lessons she taught me deep inside my heart~~and the Bible she cherished~~~now rests on my Desk, as I imagine my Great Grandmother, my Granny and my Mom all turning the pages, as they too reached for God's assuring words.

My Physical Pain doesn't go away but the blessing of Two very important lessons taught to this little girl many years ago are now a life-line I reach for on the dark days of my battle with Chronic Pain.  

Thanks for allowing me to share with you.  I keep all those who suffer with Pain in my prayers.

martha

Thursday, November 29, 2012

What to do when the roles are reversed?

For sixteen long years, My dear Husband has been the one watching over me~~keeping a close watch at the most serious times-sitting by my hospital bed as I fought to stay alive, watching me struggle to find my way back to life, and holding me in his arms as I grieve the loss of so many things I loved and had to give up.

I really don't know what happened when 2012 arrived, but I can say its been one for the books and Matt has been smack dab in the middle of sudden health problems~~some that send a chill down your spine as you fear Cancer might be getting ready to show up.  We have held on to each other~~praying to God for tests to come back with good news and no sign of Cancer~~joyous when we heard from the doctor and knew we could breathe again-No sign of Cancer.  

Suddenly Matt seemed to have one disaster after the other-breaking bones, terrible cuts that needed fast stitching, intense Back Pain resulting in a Blown Disc-and now Kidney problems.  I have felt the fears-standing by his hospital bed, waiting for him to recover from surgery~~watching him suffer with Pain~~suddenly realizing he was now part of that group-a person who must live with Pain.  He is not having to deal with constant Pain but when it shows up~~his suffering is terrible and I feel very lost.

Tonight my very organized husband was typing in all his latest health problems-showing me the Computer Site he had created for both of us~~but I didn't want to be reminded of this-and my words came rolling out
"I don't know what to do-its always Me who is sick"-we stood together, silence surrounding us~~holding tight to each other as we worked to understand that Aging was getting our attention too.  Those words that I have clung to throughout our 37 years of marriage came tumbling out of me~~~~~

                     "Matt-you are my Rock!  None of this should be happening to you!"

 He has always been the wiser one in our marriage and knew it was vital for me to understand his words~
                        "Your Rock now has a Crack in it-and you will help me just like I help you!

 The words stung but I held his message tight, realizing nothing is perfect in life, there will be bumpy times in marriage ~~but Love & Faith will take us all the way.

God bless all who are suffering and struggling-remember I am praying for you always.  martha

Monday, November 26, 2012

Learning a New Lesson on Pain~~~

Matt-my dear husband

I keep thinking about the lessons Pain teaches me,  figuring the lesson will be about me or people I see at random places.  Little did I know there was a Huge Lesson waiting for me that would involve my precious husband, Matt.  Two days ago, everything seemed okay~~we had managed to work our way through the Thanksgiving Holiday as we counted our blessings for simply having each other to love!  Each night I have a "routine" of sorts~~getting ready for bed, taking my Pain Medication, propping my aching leg up and watching some silly late night show.  Suddenly Matt comes staggering toward our bedroom and falls on the floor~~~all he can say is "I am in Agony-help me" - my world was turned upside down in a split second!  I jumped out of bed, as I tossed rapid fire questions to Matt, but not stopping to hear his answer~~all I could think was "Oh my God, its his Back" as I heard him say "Okay Dr. Martha- its my Kidney area that is throbbing!" 

Poor Matt-he was rolling around on the floor, doing anything to find a position to give him a break from this brand new Pain he had never had in his life.  I grabbed a ice pack and got down on the floor to hopefully 
get the bag put exactly where he needed it.  Finally it hit me that Matt needed to be seen by a doctor and that meant a trip to the hospital, but he refused the idea of an ambulance~~so I  called a dear friend of ours, urgently saying "I need you right now, Matt is on the floor!"

He didn't hesitate~~assuring me he was on the way to help us.  Matt glanced my way as I kept going from room to room~telling me "Martha-you might want to put some regular clothes on~~your PJ's are not proper attire for this trip!"  Typical Matt-suffering with horrendous Pain, yet taking time to let me know about my attire!   It took a long night of testing~~ the Pain was coming from a Kidney Stone demanding to find its way out of his body and he was given medication to help the stone pass.  We both learned these Stones do not come flying out- it doesn't happen overnight and so we found ourselves back at the hospital very early this morning-Matt now in worse Pain as he had developed a slight infection.  

We got through it all-and now we wait for the lovely Kidney Stone to arrive.  As I stood beside his hospital bed this morning, my dear husband said "Well my wife, I have a brand new understanding of how much Pain you live with each day."  I fought the tears as I told him "dear husband-this has opened my heart to just how much I truly love you and need you!

Two lessons learned~~Pain and Love guiding us through it.  We leaned on God and held onto each other-just like we always have done.  

Pain is a rough teacher~~~but please know, you are not alone-I am praying for you.  

Martha

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holiday Moments~~

Thanksgiving and Christmas~~ these two holidays have been put on a Super Track Race~~Decorations for Christmas start showing up in stores before mid-September.  This act gives a small "Shelf Life" for anything that looks like Fall or Thanksgiving.  Items are marked at 50% off~~to grab our attention, thinking we are getting a great bargain- people seem to have a look of shock~ trying to mentally grab their Christmas list for early shopping!

PLEASE~~~~~give these two holidays some breathing room!  It is a known fact-holidays have a way of bringing out the Worst and Best in People.  Everyone is struggling to be on their best behavior-but many carry deep emotional pain inside~~ sooner or later, a button is pushed and emotions are pouring from people.  

I have always carried great respect for the "Thanksgiving Painting" by Norman Rockwell~~it shines with joy, love, anticipation as the beautiful cooked Turkey is being brought forward-all waiting to join hands in prayer, thanking God for His blessings.  How wonderful it would be if more family gatherings held a portion of the shining Joy portrayed in Mr. Rockwell's painting~~now in this fast paced world-although we don't say it~~my heart tells me there are many families who hope and pray they can just get through the meal, send everyone home~~before verbal words begin to fly and anger erupts.

I had a chance to see some Holiday side-effects in a trip to the grocery store today~~ as I watched the mad dash traffic of carts rapidly pushing down the main isle~~a brief thought hit that I could become a Traffic Officer-"Stop, Now Forward, Hold, Go Sideways, Wrong Turn!"  As I watched this mad rush-Mr. Rockwell's painting surfaced~~telling me "This was Not the Way He saw any Holiday"  no eager smiles, bright eyed looks of excitement-nothing but frustration, anger, tension~~as if everyone wanted to forget about Thanksgiving.

Suddenly a lady asked if I needed help~~she had a store Badge on-letting me feel she was the real deal, and after telling her what I was searching for~~within seconds she had walked with me to the area I needed to be at.  I got the feeling she was not your "average employee" as I inquired about what her job title might be.  Another shock~~~she explained her job was in the Upper Management and all store Employees from the Top Leader to the Bottom Employee was asked to volunteer at a store on this huge shopping day-being there to help people find items they needed~~hopefully making their shopping experience easier.

I was stunned~~~but could see the Joy on her face-she was having a wonderful time helping people and knew if given the chance, she would do this again~~no questions asked, no pay needed.

My heart opened as I told her "You just added true Joy to my Holiday~~Thank you!"

Maybe on this Thanksgiving, we could all give PEACE a try.  God bless.

martha




Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Special Moment~~~

Her name is Jackie Evancho~~~ that says it all as she is a very young girl with a Huge Angelic Voice and her path in life is moving!  I dreamed of going to one of her Concerts but figured it would never happen because she had never planned a concert in Texas.

But that all changed  a few months ago while checking her event page, I yelled with delight "Jackie is coming to Texas in November!"  My husband  also loves her music and so we both jumped at the chance, figuring I could probably manage this trip with my bad leg.  We left yesterday morning-but while packing, my stomach decided to go nuts from the stress and excitement of going and lets just say--It was a very LONG ride-but worth pushing myself to make it.

We had wonderful seats-as we sat on the second line of chairs from the stage and it felt like I could reach out and touch her~~the smile on her face is beautiful and matches the sound of her songs.  For any who know me, Crying is something I don't like to do~~but that all flew out the window as I cried through her entire concert!  The tears were a mix of many emotions-I sat thinking "This child is a gift to all of us and has been touched by HIS handprint!  

People of all ages attended~~walking canes, wheelchairs, motorized chairs-they didn't care as to the physical effort it took to get inside the Concert hall-it was worth the struggle to watch Jackie sing. Each song brought the crowd to their feet, clapping and yelling "We Love you Jackie" and she would speak back "Thank you and I love you too!"  There was no program, or CD music being sold~just Jackie, pure, beautiful and angelic.  Jackie dedicated one song to her Mom, telling the crowd how much she loved her parents as they allowed  her the chance to do the one thing she loves to do~~~SING.

One of her final songs was "Our Father" as I looked around, everyone was crying~~knowing what we 
had been given-the chance to be near Jackie as our hearts opened up to receive the Love that fills her music.

Jackie Evancho is a gift for all of us.  Thank you God.

Martha




Tuesday, November 13, 2012

One day with Chronic Pain

A long time ago, I knew what it was like to feel Normal~~

The word feels like someone threw Cold Water in my Face~~I don't know what Normal is anymore, too many years of constant Pain have done a good job of wiping memories away. I  struggle to recall what my life was like before the Tree Fall, then Cold Reality hits as I know looking back is useless-just have to keep moving and cling to my determined words "Pain Won't Beat Me!"

After going through a horrible day yesterday-waiting for a Cold Front to arrive~~it felt like someone had run over me with a truck!  My husband was on constant Guard Duty, quietly watching me~~noticing I rarely left my comfortable recliner,  Pajamas were my Outfit for the Day.  My mood was dark~~seeming like a sign was posted in front of me~~
                                                     "Danger Area-Woman in Rotten Pain"

Finally I gave the chair up, headed to bed~~quickly rubbing a Topical Pain Cream on my nerve-damaged feet and bad leg~~praying this would send a message to Pain- "Let this Woman Rest" my husband watched in silence, finally braving the waters to ask "Well, do you think that will help tonight?"  I paused to look into his loving eyes- "All I can do is Pray!"

God was listening and I was blessed with sleep, waking up at 10:00am~~thinking I was dreaming but  knew it was real as I whispered a Silent prayer of Thanks.

This is one day of Chronic Pain for me~~~its misery, no getting around that fact but I also know others suffer a thousand times worse than I do.  I beg God to please give them One Easy Day.  

Martha

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Spiritual Moment at the Grocery Store~~~

 I can hear the thoughts- "Wait a minute, how can crowded isles, people pushing all around, waiting in long lines, not finding the exact item you need~~were is the Spiritual Moment in this?"  If anyone would have told me something special was going to come my way while at the Grocery Store~~ I would have probably laughed at them~~~ but God can be found anywhere, even while standing in line at a Grocery Store Pharmacy.

I had decided to move my medical prescriptions closer so we could avoid a 45 minute drive and was very nervous about the decision.  A man stood in front of me~~something was different about him-he began a conversation with me- "You need to speak with someone here who knows what they are doing!  Today they have a small crew working-so be thorough in explaining what you need."  It was like he knew  my thoughts-as if he sensed all my fears~~speaking  the words I wanted to say! He stepped forward toward a clerk and I heard a voice saying "Next in line please."  I felt the urge to thank him-but he had suddenly vanished~~ almost like a strong wind had suddenly blown by and took him away!

My thoughts were turned upside down now as a lovely young woman smiled at me (the man's words ringing in my head) I began to explain my purpose for being there.  I struggled to find "thorough words" for needing to  move my prescription for Pain Medication, and how worried I was about things getting messed up.  Little did I know~~there was No cause for worry as she gently said "Yes I truly understand your fears-when you are in Chronic Pain its vital to keep your Pain under control and I promise this will be handled properly."  It was like she knew me~~and understood the journey I have traveled with Pain~~her beautiful eyes never left mine as a sudden feeling of Peace washed over me and I relaxed.

I gave no thought to anyone else standing behind me- Time had stopped and just the two of us were in this amazing moment of sharing.  Suddenly I asked "How would you have any idea about Chronic Pain, being so young?"  Those eyes fixed straight on mine,  her voice softened as she shared with me "I had Cervical Cancer~~ Radiation was very Painful so I needed Pain medication-believe me I do understand!"  My heart started to break~~it felt like I was watching a  window flying by~~seeing other Pain coming her way~~ the loss of  children~~ the fear of  Cancer returning. I could not stop the tears pouring from my heart, I couldn't speak~~ instead I pounded my Cane against the floor in Anger and Hurt for the Painful life already faced by one so very young.  

Her eyes were cast down as she worked to control tears~ I struggled to pull myself together~~our eyes met again as I braved cautious words "What about Children?"  I hated myself for speaking them but she never wavered-telling me her doctors had done a different form of Radiation to give her body a chance at bearing children, and she was trying In-Vitro Fertilization~now it was up to God.  Adoption was also a avenue for the future.  Now I had my eyes locked with hers~~so many unspoken words were said.  Too many.

God was there with us-two women~ different in age, but very familiar with Pain.  The young woman knew our time was done and said "Its all going to be fine!"  I faced the angry line,smiled and said~~
                                                       "Sure hope you all have a Great Day!"

All I can say is keep your eyes and heart open~~~you never know what can happen at the Grocery Store!

God be with all who are suffering with physical and emotional Pain.  I do keep you in my prayers.

martha

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A young Soldier-home from War

My Dad-home from the War

The smile on his face seems a bit forced, but I learned the reason after turning this recently found photo over, reading on the back, it was taken just one year after his returning from the horrors of serving in the Army during WWII.  Daddy was in the Infantry, served in Six Major Campaigns-stepping forward to serve his country and face things very few could imagine.  

He never spoke about the War-it was an area of his life that we knew not to tread on, but as I reached my teenage years, something spurred me forward and I recall vividly what happened as the subject 
was approached~~ "Daddy, I want to ask you something about the War" his face seemed hard as stone, it felt as if he was trying to silently tell me "Trouble-don't go there, just leave it be!"  I pushed on,
unsure of this risky move~~but being his daughter, I started with the toughest question~~
              ~~~~~~~~~~ "Daddy, did you shoot anybody?" ~~~~~~~~~~~~

His eyes appeared to have gone back in time~memories rising to the surface that he worked hard to stuff down inside his heart each day. It felt as if time stood still~~when he finally turned to face me with a look I shall never forget-
            "Daughter-the enemy was in a Trench, just like we were, barely three feet of distance apart~~nobody dared raise their head because if they did, Death was waiting for them.  All I did was put my gun over my head and squeeze the trigger, over and over.!"

The space around us felt so cold-I was old enough to realize the Depth of his answer and before I could ask another question, his memories had started flowing~~

"I had a Buddy in the Trench with me one night, we had missed too much sleep and I forgot about raising my head up-Suddenly we heard the sound of a Bullet, I dropped to the ground, grabbing my cloth cap, seeing a Bullet hole had gone straight through it.  I turned to show my Buddy how close I had come to being Dead-but he lay dead from the Bullet that missed me!  I will tell you this Sister, it taught me to Never raise my head up again!"

My young heart was trying to take all this in~~ it hit me I had opened up a door to my Dad's heart and nothing was going to stop the memories now~~words tumbling out as his eyes pierced through me, perhaps waiting for me to beg him to stop talking.  He paused to light up a smoke~~glancing at it as he said "I never smoked until I was in the War~~something about being shot at, having to walk among a Sea of Dead Soldiers-well it has a way of getting you hooked on smoking."

His words slowed down as I prayed for hurt rolling from my Daddy to just Stop- suddenly one final memory surfaced as the tone of my Dad's voice had changed, his words came out, Pain in each word he spoke~~

"I was in the 3rd Wave of Soldiers when we landed on Leyte Island-bullets flying at us- we had big boxes of extra Ammo to take with us.  A young guy told me he would grab the box-urged me to go ahead and jump in the water.  We all were praying the water might keep us safe, but I saw the box was heavy and figured it was my job to grab it.  I told him to Jump~ we would see each other later~~ 
I grabbed the box, turned to jump~~but this kid was lying face up, dead from a bullet!  The box being so heavy pulled me down into the waters, probably helping to save my life.  After all these years, I keep thinking~~ Why God-why did that young kid have to die?  Why wasn't it me?"

Daddy looked like a ghost~~I hated myself for having forced these memories from him-and there was nothing I could say to help ease his Pain.  As he reached to light up another smoke, he told me 
"Trouble, War is Hell-never forget that."

I thank God for sparing my Dad and bringing him back.  On this Veteran's Day-I ask God to ease the hearts of all the families who lost their children to War.  I pray for those who now serve our country, Volunteers-giving so much to preserve our Freedom.  They come home missing arms, legs, traumatic brain injuries, burns~~~We call them "Our Wounded Warriors!"  They are amazing men and women.  Amazing.

Martha








Wednesday, November 7, 2012

When will I ever learn??

When a "rare day of feeling good" comes along~~its so easy for old forgotten feelings to return.  I look outside to see its a beautiful Fall day, and a sudden urge hits me~~"Get busy and do something!" I rush around, digging out sneakers hidden in the back of my closet, hunting for old work clothes I put away, planning to never use them again~~my mind was rushing-as little warning lights were going off, trying to get my attention and all I did was Push them away.  Same old Stubborn Martha-determined to conquer
a project-refusing to think about the aftermath.  Pain is sneaky-it just stepped silently to the side, patiently waiting for me to mess up by pushing my old body too hard and then Pain would come flying in as I paid the price!

I never got outside-because those old sneakers were well hidden and before I knew it, everything was being flung out of my closet~~here was my Big Project-time for a major cleaning.  My husband came walking by, stumbling over suitcases, boxes, clothes~~~he paused-not saying a word as he waited to see me turn around so he could have my full attention.  I must have looked like a wild woman~~hair in a mess, sweat pouring off me and still in my pajamas~~"So-guess you are going to do some work today on your closet, do you think its a good idea to push yourself like this?"  Part of me wanted to scream back at him "Well No, I am making the biggest mistake possible-but I still want to be normal"-instead of screaming, I just gave a quick nod of my head and he knew-time to move out of the way and see how this was going to end.

About two years ago I made a promise to God that I would never climb up on a ladder again or stand on a chair~~so I strained my body to reach up high to the top shelf, pulling heavy photo binders down~~never thinking about the weight or strain I was putting on my body.  Again that little message inside my head began to speak louder "Heh, you are getting ready to drop-so either leave the closet or finish up fast" so I made a mad rush to re-arrange things and finally the job I was so proud of was done.

Yet I dragged my body away and fell in my chair-nothing left of me and somehow knowing, Pain was starting its move toward me.  About two hours later, my shoulder began to throb as if I was having a heart attack!  I made a rapid move to the bed, asking my husband if we had any Baby Aspirin (just in case it really was a heart attack) and all I could do was pray, pray, pray.  I begged God to help me, make this brand new Pain go away~~my dear husband sat beside me-and finally asked "Well do you think this happened because of the work you did today?" 

Tears rolled down my cheeks and I knew-Old Martha had shown up and now I was paying a very heavy price for not respecting the physical limits my body has.  Its hard to let go of things we once enjoyed doing-
but if I don't learn after a big mistake like this~well I have only me to blame for the added suffering.  Today has been a tiny bit easier-I have protected my weary shoulder muscles and done nothing but sit and enjoy
the healing of a heating pad.

We are human-mistakes will be made~~I begged God to help me last night-the intense Pain scared me so much!  Perhaps I did learn from this episode of sliding back into old habits-I pray that I did!

God help us who suffer with Pain.  Be with us when we fall.

martha  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Slowing Down together~~~

Loving on my Daddy~

This looks like a good photo~~but tough decisions lay ahead for both of us-Illness had taken a toll on Daddy and I was dealing with a Burning Leg,  as new words entered the picture- Slow Down~~ neither of us cared for the words because we both knew they held life changes for us.  

 Daddy told me "Now Trouble-you have just One Speed-FAST" he loved calling me Trouble- grinning with delight and it was a loving Term of Endearment!  He taught me lessons about working hard, doing a Good Job and Never stopping until it was completed. 

  No job was too hard for me-as I finished tasks quickly, being my Dad's Girl, it was natural for me to share his work ethics.  Having grown up on a ranch, I loved walking with him-my tiny legs moving fast and I learned to grab his hand and hang on!  He shared stories with me~~things he did as a child-I stored it all in my heart, knowing I would never forget these moments together.

Years flew by~~as the message of Slow Down loomed over both of us- I saw him facing age and serious illness, we both seemed to sense what lay ahead.  I struggled to deliver the news~~ forcing the words out- "Assisted Living Center" he sat in a wheelchair-not making a single move,  Anger and Sadness flew from his eyes to me!

We began a Verbal Dance-me explaining why he had to leave home, Moma had passed on,  his health condition was serious~~this was strange territory for both of us~~ anger-filled challenges were thrown  at me-saying he could manage~~ He was a grown man who knew how to cook, turn the heater on to stay warm~~Anger was boiling in his eyes~~ arms folded so Tight-waiting for my next words, his frail body 
clinging to hope that no longer existed.

My heart was crumbling~ I sensed a need to Slow Down and be the Adult-not a loving Daughter who wanted to run away from this terrible moment.  Two hours passed with both of us fighting the End Result.   Home now felt empty~~he sat in Stone Silence-never taking his eyes from me, but suddenly turned  to Soak in One final Memory of Home~~I will never forget this awful moment.  

 He turned around to face me, and I could see him struggling for inner strength to say the words he hated"Okay Trouble, Lets get out of Here, Now."  Nothing could fill the empty spot in our hearts~~we had to Accept it and keep going!  He slowly adjusted to his New Home and we had many wonderful visits, as we shared Pain Days-joking about who hurt the most, and always cherishing our time together. 

One more lesson came from Daddy during a phone call as I was on the way to get Injections to help ease my Pain-we laughed a bit, just talking~~when he suddenly grew quiet, searching for his words:
"Trouble-I think You are Gonna have that Old Leg Pain for the Rest of your Life-so you remember to be Strong"the words stinging as they settled in my heart.  He was being a Dad, trying to reach a Daughter who carried a big piece of his fierce determination!  I promised to call him later but a phone call came as we arrived home, urgent words pouring from my Sister~~

"Daddy is waiting for You to get here, He won't Let Go Until He sees You, Please Hurry!"  

The ride was fast-my heart breaking for what lay ahead~~ I walked into his room, sat beside him~~~"Daddy, Its Trouble!  I am here now, its okay to go.  I love You.  Please say Hi to Moma for me."  Peace seemed to fill the room, his labored breathing slowed down, as tears gently ran down his cheeks.  I kissed him Goodbye and knew-those tears were His Goodbye to me.  

Calvert H. Combs, Born Nov. 07th, 1920.  Passed April 21, 2003

Thank you for letting me share~~ I praise God for giving me this wonderful man I call Daddy.

Martha





Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Constant Changes that go with Chronic Pain~~

One thing about Chronic Pain a person can be sure of~~~something is always changing and requires us to either accept the changes and do the best we can to adjust-or keep ignoring them!  I call this "Sticking my Head in the Sand" and it does have a wicked way of catching up with me~~which sends me on a emotional roller coaster of frustration, anger, sadness, and finally Acceptance.

I have known since the fall that my left leg has bore the brunt of injuries~~always giving me a reminder of things I can't do~~have to be careful walking up and down steps.  If I make the mistake of taking this left leg and try to stride upwards on steps~~the Pain sends me a vicious Message "Have you lost your mind-this leg needs to be protected" and without question, I pay dearly for my mistake.

So much of me still longs to be the person I was "Before Tree Fall" and I have many days where I linger at this spot~~thinking about all I could do-and sorrow wraps around my heart as I think about my stupid decision on that fateful day!  This is where "Constant Changes" comes in~~God has blessed me with so much, and nothing good will come to wallow in a valley of "What Ifs"~~ So I choose to pull myself up from
sadness and keep moving-cherishing each day I am given. Its not always a joyful "Cherishing" but I keep trying.


I struggle just like anybody else would who faces this battle of living with Chronic Pain~~sometimes it feels as if I am like a small child~~having a "Terrible Twos Moment" because there is no place for me to run and hide from Pain.  Suddenly I find myself needing to carry a Cane with me~~the bad leg has its moments of just giving out-as I desperately try to balance on One Leg~~ its frightening to say the least!

They say "Pride goeth before the Fall" and lately it feels like I am being hit constantly with this reminder~
I can choose to either carry the Cane and put my Pride aside-or take the risk of falling because I was too
stubborn to accept "Another Change" in my journey with Chronic Pain.  Tonight as we attended Mass, my
Cane joined me-I sat in Silent turmoil, until I looked around and saw One Cane, than another, and another as people walked into church!  It hit me I was not the only person living with "Change" as I felt my heart ease and found my way to Prayer.

There will be many ups and downs as I walk this path with Pain- but I am learning to look around and "Smell the Roses"~~with God's Grace-I can accept the Constant Changes that will keep coming.

If I could offer a word of advice-be strong, and keep your heart open to His Love.

God be with all who are suffering.

martha

Thursday, November 1, 2012

We were just beginning!!

Matt's Graduation from the Police Academy

We were so young-both of us beaming in this photo taken over 37 years ago as Matt had completed his time in the Police Academy and would be "hitting the streets" the next day.  At this moment, I had no fear of anything happening to him-although he had spent much time giving me a detailed description of how I would receive the news if he were to be killed while on duty.  It sounds strange but you either allow the Fear to chew you apart or make the decision to move ahead in life and Pray each day for him to come home safe to me.

Within a few months of this photo being taken, a well-known Detective was killed when he approached the home of a man who was high on pills and shots rang out, as one of the "Brotherhood of Blue" fell.  I can recall that terrible Fear grow inside me because suddenly everything was very real.  Matt didn't talk much about his work-to this very day he can be talking to somebody about his time on the department and an old memory will surface as he shares it.  I sit silent-thinking "Well you never told me about that happening" as Matt will look at me and say nothing~I am reminded of his love for me, and how he did everything possible to protect me from the parts of life that he wished nobody would have to see.

We were all united-regular parties, family outings~~we cherished these moments, but sadness came as another officer fell in the line of Duty~~the heartache one feels at the funeral is beyond description.  You stand in silence, seeing a wife, children begging for their Daddy to come back. Officers lower their heads to hide tears of sorrow.  We prayed and lifted each other up-while each wife would be saying a silent prayer "Please God, don't ever let this happen to my husband"  and we moved on.

I am so proud of the time my husband spent serving as a Police Officer and Robbery Detective~~He did his time and served with true dedication.  There is no longing in him for those days passed~~when he retired, the uniform was tucked away in the closet and he hasn't looked back.  We aren't these two young people anymore-life has aged us-and we have been hit with deep heartbreak~~ but we keep going and cling tightly to each other and ask the Lord to take care of us.  

If you have the chance to see a Police Officer-take a second and just tell him or her "Thank you" they will hear your words and store them up when they must face the bad times each officer deals with.  

God bless all our Men and Women in Uniform.  

Martha

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Time to Pray for Those in Need~~~

It came flying in-wind, rain, snow, water that didn't stop~~~wreaking destruction to thousands across our country-as they must face the loss of homes burned to the ground, or wiped off its flooring from destructive waters.  We watch the news~~shaking our heads at the pictures of states that once bloomed and now give
the appearance of nothing more than a pile of rubble.  

There is a piece of the Key to recovery~~~no matter how bad a home might look-a lifetime of memories washed away by the mighty force of Mother Nature, people still have the courage to dream of starting over. The initial efforts might start with moving massive trees that once offered glorious shade for children to play under-or a picnic lunch shared with loved ones.  

God knows the inner resolve of all and HE is there to help give a gentle push toward the baby steps of starting life over again.  One of the most poignant moments was to see tiny premature babies being carried down a dark stairway of a hospital, as staff held flashlights and others held needed equipment as nurses 
worked the breathing bag, pumping steady air into these precious children-fighting to live.

We were seeing Life at its most tender moments as a Nurse held a baby in her arms, sitting on a stretcher and doing everything she could to nurture these little ones with Love.

Our country is filled with people who face disaster, grieve for their losses and slowly begin the task of living again.  On this night, PLEASE take a moment out and offer a prayer for all who have been hit so hard
by Hurricane Sandy.  Our prayers will be heard.......

May God be with all those who have suffered from this tragedy.

Martha 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Walking with Courage & Faith~~~

In our small church, there is a side door~~ we all know what its used for, people who use a walker, need to be in a wheelchair~~ to me its the best door of the entire church!  It takes a lot of courage to walk through that door~~every head turns when it opens-as if we are all waiting to see who will come through and it also gives everyone a chance to see how the person is handling their physical problems.  I have walked through
the door many times over the years-usually by the use of a walker, once as I needed to be on crutches (just a word of advice~Never try to put up a wallpaper border in your bathroom and take one foot to stand on top of the toilet, the other foot stretched too far and standing on the tub faucets!  Its a recipe for disaster.)

Today I sat in silent prayers-feeling my Pain starting to rumble back again~~suddenly the door opened and a man came in.  He wasn't taking a easy stroll through the door~~instead his hand gripped crutches that supported his body-it was clear to see the braces on his legs and I knew~~this man had faced tons of Pain and was carrying it all with him~~not worried about others seeing his disability, all he wanted to do was come to church.

His face was almost stone-like, but once he settled in the pew, and his head bent in prayer-I could see his
body begin to relax and slowly a smile came on his face.  He probably had to work very hard to manage that smile~~ My eyes stayed fixed on him~~I wanted to learn more from this gentle man who struggled to find his way to God's house today.  He has a story-how his body came to be so riddled with Pain and I knew it was better that I not push-I think God wanted me to simply watch and learn today.

When services ended~~ I paused to see him rising, struggling to get the crutches in place before he dared take a step~~all I had to do was place my trusty cane in front of me and walk on.  A vast difference between us~~ and yet we both hold a common bond~~ Chronic Pain.

Walking with Chronic Pain takes a ton of courage and faith~all we can do is take it one day at a time.

God bless you and I pray for all who suffer with pain.  martha

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Time to let Matt talk about Pain~~

                                                                    Matt's words~~~

I decided to take a leap of Faith-asking my husband to be totally honest as he shared some of his feelings about Living with Me & Pain.  He was hesitant at first-asking me if there might be a "Wrong Answer"-I asked him to speak from his heart, and let the words flow.  He is my  "Silent Partner" who isn't able to fully express frustration, anger, sadness~~instead He stands strong beside me, doing his best to help. I can't express all that Matt does for me~~ So  I say this-He is my Rock!

Matt's heart talks about Pain~~~~

A Good Day for us is when I see no outward Sign of her Pain-it gives us a brief moment to feel normal again.

Chronic Pain gives me nothing I can take a Swing at!  Her Pain is like a Snake-slithering around as it  covers her with Pain.  

On the Bad days of Pain, I know to stay silent-its clear to see her Defense Mood is up-the Pain is so bad and she wants nobody to touch her.  I watch from the sidelines~feeling helpless as Pain marches on. 

Chronic Pain has taken a lot of her True Kindness away-but then I look at her and can still see this 
soft sweet Woman with such a tender heart- I want to protect her from this battle.  She has lost so 
much of her life but keeps Fighting and I know she will never give up.

Thirty-seven years ago, I took a vow before God-to honor this wonderful woman, and I will be with her~~in sickness and in health.  The day might come when She is on this side of the Bed, helping me.

I pray a lot for Martha~~~actually I pray all the time for her.  She is the other half of me and I would
be lost without her.  I thank God for her and will love her forever, regardless of Pain.

Thank you Matt~for these words that come from the heart!  You are the love of my life.

God be with all Spouses who are walking the path of illness with a loved one.

martha



Monday, October 22, 2012

Living with Pain is Hard~~but not impossible!

This one comes hard-my thoughts swirl as I try to "ease the sound of my words"-as I explain what Pain means to me each day as I get up from sleep, waking to the Constant Burning Feeling in my Leg that Never Leaves!  I look in the mirror~~see the growing signs of Pain and rapidly turn away, because I can't erase Sixteen years of Chronic Pain!

 Living with Chronic Pain has become a process of continual acceptance~~ things that once came easy to me-putting a plant in the ground- now brings extra Pain as I kick dirt around and realize this was not a good idea.  I turn to see my husband, garden tools in hand~~rushing to help me, all I want to do is throw the stupid plant high into the air and call it a day.  I took a look at the plants-thinking "you don't stand a chance-so get in the ground, now!"

Gradually I manage to get three plants in the ground and feel Pride rising inside~ knowing I didn't give up~as I limp back to my chair on our porch and force my eyes to look past the Pain-so I can take in this beautiful place we call home!  Its a tiny Victory~~but I am learning each day to appreciate these times and store them in my heart!  

This is my life-Pain is here with me and it will always be a hard process~~there will be many ups and downs
as I fight this wicked enemy-but its not impossible to still find joy and laughter in the simple moments of life.

Each person who battles Chronic Pain has to walk their own path-finding ways to cope with this life-altering
Pain.  Please keep trying-I am praying hard for you!  Pray for me too!

Martha


Sunday, October 21, 2012

A Silent Moment of Sharing Pain~~~

Have you ever found Pain silently sitting near you?  We have probably all had an encounter with Pain~~its obvious-as you try to reason out the movements of someone who is suffering~  Pain is roaring in the body~~ you look at it, trying to shake the image from your eyes, whispering a silent prayer of Thanks that you are not the one who is suffering- yet Pain stands firm as you silently observe its victim.

I now find myself a member of the "Need a Cane Group" who attends our local church.  My husband has begged me for a long time to use my Cane-just keep it with me~~in case I were to fall. Each person has the same slow, cautious walk-no longer afraid to hide their fear of falling~~ some have already faced the horror of a Broken Hip and the long, painful recovery that follows~~they have cast Vanity out the Door and are proud of their Cane.

Yesterday I sat at church, my trusty Cane sitting by the Church Songbooks~having said my prayers, I
watched as people filled the pews, some I knew-others are new faces we are seeing as our church is
rapidly growing, and yet among all these faces~~~ Pain was there, silently following those who slowly made their way inside.

A dear friend sat in front of me~~in deep prayer, when his own physical Pain showed up!  I wanted to swat the Pain away as he rubbed his aching back-each movement being a reminder of the Pain that follows me.  My heart ached~~I was so close to him, wishing to ease his suffering~~a deep feeling of helplessness washed over me as we sat in Silence, Pain slowly moving back and forth between us!

As we knelt in prayer- it felt like a lightening bolt hit me~~suddenly I knew there was a way to help push  Pain aside for a few moments. My heart eased as it dawned on me "Gee Martha-why not talk to God right where you are~HE is listening and will hear your prayers!"

My prayers came easy, and when it was time for all of us to stand, my friend turned~~ we stood smiling  in silence~~our eyes did all the talking, words were not needed in this precious moment.  You never know when a chance might come your way to silently help ease the suffering of another~one Silent Prayer is heard loud and clear by the Good Man Above!

Please know you are in my prayers this day.  May God be with you always.

martha


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Could I ever change this Pain?

Well this is a big diving off point to start at~~ Pain is a force like non other and it does Not like changes that might diminish the daily havoc wreaked on a person's body, mind, and soul.  I have seen suffering up close~~ its not a pretty thing to see.  Nothing about Pain is glamorous or exciting~ the tiny victories I gain do not give me time to shout  Good News out among friends- by the time I would start buzzing computer lines with my news, Pain comes roaring  back to my ravaged leg~~pulling, burning, tingling, numb to the bone-all physical issues I must face daily.  

After so many long years with Pain beside me~ I am slowly learning the importance of that word Change,
and I am hit with an awareness  I might have the "Change Pain Thought" going in the wrong direction.  Nothing will change the Sciatic Nerve in my leg that was crushed from the Tree fall, long years of a Nerve
wrapped with Scar Tissue that is firmly planted~~seeming to dare any surgeon who struggled to remove a mass of Scar Tissue looking like a crazy mess of Super Glue!

 Change must come from me~~~ Not an easy challenge-we stumble each day as we try to find our way in this journey with Chronic Pain.  Some might say my options are limited~ I do not agree~~ In my darkest hours of walking the floor with Pain, calling for His helping hand, there is a moment of Change!  I chose to look past the wicked Pain and lean on Faith.

It would be wonderful to say  Pain changes in a second~~ but a gradual change comes~~
 it is gentle, silent~~and I find peace to reach for sleep.  Nothing is perfect~~ but if I  work
with the Pain~~ not Against it~~ I know beyond any doubt I can cope, come rain or shine.  There are moments when I glance up and see my motto-as a sudden urge hits me to give these words a thrashing,
but I stop because God's love is written in these simple words~~

                                            ~~~~~~~Pain Won't Beat Me~~~~~~~

I keep going, taking it one day at a time and think of others who are suffering~ my prayers are with you.
Martha