Isaiah 21:3 - At this my body is racked with pain, pangs seize me, like those of a woman in labor; I am staggered by what I hear, I am bewildered by what I see.
You sit in a doctor’s office waiting to begin your appointment. You didn’t know what to expect; unsure if you wanted to try to explain to the doctor what you’re experiencing.
But would he believe you? At first it started out after a fall. You’d felt the ground rising up to meet you, so you reached out with your hands trying to catch yourself. In the process, you felt something crack and knew that you’d broken something in your hand. After a trip to the emergency room, you’d been sent home with a brace for your hand. A couple of the small bones in your hand were broken. Thankfully, you’d thought, it had been a clean break and so no surgery was necessary.
The days and weeks had stretched by as you waited for the bones to heal and for the pain to diminish. Yet, something had gone terribly wrong.
Instead of the pain decreasing as the bones healed, it had only increased. Perhaps you’d been wearing the brace too tightly. Perhaps there had been a hidden break somewhere that didn’t get addressed.
But it was there. Pain. Unrelenting pain and a burning sensation that nothing could abate. You’d tried using cold packs. You even resorted to running cold water over your hand until you’d thought the burning would subside. But it hadn’t. And what else bothered you? At this point, there was no visible sign that the pain existed.
So there you were, waiting for the doctor to enter your room. You needed some answers and hoped that he would have some. At the very least you wanted the doctor to believe the pain you were experiencing was real.
By the end of your doctor’s appointment you felt as if you’d been shrunk to only two inches tall. He’d examined your hand turning it this way and that, as you tried to keep back the screams that were locked up inside like as if they were an extension of your hand. What then did the doctor say? He said to give it a little more time. Come back to see him in two or three months for certainly by then the pain would be gone.
But it didn’t leave.
And after another doctor’s appointment, you walked out the door with a referral to have an evaluation by a psychiatrist. But that appointment didn’t show anything, so you received a referral to a specialist in pain management.
By now it had been eight months since your fall. The door opened and in walked another specialist. He asked a series of questions about you, your hand and what treatments you’d received to this point. Another strange thing is that your hand had changed color and looked like someone had beaten you up.
Then, after all of the painful months, a diagnosis was given – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or what can also be called Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome. This is a diagnosis no one wants to receive. For, unless it is caught and treated in less than six months, there is no cure.
My story is similar to this one except mine started with a neck surgery and pain radiated down my arm and hand. Within months it had encompassed all four of my extremities.
After this, I did some research to find out more about the disease. One thing that I learned from the article, "Overview/Description," on rsdhope.org that Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is listed as being the most painful form of chronic pain that exists. I also found, an additional article from rsds.org, “Treatments,” which detailed the current treatments for the condition.
Try to remember, when things go terribly wrong and your body is racked with pain, that you can depend on God to be there with you, holding you and promising to walk you through this pain. And when it seems like life is overwhelming there are others who fight this fight. It may not lift your pain, but it will lift your spirits to know God is with you and there are others around you who will hold you up, too.
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.