My Journey With Chronic Pain
Sharing my health journey.
When I saw Sheryl Chan’s October 2022 Writing Prompts, I just loved the idea. I thought it was creative, and a good way to build community. Chan is a blogger who has chronic illnesses and autoimmune disorders. Her October 2022 Writing Prompts are for anyone who has a chronic illness, mental disorder, or disability. This year I’ve been on quite a health journey, so seeing these writing prompts couldn’t have come at a better time. As I share my story with you, keep these words in mind: Disabling. Committing. Reinventing.
I’ve seen many people share their experience with chronic illness on Instagram, but I never saw myself as having a chronic condition until this year, when my doctor told me that my knee condition was chronic and there wasn’t much that could be done. I had already been dealing with knee pain for years, but when my doctor said that, I was shocked. Will this truly never get better? I thought.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Chronic diseases are defined broadly as conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both.”
Aside from my knee pain I also have primary dysmenorrhea and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which can often impact my day-to-day living (my work, social engagements, and routines).
Over the years I’ve learned that good health is not guaranteed. I used to love running. I never thought that it would be taken away from me. My period started off “normal”. I never thought that every month would eventually bring me pain. Even with the help of birth control (which I am so thankful for), I still have to manage my condition.
I’ve experienced bitterness as I navigated through having health problems at a young age. I’ve cried out to God and asked why He would allow this to happen to me. I’ve tried praying harder and having faith that the Lord would heal me. But while I 100% believe that He could heal me, He didn’t. He chose to give me something else.
My ongoing health conditions are disabling. They do limit my activities. Sometimes they do put me out of action. I don’t have control over if my period pain keeps me stuck in bed. I don’t have control over my PMS symptoms. And as much as I want to, I can’t make my knee pain go away.
Here’s what I can do. I can choose my response. When my chronic pain becomes disabling, I have a choice to make. I choose to commit to the following:
To be patient with myself and my body
To take care of my health as best as I can
To trust God no matter what
To guard my mental health and be mindful of my thoughts when experiencing pain and frustration
To not let this moment, this week, this year, discourage me
These commitments are not easy. There are many times when I falter, when I am not patient, when I don’t see the point of exercising or eating the right foods. There are times when I don’t trust God, and when I do feel discouraged. When that happens, the Lord always reminds me to take a deep breath, rest, and remember what is most important. For me, everything revolves around Him. He is where I get my hope. He is the reason I can endure the constant health challenges that come my way.
As weird as it sounds, I’m grateful that the Lord has allowed me to go through these awful health issues. He’s reinventing me. He’s turning me into someone that is more content with what I do have, more thankful for the growth that happens through my trials, and more understanding of my own body. The biggest way I see Him reinventing me is through a significant decrease in my anxiety. I have peace in spite of everything.
Because of my conditions, I am where I am today - running a business for people like me. People who woke up one day and had to adapt to the changes in their body, the recurring pain from their menstrual cycle, and even the development of new symptoms as they got older. I know that because the Lord has allowed me to go through all of this, I can be more understanding of those who deal with chronic illnesses, even if it’s not an illness that I have.
Disabling. Committing. Reinventing. It’s a process, and my response to the process matters. There are days when I cry out, “Why am I going through this God?” and there are days when I have a peace that doesn’t make sense. I just have to take it one day at a time, and I encourage you to do the same.
What has your journey been with chronic illness? Share your thoughts about this blog on Twitter (tag @AmbersCare_) or Instagram (tag @amberscare). Check out Sheryl Chan's October 2022 Writing Prompt if you want to take part in her linkup!
Disclaimer: Amber’s Care should not replace medical advice. If you have questions about the following statements, please consult a doctor.
I am not affiliated, partnering with, or sponsored by Sheryl Chan ("A Chronic Voice"). I am just participating in the linkup.