November 20, 2013 by greenhouse04
Pain. Something I’m getting familiar with.
There were weeks of pain after my surgery, to be expected when the muscles and organs of the upper abdomen are cut. But that slowly improved, to the point that I felt I could do all I did before the surgery.
So, one weekend I did. I was busy… and the pain returned.
But it was different pain – very localized, worse upon movement. I was worried about a hernia or something. I finally called the surgeon’s nurse, and she told me it was most likely inflexible scar tissue that tore off of a muscle or organ. She said pain from this cause is very common after a surgery of my type because the scar tissue is not yet soft and flexible, and every-day movements can tear it.
So, after a ibuprofen regimen, the pain went away! I felt wonderful. I even began to think with amazement at how my neck hadn’t developed pain since my surgery.
But, those thoughts were premature. The very next morning bad pain in my neck woke me up. For the next few days I worked on loosening the tendons and muscles, was careful how I slept, and had trouble moving freely.
Then, I cut off the tip of my finger with our new bread knife. (It hurts right now as I type this post.)
Then, I burned two fingers on the oven’s heating coil.
And, two days ago I again tore scar tissue. At least, that’s what the nurse and I think happened. I have been suffering very localized extreme tenderness near my incision scar, along with general achy-ness and weakness. I’m also often short of breath, which makes me wonder if my diaphragm was affected. Which would make sense, as the pain started right after practicing for the church Christmas cantata for over an hour and singing as strongly as I could.
So, I’m popping the ibuprofen and using hot pads again and hoping that in a week it’ll be better…
The nurse told me that even when it does get better, it’ll likely happen again… and again… and again… for the first year after my surgery. (Which will be for another 9 months.)
It’s hard to live with pain. It’s hard to get better only to suffer another set-back. It’s hard to move around, taking care of kids and a house, when certain movements bring sharp pain and you’re constantly worried, weak, short of breath…
But, I find that when I’m in pain I tend to take it slower. I do things more deliberately and more thoughtfully. I live in the moment more – I have to be aware of what I’m doing or I may experience more pain! But I’m also reminded of how fragile I am, how transient this life is, so I want to live in the moment more. Right now I may have pain in my abdomen and finger, but I’m also sitting in a warm house, watching my precious children play with bubble wrap, listening to the washing machine and dryer wash and dry my clothes. I’m warm, fed, clean. I can see, hear, feel.
And best of all, my God supplies all my needs. All my needs and desires have been granted in what He ordained. He does supply the strength, grace, patience, wisdom… even the joy, peace and love that is needed for the moment. And not only that, He gives me knowledge of my future. I may not know how life on this earth will progress or when it will end, but I know where I’ll go afterwards. And I know that once I’m there, the trials of this life will seem like nothing compared to the absolute joy I’ll be experiencing.
That’s why, while I can’t say “bring on the pain!”, at least I know there’s a purpose in it. That’s more than most people can say.
Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10