Isaiah 51:3 – The LORD will surely comfort Zion and look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, here wastelands like the garden of the LORD. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
It started with a car’s mechanical failure sparking a small fire.
But the fire didn’t stay small for long. It broke out into a ferocious fire storm; a literal fire tornado at one point. It ate everything in its path and soon it was reaching by handfuls into towns and the center of a city.
Who would think that a fire would reach downtown? Then the the firefighters had to let the fire go so that they could help with evacuations.
Those who had nowhere to go, rushed to evacuation centers. They had to leave their homes quickly and were unable to take many of their possessions.
Some heard about neighborhoods and businesses that were completely destroyed. People cried at the thought of having lost everything they had.
In a similar way those affected by floods and tornadoes face evacuation and the possibility of losing everything.
But had they lost everything?
No. Not if they still have what matters the most – their families. Families are the glue that will help you build a new future.
“What?” You may say. Yes, a tragedy can actually provide some positive changes in your life. It can be a time to reevaluate your priorities as you attempt to put the pieces of your life back together.
Yet, how do we actually do that? What steps do we take to restore out lives after a fire or other disaster? Take a look at the article on wikihow.com, “How to Put Your Life Back Together After a Fire.” Its suggestions include getting help from your community such as contacting disaster relief services, how to recover financially such as how to file an insurance claim, replacing your possessions such as documenting your losses, and recovering emotionally.
Having a disaster wipe away elements of your life can seem daunting. But remember that God can send you his comfort from within your ruins, as the Bible verse above speaks of. It also states that gladness and thanksgiving can be found. That may seem impossible at first, but when you remember that you haven’t lost everything if you still have your family it can give you the strength you need to move forward.
Psalm 142: 1, 2 – I cry aloud to the LORD; I lift up my voice to the LORD for mercy. I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble.
It is one thing when someone you know thinks you’re faking your chronic health condition and it hurts, but there is one other thing that cuts you to the bone:
When you’re doctor doesn’t believe you.
I know that doctors are expected to do a lot these days with all the changes in the medical system. It forces them to treat more patients each day and to produce results so that insurance companies will continue to pay for the services the doctors perform.
That may sound like an excuse and it can and can’t be. It all depends on the doctor and on the depth of the relationship that you have with him.
But sometimes those with chronic pain can slip through the cracks and fall into the valley of hopelessness. After all, if your doctor doesn’t believe you who will?
My heart breaks when I think about the time when a doctor accused me of being too focused on my health. Here’s why: Because I have so many health conditions, (which by the way have been proven through medical tests) I learned some time ago to keep track on these conditions on what is called, “File of Life.” It is a one page document with you create that lists all your important information on it – Your primary care physician, your date of birth and address, the surgeries that have been performed on you and the dates, your medical conditions, medications you’re currently on, and your drug and food allergies.
This tool helps you as you go from one specialist to the next so that it’s easier filling out paperwork and so that you can keep up to date with your health. By and large I’ve had doctors tell me what a great idea it was and how it was helpful. But like I said above, there have been doctors who have thought that I liked to, “dance with the doctors.” Yes, a doctor really said that to me. Another said my keeping track of everything proved that I spent too much of my time thinking about my heath.
But that’s just not true! Those of us who suffer from chronic pain especially, unfortunately, at times need to back up what we’re telling the doctor. Yet, what about the things that we can’t back up as easily. And one of those things is that you can’t always prove beyond a shadow of a doubt where your pain is coming from.
I thought that was where a doctor comes in. Some doctors don’t think so.
So how do we convey our symptoms and “convince” a doctor that we aren’t faking it? How are we to be believed by our doctor? Webmd.com has some helpful suggestions in their post, “How to Talk to Your Doctors When They Don’t Listen,” such as what you can do to help you better convey your symptoms to the doctor, and lists some factors as seen from the doctor’s perspective.
And remember, you have the right as a patient to choose another doctor if the one you’re seeing stops believing you. This stress we can let go of. Our health depends on it, as added unwarranted pressure can cause our pain to spiral out of control.
Though all of this can seem overwhelming, there is one who believes you every time you talk to him. He never believes you’re faking your chronic pain. You can complain to him, as the person in the Bible verse above did. God can take it. He won’t give you a cold shoulder or push you aside. He also can give you the wisdom and words that you need when seeing a physician. Trust and rely on God. As you lift up your heart to him he will show you mercy and comfort you in your heartache.
Job 4:14 - Fear and trembling seized me and made all my bones shake.
It started as a small tremor.
Whenever he held up his hand, it would shake. He thought that it was just a case of nerves. He was often nervous at social events.
But then the tremor moved on to his right hand, then his entire left and right arm. He was getting a little worried by now, which tended to make him more nervous which exasperated the tremors.
His wife noticed also and wanted him to see a doctor. But he would have none of that. Perhaps in the back of his mind, if he saw a doctor then it would make it real.
One day his head began to shake. This was very alarming to him, but he still refused to believe it was anything but his nerves.
Then, he fell.
The shaking was taking over his whole body, and he was having trouble walking. His wife begged him to go to the doctor. After the fall, he didn’t need to be convinced that he needed to see a doctor.
The doctor examined him and performed several tests which showed what the man was afraid of – he had Parkinson's disease.
The doctor explained the disease to him saying that Parkinson’s does not only cause tremors. Other symptoms included moving slowly and loss of voluntary movement, becoming stiff in the parts of the body affected (he was already feeling this), having trouble standing or walking and affecting balance and coordinating movement, fewer facial expressions, not being able to multitask and trouble concentrating, depression and anxiety, trouble sleeping, low blood pressure when standing, being constipated, trouble with speech and swallowing, unexplained pains, drooling and loss of smell.
To the man and his wife this long list was overwhelming, but his doctor was patient and when explaining the symptoms one way was confusing, the doctor discussed it another way.
His wife then asked what the doctor could do to treat the disease. The doctor told her there was no cure for Parkinson’s, but if her husband had come in sooner he would’ve had more treatment options. The older the man got, the more difficult to treat. The wife told the doctor that she’d tried to make an appointment earlier, but her husband had refused.
Her husband let out a loud sigh, and asked if there was anything he could do now. The doctor then explained some treatment options such as the drug levadopa and other medications which could control symptoms for many years, but the older the patient got the shorter the lifespan. The man could also try a surgery called deep brain stimulation (DBS) where they place a wire in the brain for stimulating parts of the brain affected.
Learning that you or someone you care about has Parkinson’s Disease can be tough to hear. But the more you know about the disease the better the chances that you can detect symptoms so as to see a physician for earlier on for treatment. Healthlife.com posts the article, “Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention and More,” which can help the reader become more knowledgeable about the symptoms so as to be treated sooner. It also lists treatment options.
When someone begins to show symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease it can be scary. But with the right doctor matched up with the best treatment, there is hope.
My father was the man in this story. It was hard watching him lose weight and seeing him shaking and losing the ability to stand up without help. But I knew that our family wasn’t alone fighting this disease.
Take a look at the verse above. The Scripture talks about when a man named Job, in the Bible, lost everything including all of his family except his wife. Job had reason to feel like the world was shaking. But he turned to God and in the end he received more than he had in the beginning. When we lose a part of our lives to a debilitating disease, it’s important to remember that God has strengthened many people who were struggling with a chronic illness. Turn to him and he will give you that strength and peace to know you’re not alone in it.
Psalm 107:29 - He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.
You’re sitting in your chair when all of a sudden it feels like you’re standing on the deck of a ship heading out to sea.
The deck moves and sways and spins through the storm, while your stomach rolls with it and nausea increases.
Your vision blurs as ocean spray reaches over the side of the ship and into your eyes.
Your ears ring to the rhythm of the oars as they move the ship forward then become silent where not even the wind is heard.
As the ship climbs the top of a wave your ears become clogged and you feel pressure as the ship dives down off the wave.
Your feet are unsteady and you begin to slip toward the railing when you shake your head and realize you’re having another episode of vertigo.
Vertigo can be caused by various illnesses and conditions. Here’s a few I’ve experienced:
To find a complete list of causes of vertigo along with treatment options such as medications and physical therapy, read the article on medicalnewstoday.com, “Everything you Need to Know About Vertigo.”
Though vertigo can cause you to feel uneasy while your head spins and panic rises causing you to lose your balance; know that God is able to still your heart and mind as you weather another attack. He can hush the seas of instability and bring you safely to the shore of balance.
Genesis 3:16 - To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
They say that the pain in labor is forgotten the moment after the baby is born, because love fills your whole being.
But what about the woman who also battles chronic pain? This pain is not just for a moment. It’s here to stay.
And as your baby grows you pick him up throughout the day to care for his needs, but all the while pain grips you as you do so.
They grow from baby to toddler and the child wanders around oblivious to the tears his mother sheds of joy to have a child, but also tears of pain. You begin to wonder, as the child grows, how you will keep up while raising him.
Time marches on and soon that toddler is walking and getting into all kinds of mischief. But you don’t mind, because you aren’t able to care for him and keep up with household chores even though you feel guilty because you can’t.
Before you know it, your child is ready to start kindergarten. It can be hard to watch your child walk into school with enthusiasm, but now you have a chance to rest while he is gone.
Things begin to change in elementary and middle school. Your child loves school and wants to be involved in sports or music. There are games to watch, and concerts to hear, but unlike most parents, you aren’t able to attend all of these important events. And there is also something else – your child notices. He notices your absence from events. He also begins to resent you as he is limited to after school activities, because you have no strength to drive your child to them.
In high school, as it happens in even ordinary cases, your child becomes ashamed of you. Oh, they don’t say it out loud, but you know it’s there as your child no longer cares if you attend events and in fact asks you not to bother to be there.
Your heart hurts
And bleeds with shame.
How do you cope with chronic pain and raising your child? What are some things that can help you? Scarymommy.com provides some ideas in their article, “6 Things to Know When You’re Parenting Through Chronic Pain.” Their ideas include understanding that you’re not alone and you don’t have to parent the same way other parents do.
The Bible verse above talks about having pain in childbirth. You’re chronic pain in a similar way will be terrible, but raising a child has so many beautiful memories that you can choose to try. Don’t feel limited and think you can’t enjoy your life as you raise your child because you can. There is going to be pain no matter how you wish there wasn’t, but just as the article above writes about don’t give up.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.