by Richard Mansel, managing editor
May 10, 2010 was one of the scariest days of my life. I was in the office writing. I stood up to go somewhere and realized I could not walk. I stumbled home to lie on the bed, scared and hurting. Soon it spread to my arms and hands.
Several doctor’s appointments and tests followed. I eventually went to the Mayo Clinic and spent five weeks at a Pain Rehabilitation Center. I was eventually diagnosed with Fibromyalgia.
At the Pain Rehabilitation Center, I learned to walk again and use my arms and hands better. I still have pain, serious fatigue and problems walking and using my arms and hands.
Thankfully, my condition is not debilitating. I simply have limitations and must pattern my new life around them. I write this today to encourage and teach. Chronic pain and disabilities strike millions and working through them is very challenging. I also want to help others who are struggling.
First, God never leaves us nor forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). God reigns supreme and can help us through anything (Romans 12:1-2).
Faith is our sustainer through difficult times. God offers a peace that transcends anything we will face (Philippians 4:7). Because of Christ, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13, NKJV).
We must remember that our disabilities do not change the nature of God. He is still good and loves us more than we realize. However, disease and disabilities exist in our world.
Second, God’s people are the best in the world. They have prayed for me and been there for me whenever I needed them. I appreciate my physical and spiritual family very much.
Third, a neurological disease gives me a greater understanding of Satan. At any moment, it can attack. It becomes like a stalker, waiting to pounce at any moment and steal my joy. It has no concern for my life or responsibilities (Job 1-2). The endgame is all that matters (1 Peter 5:8).
For those who suffer from chronic pain or neurological diseases, here are some pointers.
- We must develop realistic expectations in our new reality. We may not be physically capable of doing the things we once did. Be wise and do not overexert yourself. What happens is that we feel good one day, and we do too much and then we are miserable the next day. Be careful not to fall into that trap.
- Flashes of anger, frustration and guilt are normal to chronic pain sufferers. When you lose mobility and a measure of control over your life, you must grieve and emotions will escalate. However, we must rein them in, so they do not take over. I have seen people who have lost that battle and it is ugly.
- Be aware that some people have no empathy towards our disabilities. They think of everything in terms of themselves. They may think we are weak or lazy. Pray for them that they may grow and get out of themselves.
- Never settle for the status quo. Do not allow the disability to control your dreams and happiness. Live your life and be happy! Be joyous and victorious! It is YOUR life and you can live it!