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.


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.

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.


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.


Saturday, December 15, 2012


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.  


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.