After the day I had, yesterday, I really feel the need to give my husband some well-deserved props.
I’ve been struggling with a lot of health issues for a really long time. It’s gotten pretty bad over the last few months. I won’t harp on the details, but it has been daily pain and darkness and more-questions-than-answers. I’ve blogged a bit about depression, but haven’t talked a whole lot about the source of it. I don’t like to talk about it. While it’s a part of who I am, it’s not my identity. I don’t wear my pain like a badge of honor, because it is the enemy who steals, kills and destroys. Can God use the chronic pain? Yes, He can. And I will do my best to point to His work in the midst of this. My identity is found in Christ.
But, sometimes the pain is really loud and distracts me from my Father’s voice. God never leaves me. Even when I’m in the pit, I know He is there. But sometimes, I am too weak to tell the suffering just how big my God is…because the pain – the darkness – can be overwhelming. And can be compounded when I am reaching out for help, but am met with ridicule and condescension.
Some quick background…the women in my family are prone to autoimmune diseases. My particular battle is with the Endocrine System. It’s a hot mess, and has been since before I was diagnosed in 2003. I have a medical background, so I have some understanding of human anatomy and physiology. I have had to do a lot of research on my own in order to gain some understanding about my condition. I saw a specialist, yesterday. He was actually very good at explaining how the Endocrine System works. He didn’t give me any new information since I have been doing my own research for almost fifteen years. But I was thinking, as he was explaining, I really could have used this information when I was first diagnosed! So, kudos to this doc for his ability to educate!
The proposed treatment was not what I had hoped for…but it was what I expected to hear. Long story short, I was told to begin taking again the medication that did not work the first 12+ years that I took it. He also explained that he was there for my health, not my happiness…that a long, low-quality life was better than a short higher-quality life. And then I was treated to an analogy that basically called me a child who doesn’t know what is best for her.
So, back to the amazing man that is my husband. He has started to go to my doctors’ appointments with me. He hates seeing me suffer (and honestly, all of this profoundly affects him, too!). He is at a loss because there is nothing he can do to fix this mess. So, he does what he can to support me in the battle. He, too, had to listen to the doctor tell me that my life will probably suck until I die…and since my husband and I are one, he was saying the same thing to him.
After leaving the doctor’s office, my husband and I went for lunch. He then got to see, firsthand, the breakdown that comes after the appointment. The tears that are usually shed in the car on the way home – and then quickly wiped away before coming through the door – were on display as we sat in the coffee shop next to the medical building, trying to process what had just happened.
He was my rock in a very broken moment.
Chronic pain issues are hard and they are relentless. And it is not just the sufferer who suffers. Those who love and care for chronic pain sufferers have to deal with their own kind of pain. They didn’t sign up for this! Yet, here they are.
Some leave. Why should their quality of life be affected by somebody else’s pain? And I don’t even ask that in a snide way. It’s hard. It’s tiring. And it’s not even something that they are physically experiencing! My husband can go out and enjoy any number of activities that I may not be able to do on any given day. I know he longs to go places, and experience things, with me that I simply can’t handle, right now. It’s frustrating. I feel imprisoned…and bless his heart, he is my cellmate.
Yet, I feel that we were made for more than this struggle.
I can see God working in, and through, both of us. How we deal with pain and depression issues, now, are a far cry from how we dealt with them 10-15 years ago. Neither one of us handled them well and our marriage fell apart.
The same God who redeemed and restored a broken marriage is the same God who can redeem and restore a broken body…and all the time that has been stolen. That is my prayer for me, my children, and especially for my husband who has been my biggest cheerleader and greatest support, by the grace of God.
To Drew – I love you, Honey. Thank you for being my covering and my support. I know you have struggled to find your place in this yet, you have been, by God’s grace, a light in the darkness, a voice of reason in the chaos, a sounding board, a burden-bearer and a place of refuge. I’m not sure where I would be without your love…and your sense of humor that can touch a place of joy in me that is oftentimes buried. Our family is so very blessed because of you. And I thank God that you are the one He chose for me.
The following is a video by Simon Stawski from YouTubers Simon and Martina (Eat Your Kimchi) (FYI – this is not a “Christian” video and there is some swearing.) He speaks encouragingly, and honestly, about being a spouse to someone who deals with chronic pain. I hope it is an encouragement to my husband, and anyone else who loves and cares for a chronic pain sufferer…you truly are heroes.