Tomorrow I will be having my fifth surgery. The surgeon will be repairing my left shoulder, which, 2 weeks ago, dislocated (on its own) while I was asleep. Don’t make any conclusions yet, Sam didn’t have anything to do with it, he was at work. It’s been dislocating on and off for 7 years now. The first time it happened was while I was dribbling the ball back to home court in a basketball championship game in medical school. But this has got to be the worst episode. I woke up with sudden severe and shooting pain on my left shoulder, recognized right away that the ball was out of the socket, manipulated the joint on my own and reduced it effectively, after 3 failed and painful attempts. I know, it’s gruesome. I couldn’t feel my hands at one point. I was sobbing on my own, called Sam, and finally asked our friends to drive me to the Emergency Room at 1 am to get an X-ray done. So on top of my Rheumatoid arthritis flares and my endometriotic pelvic pains, I get to endure shooting pain coming from my left shoulder. I couldn’t help but laugh at myself this time. Believe me, I don’t laugh alone because my husband usually laughs at me first. So, because of all this physical pain that’s come my way, I’ve cooked up something that could, hopefully, help you deal with whatever physical pain you are in right now. The title should’ve then been “How to cope with physical pain the way I do.”
- Know that everything comes to pass. It will eventually come to an end. Look forward to that freedom from pain. It’s like looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel. Aside from the prayers that I cry out to God when I am in pain, I usually say, “This will end,” over and over again. And when it does end, learn to appreciate those pain-free days more and whisper a prayer of gratitude.
- Know that pain is your nervous system’s response to damage or injury to any body part. It’s like an alarm system. It tells us that something is wrong. And it leads us to take care of our body even more to avoid having to feel that same way again. Take heed and listen to your body. If it means having to change your diet and lifestyle, then by all means do. Not everything works though. Sometimes, some things make the pain even worse than when you even started doing, eating, or drinking it.
- Remember that what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger. When you are able to endure pain, you are stronger than most people in the world. My husband always tells me that I’m stronger than him, well, in terms of enduring pain, that is. But of course he’s my husband.
- Thank God for the pain. Remember when the Apostle Paul told the Thessalonians to give thanks in every circumstance? Well, that includes being in a painful situation. It reminds us that God is our ultimate Healer. It reminds us that His strength is sufficient. It allows us to look forward to that time and place where… “God will wipe every tear from our eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain…” (Revelation 21:4)
- Know that you are not alone. There are people around the world who are dealing or who have dealt with the same amount of pain that you are dealing with, some even worse. An epic example of this (one my husband always reminded me of) would be Job. ““And now my life ebbs away; days of suffering grip me. Night pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never rest.” (Job 30:16-17) Oh my, I could imagine what he went through. Yet he still praised God.
Believe me, dealing with physical pain has never been easy. And yes, for some people, it makes suicide a very viable option and an easy way out. But that would be a selfish thing to do. Really, if there is one thing that has kept me up all this time in spite of the amount of pain I have to go through everyday, it is knowing that God is still sovereign. And even for this kind of life He has afforded me, I know that He does have a purpose in mind. I may not understand it now, but He will let me know eventually, in His own time. And besides, this physical body is just temporary after all. Sometimes even I would forget that; I would wallow in my self pity, and just plunge into nothingness. And guess who always pulls me out and reminds me that God does listen to my cries? Sam, of course. I hope and pray that you wouldn’t have to go through what I’m going through. And if you do or if you already have, please let me know how you’ve coped with your pain. There is always comfort in sharing.