I was diagnoised with OA... osteoarthritis... over a year ago Not as damaging as RA, but still painful. For the past week I have been having a flare... and it hasn't been easing up. I have tried different pain meds in the past, but they just don't seem to help. Six months ago they gave me a topical gel, and with it I get some minor relief, but mostly, I just have the pain.
The pain has always been located in my hands (mainly fingers) and my feet (toes and heels), and with this flare, it has progressed to my spine. Two nights ago I finally took a sleeping pill so that I could rest, sleep has been hard to come by. Within minutes after waking up the pain hits in waves... and at my age I have to get up AT LEAST once a night to visit the restroom! That makes it difficult to fall back to sleep. The sleeping pill did help, and I was thankful, and much more rested!
Today, when I awoke the pain was the worst it had been for awhile... and I have to admit that I was nearly in tears. I try very hard not to let this get to me, and to deal with it, and keep on going, but this morning as I lay in bed I couldn't help but feel a little sorry for myself. My back, my hands and my feel literally radiated pain. Fortunately, I didn't have to sub until this afternoon, and I was able to spend some time in the tub with some VERY hot water. It eases the pain for awhile, and in that time of relief I was able to do some serious thinking.
I believe that everyone carries some sort of pain... be it physical or mental, it is there. It can be buried very deep, hardly ever surfacing, or it can be wearing you thin with its presence. But regardless of where it is, you are still carrying it with you. And I know, that it is how you choose to carry that pain that makes all the difference.
There are many people in the world with pain such as I have... and there are many with pain far worse than I will ever experience... and I am sure that we pass many of these people daily, and we are completely unaware of what they are going through. There are others who wear their pain on their sleeve for the world to see... they shout out to the rooftops for all to hear that their pain is unbearable, and that they have given up all hope. The difference, again, is in how they are carrying their pain.
My immediate family and a few close friends have always been privy to my pain... and even then, they aren't always aware of its extent. And as I sat immersed in my tub of hot water I realized that I could easily become one of those people who opts to sit back and drown in the pain, or I can be one of those people who embraces what they have to carry, and continue on with my life. That is the person that I choose... that is the person I want people to see when they pass me on the street, when I stand in front of a classroom teaching, and when I walk into church. I want them to see ME... not the PAIN.
I know that there will be times, like today, when the pain seems to be gaining the upper hand, but I have decided that it will NEVER win... I will keep on keeping on, and I know that I will be able to do this because I have the ultimate physician working on my case...
Jesus... who will hold me in the palm of his hand when I feel my worst.... who will give me the comfort of rest when I need it... who will always dry my tears... and who will always let me lean on him. So no matter what I am given to carry, I pray that I will always remember that he is right there beside me carrying the bulk of the burden... better yet... carrying me.
Yes... it could always be worse... but now I can't help but think... can it get any better?!