I've always been brutally honest in my writing, and many have commented on how I've kept things "real" through this whole crazy journey. However, I definitely would choose to write about difficulties after they have passed. I feel more comfortable being honest about something hard after it's over. When life is really hard I tend to hibernate: avoid people, stay at home as much as possible, and definitely don't let people see me struggling. However, the past 2 weeks have been hard, and I've found myself in the situation where I have to be real with lots of people. It's been good for me to be honest in the moment and let people see that I am suffering. First let me explain the struggles I'm having: I have had a lot of pain in my lower back, which means I've been taking a lot more pain medication. Which leads to a bloated tummy that makes me look like I'm 4-6 months pregnant. I've also started having swelling in my legs. We're not sure why the lower back pain for sure. We have a few guesses, one being that I've lost all muscle in that area and need to build it up again. Everything (muscles, tendons, ligaments etc.) is so tight that it's really painful to move. I try to take short 10 minute walks throughout my day, but lay in pain once I'm home. I try to stretch, but again need to take pain meds after and lie still for half an hour for the pain to pass. This is a huge concern for us right now. My physios (including Darryl) are somewhat baffled by this pain, which doesn't seem to be lessening. Another issue that has come up is my lymph system can no longer keep up with my lack of lymph nodes. So I have lots of swelling in my legs as well as my abdomen (again contributing to my pregnant look)....my lymph is draining is these areas but not leaving my body. So just in time for the heat, I get to start wearing compression leggings. So all of this has lead to a fairly miserable state of mind for me over the past few weeks; many days of feeling sorry for myself and completely frustrated with my current life. It would definitely be a time of choosing solitude most often; however, I've been put in situations where I had to face people. I've learned that most people are completely ok with me being in a sad state. For example, I went to my friend's green house to get plants for my deck pots. The owner (a good friend of mine) graciously offered to help me fill my pots with soil and plants! While I was there, 2 other friends showed up. I had no place to hide and honestly felt so miserable that day, I had no choice but to be honest about how I was feeling. I was in pain, and couldn't hide it. A few days later, my Voyageur staff colleagues came by with delicious food to spend a few hours with me. Again I was having a hard day with lots of pain. Part of me wanted to cancel, but I missed them and wanted to see them. So they came, and I lay on the couch and was honest with them about how I felt. When everyone left, I felt better than before they came and realized the distraction for a few hours had been good for me. I think most of us prefer to look like we have it all together. We like to appear well (and healthy). But the reality is most of the time, we all have something messed up in our lives. We tend to keep our messes hidden, unless we can't. I don't have the option of hiding my suffering, but being real isn't so bad. In fact, it allows people to care and show their concern. My challenge to each of you is to be real. Let people in your life know what your life is really like. Let people close to you know when something in your life is hard, or causing fear, or hurting your heart. Most people will not like you less; they want to help. I have learned that there is healing in letting others in to the secret parts of your lives.
If you pray for me.....please pray for wisdom about my back and relief from all the pain, so I can get mobile again. Pray for strength and endurance. Living 24 hours a day with pain for this many months is so exhausting. I have been reminded this week that suffering creates perseverance. I struggle to be ok with where I am because I want to be feeling better, but I can't change it. I'm trying to find contentment even in my state of suffering, which is so hard. But even when I'm suffering I have lots to be thankful for. I know God is allowing me to be here right now, but oh how I pray for relief to come soon.