Three weeks ago I finished an intensive week-long alternative treatment to treat my pelvic pain. The treatment was brutal - the most painful experience of my life! But I had talked with others who the treatment helped greatly so, despite the large price tag, we prayed and felt like it was the right treatment to pursue. Thankfully our church and community "suffered" with us (1 Corinthians 12:26) making the trip financially feasible. Recovery from the treatment has been slow. Most people who have undergone this treatment feel some relief by now, but I'm still in more pain than I was pre-treatment. The doctor says it's still possible I will see some relief in the next 2 weeks, but even if I do, he said to think of my recovery in terms of years. My body is a mess and it's not just going to magically fix itself overnight, outside a miraculous work of God. This treatment was intended to be a "jumpstart" so to speak and even if it helps, I will likely require more treatments and therapy with local providers.
While we did put together a few more pieces of the puzzle (thanks to the MRI which showed scar tissue near the left pudendal nerve that seems to match my symptoms) of my rare and difficult to treat condition, there are many more unanswered questions. I have multiple issues: sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SIJD) due to ligament laxity of the pelvis (actually the doctor I saw feels quite certain the aggressive PT I had initally back in March 2010 strained/tore one of my posterior pelvic ligaments causing scar tissue to develop), pudendal neuralgia (likely nerve entrapment from scar tissue), and central nervous system sensitization as the chronic pain has become a huge problem leading to more and more pain. The SIJD causes widespread muscle compensation, weakness, and trigger points/adhesions to develop and has lead to pain from my head to my feet. However, we don't know which came first the pudendal neuralgia or the sacroiliac joint dysfunction and honestly I'm not sure what to do about the problem if this treatment doesn't help, other than try my best to manage the pain and that may be all I can do. Not to mention I am still dealing with some new pain that may or may not be related to my overall pain. I'm trying to be patient and lean on God's grace day by day.
But it's hard.
It's hard when I can't hardly stand up long enough some days to make my daughter a peanut butter and jelly sandwich due to my calve muscles clamping down in knots and no amount of massage, rest, or stretching seems to help. It's frustrating when I can't sit even 7-10 minutes to drive to the warm water pool without constantly wiggling in my cushion in pain. I'm tired of having to contort myself in crazy positions to find a comfortable way to write a blog post or an email to a friend so I can be a little connected to the outside world. I just want to go to church, sit, and soak in the sermon. I want to enjoy playing with my daughter and not feel like I have to hurry up so I can go lie down on the couch to get relief. I'm sick of having to be my own doctor as no one seems to be able to help me know what to do to even manage the pain!
But you know what's bad?
Some days I often don't feel like praying and so I don't. I wake up and think, "I can't take this pain for one more day God, why are you doing this to our family?!" I am often filled with fear - "If it's not your will, God, to take my pain away, how in the world am I going to live with this for the rest of my life? Am I going to get where I am bed bound?" Despite knowing the truth and even "preaching" it to others - that God in control, He loves me, He is working all this for my good, and I can trust Him - I often don't believe it. I don't live it. I'm easily angered. I complain. I feel sorry for myself. I watch episodes of HGTV online instead of reading my Bible.
When in reality this is when I should cling even harder to "the rock that is higher than I" (Psalm 61:2). When I should dig deep into my roots so that my leaves do not wither (Psalm 1:3). When I should pray even more for God's strength in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). When I should rejoice even more that I am sharing in Christ's sufferings and will be glad when His glory is revealed (1 Peter 4:13).
But its hard. And so, I want you to know you are not alone, weary solider. The Christian life is often called the "good fight" (1 Timothy 6:12, 2 Timothy 4:7), not because it's a walk in the park, but because it's hard and unfortunately it will continue to be hard until Jesus returns and the battle is done for the children of God. But "When Trials Come", as the lyrics to this great song remind us, we can rest assured that Jesus has known our battles and our confidence can rest in Him.
How can you listen to this song and not be encouraged?! The lyrics can be found here
What songs boost your faith in hard times?
- Pray that God would sustain us and we would find our hope in Him.
- Pray that we would see some benefit from the treatment.
- In the next two weeks I am going to see my PTs (after several months off) and my pelvic pain doctor as well as a new primary doctor (praying this works out as I really need a good primary doc). Pray for wisdom on the doctors behalf that they will help me be able to figure out how to manage my pain better and what treatments (if any) should be tried.
- Pray for continued strength for my husband as He is suffering as well.
- Over the last several weeks I've been made aware of even more people suffering around me in my own community. I've been burdened for some time for the need of a chronic illness ministry at our church. If this is something God wants me to start, pray He would give me strength to be able to pursue this in the coming months.