I was supposed to go to the dentist for a cleaning this morning, but had to cancel because I’m getting a migraine. I felt pretty good (you know – pretty good for having a headache all the time) when I got up and showered, but within an hour and a half, I felt the migraine coming on.
This is my life. I’m getting used to it, although I can’t really say that I like this part of it. One of the hardest things about chronic pain is that others really can’t understand it. I tried very hard to be sympathetic to my chronic pain patients when I was working, but I wasn’t really able to understand it. They were walking a completely different path than I was. Now, I am walking that path.
Stacy From Louisville had a great post this week about her struggles with chronic pain. I can very much relate to her experiences. Many of us with pain issues don’t look sick on the outside. It’s hard to explain why I can’t get my teeth cleaned today (lying in the dentist chair for 30 minutes would be agony) or why I only make it to church services about half the time.
I wish I could help people understand how hard it is to think straight when my head really hurts. I want to tell them that I’m really not a total wimp. But, perhaps that’s part of what I need to learn. It doesn’t matter what people think. For one thing, no one has ever criticized me for my pain issues, so the problem of perception is completely mine. Second, even if they are thinking that I’m a weakling, it really doesn’t matter.
I’ve learned a lot from my pain. Mostly, I’ve learned that God’s plans are bigger than mine. My kids are thrilled that I’m home all the time, even if I don’t feel very well. I’m truly enjoying homeschooling, even if I can’t be as compulsive as I would have liked (and we’re probably all better off for it!).
Several months ago, Mr. Math Tutor and I were able to share some of our story with our congregation at church (if you listen to this, the interview starts after about five minutes – the whole thing is about 30 minutes). What a blessing that was. We taped my portion because I was likely to have a migraine that Sunday – and, indeed, I did. Afterwards, I had several people come tell me that they dealt with some of the same issues and that they were thrilled to realize they weren’t alone.
Somehow, in the middle of all of this, God has a bigger plan. The biggest plan, though, is that He has saved us through the death and resurrection of Jesus. This Lent season (yes, I know I’m Protestant, but just go with me here), I want to truly focus on the Gospel and what Jesus has done for me. My pain issues pale in comparison to the magnificence of the Gospel.