light and temporary

No Light at the End of the Tunnel for Chronic Pain

Interviews with Chronic Pain Warriors #4

I know! It’s strange to write these words “light and momentary” when talking about chronic pain. I have been in an R.A. flair most of the past year and now facing some heart issues. I sometimes wonder just how much more I can take. Not that I want to end it all, but when I look at myself at 58 and then (judging from my family history) look forward to maybe 30 more years, it’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. And I wonder,

“Is there a light at the end of the tunnel?” #chronicpain #endurance #lightandmomentarytrouble Click To Tweet

“Light and momentary” comes from the scriptures where the Apostle Paul shares that when we arrive in heaven this will all seem small and insignificant. (2 Corinthians 4:17) He shares that one of the purposes of our trials is that when we get through them we can encourage and comfort others who are experiencing the same type of pain.

So this year, I’d like to offer a series of interviews with chronic pain warriors. I would like us to all share and encourage one another so that we can “all patiently endure as we suffer.” (2 Corinthians 1:6)

 And then though “we were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it.” Even when we expect that we will die, we will stop relying on ourselves and learn to rely only on God, who raises the dead. (2 Corinthians 1:8,9)

And now Interview #4 with Terri Sutula.

Originally published June 9, 2020

light at the end of the tunnel

Terri is a certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach who also lives with fibromyalgia and IBS. She has made it her mission to walk alongside others with fibromyalgia to help them find what works for them to help them thrive. Find our interview below.

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay

Would you share the short story of your chronic pain journey? Share some about the journey to this diagnosis.

This is a little tough because I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have pain. Even as a child, I suffered debilitating headaches on a regular basis. Fast forward a few years, and I started having migraines in addition to regular headaches.

Finally, when I was around 30, I was diagnosed with endometriosis. These things made my life difficult at times, but I retired after 20 years in the US Air Force, then went on to work as a Finance Officer in a small town, then as a Personal Trainer for about 6 years.

Where’s the Light at the End of the Tunnel?

In 2011, I started having widespread pain (as in, everything hurt, all over my body), severe abdominal pain, and lots of other strange symptoms. I could no longer work. Some lab results caused concern, but then when repeated, the labs came back normal. I just couldn’t understand how I could feel this horrible and not have something seriously wrong with me. At one point, I was spending my days in bed, just waiting for each day to be over.

Eventually, in 2012, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and IBS. It was actually a relief to have a name for what was going on. Once I realized I didn’t have something that was going to kill me, I got on with learning how to live my best life in spite of my illnesses.

What a long journey. Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get stronger?

When I was at my worst with my fibromyalgia symptoms, my relationship with the Lord was the closest it’s ever been. I had absolutely no strength of my own; I had to depend on His strength to even get through the day. The longer I live with it, the more I’ve learned to lean on Him for even the mundane things in life. He’s always there for us, through the big things and the small ones.

What scripture has become a comfort for you in this journey?

The scripture I mentioned below, Romans 8:28, has been a huge comfort for me because it reminds me that God is using this for my good in some way, but the one I cling to the most is Isaiah 41:10,

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

isaiah 41:10

One thing that has been especially difficult for me on this fibromyalgia journey has been the weakness I experience sometimes. There have been times that I wasn’t even sure my legs would hold me up, but I always know that when I’m weak, God is strong, and He will hold me up when I can’t hold myself up.

How do you find comfort during these ‘ light and momentary’ painful days?

I remember that God is going to use this in some way. He never wastes any experience or difficulty we have. Romans 8:28 tells us,

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”

I firmly believe that, and that’s what helps me get through the really tough days.

What are some things that your family and friends do that bring comfort in your pain?

I’m fortunate to have family and friends who try to understand and make accommodations when my symptoms are not cooperating. My husband has really been a Godsend through all of this. He does everything he can to make my life as easy as possible.


Are you involved in any ministries or community service to reach out to others with chronic pain? Share about this?

I consider my blog to be my ministry. When I first started experiencing all these weird symptoms and right after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I wanted some real, actionable tips for getting on with my life and I needed to reclaim my hope that I could still have a good life. Once I started figuring things out, I wanted to be that resource for others, Olive Tree Saints was born.

In conclusion, can you offer some words of encouragement to those who may be searching for comfort in their own chronic pain journey?

Sweet friend, I know this isn’t easy. I know there are some days that you feel you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but you are not alone. You have others who have been where you are and who are willing to walk alongside you as you go through this.

And know that God is always there with you. He’s promised us in His Word that he’ll never leave us or forsake us. Life may not ever go back to the way it was, but you can still thrive in spite of your circumstances. You’ve got this!

Offering a light at the end of the tunnel,

~Terri

certified Personal Trainer and Health Coach 

Thank you, Terri, for sharing your story and these encouraging words.

Readers, I encourage you to comment below or connect with Terri on social media or her blog.

Mandy Farmer

Wellness: Becoming Intentionally Evergreen

It’s Your Turn

legacy link-ups

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Are you a Chronic Pain Warrior? Can you offer a light at the End of the Tunnel?

Would you be willing to share your faith story and encourage others? Contact Mandy for more details about an interview for this blog. See Guidelines Here

Fibro Blogger Directory
friendship

How to Be a Friend to the Chronically Ill

My Word of the Year is Intentional. As I began looking for a verse that I might claim, I kept finding verses where messengers of God said, “But as for me…” I thought, “These people are intentional in their lives. I want that”. So we will start looking at these scriptures. I have some friends helping me out and they are already stepping on my toes.”

Today, I share another Psalm that uplifts the chronically ill. I hope that it will uplift you as well.

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Fibro and Finances

Fibro Friend ~ How Are Your Finances Holding Out?

Are your Finances holding out?

This is a question that most friends and family never think to ask, “How are your finances?” It’s a little personal and maybe that is why no one asks but the truth is that sickness can take a big toll on anyone’s finances no matter how much insurance you have. Not only does the patient lose work time but also the spouse or caregiver. I am told that sickness is the number one reason people file for bankruptcy. (See this article at CNBC)

My friend, Colleen Sullivan knows about the challenges in finance due to her own journey with fibromyalgia. I met Colleen through the Christian Chronic Illness Network. She has offered to share her struggles with staying afloat and the lessons learned.

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how to help

How Can You Help Someone With Chronic Pain?

Originally posted in ggmandy dot com in 2017 but still valid today.

And again November 22, 2018

How Can I Help
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Dear Friend,

#helpthesick #chronicillness #cancer

The other day, when you heard about my diagnosis of Fibromyalgia, you said to let you know if there was any way you could help. I thought I might write to let you know how you can help. I know that you mean well; but, this kind of offer puts me in a quandary.

You see, I am not really sure how to answer that. There might be something that I know you would do and I would ask you but there are so many needs and I really feel like I am imposing to ask for your help. Unless you are a really, really good friend, I probably will never call on you for help even though I know your offer is sincere.

Ways to help the Chronically Sick #thisisfibro #chronicpainawareness Click To Tweet

Put some thought into it

#howcanIhelp #freeprintable

It’s like at Christmas or my birthday, I would really rather you listen to my conversations and watch my life and see where the needs are. Then make a specific offer, such as, calling up and saying, “Hey, I’m at the store can I pick anything up for you?” Or maybe offer to give me a ride to the store with you. Or if you know I have a doctor’s appointment or therapy session, offer to give me a ride.

Offer to take me to my appointments. #howtohelpthesick #chronicpainawareness Click To Tweet

I Get So Lonely

These things are so helpful. Plus they give us some time to visit. This is really nice because one of the biggest issues I have is that I get so very lonely. I seldom get out of the house except to go to the doctor. I don’t get to go to my regular activities anymore and few or none of my friends drop by for a visit.

Hey, you know what would be really nice is if you would just choose a specific day of the week that you would come by. It might be just to visit or to bring food or watch a movie. I would be looking forward to that every week. (Kinda like that movie Tuesdays with Morrie.)

Please come visit me once in a while. #howtohelp #chronicillness Click To Tweet

There Are So Many Ways to Help

#freeprintable #waystohelp #fibro #chroniillness #cancer

Finally, there are many, many things that you can do to help. A friend of mine gave me this list. It’s really a good list of ideas of ways someone can help the chronically ill. Maybe it will be helpful for you, so I’m going to make it available as a free download.

Thanks for loving and caring about me. It means so much to me.

See you on Tuesday!  😉

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

Here’s the list to the downloadable page – Just Click Below

Download letter
help

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE >>>>>>> Ways You Can Help the Chronically Sick.

Free Download List of Ways to Help #howtohelpthesick #chronicillness #cancer Click To Tweet

Here’s a great book about helping a friend.


vote chronic pain

Voting With Chronic Pain-Disability

originally posted November 2020 – #votingwithchronicpain

Dear friends;

Greetings from my recliner and a heating pad!

Did you get to vote in the recent elections? My husband and I managed to get out and vote yesterday in spite of knowing that there would be long lines. And indeed, there were. When we arrived we saw a line that extended outside and through the filled parking lot. We figured as much since there were cars lining the streets as we approached. We decided to park in the school parking lot across the street and walk over.

As we walked onto the campus where the voting was taking place we were reminded of two years ago when the lines extended as far for the presidential election. Wow! It’s surprising, no not really with the political atmosphere we have been in for two years, but midterm elections are usually not that big of a deal.

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signs of fibro, fibromyalgia

What Were Your First Signs of Fibro

What were your first signs of Fibromyalgia?

Follow along and learn about my first signs of fibro myalgia. It started long before I realized it.

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originally posted on March 12, 2018

Dear Family and Friends;

Thanks for checking on me the other day. You asked about my first signs of Fibro. As you know, I acquired disembarkment disorder after our cruise to the Bahamas in February 2011 (which has never gone away), followed by neck pain, and then I was hit suddenly with extreme, contracting back pain in September that year.

Earlier First Signs of Fibro

But as I have learned more about Fibromyalgia, it seems there have been several signs of it from early in my life.

Do you remember all those chest pains I had in middle school and high school?

They could never find anything wrong so they called it growing pains. Ha! If that were so I’d be about 6 feet tall! Anyway, it turns out that many of us fibro warriors have experienced “growing pains” at puberty. So my first signs of fibro were probably chest pains at 11 or 12 years of age.

Always Just So Darn Tired

first signs of #fibro #fatigue #tired #growingpains
provided by five Minute Friday

It has also dawned on me that one major symptom of fibromyalgia is fatigue, tired for no particular reason. You know, I have always been tired. I get so tired from a shopping trip or band event. I would fall into a deep sleep immediately after arriving home from any kind of event. Really, I would fall asleep as soon as I got still.

Remember the jokes about me not being a good co-pilot when we moved from Ohio to Wisconsin?

I would sleep the entire way! When they finally realized I had thyroid issues, I thought that was the answer. And while the medication does keep everything stable, I still feel like there are more issues than what is being addressed.

All My Life Signs of Fibro

So evidently, I have had fibromyalgia nearly all my life. It’s just that the cruise somehow awakened the monster.

Thanks so much for taking an interest in my life. I know you feel that your hands are tied because you live so far away, but believe me, your frustration would be the same if you lived next door. Your prayers and calls mean so much to me. It would certainly be nice though if we were closer. Then at least you could come to visit. But I would miss that even if I weren’t ill.

With Love,

Mandy Farmer

This post was originally written for my Letters to Friends and also inspired by Kate Motaung’s prompt this week, “TIRED” at Five Minute Fridays. It has now been updated and included in my new series, Mandy’s Journey with Chronic Pain.

journey with pain
ribbon image by Marketa Machova

protect

Psalm of Mandy: Prayer for Protection a Pain Warrior, continued

But as for me—poor and in pain—

let your salvation protect me, God.

Psalm 69:15
protection
Created by Mandy in Canva.com

This scripture jumped out at me since I can totally relate. Pain most of the time. And we live only on Social Security. Thank God for Medicare and Medicaid or we could not make it. Especially with inflation the way it is. This portion of Psalm 69 needed little change to apply to my life.

This is a paraphrase from Psalm 69, continued. [First part here] David had many times in his life when he felt he was drowning in troubles. This scripture jumped out at me as I read “poor and in pain”. I can relate to both of these entirely. When I read this psalm of David I can feel my own soul praying this prayer with just a few changed words. As you read it, you may understand some of the things that chronic illness causes in our lives. My words are in [ ]. Highlighted words link to another post I have written concerning the issue.

Mandy’s Psalm continued…

Answer me, Lord,

for your faithful love is good.
In keeping with your abundant compassion,
turn to me.
17 Don’t hide your face from your servant
for I am in distress. Answer me quickly!
18 Come near to me and redeem me;
ransom me because of my enemies.

You know my pain

19 You know the [pain] insults I endure—
my shame [flares] and disgrace [fatigue].
You are aware of all my adversaries [invaders of my health].
20 Insults [Unable to serve as I once did] have broken my heart,
and I am in despair. I waited for sympathy, but there was none;
for comforters, but found no one. [They came at first, but now, no one].
21 Instead, they gave me gall for my food,
and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink
. [They say I don’t look sick and that I am making it up. This tastes like vinegar to me.]

Repay Them For What They Do

[ I’m a bit shocked when I read words like these from David, I am more inclined to ask God to open their eyes and understand my plight.]

22 Let their table set before them be a snare,
and let it be a trap for their allies.
23 Let their eyes grow too dim to see
and let their hips continually quake.
24 Pour out your rage on them
and let your burning anger overtake them.
25 Make their fortification desolate;
may no one live in their tents!
26 For they persecute the one you struck
and talk about the pain of those you wounded.
27 Charge them with crime on top of crime;
do not let them share in your righteousness.
28 Let them be erased from the book of life
and not be recorded with the righteous.

Prayer for Protection

29 But as for me—poor and in pain—
let your salvation protect me, God.
30 I will praise God’s name with song
and exalt him with thanksgiving.
31 That will please the Lord more than an ox,
more than a bull with horns and hooves.
32 The humble will see it and rejoice.
You who seek God, take heart!
33 For the Lord listens to the needy
and does not despise
his own who are prisoners.

Let God Be Praised for His Protection

34 Let heaven and earth praise him,
the seas and everything that moves in them,
35 for God will save Zion
and build up the cities of Judah.
They will live there and possess it.
36 The descendants of his servants will inherit it,
and those who love his name will live in it.

Mandy

Follow my Journey with Chronic Pain

journey with pain
ribbon image by Marketa Machova Mandy’s Journey with Chronic Pain

More About Fibro & Chronic Pain

Letters to Friends ~ How Are You Doing Since Your Diagnosis?

Letters to Friends ~ Why Are You So Tired?

A Day in the Life with Bettie G

What is Fibro Fog? Why are you Crashing?

Volunteer with Disabilities like Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain

Fibro Bloggers Directory

time of favor

Psalm of Mandy: a Pain Warrior’s Prayer

But as for me, Lord,
my prayer to you is for a time of favor. Psalm 69:13 CSB

time of favor Psalm 69
images free from canva.com

This is a paraphrase from Psalm 69. David had many times in his life when he felt he was drowning in troubles. People who suffer from chronic pain can often feel they are drowning in pain and sorrow. When I read this psalm of David I can feel my own soul praying this prayer with just a few changed words. As you read it, you may understand some of the things that chronic illness causes in our lives. My words are in [ ]. Highlighted words link to another post I have written concerning the issue.

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fIBROMYALGIA REALLY FOR REAL

Why Fibromyalgia is a Real Pain?

Question:

Is Fibromyalgia pain REALLY real?

Originally published on January 17, 2019

Dear Friend OF A FIBRO WARRIOR;

Unimaginable to me, but there are people who can’t relate to dealing with pain. There are folks out there that have never had as much as a headache in their life. This is unimaginable to me.

I’m NOT one of them.

I have dealt with pain from a very early age. In the 5th grade, I started having chest pains, severe pains, like having a heart attack pains. But by the time I got to a doctor or the ER, the pain was gone or they couldn’t find the source of it. They said it was “growing pains“. Funny, I never got taller than 5’2”. Sure had a lot of pain to end up so short.

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Diagnosed RA & Fibro ~ Don’t Give Up!

Advice from a Chronic Pain Warrior

When we receive severe diagnoses, it can shake us to the depths of our souls. And many times, we don’t hear anything the doctor says after that. The last thing you need to do is sit down and give up. Let’s review a few things our doctors may or may not have expressed to you at that initial appointment. These are some things I neglected to do and have learned the hard way about it.

Advise from a pain warrior Don't Give Up.
all images created for free in Canva.com
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