lymphatic Draining

Lymphatic Drainage – Natural Pain Management

What is the Lymphatic System?

You may be wondering, “what is the lymphatic system”? I know that, for me, I have seldom thought much about it. I’ve heard of others having cancer moving into the lymph nodes and that was pretty much a death sentence. It has much to do with our immune system so it’s important that we make sure we are giving it some attention.

brush images by SPA Västkusten from Pixabay

But what is it?

It’s like an additional circulatory system that moves vital hormones and such throughout the body. The lymphatic system consists of all the lymphatic vessels and lymph organs. For example, the lymph nodes, spleen, thymus, as well as, lymphatic tissue found in the small intestine and throat (adenoids, tonsils). It works together with the blood-producing system in the bone marrow, thereby playing a vital role in immune responses to protect the body from various pathogens. It also helps transport nutrients and waste products in the body.

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foot care feature

Foot Care – How to Have Healthy, Happy Feet

We don’t often think about foot care until the pain is excruciating. I recently have acquired an issue with my feet. I suspected that RA was affecting my healthy, happy feet. So did my rheumatologist. There’s a thing called Rheumatoid Nodules. RA can cause painful nodules to develop on various parts of the body, including the feet. I visited my orthopedic specialist. He suspects a neuroma of the foot. “A neuroma is a painful condition, also referred to as a “pinched nerve” or a nerve tumor. It is a benign growth of nerve tissue frequently found between the third and fourth toes. It brings on pain, a burning sensation, tingling, or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot.” My orthopedic specialist focuses on knees and shoulders; so he has referred me to a foot specialist. So… we wait. {story of my life}

In the meantime, I started looking for ways to relieve the pain. My knees have been pretty painful as well so one evening I decided to take an Epson salt bath. It always relieves some of my Ra and Fibro pain. I was pleasantly surprised the next day that my foot pain was relieved as well… at least for the day. Then I purchased some Metatarsal gel footpads. These were very comfortable. Once I started walking, I never really felt them in my shoe. However, at the end of the day. I had a painful sore at the edge of the pad and between my toes where the hook had been. I only wore them one evening and the next day.

Foot Care Handbook

It turned out that NetGalley, the source I use for reviewing new books, had a new book by a reflexologist, Stephanie Tourles. It is a Foot Care Handbook. I downloaded the book to see if it might have some good advice for me. It’s a neat little handbook with five chapters.

Chapter 1 Greet Your Feet: Foot Care Basics

What would your feet tell you if they could speak to you? Probably something like, “You’re killing me! Quit wearing those ridiculous shoes!” There are basic things we should be doing for the health of your feet and, consequently, the rest of your body. Stephanie shares these basics with you and how to do them.

Did you know that you should be able to move each toe individually? It was news to me. I can only move my big toe separate from the others. I’m going to try to work on changing that!

Chapter 2: Foot Care Fitness: Stretching and Strengthening

Foot Fitness? Sure! Stephanie offers several great stretches and exercises for your feet. Foot care will relieve your pain in just a short time, I can tell you they are simple and profitable exercises.

Chapter 3: Foot Massage to Relax and Revive

The benefits of foot massage include reducing stress and anxiety, soothing the nervous system, and boosting circulation while minimizing any swelling. There’s more but I know this… It is helping my foot issues without having to get injections or surgery. A very good benefit.

She offers a recipe or two for homemade massage creams with essential oils! I didn’t have all the ingredients so I made do with what I had for the time being. Mary Kay’s Mint Energizing For Feet and Legs. Feels so good and relaxing, too.

Chapter 4: An Introduction to Foot Reflexology

I’ve always found it interesting that there are pressure points in your foot that create paths to all other parts of your body. Stephanie gives a great introduction to reflexology in this chapter. You might find you can relieve a lot of your pain and other issues if to study this chapter.

Chapter 5 Common Foot Problems, Uncommon Remedies

Here Stephanie talks about most of the common foot problems and offers suggestions on how to deal with them. An investment of $10-15 could save you lots of dollars for surgery and doctor visits.

Mandy

UPDATE: Finally, two weeks later, I saw the foot specialist. The massage and exercises must have helped because he said my movement was good. No stiffness in the ankle. He decided I wouldn’t even need an injection between my toes. (PTL!) He gave me a Hapad shoe insert to try and sent me on my way… well until six weeks is up.

PS. Wide size shoes have been a great help for me

I live in Skechers! Here are the ones I love! the STATEMENTS are very flexible. You can actually fold them! The GetAways have awesome memory foam support at the ball of your feet.



Foot Care Handbook

This book is set to publish in December 2021, but you can order in advance now.

Awesome Scriptures that can Trigger “feel-good” Hormones

I’ve heard that we can re-train our minds and deter some of our pain. This year, I would like to instill some “feel-good” scriptures in your minds to help fight against the drudgery of our invisible pain. I have asked fellow pain warriors to write a quick note of encouragement using scripture that helps them get through the pain. Here is the first one by my dear friend, Bettie Gilbert who has shared here on the blog before.

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for being so concerned for my health, and for asking how I am getting along.

Recently I was reminded of a Scripture Verse that confirmed what both my Physical Therapist and my Counselor had shared with me:

“Remember [carefully] the former things [which I did] from ages past; For I am God, and there is no one else; I am God, and there is no one like Me.”

Isaiah 46:9 Amp

Did you know that the same areas of your brain that were triggered during a pleasant experience years ago, will be triggered again just by remembering it?

My counselor offered a beneficial practice for me then, on days when I am feeling low or depressed. She said that if I would look back and try to remember better days, and to even try to think about the specific details of a good experience, then those same areas in my brain would be triggered with “feel-good” chemicals now.

My physical therapist went a step further and said that studies have found a real benefit in pain therapy when a patient can remember a time of exertion, such as walking or working out, and slowly pace out the memory as if they are “walking” again in their mind. The right-left sensations trigger those same areas in your brain to produce those “feel-good” chemicals, and even can stimulate pain relief in some patients.

Walk the Halls of Memory

So, on days when you see me feeling particularly low about the days gone by and all that I cannot accomplish now, maybe we could join in a session of “therapy” and walk the halls of our memories together. Who knows, maybe your own “feel-good” chemicals might be given a boost as you share those pleasant memories also.

Isn’t the working of our human body and brain incredible?

Truly we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” as the Psalmist tells us:

“I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.”

Psalm 139:14
psalm 139
images created in canva.com by Mandy

I am praying for you my dear loved one, as you have reached out to me. May you feel so blessed by God as He pours His compassion through you.

Your loved one in Christ,

BettieG

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay

Thank you Bettie for reminding us of these feel-good scriptures. We can always depend on you to come through with great encouragements.

IT’S YOUR TURN!

Share an encouraging post on your feel-good scripture. It can be about getting through whatever you deal with… not just pain like Bettie and I..

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Review: Holy Hustle Planner

The year of COVID-19 has me way behind in 2021. We didn’t celebrate Christmas until mid-January so it’s no wonder that I am just now getting my schedule and plans in order. Is this true for you?

Show me your way, O Lord.

Teach me your paths. 

Lead me in your truth and teach me. 

You are the God of my salvation. 

On You, I wait all day.”

Psalm 25:4-5,

Finding God’s Plan

Finding God’s path has been challenging to say the least. I am baffled how someone with Chronic Illness can struggle even more with being “shut-in”. How is it that my days seem full when I don’t really have that much to do?

Well, being Type-A, I am always wanting to get more done than is physically possible. Those BIG planners only make me have lofty ideas. This planner keeps me from pushing myself too much. I just list my to do’s for the week. (only one per day, max) I’m not nearly as frustrated about what I manage to complete.

images provide by Crystal Stine

PLANNERS GALORE

I have found a lot of beautiful planners. But seriously, they are bulky and way too complicated for the chronic gal. I need simple but pretty. I don’t need stickers or all the minute details; just a place to record doctor’s appointments and a checklist for the things I need to do this week.

Even after 10 years of chronic pain,

I still struggle with overdoing it.

THIS PLANNER WORKS FOR ME

Crystal Stine has come up with the perfect planner for me. It’s pretty with its faux leather cover. It’s lightweight, like a paperback. And simplistic. It offers monthly calendars at the beginning, Then 52 weekly calendars with encouraging quotes to cheer you along the way. And the nice thing is it’s NOT already dated. Start using it anytime and even go into a new year.

Perfect for teachers or homeschoolers or anyone who has a different fiscal year. In the back you will find a year layout where you can put things for the new year or maybe things like birthdays!

I love this #holyhustleplanner! Click To Tweet

And, Oh! By the Way…

Crystal has a whole book about how the handle this Holy Hustle. AND a Bible Study, too! Wow! we can really get on track ’cause she is providing all the guidance we need.

So Go For It!

Purchase yours now!

Mandy





Not your IDentity

Chronic Pain is not Your Identity

Interviews with Chronic Pain Warriors #2

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 last year and have arrived at the place where I wonder just how much more I can take. Not that I want to end it all, but when I look at my young life and then look forward to my future, it’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel. And I wonder,

“Is this all I have to look forward too?” #lightandmomentarytrouble #interviewwithachronicpainwarrior 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 #2 with Stacey Shannon. Stacey struggles with the “light and momentary pain” due to fibromyalgia and other UTI issues. Shannon shared on our Legacy Link-up about our father last summer. Greatest Legacy. She is a freelance writer and has her own blog Families with Grace. 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.

interviews with chronic pain warriors
created in canva.com

I was 3 years old when my bladder symptoms first started. I kept feeling like I had a UTI, but the infection didn’t always show up. By the time I was 5, I’d been through every test possible for my bladder and kidneys and nothing showed up as abnormal. Everyone basically shrugged their shoulders and told my parents to have me avoid citrus and caffeine.

I continued having symptoms off and on, then when I was 13, my symptoms increased. That’s when I first got the diagnosis of interstitial cystitis (IC), which is basically chronic inflammation of the bladder. After going to a few doctors, my parents were able to track down a specialist who really helped me and prescribed a medication I still take nearly 30 years later.

My symptoms improved and stayed pretty well through high school and college then came roaring back with a fierce vengeance at the end of graduate school. By that time, I was married to my high school sweetheart. Instead of graduating and finding a job with a magazine as I had planned, I was mostly homebound because I was so miserable.

I was blessed to have a remission through most of my pregnancy with my daughter 10 years ago. After her birth, I developed uterine prolapse. When I was pregnant with my son seven years ago, I had remission again until the third trimester when my pain level went up significantly, thanks in part to the prolapse. Each time, any sort of remission ended with the end of pregnancy and breastfeeding hormones.

Throughout the years, I’ve tried an array of medications and treatments from medicine put directly into my bladder to physical therapy. I’ve driven hours away to see a leading IC urologist.

In 2015, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia as well, which made all sorts of other body pain make sense. The two conditions often go together. These days, my bladder is mostly cooperative if I maintain my medicine regiment and am careful to avoid caffeine, citrus and vinegar (my dietary triggers). My fibromyalgia is a different story. It causes me the most issues these days.

Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get stronger?

When I was 10 years ago, I asked Jesus to live in my heart. My husband and I both sought God’s will for our lives and got married young – while I was still in college, in fact. My husband knew about my bladder issues and was around at the end of my last really bad flare as a high school freshman. But neither of us expected IC to rear its ugly head again within three years of saying “I do.”

I had just graduated with two degrees in journalism since I’d felt God calling me into a career of writing faith-related articles back in high school. I was confused about why my health got so bad right when I had finished school and could get a job in a career that He’d led me to.

While I never lost faith in God, I did learn what it means to struggle with Him and how to be really honest with Him. I learned that I had to trust Him even when it didn’t make sense. He heard me whine and carry on. My husband encouraged me and often gave me the perspective that I needed. Each time I’d have a bad flare, I’d be shocked, having thought that I’d never had one again. Or I spiral into thinking I’d never, ever feel any better and everything was awful.

I also learned how isolating chronic pain and illness can be. All of my friends were starting their careers and I struggled to even go grocery shopping. I felt God leading me to connect with other people going through similar journeys, so I started a group for chronic pain and illness through my church.

For a few years, we met once a week. We went through a variety of Bible studies about chronic pain that helped me grow in my faith. In leading the group, I had to study the lessons more than just read them. I can look back now and see how God used that to help me grow in my faith and understanding that He was still at work.

God reminded me that His plan and my plans don’t always look the same. I learned through the years that my calling was still writing, but I was going to live it out in a different way as a freelancer than I had originally thought. Actually, my plan had been to work at a magazine for a few years and then freelance once we had babies. God just had me freelance sooner and, as a result, blessed us to be able to stay in the same city as my parents and my in-laws, which has been invaluable to us.

Was there a specific event that became a turning point in your faith during this journey?


One of the biggest turning points in my faith happened one day when I was 25 or so. IC is a disease diagnosed through the process of elimination. Symptoms can vary from one patient to another and no one treatment plan works for all of us. (In fact, only one medication has been FDA-approved to treat IC, and it now has been shown to have some horrible side effects for eyesight.)

I’d try whatever my urologist thought might help. I went through one treatment after another. Each time I’d start a new prescription or treatment, I’d feel hopeful this would be the one that would give me relief. When it didn’t, I’d feel disappointed and let down.

Then one day, I was driving my car when I felt God saying to me, “Put your hope in Me.” It was the reminder I needed that even if none of the treatments ever worked for me that I could always trust God would be with me. I’ve carried this life lesson into many scary situations since then. I can place my hope in God and never be disappointed in Who He is.

That day, my prayers began to change as well. I began to realize I needed to come to grips with not being healed. I had prayed for healing. We had talked about healing many times in my chronic pain group. I fully believed (and still believe!) that God has the power to heal. I have seen Him heal people. But God was gently telling me time and again that healing wasn’t going to happen for me on earth.

I began to pray for healing from my need to be healed. Since then I have continued to wrestle with healing at different times when it’s come up in church services and such. I know it’s possible that God may heal me before I get to heaven, but even if He doesn’t, I know He will heal me then and that’s the promise I cling to. That’s what I can truly put my hope in.

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


When I was a little girl, we had a dark hallway at our house that scared me. In third grade, I learned the first part of Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear for I am with you.” I repeated that verse over and over walking down the hallway.

It came back to me when my bladder issues began in full force as a young adult. I looked it up and found the rest of the verse, which says, “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.” I have clung to that verse during dark moments and times.

isaiah 41.10

I’ve gone into the ER repeating that verse to myself. I have clung to His promise to strengthen and uphold me on my hardest days when I have been ready to give up. It has brought me comfort and strength so many times.

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


 I definitely repeat my Bible verse for comfort and have used it as a breath prayer: “God, strengthen and uphold me.”

I also find other ways of comfort. Sometimes physical comfort leads to spiritual comfort. I sit with my heating pad. I work from the couch with my laptop instead of at my desk. I listen to uplifting Christian music. I watch shows I enjoy. I listen to my body when it tells me I need to rest or slow down.

I also remind myself (or sometimes my husband gently reminds me) that flares don’t last forever. Each time one hits, I worry it won’t go away and this is how I’m always going to feel. I can spiral quickly through anxiety and worry about how I’m ever going to be able to take care of my kids and such. Thankfully, I have years of experience to tell me that flares don’t last forever. And even if this is the time it doesn’t ease up, God will be with me. Do I always act like I know this? No, but I’m getting better at it.

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


 My husband has been awesome throughout this journey. I have gone into surgeries with him in the waiting room sporting a shirt that says: “My Wife Rocks.” He has never questioned my pain even though there is no physical proof of the pain or even the diagnoses. He has pushed me to get better treatments.

When my local urologist was out of ideas, my husband is the one who insisted on driving 4-1/2 hours to the leading IC urologist was not only worth it but doable. He’s driven there and back in one day many times to help me make those appointments.

My chronic pain also helped us learn to communicate even better earlier in our marriage. We learned the importance of approaching life as a team and not as opponents. Those lessons have helped us in other situations and the difficulties we’ve faced. I appreciate how he’ll do small things he knows will help me feel better like turning on my heating pad after a hard appointment while I go put on my PJs.

Along with my husband, my parents have also been incredibly supportive. They were the ones who first believed me when I was a preschooler who insisted I had to go to the bathroom again right after I had just gone or that it hurt when I went to the bathroom. They were the ones who found an IC specialist in a nearby big city when the pediatric urologist we saw said I was fine and just needed to learn how to urinate correctly.

I’m now 40 with kids of my own, but my parents still look out for and take care of me when they can. They offer to take the kids places when I don’t feel well.

My in-laws are the same. They have been so supportive and encouraging. Both my mom and mother-in-law have cleaned our house when I was recovering from surgery. They have helped take care of my kiddos when I needed extra help.

And my kiddos have been incredibly kind and understanding. As a mom, I wish they didn’t have to understand that sometimes mommy doesn’t feel well, but that’s my reality and so it’s theirs as well. I think they are more compassionate as a result. At 7 and 10, they’ll do things for me when I don’t feel well. My son is quick to want to carry heavy things, so I don’t have to. They have both prayed for me at different times, which blesses me beyond measure.

Offer some words of encouragement to those who may be searching for comfort in their own chronic pain journey.

Chronic pain is a part of your life, but it’s not your identity. My IC and fibromyalgia are part of who I am, but they are only a part. I am so much more than my pain. I am a mom, a wife, a writer, a follower of Jesus, a friend, a daughter and on the list goes. You are more than your pain, too.

Chronic Pain is part of your life, but it's not your identity. #chronicpain #lightandmomentary #paininterviews Click To Tweet

While it’s hard to say that pain is a blessing, pain can teach us many lessons. God has used my physical pain to connect me with people I wouldn’t know otherwise. Those people have blessed me and encouraged me. God’s used my pain to teach me so many lessons and grow my faith. I am thankful for all of that. I wouldn’t have chosen to live life with pain, but I am blessed by the good things that have come from it.

In the end, on both good and bad days, God is good. He is our hope and will never let go of us.

Thank you, Stacey, for sharing with us today. I know I have connected with you in your story and others will as well.

Families with Grace
http://familieswithgrace.com/

Readers, I encourage you to comment below or connect with Stacey on social media. Stacey blogs at Families with Grace.

Mandy Farmer

Are you a Chronic Pain Warrior?

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

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tips for neck pain

Lesser-Known Tips for Easing Neck Pain


Neck pain is a widespread problem. It often appears because of keeping one`s head in an uncomfortable position for a long time; especially by twisting it up and turning your head. Various aged people have it but mostly 40-60 years old.  

lesser known tips for neck pain
image credit : Melisa Marzett

 The pain itself is often repeated and brings a lot of problems; such as, limiting movements in the neck, one can even feel it in an arm. There can often be numbness in the hands especially at night.

Other More Serious Issues

Another serious problem is dizziness and sometimes even problems with balance and unsteady gait. Luckily, it doesn’t happen very often. This happens because of irritation or compression of the vertebral arteries inside the neck. The blood gets running through the back of the brain, where the centers of body coordination are located. Such conditions are called vertebral artery syndrome. 

Rough rotatory head movements are not particularly recommended. However, gentle movements can be useful, such as “air” writing letters and words with the tip of the nose. It is very good to draw an infinity sign. These movements must be done very slowly and smoothly, without provoking an increase in neck pain. Put it another way, any sudden movements of the head should be avoided. 

Reminder:  I just want to say that I am a patient, not a doctor. What I am sharing comes largely from what my doctors taught me and what I have discovered in my own searching.

I am sharing to hopefully help you be informed enough to support friends with this syndrome or possibly acquire informed questions for your doctor. Please talk with your doctor or visit the Mayo Clinic website for official information, diagnosis, and treatment.

  In no case, should you allow anyone to perform any maneuvers on your neck such as massage, stretching, etc.

Until you have an MRI and no discal hernia is found, maneuvers on the neck are not allowed by any specialists, manual therapists, nor physiotherapists. Manipulation is especially dangerous for patients who have a hernia in contact with the spinal cord or when the spinal cord is squeezed by a hernial bulging.

People over 40 often have osteophytes in the cervical spine. These spinal bone outgrowths direct themselves towards the spinal cord. If you make maneuvers on the neck, this can lead to damage of the spinal cord with irreparable consequences. 

  Regardless of where you work and your lifestyle, you can get rid of the cause of pain in the neck. Get rid of bad habits, doing exercises for the neck and properly organizing the workplace. If attacked by sharp neck pain, do the following: 

  • Wear a neck collar made of special foam materials. You should choose its size so that there is no over-extension of the cervical spine, as this will entail increased pain. 
  • During the first hours, attach ice wrapped in a towel, or an ice bubble. 
  • Warm-up after the ice has slightly decreased inflammation, starting with a warm heating pad and ending with a hot shower. Do not over cool after a water treatment! 
  • Use warming rubbing, but not at the same time as heating pads. 
  • Take aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, 2 tablets 3-4 times a day after meals. 

A set of exercises that relieve neck pain: 

  • Slowly tilt your head forward, then back. 
  • Keep your shoulders still. Slowly tilt your head first to one and then to the other shoulder. 
  • Slowly turn your head from side to side. 
  • Place your palm on the side of your head, and with the palm of your other hand, push towards the first. Hold for 5 seconds, then relax. Repeat 3 times on one side and the other. 
  • Do the same exercise, but only by tilting your head forward, showing your palms on your forehead, slight resistance to tilting your head. Putting your palms on the back of your head, show slight resistance to tilting your head back. 
  • Holding a load of 1.5-2 kg in your hands down, lift your shoulders as if shaking them. 

  Do each exercise 5 times twice a day. Perform the first 3 exercises for 2 weeks before proceeding to the rest. This workout complex will help to strengthen and relieve the spasm of the neck muscles. Thus, take care of yourself. But do not postpone the solution to the problem of neck pain for a long time. 

Bed Position for Neck Pain

  Your position in bed is also of great importance when treating neck pain. If the mattress is not orthopedic, place a shield or board under it to prevent excessive bending and extension of the neck. But as soon as you can, it is advisable to buy an orthopedic mattress.

  • Sleep with a small down pillow under your head.
  • When you lay on your side, it is better to put a not very thick roller on the pillow. It should fill the so-called arch formed by the lines of the shoulder, neck, and head. In this position, the cushion will help maintain a physiological straight position for the neck without subjecting it to bending, extension or lateral tilt.
  • On your side, the cervical spine will be located on the cushion, and as a result, the spine, neck, and head will be as if on the same line.
  • When lying on your back, it is also good to put such a roller under your neck. You can sew it by yourself, it should not be very hard. 

  When having significant levels of pain, temporarily limit movement in the neck. A special neck collar would be beneficial and recommended. For the first time, you can make it yourself out of cardboard; covering it with a soft cloth from the inside, and attaching ribbons so that it can be tied behind. 

Health Disclaimer

Naturally, all the recommendations above are only the first medical self-help. If the pain continues, you should consult a specialist neurologist or orthopedist involved in spinal pathology. But even if the pains have passed after the implementation of these recommendations, and in the recent past you have already had episodes of such pain more than once, you need to consult a specialist doctor and have an MRI of the cervical spine to exclude serious pathology requiring special treatment. 

notes of comfort

This Light and Momentary Pain

Interviews with Chronic Pain Warriors

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 last year and have arrived at the place where I wonder just how much more I can take. Not that I want to end it all, but when I look at my young life and then look forward to my future, it’s hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

And I wonder, “Is this all I have to look forward too?” #lightandmomentarytrouble #interviewwithachronicpainwarrior 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)

Here is the first interview with my dear friend, Bettie Gilbert. Bettie struggles with “light and momentary pain” due to RA, fibromyalgia, and a host of other diagnoses. Keep reading to learn about her struggles and her faith.

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay
interviews with chronic pain warriors; notes of comfort
image created at Canva.com with free images

Bettie, Thank you for sharing your story. You are always such an encouragement to me so I know this is going to encourage many others.

Share the short story of your chronic pain journey. Share some about the journey to this diagnosis.


In the late summer of 2014, I noticed that my fingers and thumb had some strange swelling and aching, but did not think anything about it until later that fall. I had been helping my neighbor garden and I woke up with my right hand locked up in a fiery pain that was unlike anything I had ever experienced. This happened three more times before my yearly physical in December of that year. My G.P. sent through the blood-work for Rheumatoid testing, and sure enough, 3 of the 4 markers came back positive for Rheumatoid Arthritis. They rushed me to the Rheumatologist the very next week, and I began this journey of chronic pain.
A year later I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Osteoporosis. Then 3 years later I was also diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome and Occipital Neuralgia.

Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get stronger?

I ran to God with my questions and my doubts. I didn’t have anywhere else to turn, because the doctors gave me very little information about what was happening with my body. But I am actually thankful for that because the Lord has become even more intimate and close to me than He was before my diagnosis.

Was there a specific event that became a turning point in your faith during this journey?


Early in my diagnosis, I found myself apologizing to everyone that I had gotten sick. It became such a constant response in me that one day I realized I had begun speaking that to the Lord also: “Jesus, I am so sorry I got sick. I am sorry I need Your help again. Forgive me for being so weak.” About a year into my diagnosis, I began to hear Him calling me, “Come to me, come inside (The Kingdom of God is within you.) I am already here, and I am not offended by your pain.” That whisper from the Lord began such a process of surrender and fellowship with the Lord that is continuing to grow to this day.

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

notes of comfort; chronic pain warriors
image created at Canva.com free images


But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Cor. 12:9

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


Listening to Christian music with a heating pad wrapped around my wrist and arm has become a calming time for me. Reading books is so helpful, and I am blessed to check out the resources of hope offered at the Chronic Joy Ministry Website too.
Sometimes I watch silly You-tube videos when my mind is so foggy that I can’t keep track of anything. And on other days, when my pain level allows, writing and journaling help me to process what is happening inside of me. I try to begin every day by moving very slowly and taking the time to read Scriptures. Even if I can only read one verse, just to know that His Word is still my solid ground brings me such help.

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


Calling to check on me, and offering to pray with and for me is a huge blessing for me. Receiving and sending note-cards in the mail has brought amazing blessings from God for me. When someone brings me a pot of soup, it feels like a gigantic gift! And my husband fills in so many things for me that I cannot do any longer. I am so grateful for each gift offered to me.

Are you participating in any ministries that encourage other chronic pain warriors?

Over the last year, I have joined with the team at Chronic Joy Ministry as their Volunteer Prayer Coordinator. I am so blessed to be able to pray for requests as they are shared at the Prayer Pond.  I enjoy sending out #PenToPaper notes and emails in response to those prayer requests. I also write posts on Scriptures and Prayer there.

Offer some words of encouragement to those who may be searching for comfort in their own chronic pain journey.


Our Lord has told us that He would never leave us or forsake us. So I would encourage you to put that Scripture to the test. Cry out to Him, ask Him for His mercy on your darkest day. And when you pause to listen, He will meet you right there to bring encouragement. Keep your eyes open to watch for moments of His beauty. What seemed small in the past, during your busy days, will shine so much brighter now, bringing God’s grace to you.

Bettie, thank you so much for this encouragement. It will help many of us as we face these ‘ light and momentary ‘ struggles. A wonderful reminder that one day, we are promised ‘no more pain’ (Revelation 21:4)

Readers, I encourage you to join Bettie at Chronic Joy. Click here for her latest Prayer Prompt. You can also respond to Bettie here on the blog by commenting below.

Mandy Farmer

Are you a Chronic Pain Warrior?

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Finding Joy in the Pain


Weeping may tarry for the night,

but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:5 ESV

Finding Joy in the Hard Places

FInding Joy in the Hard Places
photo credit Canva
Modified by Mandy

Throughout my years of reading the Scriptures, this verse has been one of my favorites. It has brought such comfort and joy in so many hard places. When night fell it seemed that the problems always loomed much larger in the dark than in the light of day. And as my heart ached with the weight of so many burdens, I held tightly to the promise that the Lord would bring the dawn of His light–the night of the trial could not last forever. And He did bring such peace to my heart as I watched the light dawning in so many of those dark, hard struggles.

The Hard Place of Chronic Illness

However, when chronic illness fell upon me several years ago, I found this verse taking on a literal meaning that hit me in a new way. The physical pains brought new tears in the evening. Every time I lay down, needing rest so deeply, the throbbing would heighten. Every time I finally drifted off to sleep, a jolt of fresh pain would awaken me. And the anxiety that accompanied so many of the medications brought nightmares and levels of pain that finally left me weeping before my Lord.

“How long will this night last, Lord Jesus? When will You bring the rescue?”

Finding Joy in the Morning

Finally, every morning, when the rising of the sun would finally light up my window, I could hear His words echoing in my heart:

“Rejoice, my child! We made it through one more night! My own heart is filled with joy to see you trusting Me even here.”

I could hear His words, and I could rejoice in the sunlight, but I could not rejoice at the coming night that I knew would fall again, all too soon. Recently though, He has been asking me to offer even that pain in the night up to Him as an offering. It has made little sense to me until I came across these Scriptures recently. Words that again, I have read so many times, suddenly jumped off the page for me:

Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:2 ESV

Jesus Feels Our Pain

Additionally, Jesus endured the cross, and suffered that shame for us, but why? For the JOY that was set before Him. He offered Himself, every pain and every burden that was taken for us, and He gave it all over to God, for the joy of bringing us to His Father. Could I offer my own pain in that same way? Could I see my own sleepless and pain-filled nights as a place of offering to Him?

“Oh Lord, how I long to be able to offer it all to you? But even that offering is too hard for me. I don’t know how I can do that.”

Into the midst of my tears, He brought His Words to me yet again. This time they were ancient words, uttered to God’s people who had been long at work, obeying the Lord to rebuild His dwelling place and the wall of protection around His city. And God had called them to celebrate their place with Him:

Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10 ESV

Finding Joy in the Morning Through Jesus

Consequently, it was the very answer that He had been whispering to my heart every morning. It is the JOY of the LORD that will be my strength. I cannot strive to attain that. But He has already won it for me. He bore all that pain for me, and now He is the One who can show me how to offer my own pain back to Him again and again, every dark night.

And always, the morning of HIS light of Joy will dawn in my heart, because it is His gift, His fruit:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, JOY, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Galatians 5:22,23 ESV

Bettie Gilbert


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One More Thing – Featured Posts

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Here are the featured posts from October 2019 Legacy Link-up. Kudos to Tammy Kennington and Karen Sebastian.

Most Clicked

Tammy Kennington had the most clicks last month. Go check out her post What Freedom in Christ Looks Like.

What Freedom in Christ Looks Like

My Favorite Linked Post in October

My favorite post was Karen Sebastian’s post. Karen was participating in the 30-day writing challenge. She wrote on the theme “How to Live 101 Wonderful Years” in celebration of her father. This post on Joy was a perfect segue into the November theme of joy.

How to live 101 wonderful years. Joy in the Hard Places

my former life

Grieving My Former Life Before Chronic Pain

Do You Think You Will Come Back to Work?

I’m grieving my former life before Chronic Pain. Fibromyalgia and other Chronic Pain illnesses are classified as “Invisible Diseases”. For the most part, one can look at a Pain Warrior and not see anything wrong. And yet this person stops working, turns down invitations sometimes at the last minute. They seem to be checking out of life. But in all reality, they want nothing more to be in the middle of life. Often grief is part of their illness because they want so much to have their life back.

So what are we to do as a friend? Do we continue to include them in our lives and plans? Most definitely! Here’s a bit from my point of view.

divider
curleque by Coffee at pixabay

About this time of the year, in 2011, I lost my former life. I grieved for quite a while because I truly did miss it.

I was busy, too busy really

Let me share a list of the things I was involved in.

too many irons in the fire
Too Many Irons in the Fire
  • Mom – two children still at home
  • Homeschooling – be this time only one high school student left
  • Homeschool Co-op – Director, teacher
  • Pastor’s Wife – ’nuff said
  • Children’s ministry director
  • Sunday School teacher
  • play director – two a year
  • Bible Quiz coach
  • Regional Bible Quiz Moderator
  • Church Office Manager
  • Women’s Ministry Leader

Now, just writing these things makes me tired. But back then I was quite a go-getter. I always had several irons in the fire, so to speak. They say that those with fibromyalgia seem to be Type A personalities. I don’t know if it’s true but it is certainly true with me.

Grieving My Former Life

Grief can be very real for the one who loses everything they once loved. It’s a process and just like losing a loved one, there are seasons that are harder than others. For instance, after my husband and I left our full-time ministry, we grieved the hardest during the holidays. One thing we loved to do was create exciting services, especially at Easter. It’s probably still the hardest time to go to worship and only be a participant rather than the leaders. I wrote about this not long after Michael retired.

It Just Takes Time

The rawness of one’s loss can be very difficult to bear. Dealing with the “why’s” and the “how did this happen” and “what did I do to deserve this?” On top of that, we just missed those activities just as you would miss your loved one when they are gone.

One of the first things I did was start a blog. I came across a challenge to write every day for an entire month. So, I decided I would write about my journey with Chronic Pain. I wrote about the pain, the waiting, the doctors and more doctors. I dealt with the process of the Why’s and the How’s and the Now What’s?

This turned out to be very therapeutic. Not only have I been able to help people become more aware of my illness but it turns out that writing about the frustrations of chronic pain helps relieve the pain.

Plus, I have met a world of new friends, literally from around the world, an unimaginable support group full of love and understanding. They also became my greatest cheerleaders, encouraging me to keep writing. They shared new things they had learned and connected with me because of our similar issues. (I also found that I didn’t have much to complain about because there are many people who have much worse issues than I have.) Two of my favorite Facebook groups, Fibro Bloggers Directory and Medical Musings with Friends.

Lessons from Flat on Your Back

For the first few months, I was flat on my back, unable to even roll to my side without a great deal of pain. I had to drink my meals and have assistance doing all those normal life activities like using the restroom and taking a bath. Believe me, this was hard to take for this Type-A girl.

But while on my back I did a lot of reading and assessing my life. I found myself getting much closer to God, realizing that in some ways I had left Him completely out of my life. Instead of placing Him in full control. I spent a lot of time reading The Holy Bible. I set to reading it through in a year and ended up reading it three times in three versions.

My favorite book was suggested by a friend. I had heard of it but never read it, Now that my pain is managed well, I sometimes slip into grieving my former life. I begin to wonder, “If God is my Healer, Why Am I Still in Pain?“. I wrote about that recently.

But I know this new life is much better. Walking with Jesus step by step, day by day is wonderful. Having this pain is like having a reminder of WHO is in control. And it’s not me!

People will often quote Romans 8:28 claiming that God has a plan. And yes! He does have a plan. I don’t believe that God caused my disease, but He did allow it “for my good”. I may not see the reason why in this lifetime, but I will see it from heaven and rejoice. So I will do as Jesus did as he faced the cross.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author, and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Hebrews 12:2

God can take anything that happens and turn it into good. Are you trusting Him with your trial today? Whether it’s pain, or sickness, or loss He can turn your tears into rejoicing. He sees the whole picture and His plan is a good one! Trust me on that.

Mandy Farmer

P.S. I have created a verse of the day calendar for October. The scriptures are all about comfort. Download it for free by clicking on the image below.

October Calendar

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