Illness. Whether it affects directly or someone we care about it seems anymore that in one way or another everyone has one. They all differ. Some can be treated and cured; others, painful, struggling with no end in sight. Some you can see. Many you cannot. I mean not really. It can be a challenge to explain to others the kind of medical situation you have when the symptoms are not always visible to an outsider’s eye. Even medical professionals sometimes don’t see what we are talking about. Here is my own personal struggle.
About 2 ½ years ago after the birth of my son I started to have many medical issues. Not, that I wasn’t used to this already I have not had the best track record for being anything but having medical issues. Thyroid, Fibromyalgia, back issues, gallbladder; the list can go on and on. For, me though managing these other issues had become a regular routine for me. So when I started to have loss of feeling in my left limbs, and visual disturbances where I couldn’t see anything I was scared. I mean really scared. I remember the first time my symptoms started I was nursing my beautiful new baby boy, while my other three children played and my husband was at work. I felt like my whole body went numb. I couldn’t lift my arms I couldn’t even cry out for help because I was so scared I would wake the baby and he would roll off of my lap and I wouldn’t be able to catch him. I felt trapped in my own body. I prayed and prayed hard that God would not let my son wake and that he please just help me. After about 30 minutes I started to regain feeling in my extremities. Thank you Lord! Is all I can remember thinking!
I continued to live this way, with more and more symptoms popping up. Speech issues. (My oldest daughter; then 8 years old,) noticed that sometimes things I would say would come out all garbled. She would say to me, “mom, its okay I know what you meant.” But, it never sounded wrong to me. I started to struggle with everyday tasks. I hated this illness. Not, knowing what it was, being tested by doctors and them not knowing what it was, going to the ER and them treating me like a drug addict when none of the medication worked; or, giving me medication that made everything worse and even more terrifying. It hurts the most, when you watch the people you love around you not know what to do and they seem just as scared as you are. They too feel alone. It is hard to comfort someone, even your own loved one when at the same time you are looking to be comforted yourself.
“Why am I sharing all this?” You ask. Well, I live day to day with an illness that many doctors don’t even know about nor how to treat. Some days are better than others. Many are filled with tears, thoughts of “why me?” I ask God this question very often it seems. I mean I have lived through a lot in my short time here on earth. My husband having cancer, losing a baby, being homeless, having family that is blood that I would think would show support but instead like to see me tore down, to name a few. Sometimes, it feels like I have no fight left, or my physical abilities make me feel less of person because of all the things I used to be able to do without help. Everyday things. Sometimes, no one notices that I am having an “attack” as I like to call them. Because the illness I have is a subgroup of migraines. You’re probably thinking wait, all of this for a bad headache? No, actually the kind I have cause mini strokes. I have no control over when the attacks come, how fierce they are or how long the aftermath will be before I start to feel what my new normal is. Which let me tell you isn’t even close to being normal or the old me.
Those days, are the hardest, when I try so desperately to hide the symptoms from my children and husband. I don’t want them to see me this way. I don’t want to scare them. I don’t want them to worry. Those days when I need help and I can’t hide what is going on, when I ask for help but then people just look at me but don’t see that I am screaming on the inside, the pain I feel then the emotional pain is sometimes worse than all the physical. Hemiplegic Migraines they call them or HM. There are only a handful of specialists in the country that know what they are and how to help treat it. Of course none of which live where I do.
So, those days when I feel alone, broken, destroyed, lost, hopeless, scared and in pain I have to do the hardest thing I know how. I have to remind myself, I am not alone, God is with me, I am not broken, God will put my pieces back together, I am not destroyed, the enemy wants me to think that but my God holds me tight, I am not lost, my God has found me even in the darkest of places, I am not hopeless because my God gives me hope, and that pain I feel I have to give everything and all of it to my God. He knows how I feel and I know that he has got this. He will never leave me. He is my strength when I have none and my light in the dark. Sometimes it is harder to give him all my brokenness. I want to try and fix it myself. That is just the kind of person I am. But, I have to remember that he doesn’t want me to have to do it myself that is why he is there.
So, to anyone that has an illness like mine or you know someone that has an illness that doesn’t always show its face. Like I said there are good and really bad days. Let them know you are there, listen, encourage them, love them. Show them that between you and God everything is going to be okay. Life was not meant to be perfect. God never promised that. He does however never give you anything you can’t handle. Try and stay positive for yourself or your loved one. Sometimes, the pain that is inside is worse than the symptoms that you can see. Build awareness, help fight back against the enemy.
“Remember God has a purpose for your pain, a reason for your struggle and a gift for your faithfulness. Never Give UP!”