Laughter Really is the Best Medicine

Take Your Medicine

You might expect that once you get your diagnosis, you can breathe again. But many times, this is when the fight really begins. This is when you start seeing the specialists, doing the therapy and adjusting the medications.

Medicine is a great thing. Think of all the discoveries that have been made which have saved so many lives. But there is also a price to pay. And I’m not talking about the cost of the medication, which in itself can be a challenge. I’ve often thought when I see commercials for medications and you hear all the side effects, that maybe, you are just trading one problem for another. 

medicine
image from Pixabay


I had such a regiment of medications, at times, it was hard to keep it all straight and not miss a dosage. I found an app on my phone (Med Helper) that would remind me throughout the day to take medications. Everyone around me knew my ringtone for medications! 


Steroids are excellent for reducing swelling and pain; they were “wonderful” for me.  I could walk around and do all kinds of things but I worried about what it was covering up. What was the real problem and was I damaging my body more by taking the steroids.  Not to mention the rapid weight gain. I had just recently lost weight to my lowest weight since before pregnancy.; but now, I am back to my highest weight ever. Also, there are more severe effects on your organs if used for a long time.

syringe
 OpenClipart-Vectors at Pixabay

By the time, I was diagnosed, I had already been on high dosages of prednisone for 6 months. I was placed on the right drug for the fibromyalgia pain and we began trying to reduce the steroids. But it would take a long time as we had to do this very slowly. The slightest reduction of steroids would cause my pain to return with a vengeance. [It took me nearly 10 years to get completely off the steroids.]

Even with Medication… There is Still Pain

Now I want you to understand that these medications only take the edge off of the pain. They bring the patient to a place where one can function .. at least a bit. When I visit the doctor or the therapist, they ask what your level of pain is on a scale of 1 to 10. Mine averages out at around 5 or 6. When the weather is bad, it might be 8 or 9.

Laughter Helps

I have learned there is a mental attitude you need to keep the pain at bay. It’s a big job, but having a positive attitude does make a big difference in how you can handle it all. Of course, there are days that are just plain bad, but if I work at it most days can be bearable. 

A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. 

Proverbs 17:22
medicine is good medicine

 The best medicine for that is laughter. So I try to find ways to keep laughter around me. Here are a few ideas …

  1. Share a joke or something funny on Facebook every day.
  2. Watch funny sitcoms. I like the old re-runs that are much cleaner.
  3. Watch comedy movies.
  4. Christian Comedian DVD’s [Tim Hawkins, Mark Lowry, Ken Davis, Etc]
  5. Reminisce about the good old days.
  6. Invite your funny friends over for a visit.
  7. The hardest thing to do is to talk positively. Don’t tell everyone all about your aches and pains.  Of course, DO tell your health care people, but try to keep a positive attitude around your friends. It helps you and honestly, your friends don’t really want to hear about it.

What Medicine of Laughter do You Use?

Mandy

Learn more about Mandy’s Journey with Chronic Pain.

I’m trying to write and share about my experiences. Just click here for a Table of Contents of what I have written so far.

journey with chronic pain

How I Found Refuge as a Chronic Pain Warrior

This God—his way is perfect;
    the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

2 Samuel 22:31 You really need to read the whole chapter

Where are my Friends?

When we are hit with a trial, our first response is to run to a friend or someone’s shoulder to cry on. We may experience loneliness; friends don’t come to our aid. For me, those shoulders (my parents, siblings, life friends) were many miles away… literally in different states. I wanted one of them to be near me, but there was no chance of that. They had their own lives, jobs, families to take care of. I know they wanted to be near me, but it was not feasible.

But would they have been able to give me true comfort?  

What I needed was to run to God.

2 Samuel 22:31 refuge

During those first few months, I spent a lot of time really getting to know God in a real way. There was nowhere else to go. And He was so attentive to my needs. He showed me that He knows what pain is all about. He knows my pain, physically and emotionally. I learned that it doesn’t really matter what the trial is….


“Jesus has been there done that.”


Jesus has felt physical pain. He has been rejected. He has been ignored. He’s been broke. He’s had no place to live. You name it, He’s been there. And through that, He became my closest friend. He was the only one that could truly understand what I was going through.

My Immediate Family Are Rare Jewels

Yes, I had my husband and my children who were there with me 24/7. They were there serving me. Wow! Did they ever serve me.

Every morning, my husband gingerly helped me to the bathroom and helped me with all those personal hygiene items. (We’ll talk about the loss of dignity later.) Then took me back and propped me up in the bed so that I could read while he and my daughter prepared my breakfast. Michael moved us down to the first floor of our home to our guest room because I couldn’t go up the stairs. He served me selflessly for months until I was able to do some of these things myself. He did all this while continuing to preach 3 times a week and even took on some of the things I did for the church. Tears come to my eyes as I type this that he would care for me this way.

 My daughter who was a home school student gave up many things during her entire high school years so that she could cook, clean, and do the laundry for our family while continuing her schooling. As I was able to get out, she became my chauffeur. While she and I grew to have a wonderful friendship, she gave up all the normalcies of teenage life.

No one can REALLY understand the pain

But with all that, they were at a loss because they couldn’t feel my pain. They didn’t know how to help. They didn’t know what to do for me to ease my pain. Their hearts ached because there was nothing they could do. When they did try to help, many times it was painful. But Jesus knew my pain.

Jesus became the one I ran to in trouble. Those months and years developed a routine to finding Him first each day. Now I still start my day with Him and I take Him with me throughout my day as my shield. Sort of a portable refuge, if you will.

Learning to Establish a Relationship with God

What I learned was I need to establish a relationship with God, the Friend, the Healer; the Protector; so that, the first place I want to run was to Him. Building a relationship is a two-way street. I talk to Him; He talks to me. This is called prayer and meditation with Him.

prayer Loneliness Chronic Pain
free from Pixabay

God is My Refuge 

Finding a refuge entails, getting down behind the protector.

  • get down on your knees to hide.
  • You get quiet so that the enemy cannot find you.
  • You listen for your ally.  

This is called prayer.

Through this ordeal in my life, I have found him to be a refuge … a place to run to … but also now as I return to a new kind of normal; He is my shield. And because He is my shield, I don’t have to run to a refuge. He, The Shield, is my Refuge.

Where or Who is Your Refuge?

-Mandy

Are you Caught up on Mandy’s Journey w/Pain?

Keep Eyes on Jesus

Confidence Comes With Eyes on Jesus

Fix our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

– Hebrews 12:2
Eyes on Jesus Hebrews 12

Peter’s Confidence

Peter was sailing and in the middle of this storm he sees Jesus out on the water. He gets excited, The Lord of Life is coming! And he jumps out of the boat and onto the water and starts running toward The Truth. Then, his run slows and stops. His eyes lose sight of The Way and he sees the turmoil of dark storms behind Jesus. He looks to his sides and the waves are giants at war around him. As he looks back to the boat. He begins to sink.

I can’t blame Peter for this. I do the same so many times. But I have been made alive by the grace of God. I have in the past 11 years been to the ER more than 30 times, have had 5 surgeries, hospitalized 9 times, lost jobs, had several cars, I have migraines, neuralgia in my ribs as well as my leg, have wires with a battery in my ribs to help me breathe, and have lost a baby due to a miscarriage 8 years ago. It is hard when life is so unpredictable and we just do not know what is going to happen next in the middle of all that is happening.

Hearing Loss

Recently, my hearing loss was noted by my doctor and the specialist, the ENT. Last month I found that my hearing has drastically dropped in my right ear alone. I needed a hearing aid. Like, oh great, another thing has broken in this body. Just as I was finding my resolve in Christ, who alone keeps this mortal instrument held together by his love and grace for some reason, I get a call from the ENT.

‘Jon, I am worried about your hearing loss and the pain you have been experiencing on your right side of your head.’

(Nice, right, I already deal with major migraines that plague my left side. Now, my right side.)

He continued, ‘I would like you to have a CAT scan done to check for a tumor.’

I’m like well, ‘okay’.

A few days after this I get a call to schedule this CAT scan… about four weeks away. Nothing sooner available. Uuugh. Not knowing kinda sucks. My mind races through ‘what ifs’.

Stressors Tug at my Confidence

Consequently, everything around me: all the stressors of my five children being homeschooled, my masters classes, and yet more car problems start turning my little world darker. The blankets that I sleep under become so tossed and turned at night that it looks as if I slept in a tornado.

Where was my confidence in Christ then?

I am supposed to be a Christian, right? I know the truth.

Oh, wait! I know the Truth!

Yeah, it slips my mind at times and I have to remind myself that come whatever the doctors say God is my God who loves me.

Come whatever scenario that washes over my mind, God has got me.

Come whatever breaks down in this body. God holds me together.

Come what may God has my wife and children and me.

What is Confidence?

Let’s consider it. Confidence is a kinda funny word. It comes from Latin, meaning ‘have full trust.

In giving trust I ponder who it is I am focusing on.

Is it myself?

Am I one of those people who walk through the world with my chest full of air and carrying oneself with trust in one’s temporary place in this world?

Or do I fix my eyes on God, the author of me?

In all of this, I have learned confidence in looking beyond the veil of ice-piercing pain, beyond the thunder cracking its whips in my ears, and I see Jesus. Even when the waters under my feet are pulling me down, I know Jesus and I find myself fixed in determination beyond the condemnations of this world and broken body to trust in the one who gives me real life.

I fix my eyes on Him who is the God of this storm.

Who do you trust in your storms?

-Jonathan Thorne

P.S. How do you find confidence. Come write about scripture that gives you confidence today. Contact me or click to learn more about guest posting for us at Mandy and Michele – Just Holding it Together.

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Wait, Wait Patiently

Did you say “Wait PATIENTLY?”

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.

Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

Psalm 27:13-14
Wait Patiently
Image created in Canva.com: girl image by Ryan McGuire at Pixabay.

Wait. Again, wait.

I’ve heard it so many times over those first four years. And it never has become easier to hear. We all want everything now. But God kept telling me to wait.

Getting a diagnosis is a long process. There were 6 weeks of waiting while my primary care doctor tried different medications to ease my pain. There were blood labs to wait for. Finally, he decided to send me to a specialist.

At first you think. “Good. Now we will get to the bottom of this.”

waiting patiently
image of girl by Ryan McGurie @ Pixabay created in Canva

But then there is more waiting.

Wait to schedule an appointment.

to see the doctor.

to get more blood work results.

Wait to see the doctor again.

And then you hear the words, “I’m baffled. We need a second opinion.” This time we were referred to Mayo Clinic. The doctor said to wait for their call to schedule an appointment. This was a month-long wait.

And finally, we get the call.

“We will put you on the waiting list.”

“OK. How long will that be?”

“Up to six months.”

My heart sunk.

How could I keep waiting that long?

was on high dosages of steroids, just to be able to make it through the days. How could I do this for six months? That was just before Christmas. Fortunately, we received a call after Christmas that an appointment opened up at the end of January. Of course, we accepted the appointment and waited again for the next few weeks.

By this point, we were ready for any kind of diagnosis. It is so frustrating to wait with no idea what is going on. We were tempted to say,

“Tell us anything, even bad news, so that we can deal with it.”

Just as we expected, the first visit was only preliminary. We met with one doctor and, of course, the phlebotomist …. They took 16 vials of blood! And then we waited.

First Diagnosis

We waited to be scheduled with 5 different specialists and more testing… four more months. At the end of that week of appointments, I received the diagnosis of Central Sensitivity Syndrome (CSS) with indications of Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain Syndrome, and Myofacial Pain Syndrome. In other words, I have a lot of pain.

While we had hoped for more help than that, it was a start down the road to managing my pain. The doctor prescribed the first medication that would help me better deal with pain, Savella. And it connected us with an excellent rheumatologist and later Mayo Clinic Pain Center. Across these 9 1/2 years, these have been a Godsend.

What’s the Point?

Finally, my point today… good answers seldom come quickly, through all my life, I have heard the instruction to “wait” … from God …. my parents …. From school teachers.

Did you ever notice that we never seem to be able to hear it once and then just sit down and wait. We are like little children, we sit down for two minutes and then we are up asking, “Is it time yet?” Sadly, I don’t really have a word for the wise today.

I’m just here joining the choir of those who are telling you ….

“Wait, Wait patiently on Jesus”

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

Have you missed any of my posts on this Journey with Pain?

Trials – It’s All Relative

We all have trials in life. Sometimes they can be overwhelming. But truly it is all relative when we take our eyes off ourselves and look around. Even better Look to Jesus.

1 PEter 5:10

Stand firm … and be strong in your faith. 
Remember that your family of believers all over the world 
is going through the same kind of suffering you are.
In His kindness, God calls you to share in His eternal glory
by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while,
He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and
He will place you on a firm foundation.  1 Peter 5:8-10 (NLT)

1 Peter 5:8-10 (NLT)


Alone in Our Trials

Our trials can cause us to feel so very alone. No matter the trial, many times our friends disappear after a week or so. It may seem that no one understands what you are going through.

For me, doctors were baffled. The testing all came back normal. We were tempted to feel that even the doctors did not believe me. Some doctors were compassionate, some were not.

We Are Not Alone in our Trials

One thing I learned while sitting in waiting rooms of the doctors’ offices, labs, clinics, especially Mayo Clinic, was that I am not alone. It was overwhelming to see how many people are suffering and they are suffering much more than I. Not to use their pain to ease mine, but it does put it all into perspective.

When I looked around, I saw that I had little to complain about and so much to thank God for. My suffering was inconsequential compared to what many have had to deal with.

Alone is Relative

Alone is relative

If I expand the scope of sight to Christians around the world that are being tortured and killed for their faith, I really have nothing to say at all. And ultimately, when I look at what Jesus Christ did for me, I am ashamed that I would even want to put myself in the same category.

However, I am comforted to know that He knows my pain and He holds me up. He is my support, my strength through my trials. And that my “light and temporary suffering” will not last long. After a little while, He will lift me out of the miry clay and put me on a firm foundation.

Let’s Consider… how can we trust God to support and strengthen us when we go through various trials?

1) By leaning on His promises. Reading scripture has lifted me up so many times through my trials, but listen, there are times when you are not able, for whatever reason, to actually read the scriptures. This is why I have always encouraged scripture memory. If you have hidden His Word in your heart, he can bring it to mind when you are unable to read it for yourself. Meditating on memorized scriptures has been my main support when I am having procedures or injections that are painful. I was able to concentrate on the scripture instead of what the technician/surgeon was doing.

2) Resist the devil Quoting scripture is one of the best ways to give the old devil a beating when he tries to get his foot in the door. And believe me, he will try to bring you down. He will whisper all kinds of lies in your ear to convince you that you deserve this pain, or to become angry at those who have been the cause of your pain, or to get you feeling sorry for yourself. He has so many ways to deceive us.

3) Singing His Praise. We’ll get more into this down the road. But I just want to mention that praise is a key element in the survival of the fittest. If you can’t sing; that is, your trial is so deep that you are unable to make music,  then just meditate on the words of a hymn. Godreminded me this old hymn which has become so meaningful to me … as if I had never heard the words before. 

Click to Read the Words and Listen to this Old Hymn…

Until next time;

Mandy

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What Tips for Fibromyalgia or Medications do you use?

Question: What medications do you use for fibromyalgia?

divider
curleque by Coffee at pixabay

RE: Fibro Medications

Savella

Thankfully, Savella has been my “savior” in medications. I have been using the full amount allowed of the drug Savella for fibromyalgia for 9 years now. Savella is the only medication created expressly for the pain of fibromyalgia. It works a lot like an anti-depressant, but it is not used for that purpose. It is a relatively new drug and expensive. Most insurance companies are reluctant to fill prescriptions without your doctor’s intervention. They want you to try medications such as Lyrica and Cymbalta first, which I have done with no help.

I have tried them all

From the start of my serious pain issues, I have tried several different drug possibilities. At first, since we weren’t sure what was wrong the doctor tried a prednisone titration pack. But as soon as I started decreasing the steroid the pain returned. We tried Tramadol with little success. Then Cymbalta which did nothing for me. Neurontin was next but really had no effect. I continued on the large dose of prednisone and occasional Tramadol but this wasn’t all that beneficial.

Finally, after six months, I received an appointment with Mayo Clinic. I spent several days having tests and seeing different doctors. The Rheumatologist gave me the diagnosis Central Sensitivity Syndrome with indications of fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, and chronic pain syndrome. Yep! I have lots of different kinds of pain. This doctor prescribed Savella and I have been taking it ever since.

It’s taken all these 9 years but I just recently eased my way completely off of prednisone!

– Mandy Farmer

For more information and financial aid for Savella click here – Savella (milnacipran HCl): Official Site

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May 12 is Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

Several of my Pain warrior friends have conglomerated together to write posts on medication we have had success taking and/or other tips that help us manage our pain. Below you will find a wonderful list.

Discussion on Medications

Shelley Clark Smith – The Chronic Mom

Excellent post discussing all the different medication options, Cymbalta, Lyrica, Savella, and more

Donna Gregory – Fed Up With Fatigue

I know all of us react differently, but these are the fibromyalgia treatments I’ve found most beneficial since my diagnosis in 2014:

• Low-dose naltrexone (LDN) – LDN is one of the only pharmaceuticals that has ever improved my chronic pain and other symptoms. Based on small studies, LDN outperforms all three fibromyalgia medications approved by the FDA.• Medical cannabis – I could not sleep without medical cannabis, and it’s been a huge lifesaver as I’ve struggled with chronic daily headaches. Does it eliminate the pain? No, not exactly. It just makes the pain more tolerable.

• Infrared sauna – I’ve never regretted purchasing my infrared sauna. It helps immensely with that all-over achy feeling, and it’s heaven in the winter when it’s so cold that my bones hurt.

• Magnesium – I use magnesium both topically and orally. Topically, it helps to reduce overall achiness, leg/foot cramps, and restless legs. I also take a magnesium glycinate supplement, which improves all of the previously mentioned issues and keeps me regular!

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Tips for Fibro From a Fibro Coach

Sue Ingebretson – Rebuilding Wellness

ONE: Drink enough water to adequately hydrate your body.

TWO: Use topical/internal products for temporary/supplemental relief (herbal remedies, oils, rubs, supplements, etc.).

THREE: Reduce your body’s natural tendency to stay stuck in the fight/flight/freeze response with a deep breathing RESET  (help to restore/balance your body’s autonomic nervous system – ANS – response)

FOUR: Get outside. Nature Walk. Move your body in ways that feel comfortable and healing to you – body movement, fitness, detoxification, etc. 

READ MORE HERE

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Tips for Fibro from other Fibro Warrior Friends

Unfortunately, most cannot afford medications or have little success using them. I am providing some tip teasers and links for you to follow.

Carrie KellenbergerMy Several Worlds

Carrie - artwork coping with pain
provided by Carrie

Carrie offers some great ideas on her post including 1) Minimize Stress 2) Balance work and Life 3) Be Creative … Carrie has interviewed on my blog. Click here to see her creative work.

Glynnis Robin Hicks – The Sacrificial Home Body

In trying to come to terms with my sore hands and lack of energy with my fibromyalgia, I have come up with some new tricks to help in cooking meals.

LeeRoy Good – Fibro Files

Here are my top three tips for coping with Fibromyalgia in no particular order: 1- Hydrotherapy; 2- Deep uninterrupted sleep; 3 – the Mediterranean diet

*Note – Leeroy has an excellent forum of fibro bloggers. We all share our latest post every Friday here. If you haven’t joined, you should do it.

Cynthia Covert – The Disabled Diva

Ways to reduce morning foot pain that are easy and won’t break your bank account.

Katie Clark – Painfully Living

Tips for Fibro  Katie Clark
  1. List to Yourself
  2. Educate Yourself
  3. Selfcare

Bettina Bier- Me, Myself, & I

Find something to distract yourself from everything. For me it’s painting, watching my favorite comedians & favorite shows. Music is good for my soul, a walk-in nature does wonders for me. Well, I have a dog, so it’s time to go outside. and more…

Nikki Albert – Brainless Blogger

Nikki shares three wonderful tips: 1) Mild Exercise 2) Basic Supplements 3) Relaxation

Bethan Catherine Jones – Hello Fibro

More Wonderful Tips for Fibro – 1) Listen to your body 2) Be Honest 3) Don’t Give Up on Yourself

Melinda Sandor – Looking For the Light

Melinda shares to provide awareness more many things including chronic pain and fibromyalgia. Her Top three tips for fibro are: 1) a good sleep self-care routine 2) Nature and 3) Time Saving

May 12 is Fibromyalgia Awareness
Thank you Melida for this image

Alisha Nurse – The Invisible “F”

Fibromyalgia comes with a wide range of different symptoms which are often challenging to manage. In this post, Alisha offers three of her top tips for living with fibromyalgia.

Cynthia Cooper Baughman – My Inspired Fibro Life

Three Tips from Cynthia – 1) What you eat matters 2) Movement is important 3) Moderation is Key!

Thanks for Sharing,

doctor to doctor

Bouncing from Doctor to Doctor

I was soooo ready to step off that cruise ship but it didn’t bring me joy. My body kept bouncing on the inside. You have heard of sea legs, right? Well, I kept them after we stepped on land. It’s typical for this to happen but it goes away quickly for most people. But I have never been that average. I always have to do things a little differently, from everyone else. Haha!

Time to see a doctor

Three months later, I’m still having these bouncy feelings. Thankfully, no spinning rooms, I just felt like I was still sitting on that tender boat; bouncing, bouncing along. The only time I actually felt better was riding in a car which is kind of ironic. Before this, I was always the one to have motion sickness.

My PCP had no idea what was going on so he sent me to an ENT. We did several tests and ruled out major possibilities. He “landed” on disembarkment syndrome. It’s rare, but people acquire this and live with it for years. That would be me.

Watch this… Funny… Except if you have it.

MORE SYMPTOMS ARRIVE

Two more months bounce by until I woke up one morning in July with a crick in my neck. I could barely turn my neck. Driving was getting a bit dangerous. I would have my daughter always watching that I didn’t move into another lane and run someone of the road. Finally, I decide to visit my chiropractor. I was dumb enough to say let’s not do an x-ray this time. But when he tried to do an adjustment, nothing would move. Until, it did, causing so much pain.

In August, I had an episode at church leading the children’s choir. I lost my breath and all energy. Turns out my thyroid numbers were completely off. I had missed a few days of medication waiting for a renewal but my doctor said, it shohuldn’t have caused a problem that quickly.

PAIN arrives

Still bouncing from day to day, I managed to feel fair enough until that Sunday in September. I lay down for a short nap. Or I should say I tried to lay down. I didn’t get down to the bed before my lower back began to pulse with contraction-like pains. The slightest movement would initiate the contracting again. So, we were back to the doctor again. This time needing a couple men from church to carry me down the stairs and help me into the car. How embarrassing! My doctor couldn’t see any issues so he prescribed a tritation pack of prednisone. That stuff is great!

But it didn’t last. As soon as I started tritating back down, the pain returned. In October, we bounced from one medication to another trying to find something that would make a difference. (Cymbalta, Lyrica, Gabapentin, Tramadol) Nothing helped.

A Roomma-what?

bouncing from doctor to doctor
all images created for free in canva.com

Next, I was sent to a rheumatologist which is a subspecialist in the nonsurgical treatment of rheumatic illnesses, including autoimmune diseases and especially the many forms of arthritis and joint disease. Tons of blood work baffled him. My labs were all over the place and he could not make a diagnosis. He opted for a second opinion at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. Mayo Clinic is an awesome, amazing place but it takes months to get in. I wasn’t excited about waiting with all this pain.

Be Still is Not Always a Good Thing

Toward the end of the month, my leg began to swell every time I got out of bed to the point that I couldn’t put my foot on the ground. So back to the doctor we go. This time after an ultrasound on the leg, I was admitted to the hospital for observation and getting shots in the stomach for a DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) better known at a blood clot. I had to learn to do these injections in my stomach twice a day. No fun!

Bouncing back home

I was released from the hospital in time for my 50th birthday which basically go by unnoticed. Welcome to old age!

We’ll stop here for now; but my Mayo Clinic experience has already be written and you can keep reading here.

Mandy

SHARING: Even in Pain there is Confident Hope

I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.

Ephesians 1:16-18

Confident Hope?

When chronic pain hits, we might wonder, “How can I have confident hope?” But I soon learned that this hope comes from drawing ever closer to the One Who gives all hope. That is, Jesus!

For me, it was six months of pain before finding any answers. But when I walked through the doors at Mayo Clinic, I felt an amazing hope. Every inch of this place offered hope to me. Then I began to look around at all the others seeking to find answers. Some did not know the confident hope in Christ; however, it was quite obvious that others knew Him well.

Thanks for sharing your confident hope!

I have met several of you who have splashed your confident hope all over me. I’m thanking God at every chance that through my chronic pain, you have become an essential part of my life. I pray for you often that God will continue to bless you with his wisdom and insight through the trials you face; believing it is through these trials that we come to truly KNOW the God of Hope. I pray that your heart is filled with His Light so that you continue in His confident hope and keep spilling it over on the rest of us.

We are His holy people and we are so blessed to be His rich and glorious inheritance. He has invested everything in us to make this possible.

confident hope

Prayer

Oh Lord God, thank you for bringing so many chronically wonderful friends into my life. I ask for wisdom and insight for each of us as we daily try to fight off pain with Your help. As David said, “It was good that I have suffered that I might know you,” the God of all Hope, better. Fill us with Your Light today. I pray that Your investment in us will yield great and wonderful results.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Questions

  1. In what circumstance have you found Confident Hope?

2. Who has graciously splashed their confident hope over you? Have you told them so? Have you prayed for them?

3. Who could you splash your confident hope over?

In His Confident Hope;

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

Even though my life changed drastically 10 years ago, God has still brought purpose into my life. I have found a little niche in writing. Something I never had time, nor the confidence, for in the past. Chronic Joy is a wonderful ministry to help those with Chronic Illness thrive. I was given an opportunity to write a prayer prompt for them recently.

*** All along my Journey with Chronic Pain, I have met many who have encouraged me. I am so thankful to them. Seeing that others can make it through tells me I can too! In this journey, I have found a wonderful ministry for those with Chronic Pain called Chronic Joy. Today’s post was written for this ministry. Find more at this link.

Suddenly Still – Journeying with Chronic Pain

scripture JOhn 15:5 suddenly still


“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

John 15:5

Suddenly Still

I’ve never been able to stay STILL. I can’t even watch a 30 minute TV sitcom without getting up and moving around. I have to either be crocheting or have something to do with my hands. Otherwise, I’m up at every commercial whether I have something to do or not.
My son inherited the same thing from me. He is always going and going. As a baby, my husband had to literally hold him tight in his arms to get him to go sleep at night.


God had to do the same with me.

He had to take me in his arms and hold me tight. I was doing so many things. To name a few …

Suddenly Still pin

  • not only was I a pastor’s wife,
  • homeschooling my daughter,
  • Children’s Ministry Director,
  • leading classes at the home school group,
  • Office Manager at the church,
  • and who knows what else.


Until one day in September, I was Suddenly Still

God said “Be STILL” one last time and I could do nothing else but be STILL.

It was a normal Sunday. I had been dealing with Dis-embarquement Syndrome from a cruise earlier in the year; so, that afternoon I decided to lie down and rest before evening services.
As I went to lie down, I had a sharp pain in my back, I couldn’t finish lying down, nor could I raise myself to upright. My husband had to help me into the bed. If I moved the least bit, I had excruciating, contracting pains in my back.
Long story short, I spent the next month or two laying on my back in the bed-Suddenly Still. It took a year and one half of doctors visits trying to find out what the problem was.


During those days of  STILLNESS

God stripped all the things away that were getting my attention instead of Him. The church office, the children’s department, the home school group. Thankfully, my daughter was self-directed enough to keep her schooling on track. She also amazingly picked up the housekeeping and cooking.
While I lay there, STILL, God was finally able to begin to speak to me. That’s when I began to actually spend time in the Word. Over the next three years, I read the Bible through in three different versions.
God has allowed me to get back on my feet, but not back to doing all the things I wanted to do. I’m not sure that He will because when we discuss it, He asks me …

“Can you guarantee that you won’t forget to GET STILL and hear my voice?” 

GOD

So this pain is my “thorn in the flesh” to remind me about what is most important.
The message I tell people the most now is, 

“If you are too busy to have a quiet time, you are too busy.” 

ME


Don’t let this happen to you.

Put God first and everything else will fall into place. (Matt 6:33)

These years have brought me so close to God. I’ve realized how far I was from Him and how much I was doing things in my own strength. And how much I had been missing.

If you have been “SUDDENLY STILL” from your “responsibilities”, I wonder if it is not God calling you to come, get STILL, and fellowship with Him.

Do you hear Him calling?

-Mandy

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Embarking on the Chronic Life

Just when you think you have arrived,

God changes the map.

It was Valentine’s Day of 2011.

We were finally taking a cruise with friends. They had been begging us for years to go to the Bahamas with them. We were all set to go the previous year until my father had a heart attack just weeks before the embarquement.

cruise ship embarking
Mandy embarking on a cruise

So we waited another year. And finally, we embarked on the ship. The first few days were wonderful. I wasn’t even experiencing expected nausea from seasickness.

We arrived on the cruise island for a fun day of bottomless boat rides, parasailing, and a huge BBQ picnic. What fun it was. But it was to be my last good day for a long, long time.

embarking on a chronic life
Mike & I on right.
The last time I have ever felt great.

Embarking the Tender

A tender is a small boat that carries you to and from the port of call, or island stop. On this particular day, we need to take the tender to get to the scheduled shore excursion. The trip to the island was fine. However, returning was not so great.

We took the very last boat to the ship. So did “everyone” else. We were packed on there like sardines. This would not have been so bad except There was a backup of tenders taking people to the ship. We sat on the water bouncing about for nearly an hour amidst a lot of diesel fuel fumes.
I was already a bit nauseous from that bottomless boat, but this “little” trip did me in. I pushed my way to the edge of the boat just in time to lose my lunch over the side.

Things did not improve on the ship. We dressed for our Valentine’s Dinner but my stomach just wouldn’t settle down. I remained sick for the entire return home to Jacksonville.

I was never so happy to set foot on land. But my body decided. Nah! I’ll just keep bouncing around for a while. It’s what they call Disembarkment Syndrome. I had a feeling of bouncing about in that little tender boat for the next 6 months.

~Mandy

embarking on the chronic life