Stronger than Monsters: Chronic Pain

(Trigger Warning: Addresses thoughts of death.)

Before a sprained ankle which turned into the chronic pain disease they call Complex Regional Pain Syndrome changed my life at 22 years old, I never knew anyone could feel that much pain. After the doctors told me that this would be PERMANENT, I thought, “I cannot go on like this.”

When I learned that the pain of CRPS can spread all over the entire body and into the organs, I said, “I refuse to live that way.”

Other survivors told me of their broken un-moving bodies from the damage and spreading of CRPS over time and I knew: I would never be able to endure it.

Even in all of my pain, I knew there was so much more to be had. If I was at my breaking point of what I could tolerate then, the future I was promised would never be one I could shoulder.

Fear and doubt spread into me like the pain biting into my body. The fire in my bones was a kindling waiting to ignite the rest of the forest. The pain living inside of me was a monster whispering promises of pain and ensuring me a future of horrors. I knew I could not live through it.

*

All of my nightmares came to visit me. More, in fact. The years I spent in fear of the pain to come could have never prepared me for the obliteration of my senses which would ensue in these recent years. I cannot say I am still standing, but to say I am still here and just to be coherently typing this is a tremendous miracle, celebration and gift. Yes, even in worse pain than ever before, and much worse than I could have ever imagined- it is still a gift.

The thing about pain is that most people see the other side of it. You go through the hard parts and crawl out on the other side feeling stronger. But what if the worst pain you ever felt was a only a promise of more terrible things to come? That is what some illnesses like RSD, CRPS, MS, ALS, Chiari Malformation, and Arthritis often are: degenerative, debilitating and extraordinarily painful.

I thought I saw into my future of pain, but I could never have foreseen exactly THIS.

This journey has been unique to me as now I realize everyone’s is. I so feared my future because I believed mine would look like someone else’s that I had read about online or was told of in a doctor’s office, but no one’s life is so simple. I have met more unimaginable monsters– but I have survived all of them when I once was sure I couldn’t bear my first few years of chronic pain. I used to live each moment in fear of the future and now that the future has come to pass, how can I continue living in fear? I have fought worse monsters than I was preparing to battle, and I am more grateful to be living now and less fearful than ever before.

Don’t expect the worst. But if your worst comes, don’t assume you know how you will weather it. The strength and resources come at the step you need them, not years or months ahead. Have faith. You are so much stronger than you know.

*********

“Those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.”

Isaiah 40:31

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

**********

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About abodyofhope

I do not know why it is that we must wade through tragic circumstances to find truth. We nearly drown! But under the water, there are pearls. I hope in writing this blog, more will come to the surface. Over the past 11 years living with chronic pain, patient advocacy has affected my life through so many remarkable young people, women and men: SURVIVORS. These individuals are HOPE personified. I wish to honor them in the same spirit they have encouraged me to press on. Four years ago, I became bed-bound from a variety of chronic illnesses after a procedure meant to help the pain condition I had been managing for several years- went bust #BIGTIME. In the last 4 years, my entire life has changed. I have changed, but I am still striving to live my best life possible. Along with sharing inspiring pieces, medical/holistic research, and awareness articles, this blog is also an attempt to put my own pieces back together. Welcome to A Body of Hope, and thank you for visiting. [Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/ RSD, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Dysautonomia, Chronic Intractable Migraine, Cluster headache, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Occipital Neuralgia, Hypersensitivity to Sound & Light, Fibromyalgia, Cerebrospinal Fluid Imbalance......blah, blah, blah] >>> P.S. My headgear is protective for pain. I just rock it hard.

Posted on November 4, 2014, in Being Myself, Chronic Pain, Hope, Inspiration, RSD/CRPS and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. julianne williams

    what as awesome article

    Liked by 1 person

    • Julianne,
      Thank you so much! I’m so glad you connected to it. Pieces like these can be difficult to write sometimes, but on the other side there are gentle arms like yours to catch my fall. Thank you for spending spoons to read and comment.

      Like

  2. Truly Amazing!! I too have CRPS…..24 years this last August, full body most of 20 of those years!! I always appreciate reading other RSD/CRPSers written life stories. No 2 are exactly the same, but, we can all relate to the Never Ending Pain Thank you for Sharing, & God Bless you!!
    Blind Wiist

    Liked by 2 people

    • Belinda,
      I’m so honored that you read and commented. I gain so much strength and inspiration from survivors such as yourself who have chosen to live every day for 24 years. That is amazing to me- like a miracle in fact, don’t you think?
      In the beginning years, talking to long time RSDers gave me even more fear as it felt like a crystal ball. But now, hearing your encouragement, and knowing you have faced this disease reminds me that I can as well. Thank you so much for visiting and spending the spoons to comment.

      Like

  3. Such an encouraging article for those in any trial.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jane,
    I’m so thankful for your encouragement. So many, like myself are not sure if they can make it through the first few years of chronic pain. I pray they stay in and have faith they can endure step by step.
    God bless you.

    Like

  5. “The strength and resources come at the step you need them, not years or months ahead. Have faith. You are so much stronger than you know.” This is so true! 🙂 What a nice blog you have!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I am tremendously celebrating your strength and your gift of sharing your experience with RSD.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathleen
      I appreciate your warm words. Sometimes the pain transforms itself as we put it onto paper. God is helpful in that. I always so appreciate you and your support.
      I hope you have a low pain day. ((soft hugs))

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Must have been tough to write, but very inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you Alex. I’m so glad you connected to it and took the time to comment. Have a good day.

    Like

  9. Oh, I wish I could wrap you in this hug. Physical pain is simply and unequivocally dang hARd, no matter what the precious lessons we gain, but we do discover dimensions of self-awareness and of life we otherwise would not. May you know daily triumph over fear and hold onto that hope. It is also critically important that you eat right, as you likely know.

    Love,
    Diana

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your virtual hug and warm words of encouragement 🙂
      Yes, you are absolutely right. The cruelty of ongoing pain can pull us into the depths and it can also arm us with a deeper meaning to both struggle and gratitude.

      The first post I read of yours was a very deep spiritual and powerful piece about your journey through meningitis. I’ve also been tested for that several times because of my ongoing severe symptoms. The past 3&1/2 years the csf imbalance has never ended. I don’t have Meningitis; they liken it to a brain tumor- just chronic. I tell you this because it’s rare that anyone has an understanding of this particular pain. I’m sure you’ve felt that way since your nightmare with the meningitis. Your post was a reminder that although my pain feels isolating, others HAVE met it. And Christ meets us both.

      Thank you for visiting and commenting. I’ve been wanting to share that with you.

      Like

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