I don’t have the energy at the moment to describe my day (I’m writing this at 10ish pm), but I’ll give it a whirl. Unless I’m mentally blocking something out, I’m pretty sure it was the most painful day of my life. Including that one time I gave birth to a 9 1/2 pound child without so much as a baby aspirin.
If we’re facebook or twitter pals, you might already know about my headache. (Ache is such a mild word. I need a garish one.) And can I just say PRAISE THE LORD I didn’t give up FB and Twitter for Lent, because wow. So many prayers offered up on my sorry behalf. If you prayed for me, bless you! Bless you and bless you and bless you!
Long story short: I’ve had headaches for as long as I can remember. Not all the time. Not always terrible. But they run in my family, and I’m definitely quite familiar with them. In Octoberish, I started having them every day, and I had to take ibuprofen or alleve or sinus meds one or more times a day to alleviate the pain. Went to Urgent Care in December, they gave me an antibiotic, it did nothing. Headaches every day. Always on the left side of my head, face, ear, jaw, teeth.
Fast forward to Tuesday night. 8pm–bad headache. Took some OTCs. Didn’t go away. Odd. Took more before bed at midnight. Still didn’t go away. The pain woke me up at 2, 4, and 6am. It was bad. Took OTCs each time. Again at 8:30. And 11:00. I have never (that I remember) had a headache that didn’t go away after this many drugs. I was crying. Hard. And I rarely cry from physical pain. I get my feelings hurt all the time, but physically, I’m a tough one.
This isn’t a very short story, is it? Went to Urgent Care at 2:00. She was baffled. I definitely don’t have a sinus infection. She suggested that something might be “structurally wrong.” I’ll probably need a CT scan–those words were like fingernails on a chalkboard to a girl without health insurance, but my God will provide. I cried in the dr’s office (the pain kept escalating) and made sure to tell her that I don’t cry often (and threw in the natural childbirth thing–you can never get too much mileage out of that one).
I came home, took the prescription pain-killer she gave me, and it just got worse. I bawled. My ear felt like it was going to explode. Gabe wanted to take me to the emergency room. I have never had pain that I can’t control to some degree. I am at the complete mercy of my God. Or wait a minute. I’m now painfully aware of my utter dependence on God. I have to trust that He loves me. Even if it turns out that something is very, very wrong with me, I have to trust that He loves me. That He won’t give me more than I can bear.
Over the next few hours, the pain settled down to a level I could stand. Just 10 minutes ago, it suddenly subsided to a very dull ache. I don’t know what the next few days (or hours) hold, but I know God is holding me tight.
My heart is aching though–not for myself, but for people who deal with chronic pain on a daily, minute-by-minute basis. I think of little ones with cancer. Big ones with cancer. My uncle Tracy who encouraged me on the phone today with every trick and tip in his personal dealing-with-migraines repertoire. “I learned all these the painful way,” he said. “If my experience can help you in some small way, it will make it more worth it.” He has had so much physical pain in his 40-some years (kidney stones, ulcers, migraines).
Then there are people with debilitating diseases–like my new friend, Sara. If you do nothing else today, go check out her blog. (start with her story on the sidebar) Oh, she’s beautiful inside and out and lives a life of perpetual physical pain–yet she radiates such love and encouragement and contentment. I can’t get over her. Sara, if you’re reading this, you’re my hero!
I feel like God gave me the tiniest peek today into the lives of people who are suffering. And maybe, just maybe, a peek into the suffering of my Savior who was bruised and beaten and scourged and crucified so that I might be reconciled to a holy God.
I’ll be honest–last night in bed, I thought, “This is it. I have a brain tumor. I know why God wants these 40 days to be purposeful. They might be the last ones I live.” Whatever my future holds, I’m not afraid. I’d like to stick around a good bit longer (say, 60ish more years), but God has already numbered my days. I’m thanking Him tonight for a very vivid and painful object lesson–live each day to the full.
I read Mark 14 and 15 today, and the story of the woman who “wasted” expensive perfume on Jesus stood out to me. I don’t want to store up and save my perfume. Each day, I want to pour it all out for Jesus. How that plays out in my life will vary day to day, but I don’t want to hold anything back. Nothing.
I love you, Jesus.