Tuesday, January 15, 2013

From Invisible to Visible

I have had invisible chronic pain for over 4 years now. Many days I do not leave the house but when I do, the outside world sees what appears to be a healthy 30 year old woman. Recently an elderly lady shared with me at the drug store about the frustrations of living off a social security check that didn't provide well enough for her. All the while I thought to myself, "yes I am quite disgruntled with social security system myself", as I found out it is going to be several more months before I am granted a hearing for my denied disability case. But to the naked eye I seem to be in the prime of my life!

I went to the warm water pool at our local YMCA today. As I've discussed before being in the water is the only place I feel very much reduction in pain. I'm 2.5 weeks post op labral hip/FAI repair and I managed the visit ok with my handy grabber (since i cant bend over) special device to put my socks on (because i can't flex my hip past 90 degrees), and most importantly my husband.

As I got out of the car with my crutches I was like a magnet - people offering to open the door for me, asking what happened, and giving looks of sympathy. I have to admit it was nice for a change to be acknowledged that there is something wrong with my body instead of just some mysterious pain that no one can see.

I've been to that same pool many times before and sometimes even in worse pain (though obviously with better mobility), but I never received any offers for help or acknowledgement of my condition that has disabled me. Physical pain is a strange thing. It wrecks havoc on the lives of millions of people, yet it is never really visible. Sure one might carry a cane or have a deformity that looks painful. They might even cry or wince when the painful area is touched but even then no one, not even those dearest to them, can actually see or more importantly feel the pain.

Do I want to have to use crutches long term in order to have pain that is "visible" to the world? No, my hands are killing me and I'm so ready to be able to carry something by myself again! I definitely do not envy those who are bound to wheelchairs or even worse, the bed. This surgery sure has made me thankful for the ability to walk! But I do get tired of people asking me how I'm feeling only to say, "Well, you sure look good" or even worse people ignoring my pain altogether just because they can't see that there is something wrong with me.

Thankfully there is Someone who really knows my (and all the other millions of people's) pain - the "man of sorrows" (Isaiah 53:3). Whether I am on crutches or appear on the outside to be completely healthy, my pain is not invisible to Jesus. He came to take upon himself our sins and will one day remove my invisible pain forever.

Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

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