When it hurts and you’re a little thankful.


20120814_1040156816881491650270508.jpgThere are many aspects of Lupus that I hate. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help it. I do. It’s exhausting, painful, and incredibly rude in its unpredictability. I honestly never know how I’m going to feel on any given day (or really any given minute), and I can’t even begin to express how incredibly frustrating this can be.

Some days I feel almost normal – I love these days. Other days I know I’m sliding downhill towards a flare – I can absolutely feel it clawing at me, pulling me down. Then there are those nights that I climb into bed feeling absolutely fine, only to awaken a few hours later with unbearable migraines, weakness, nausea, and joint pains. Just like a vicious sucker punch from completely out of nowhere.

And then … as if this isn’t enough … I still can’t even predict how my body will handle these assaults.

Somedays I can pull myself up by my bootstraps and just muscle through – without anyone even knowing how terrible I feel. Days like these, I can go to work and turn my focus towards my patients and, for a few hours, I can almost forget about it. At least until I go home and collapse into bed.

Other days, there is just no graceful way to function. Those days I have to just check out of life, curl up under a blanket and sleep it all away. Those days are totally and completely lost to Lupus. And I have no choice. It doesn’t matter if I have plans. Honestly, it doesn’t matter if I have anything. It just happens regardless.

Can you see the rudeness here?

As a nurse, I see people who are very, very ill – much worse off than I am. Many have no days where they feel normal.  There is no covering up that they’re sick, no muscling through anything. They have absolutely no hope for improving, and they live my worst days as their perpetual, never-ending reality.

This is not easy to see – all the pain, the fear, the hopelessness that every shift holds. But there it is, lying right in front of me. And, as their nurse, I’m the one who’s supposed to be able to do something to help them.

This is where I become almost thankful for the discomfort of my bad days. They give me a very tiny peek into the lives that my patients lead.

I understand a life suddenly changed. I understand being forced into a new, unwelcomed normal. I understand the frustration of really, really liking your old normal. I understand the restlessness of having choices stripped away from you. I understand experiencing pain that’s difficult to describe. I understand feeling like no one truly gets “it”. And I sure understand those days when you’re just too bone-wearied to care.

But I also understand you can’t let yourself stay in that exhausting place. There is no peace there. I understand the need to find the beauty in your circumstances. No matter what those circumstances may be. Seek out the beauty. And, most importantly, I understand where that peace and beauty actually come from.

They come from learning to walk in faith. And faith is not given, my friends, it’s grown. Through each and every painful step through your own personal muck.

And, unfortunately, this learning to walk in faith only comes through having the rug ripped right out from underneath you in the first place. Smacking you right down onto your bottom. Hard. Or into a hospital bed. Flat on your back.

It doesn’t matter.

God will get your attention however He needs to. He’s creative that way. He knows that many of us are way too knuckle-headed to believe we need Him until He shows us just how desperately we actually do. God knows this. He knows us.

So God gives me this. By allowing the rough days into my life – and comforting me through every one of them – He’s cultivated in me a sense of hope and peace that neither pain nor circumstances can even begin to touch.

And though I may outwardly falter more often than I care to admit, my heart knows the truth. I have much to be thankful for. Even the pain of Lupus. Not only has it strengthened my faith and opened my eyes, those most painful days ultimately help me to help them. Praise be.

Thanks for growing with me. ❤

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)


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