Monday, April 9, 2012

Pouring Rain Brings A Rainbow of Hope

I have my Christian radio station playing softly, Bible open, devo sitting next to me and thoughts stirring in my head.

The rains have been pouring for the last two weeks. Rains pounding down, while I try to find solace. I had shared with you that I would be absent for a while. After a visit to my physician, I asked if we could lower my pain meds. I can tell you, that's not usually how that works. While talking with my doctor who is always open and honest with me says, "Most people come in and ask for more."

This is coming from a doctor I have had for almost twenty years. He knows my pain and what body has been through. Surgeries and all kinds of little annoying tidbits that make you realize the unexpected is not always wanted.

I think looking back and after studying and seeing specialist after specialist, I have had migraines since I was a kid. They have just progressed and for years went undiagnosed. I think that first fall down the steps when I was about the age of two set me on a course I had no idea would bring me to calling on the promises of God.

Suffering from severe migraines has been a part of my life for the last twelve years or so. It's hard to keep track after so long. It seems after that first Emergency Room visit, my life drastically changed overnight. I had been suffering from severe pain attacks and migraines and had no idea what was happening to me. Talk about fear. I thought I was losing my mind. In a sense, I was. The pain was so deafening, it soon became all I knew.

I was pounded with every kind of migraine you can imagine. Clusters that lasted months on end and powerful stroke like migraines that took everything out of me. I was empty. I had forgotten how to smile. It really is like living with a horror movie playing in your head. You are fearful of what is to come. When will the next one hit? Will it be worse? What will happen? You soon can no longer make plans. It seems every time you do, a migraine slams down on you and your left with depression washing over you.

But migraines don't just effect the one feeling the pain. Sure, you feel the majority of pain, but your family is there suffering right along with you.

I'm not sure if the panic attacks came first or the migraines hit. Doctors are not even sure. They just knew they were real.

With all of this news came medication after medication. I think my doctors tried everything out there to dissolve these migraines to nothing. It wasn't working. In fact, for a few years, they progressed to the forefront and they took center stage in my life.

It was as though my life was on a schedule. A clock ran my life. I knew when four hours were up. Every four hours came a dose of pain meds. Now, before I go on, I need to make clear, I hate medications. I hate how they make me feel and I am terrified of them. But, with that said, when your fearful of a migraine, you are going to go the extra limits to make sure it doesn't come.

This is what my life had come to. A clock of four hour intervals. Over the years I had slowly gone off almost every medication I was consuming. Three were left and one was my thyroid med in which I have to take. My thyroid was removed a while back after a goiter was growing backwards and wrapping around my windpipe. See, I told ya. Crazy things happen to me. It seems as though my body is the experiment for what can go wrong. LOL

Surgeries of all kinds, including two wrist surgeries, brought even more pain meds. I am highly allergic to aspirin and ibuprofen. Yikes, that is not a pretty picture. So, when pain hits, they have to give me something. After a while, your body gets use to pain meds and you must switch to another to compensate for your pain.

Fast forward to now. Well, two weeks ago. While sitting in my doctor's office, I asked if we could go lower. My pain meds were killing my stomach. For those of you on pain meds you know exactly what I mean. After discussing all kinds of different treatments we decided to lower my dose. In fact, we decided to change the med all together. The only thing I didn't know was just how low we were going and what was about to happen.

While laying in bed my feet began to ache. I noticed my legs began to spasm. Hm? What could that be? Pretty soon, my head was pounding, my heart was racing and I was about to crawl out of my skin. Yep, I was moving into full blown withdrawals.

First of all, you always picture an addict hunting for drugs. You picture someone off the streets, dirty, under a bridge with a hollowed out look in their face. Am I right? Oh, how wrong we are, friends. My body had become addicted to my pain meds. It wasn't something I had foreseen. Wasn't something I was ready for, but here it was and it was very real.

I had shared with just a few close friends and they walked me through late nights and early mornings. My hands were shaky, I felt like I had been hit by a truck and maybe I did look empty at the time. I sure felt that way. I was terrified. Simply scared.

My biggest thought? I have disappointed my family. I have disappointed my God. I have let everyone down. The kids I teach. I began to be very hard on myself as to how I could allow this to happen. But it came out of innocence. It came out of just wanted relief and to end the pain I was living with. Should I share my story? Should I keep it silent? I knew God was at work. I knew that as He brought me through, I couldn't walk each day and not share ALL He had done for me.

Sleep didn't come. I would lay awake all night racing and sweating, but I wasn't alone. My husband was hundreds of miles away. My son, down the hall. But I was not alone in that room. Each and every moment I spent calling out to God. I repeated His promises over and over again. With tears spilling over, I called upon my Savior. His promises kept me in His presence. He wasn't just near, He was right there in the midst of my trial. He knew the need and He was ready and willing to stand in the gap for me. Each moment I was ready to give up I recalled another promise. Each moment that I wanted another pain pill to allow me to escape, I called His name and He answered with, "I am hear, daughter".

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

" He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak "
Isaiah 40:29

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see"

"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be moved, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed."
Isaiah 54:10

" Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."
John 14:27

"The Lord will keep you from all harm--he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore."
Psalm 121:7, 8

" When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."
Isaiah 43:1,2

I made it through and I over came those withdrawals that had held my body captive. He didn't just move me to over come, but He moved me closer to Him. He helped me see that I could live without the high doses of pain meds that I had gotten use to. Those pain meds that became my instant reach for fear.

See, it was no longer just every four hours, but when I felt a pain coming. It was, "I better take one just in case". I was having migraines every day now. This was my body's way of saying, "Hey, I need more drugs".

This morning, almost all of my withdrawal symptoms are gone. I'm almost sleeping through the night now and my legs are no longer wanting to run a marathon. I have been very sick with whooping cough, asthma that is out of control and a severely inflamed throat, that had given me the worst sore throat of my life.

My husband wasn't so happy that I had called myself an addict. He didn't see it that way. I had shared with him that an addict comes in many different forms. You can function and be part of a ministry and walk as though nothing is wrong with you. But see, this is part of our problem. We are afraid to show weakness. We are afraid to reach out for help. We have this idea that we can make it on our own.

Being an addict wasn't something I set out to do, but over time and from living with severe pain, it became a part of my life.

Today, I feel free. I can see a little brighter and my mind is a bit more clear. It will be some time before I am good to go and feeling wonderful once again. That fear of the big migraine hitting, is no longer with me. That intense rush of panic over my Fibromyaligia hitting and knocking me for a loop has disappeared.

During the last few weeks I have felt so very small. I have seen the power of God and have seen His miracles first hand. One day when I just couldn't take it any longer I texted my pastor. Remember, while I have been sick I haven't had a voice at all. In that one text, he called upon the deacons of our church and I can tell you, I felt their prayers. I felt healing come. I felt peace wash over me. I felt the hand of God upon me and there is nothing sweeter or more calming that knowing He is there and He is not going to allow you to go through it alone.

So, why am I sharing this story with you today? I know I'm not alone. I know there are many who are living in pain daily. Pain meds have overtaken your life and you don't even realize the impact and change they are making upon your life.

I am still on a small dose of pain meds. Hopefully, one day, I can stand and say, "I don't need these either". I continue to step forward. However small my steps are I am getting there. I am growing closer to that girl God is creating me to be. I will continue to share pieces of this change in my life. This move to healing. It simply can't all be done in one day. After all, I didn't get here where I am today over night.

For those of you going through a trial that you think you can't face or is simply too hard to walk, I am here to tell you, you can! You can walk the journey with the hand of God leading you every step of the way. He is real. He is true. He is present. His love is bigger than any Goliath we have to face. His grace covers ALL and His mercy is for all those willing to accept His hand.

"Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."
Psalm 27:14

"He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength."
Isaiah 40:29

Hold on my friend, the night may be long, but morning will come. The sun will be bright once again. There isn't anything you cannot accomplish with the strength of God. He has placed the Holy Spirit in you to deliver you from all fear and help you stand against all that tries to destroy you. God is good! He is so good!

You may be like me and think, "I need this. This is going to help me", but the more I needed the more I grew at ease with taking more. It was no longer just every four hours, but maybe every two. If my meds didn't work, I took more. I was now in a vicious cycle that had no end to pain. I had allowed fear to overtake me once again.

Friends, call out to one you trust. Reach for the hand of God. Seek Him and His comfort. If allowed, fear can drag us into the muck and mire and before we know it we are in over our heads. But God can bring us out. He brought me out of a trial I didn't want to face. He knew just what I needed and who I needed. He knew those very friends that would be at my side, calling daily, texting notes of encouragement. He knew I would need the strength of my husband and the help of my son. He knew I needed prayer and He sent those to interceed for me. I am forever blessed by those He has placed in my life.

He doesn't allow us in a situation to come out without a testimony. If He allows it, there is a reason. In my life over the past few months I had been hearing the words, "Move". We must be on the move to be closer to Him than ever before. Life is precious. The life He has given us is to be praised and enjoyed to the fullest. Don't allow trials to hold you back. Take your faith and stand in God's promises today!


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