The Silent Scream

So much of my time lately is spent in agonizing pain. I am talking about pain that while talking on the phone with my friend today she could hear the pain in my voice as I stood up after eating lunch.

The pain is in my joints and is caused by the estrogen modulator I am on. The hardest hit joints right now are my left knee and my fingers. When I wake up in the morning my fingers have a pain level of 6 – 8 until I get them moving which can take up to five minutes.

I know five minutes does not seem like a very long time…try starting your day out with the choice of bending your fingers or excruciating pain and you will understand just how long five minutes can last.

Once my fingers are moving I just have to be mindful to move them frequently so they do not go back to super sore. They are always aching, I can handle aches. When it moves me to near tears, no thanks.

My knees are another story. They take much longer to wake up in the morning and the pain is near crippling; pain at an eight on a scale of 1 – 10. When I am mobile  the pain hovers around a five. A five…nobody should live at this level of pain. I have a very new understanding of fibromyalgia patients and my heart hurts for them.

The problem with my knees is that there are times when sitting or standing still for more than a few short moments is necessary. For example, I only get 15 minutes for lunch, I sit for about nine minutes. Even in that short time period it is excruciating to get up from my chair. Standing to eat does not help. I would have to be walking while eating in order to prevent the lock up.

I have not said much about the pain lately as it is just a part of my journey. It is now a part of me. Without the estrogen modulator that is causing the pain, my disease – free survival rate would be decreased. (The number of years I can expect to live free of cancer).

I had known that this was coming but I have been putting it off for as long as possible knowing that this is a life – long side effect and now the time has come to manage the pain with medication.

Tylenol and Ibuprophen are my go – to drugs for relief. I can only take 2 grams of Tylenol per day (four extra strength tablets). Although it takes the edge off, I am certainly not pain free. I am also at risk of liver failure using Tylenol…six of one half a dozen of the other.

Ibuprohen, my second line drug works well and I risk stomach ulcers…six of one…

So I suffer mostly in silence. I try to control the grimace on my face as I get up or sit down. I am not lookign for pitty, I am merely trying to find how to work with this new normal.

As I am physically gaining strength, I am back to coaching hockey. As a low impact sport I am hopeful that the pain is not exacerabted.

I also am volunteering more at church and within my community. I met a gentleman who is working locally but lives out of state. He attends the same church I do so I offered to cook him supper as I know the hardships of living life on the road for work. A home – cooked meal is always welcome.

Last week I made a big crock pot of beef stew for he and his two roommates. This led to them asking if I would be interested in cleaning for them occasonally. Well, heck yes. I love to serve, I love to help others and make their day to day just a little easier.

I am also still babysitting the baby for three hours in the mornings before I head to the school for work. He is now mobile and getting around…and so much fun. I truly cherish the time I spend with him and when the boys are home they absolutely adore him!

Three weeks ago I began making crock-pot breakfast for the crew that sets up the church int he mornings. As we are still meeting at the movie theater, they are there from 5:30 am –  1:00 pm. I put together the ingredients and then take the slow cooker over to Mary’s house and plug it in for her to take in the morning. Minimal effort…and so many happy people.

All of these activities are ways that I can be physically generous as Pastor Matty talked about last week. They fill the time I now have available since beating cancer. I love to see people smile. I love to surprise them with acts of kindness they would not normally expect.

I am the light…I am light.

If I can battle back the darkness for even one person, if I can show them Jesus’ love through my actions…I will never stop.

I was asked recently why I did so much for other people. Obviously the boys are enough to keep me busy, why go out of my way for so many others?

Because God said to love your neighbors as yourself. We do not get to pick our neighbors, nor do we always know just how to love them. If we do not attempt to try though, we are nothing. If we are not love, we are darkness.

Dear God,

Continue to give me the strength and stamina to endure this side effect. I pray that I am able to be a blessing on those around me for many years to come.

Thank you Lord for the lessons on limits when I had cancer. I’m sure I never would have discovered my physical or social limits without it. I would have continued to give utill it hurt and kept giving. I know when it’s time to say no, and I thank You for that lesson.

God, continue to strengthen my children on their walk with You. As they come to You with open arms and hearts, take them into your fold, comfort and guide them.

God, I ask desperately for relief from this pain while on the ice. The boy and I need this time, he needs him Mama so desperately still. Please give me the ability to coach this one last year for him.

As always God, guide me to people who need Your love. Let me be your hands and feet.

Amen

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