"Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? ps 42:5 a
I am so glad I have been canning when I am able. Several days this month, we have had to rely on jars from the pantry as I experience painful flares that just won’t let go. I have been fortunate that some afternoons, the pain eases up for a few hours and I am somewhat functional until bedtime. Then the cycle of pain begins again. This has been a really difficult year to date. Most of it has been spent agonizing and feeling crushed under the heel of this disease. Depression has been a frequent visitor and it gets more and more difficult to evict him from my heart and home.
I have always lived an isolated life. I was raised pretty much apart from my siblings as they were so much older, they were out of the house by the time I really needed them. At the same time, my folks divorced and my grandfather, to whom I was very close, moved to a “retirement village”. I never really knew any other life than being somewhat solitary. That has always been all right with me. I love my family and the few friends I have made. My days have nearly always been spent alone, working horses or down cleaning the barn until we moved here to the ranch. I finally had someone to ride with and loved what we were doing, moving cows, covering miles of scenic country everyday, learning the things I had always wanted to learn, but it didn’t last long before I lost the ability to do what I most loved and was once again, alone for most of my waking hours.
I contented myself with a milk cow, goats and sheep and learning new skills, looking forward to the days I'd be strong enough to ride. I committed myself to baking all of our breads and making all of our dairy products, growing most of our vegetables and canning produce and meals. The best and most important part of my day is spent with the animals, as I have never been an inside, ‘domestic’ person and even being a loner, I still need affection and companionship. All my life I have had a need to be outside, doing something. That isn’t possible anymore. I'm relegated to the house more and more. My greatest fear is the day I have to let go of all my animals because I can no longer care for, or interact with them.
I had a serious back injury in 1989 and after surgery, the recovery was long and grueling, but I knew I WOULD recover. I did recover. I fought through the pain and weakness, with sweat and tears and I broke and trained horses for another 15 years and produced some of my best work.
As these autoimmune issues began to manifest themselves, I lost more and more function. I vowed to make another comeback, I fought to get stronger, but mind over matter doesn’t always work out like we hope. Denial has passed and I accept I have a degenerative, incurable disease that is quickly progressing, doing permanent damage and ravaging my body. It’s painful as well as debilitating. I don’t have the incentive of knowing I can beat it, this time. I don’t have the hope that I will ever recover, because I won’t. Not on this side of heaven.
As the barometric pressure has jumped and bounced all this winter I have had the sensation of being beaten, again and again. It becomes very hard to ‘keep my chin up’, as they say.
As the pain and reality become overwhelming, I feel the absence of someone to talk to, someone who could listen, someone to touch. Someone to share the cries of my heart.
I appreciate all of you online who pray for me. It really does help, knowing there are people who stand in the gap.
I apologize as this is not what I consider an ‘edifying’ entry. Sometimes a person just has to pour out how they feel, even if it isn’t pretty.
For those who also suffer, know you are not alone.
For those who know someone suffering, I hope you can understand how much they need your support. Not your suggestions, or the latest ‘miracle cure’. They don't need to be told how they should change their diet, or exercise. We’re doing all we can just to survive. Don’t for one minute assume there isn’t something we haven't tried, or would be doing if we were able. I’ve heard of people being told by friends and family they should stop taking the radical medications prescribed for us, because they are dangerous and don’t seem to do much good. Please understand that the only hope we have in taking these medications is to try and slow down the destruction and hopefully prolong our lives. None of them will cure us. Not taking them will almost surely shorten our life as so many of these diseases, such as this one, attack soft tissue, and organs as well as joints. Sometimes a shortened life seems like a better option, if it wasn’t so much more painful without the medications. Chronic pain is chronic. It's invisible and some days it doesn't wield the power that it can, but it is always ready to rear up and strike us down again. In my experience, every episode is more intensely painful than the last.
Encourage your person. Be there to let them cry. Listen. Love them. Help them. That is all you can do.
Help them hang on until the shadow passes.
"Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of his countenance." ps 42:5 b