12 months ago

Pain: Do you give it work to do?

This isn’t a fun post. Sorry.
I’ve considered the usefulness of writing about this, and have been certain I’d never mention it. But it’s nagged me for a while and the reasons I’ve gleaned FOR writing, in my opinion, outweigh that keeping-personal-things-personal.

I’m not in the best of health.

The maddening thing about it is that no one knows what’s wrong with me.
I’ve had chronic pain since the 8th grade (and you’d never know it; I was an all-star athlete) but ever so slowly, new areas of pain have cropped up over the years. Last October was the first time I was in so much pain that I could barely walk.
I leaned on my grocery cart for support while limping through the store, and held onto furniture as I fumbled around the house tending to my four little boys.

Since October, different areas of pain have bounced around my body rendering me completely useless in the area of housekeeping. Although it’s never been my strong suit, one might now imagine how the laundry situation looks with 4 children in my wake.  My husband has shouldered much of the tidying on the weekends. My mom comes once a week to help/give me a break.

I’m currently in limbo as a I wait to be seen in June by a rheumatologist who will do more blood testing, but so far, the only thing I’ve heard mention is Gout. WHAT 31 year old has arthritis??
Personally, Dr. Google and I have narrowed it down to a few other suspects: Fibromyalgia, Endometriosis, and Systemic yeast overgrowth (which actually is closely linked to the latter two, as well as gout and other arthritic conditions.)

My family thinks its just in my foot. But it’s all over. I’ve been seeing foot specialists because the medical system can’t handle more than one area of pain at a time and they make you schedule different appointments with different doctors based off of which part of your body is giving you a problem, and they don’t seem to enjoy connecting how the body is more of a whole than a bunch of separate parts. but whatever. I’m bitter, and I’m not a body part specialist.
And who knows, maybe there’s nothing wrong and my body is swelling in different places and I’m hobbling around because it’s all in my head and I’m crazy. And if you make it to the end of this post, I’m pretty sure that will be your conclusion too. Post over! Bye.

Okay, so there’s that information about me. I really didn’t want to share it. Why didn’t the blogger want to overshare? (That sounds like the beginning of a social media joke.)
Because this is what I fear spectators will say:

It’s from having all those kids so close together!”

Maybe. Maybe it is. Maybe I’m breaking under the yoke of 4 little boys.

Diagnosis: TOO MANY KIDS.

Okay, who would you have me return in exchange for the ability to run a 5k (because obviously the choice is clear: Have too many kids or run marathons.)?
Second, I only have 4 kids. Not 8. Four children is not a big deal at all. Four! It’s a laugh.  The spacing between them is 2 years on average. 

But likely?  I knew this was coming.

I believe what I am experiencing is a mix of genetics, environmental toxicity, and not being more self-aware.

If I’d seen a doctor and had my vitamin/mineral levels checked for deficiencies, had my blood tested properly for thyroid issues when I was in eighth grade and falling asleep in class unnaturally exhausted, and suffering chronic neck pain, perhaps I would not be where I am today.

If I had cut out gluten the day it occurred to me that perhaps it’s what makes me feel like I’ve been hit by a truck when I wake up, perhaps I’d not be counting down the hours until I can take my next round of Advil.

But I didn’t know any of that. I didn’t know.

Okay, so let’s get over the possible cause of my problems and move on to a deeper level:

the topic of pain.

Every specialist I’ve ever seen asks me the same question:
On a scale of 1-10 what is your level of pain?

My answer is always, “… not giving birth?”
Because on a scale of 1-10, 1Billion would be giving birth, and anything under that is, in my opinion, paper cuts.

But then those paper cuts are constant, and by the hundreds, and they interfere with your ability to think, to function, do normal things that you’d never thought twice about; like bending down to change a baby’s diaper, like dropping something and picking it up, like making a quick errand, like getting out of bed in the morning. I just spent two weeks waking up, afraid to move from the pain that would follow, and having to lay there and stretch for up to 45 minutes BEFORE I COULD EVEN SIT UP.

So yeah, no, this pain is not that shocking equivalent to losing a limb or giving birth, but more like someone taking a hacksaw to your leg, your toe, your foot, your back, your neck, and giving it a good tug every few minutes, every single day, every single night. Sometimes, that hacksaw is merely the sheets gently brushing an area of skin.
I don’t want prescription pain medication. Forgive me a little conceit when I say I’m smart enough to know that pain medication isn’t fixing my problem.

“yeah, but it helps you get through the day until you do.” I have been told countlessly. Okay, but more important to me is that I fear addiction. I have personally witnessed addiction to simple pain meds, and I have seen what it does to family. I won’t be counted among that.

Here we are!  Here’s the whole point of this post:

Don’t waste your pain. 

We live in a time where people believe that needlessly suffering is unthinkable. People need to be in comfort at all times.
I feel that if people in pain knew that they could use their pain as a weapon, as a way to bring others to Christ, they’d opt for it more.

[Here’s where you can scroll down to the bottom to read the “Too Long Didn’t Read Version”]

Uh…yikes, Carolyn. That’s a little, um. masochistic.
I know how it sounds at first. I do. It sounds like I’ve lost my marbles.
But I’m not the first person to think about pain like this. In fact, while looking up writings from the Bible and the saints about human suffering, I landed right in the lap of my patron saint: John Paul The Great.
Of course, you funny guy. OF COURSE YOU WROTE EXTENSIVELY ABOUT THIS and of course I’m reading it right now when I need to.

1984, the year I was born, St. Pope John Paul II wrote a 16k+ word apostolic letter titled:
Salvifici DolorisON THE CHRISTIAN MEANING OF HUMAN SUFFERING.

St. JPII used the Bible as the main foundation for his letter, and expanded his thinking, which of course perfectly aligns with Catholic teaching.
Basically, JPII says it’s natural to look to God and say “WHY!? Why me? Why that person? WHY SUFFERING AT ALL?”
JPII blasts away the stereotypical outsider opinion that Christians believe they suffer because they have sinned. “It is not true that all suffering is a consequence of a fault and has the nature of a punishment. […] but first and foremost [because] it creates the possibility of rebuilding the goodness in the subject who suffers. […] Its (Suffering) purpose is also to strengthen goodness both in man himself and in his relationships with others and especially with God.”

JPII acknowledges that the “why” for suffering is a mystery, BUT! Lucky us, (and poor Job) it is because of Christ that we can grasp the meaning of it:

In order to discover the profound meaning of suffering, following the revealed word of God, we must open ourselves wide to the human subject in his manifold potentiality. We must above all accept the light of Revelation not only insofar as it expresses the transcendent order of justice but also insofar as it illuminates this order with Love, as the definitive source of everything that exists. Love is: also the fullest source of the answer to the question of the meaning of suffering. This answer has been given by God to man in the Cross of Jesus Christ.

If you didn’t get that (I had to read it 3 times over), basically, it means: The answer to suffering is in love.  We’re talking the love that caused God to send his only begotten Son into the world, knowing that by His holy and innocent son’s suffering and dying on the Cross, silly, not-so-innocent people like me will be able to see His awesome face when the time comes.

PJII explains further:

As a result of Christ’s salvific work [suffering and dying on the Cross], man exists on earth with the hope of eternal life and holiness. And even though the victory over sin and death achieved by Christ in his Cross and Resurrection does not abolish temporal suffering from human life, nor free from suffering the whole historical dimension of human existence, it nevertheless throws a new light upon this dimension and upon every suffering: the light of salvation. This is the light of the Gospel, that is, of the Good News. At the heart of this light is the truth expounded in the conversation with Nicodemus: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son”(31). This truth radically changes the picture of man’s history and his earthly situation: in spite of the sin that took root in this history both as an original inheritance and as the “sin of the world” and as the sum of personal sins, God the Father has loved the only-begotten Son, that is, he loves him in a lasting way; and then in time, precisely through this all-surpassing love, he “gives” this Son, that he may strike at the very roots of human evil and thus draw close in a salvific way to the whole world of suffering in which man shares.

Christ died on the Cross in order to open the gates of Heaven, not to end human suffering on earth. As every single human being on earth has been created in the image and likeness of God, we are made to follow Christ to Calvary, and to suffer with Him. And if we think of God and His existence not in our 2D dimension of time by saying “Well Christ DIED and the work is done now,” we have to open our perception. Yes, Christ is the ascended Son of God, but we still have work to do. Jesus made that very clear to his apostles in the days leading up to his crucifixion and in the 40 days afterward before He joined our Father in heaven.

Now that kind of thinking is crazy talk to lots of people who think Jesus died to save the world from temporal suffering and they just get to kick back and live the good life and raise their hands to the sky every Sunday to the sound of drums.

But what I’m talking about –what JPII, what the saints, and the entire point of Jesus Christ’s story in history are talking about– is the only thing that makes sense!

BECAUSE HERE I AM IN MY PAIN and THERE YOU ARE WITH YOUR PAIN! On earth, after Christ saved us.

Okay. So there is actually a reason for pain: to draw us and the whole world closer to Christ.
Next question: What are we doing with this pain?
Have you given your pain a purpose?

Here are a few examples of how I’ve given my suffering a job (and it doesn’t have to be only physical pain!):

I offered the pain I experienced during each of my childbirths up to God, for the salvation of separate, specific people. These people do not know who they are, nor will they ever.
In October, I offered what I expected to be a passing nuisance up to God for someone else. I guess I’m still offering this pain for that person.

What kind of God warrants that people allow themselves to be in pain so that others may gain Heaven?
Well… The kind of God who sent His only begotten Son to the world to suffer and die on a cross so that the gates of Heaven would open. But also, God doesn’t “warrant” so much as He gives us a choice -our own free will- do to what we will with our circumstances.

I believe that, in pain, we can encounter Christ in an intimate and personal way as he was scourged, as He hung on the cross. I believe that we can desire to live in Christ, yes, in his glory in heaven, but also in his suffering on earth. I believe in our moments of pain, suffering, loss, we can hear his slow breath in his very last moments, we can share some sense of his own suffering.  I believe that Christ particularly hears the cries of those in pain. I believe that at the most intense times of suffering in our life, we have the ability to be closest to Christ crucified; and as a Christian striving to live like Christ, why not whisper “Father bless that person. Father forgive that person.” along with “through your own wounds, heal my body. I trust in you.”

Too Long Didn’t Read Version:

No, don’t go cutting yourself because it’ll get you or someone else to heaven. Point totally missed. If you know your Bible, you’ll know “your body is a temple..” But ironically, because your body is a temple of God, when suffering -in any form- falls upon you, offer it up to Christ Crucified while also praying for your own healing, because “I have the strength for everything through him who empowers me.k” and my personal favorite: “In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.”

I’m working to improve my health, to figure out what’s wrong. But in the meantime, it seems I have some work to do. I’m not taking prescription painkillers in attempts to obliterate every wince of pain, but I am taking supplements, I’ve altered my diet, and I’m going through Advil like they’re breath mints. Yes, I’m short on patience with my boys, yes I complain ALL THE TIME. I’m a flawed human being trying imperfectly to live like Christ.

I’m letting my pain be my prayer.

 

29 comments

  1. I am sorry that you are going through this, praying for you. I had a friend suffer through rheumatic heart disease from childhood with similar symptoms maybe it is something you can ask your rheumatologist to check

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  2. There is a relatively new specialty on medicine called Functional Medicine. It uses a systems approach and looks at everything in a patients life, not just the symptoms, and sees the patient as a partner. Just google Functional Medicine Physician in your area.
    Hope this helps.

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  3. Hmm our bodies are funny things. I had terrible back pain, like charlie horses in my spine, until my sister (who is a doctor) no joke told me to walk with my butt sticking out more because my spine wasn’t aligning properly. I haven’t had a back cramp in two years and I was even pregnant during that time!

    it’s so important to find a good doctor that you feel like you can trust and that will listen to you. I asked my sister about you and she said based on the age of what your pain started she would be suspicious of a hormonal cause to to your pain. I know my lady hormones cause hidden varicose veins in my legs and all around my uterus to painfully swell during ovulation and my period which is soooo wonderful.
    Either way I’d definitely suggest finding a female doctor who will be more understanding towards what your body has gone through and can look at your body more holistically. My sister suggested journalling your pain which will really help to pinpoint causes or patterns to your pain and to be sure to include your mood before, during, and after episodes (I guess sometimes depression and anxiety are solely manifested as physical pain).

    I’m so sorry you have to go through this ?. Best of luck!

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  4. Please forgive me because I know you don’t want medical advice. Each of the possible causes you listed are all symptoms of Lyme Disease. And I get the suffering and the not knowing and the trusting in God and feeling like I don’t trust in God when I discuss/complain about my pain with someone else but I can honestly say the pain has brought me closer to God, deepened my faith, and made me more aware of the fact that just because you can’t see someone one’s pain it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Sorry for the rambling.

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  5. I know how you feel. I went through a terrible pregnancy full of serious health issues, pain to the point where I could not move or touch things. I couldn’t take care of my kids…it’s so hard. And everyone said “It’s because you have three kids and your body is spent”. Thank you for reminding us to offer our pain and use it for another’s good!

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  6. Chrissy Bravo-Cullen May 20, 2016, 9:14 pm

    I would feel your pain, except I’m a tad whelmed by my own. ;-) I also started symptoms at around age 13. I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 30 … the week of my birthday in fact. It was the answer to many tearful prayers for “a name, just a NAME.” Environmental Illness/Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. The list of symptoms I submitted to my doctor was a full page, single spaced.

    My Clinical Ecologist (specialist in Environmental Medicine) said that, based on my medical history, I had been disabled from the time I was 20, which I gotta say, made me feel like a SUPERHERO. Despite losing half my sophomore year to illness, I completed my Bachelor’s degree on time and with a B+ average, then worked for two years, then did a year of a Master’s program, before ill health forced me to drop out of school for what I thought would be a short break. Meh.

    I turned 62 earlier this month, so 32 years exactly since I got some kind of effective treatment plan going. I was married and had 2 girls by the time I was diagnosed. The girls and the hubby were quickly diagnosed with their own food and inhalant sensitivities, which made parenting more challenging, but kept me from feeling isolated, at least within my nuclear family. Our extended families on both sides were less than supportive, but it was 32 years ago. Lots has changed since more and more people have learned what it is to be sick and in pain with no surgery or pill to fix it.

    I had another daughter … God’s idea, not mine! In addition to my problems, we also had rH disease to contend with. God gave us a miracle. Even the doc said so! But it took me about five years after the pregnancy to get back to where I was when I conceived. And I wasn’t able to care for my kids again. They were either in day care, school, or I had a babysitter or husband or girlfriend with me.

    In the past 18 months, I’ve made two discoveries that have really helped me a LOT with my physical symptoms, so I want to pass them on.

    One is fermenting. The prevailing wisdom when I was diagnosed was that there was no way to stop an overactive immune system. Now they know better. I’ve been recording my experiences with fermenting @ https://www.facebook.com/christine.bravomom/media_set?set=a.434744026673811.1073741905.100004146523282&type=3.

    The other is paying attention to pH which I wrote about @ https://polination.wordpress.com/2016/04/24/paying-attention-to-ph/.

    I used to 24-7 take max doses of acetaminophen AND ibuprofen AND chlorpheniramine maleate. I think I may have taken one Tylenol last week. I’m not pain-free by any means, but the roar is down to where I can cope.

    I’ve also found essential oils really helpful. https://www.facebook.com/christine.bravomom/media_set?set=a.230556967092519.1073741856.100004146523282&type=3

    Prayer has always been my mainstay; I’ve offered up loads of pain! But you already know about that. :)

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  7. I would strongly suggest getting tested for chronic Lyme disease. You need to do the research to find a Lyme literate doctor first. Igenex lab in California is a good testimg lab. Find the Lyme association in your state and you should be able to get some good referrals from them. My sister was diagnosed with chronic neurological Lyme about 18 months ago. She is married with six kids and so I know the challenge of chronic illness and raising kids. ilads.org would be helpful to start.

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  8. Phyliss langford May 17, 2016, 8:35 am

    I have never responded to a blog before but my heart went out to you as I read this. I have been dealing with this kind of pain for a year at least and have been doing the rounds of doctors who are only interested in one part of your body. It is so frustrating and humbling. I finally resorted to the Internet looking for anything that could relate to my problem. Beware..it consumes you and you begin to think of yourself as a hypochondriac but I found the symptoms..My haematologist reluctantedly listened and agreed it could be a possibility. In my case the culprit is polymyalgia rheumatic .Look it up…The antidote is prednisone which is scarey but if the pain has not left your body in one week it is discontinued and you go on with your search. It is worth the try. The relief is instant. Sometimes it seems we have to do our own research. I wish you the very best..and yes I rest in a loving God who will love us through all these trials.

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  9. Have you ever prayed the Servite Rosary (also known as the Chaplet of Our Lady of Sorrows)? I just discovered it recently and it’s a great way to focus on offering up suffering by uniting our pain to Our Lady’s seven sorrows. I’ll add you to my growing list of people for whom I offer up those small daily sufferings.

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  10. Praying for you. What a hard, really hard burden. Thank you for sharing this, as difficult as it was! xo, friend.

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  11. Fibromyalgia sufferer here. It’s a diagnosis of exclusion and the medical profession is kind of at a loss to deal with it. I’m currently fighting with my PA about prescribing my meds for it and am having to see a rheumatologist next week.

    Everyone is giving you the advice to have them do a full thyroid panel for blood work and I think that’s a good plan… but see if your doctor will do a rheumatoid panel as well and give you a referral to a rheumatologist. They deal with joint issues and if fibromyalgia is a possible culprit, they deal with that as well.

    Treatment for fibro is actually pretty holistic. They can put you on Lyrica (specifically for fibro) or Cymbalta which might help as well. I’m on Gabapentin which is the stuff they prescribe for nerve pain and it’s the only thing that has touched my fibro pain because fibromyalgia is rooted in the nerves of your muscles. (It’s why stuff like Vicodin or ibuprofen don’t work effectively — they’re the wrong kind of painkiller.) I’ve also found that exercise (for me, walking) helps as does massage to deal with the joint/muscle issues.

    This is a pretty good article on the condition from a doctor who has it: http://everydayhealths.info/im-a-doctor-with-fibromyalgia-heres-what-i-wish-people-understood-about-it/

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  12. I really get this so much, and honestly this is what I appreciate so much about bloggers. I know it feels vulnerable to put this out there, but it truly helps others. There are a few of us out here reading, going “YES.” And knowing others are there makes us feel some solidarity. I second the gut health and the testing for autoimmunes and the chiropractic and acupuncture. And just in case it helps I will share that my sister was just diagnosed (in her late 20s) with a juvenile form of RA. She had pain and fatigue her whole life but wasn’t diagnosed until now. Managing autoimmunes is hard :( but there is healing ahead for you Carolyn!!! I will pray that all of the pieces come together for you soon!!!

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  13. I am a 31 year-old and a mom of five—ages six and under —with a special needs child. I have also been experiencing chronic pain for many years. I can really relate to your post. I know how hard it is to get through the day with constant pain, especially while caring for little ones. After failing to receive a solid diagnosis for the cause of my pain (fibromyalgia was suggested as a possibility), I began seeing a chiropractor who focuses on eliminating “subluxations”. It has changed the way I view health and wellness and has improved my pain significantly. In fact, my entire family now see this chiropractor on a regular basis and we have seen a very significant reduction in illnesses, asthma symptoms, etc. among the little ones as well. I highly recommend going this route! God bless you!

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  14. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this Carolyn. It’s a big cross and you have such a beautiful attitude. Prayers that you will find out what’s going on and that there will be things to help you with it. Sending lots of love!

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  15. Carolyn!! I’m so sorry you’re going through this and will be praying for you. What a beautiful perspective you have on it that becomes so very redemptive. Father John Riccardo uses the phrase “suffer well” that I’ve tried to get to stick into my head. We can waste our suffering or we can use it for something glorious. When it comes to someone else suffering, it’s so easy to want to talk them out of it or give them the answer we think will take it all away. Or if we can’t fix it, we avoid them. BUT that also deprives both the chance to enter into something deeper and so very sanctifying. But so very hard, yes. Thank you for sharing your witness and the encouragement it is to enter in and suffer well.

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  16. My daughter was diagnosed at 4 with systemic idiopathic arthritis. In many ways it sounds similar to what you’re going through. At her worst she couldn’t get off of the couch because it hurt so badly… It took 3 months of testing and wondering before she was diagnosed.

    Her arthritis can start damaging her internal organs if left unchecked, so we need to stay on top of it. We’ve tried to offer up our pain as well, but it’s difficult for her to understand. There have been many times I wished it was me going through everything instead of her. Thanks for sharing here, and I hope you keep us updated…

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  17. What a beautiful post…. I do hope there’s a smart and caring md out there who can figure this out. Totally agree with you though that it can get annoying going to different specialities. It’s like: it’s not the heart, says the cardiologist. Or “bye, I can’t do surgery. So go away” says the ortho Doctor.

    I get the flip side of this where the primary Doctor or the other specialists punt it back
    To Neuro. It’s belly pain – ask your neurologist. You’re looking pale and dehydrated after vomiting and not eating, go ask neuro…. I just sometimes want to scream and say: this is not neurological. You have a viral infection blah blah. It has nothing to do with your seizure history…..

    Ok enough about me. This is about you. I pray that God will continue to give you grace and strength throughout this ordeal.

    xxxxx lots of hugs dear friend.

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  18. That’s a hard road, I’ve been there, best wishes. Applaud the spiritual insight.I had Chronic fatigue + arthritis at 33 gone by 34 after much research. Short answer cod liver oil shaken in milk. Yours sounds autoimmune + overactive immune system. suggested reading Gut and psychology syndrome N Campbell- McBride there’s 2 phases of immunity 1 active and 2 calming. Leaky gut =>1 Good microbes => 2. Inflammation also helped by ginger turmeruc fish oil etc. Wheat Belly W Davis it’s not just gluten that causes leaky gut there’s chapters exactly on your symptoms. Best wishes

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  19. Thank you so much for sharing. I feel your pain (literally). I’m 36 and was diagnosed with lupus about three years ago. Shortly after my 2nd child was born. Sometimes even blinking hurts. And the fatigue….to say you feel like your carrying a bag of bricks around your neck is a total understatement. The bad days are a real struggle. But it makes me that much more grateful for the good ones. And you are so right. You have to put your pain to work. For me, I feel like this was the only way I was going to stop and acknowledge His greatness. To come closer to my creator and savior. A lot the things you wrote about I swear I talk about with myself thru out the day. Because I’m always afraid to talk about it with my husband or family. Afraid they won’t understand or think I’m crazy. They already don’t understand why it’s so hard for me to take pain meds. So thank you again for sharing. I know it’s terrible to think so many people are suffering with chronic disease or pain thru out the world. But in some way it also brings comfort to know you are not alone. And I have so much faith that something beautiful will come from this suffering. I will pray for your healing. And for your strength as well.

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  20. You don’t sound crazy to me — this is a beautiful witness, and an excellent reminder about the nature of earthly suffering and the benefits to our eternal souls, if we do suffering right.

    (That said, I do hope you feel better soon! It seems to me that once you “get” the point of suffering you should get a hall pass! I’m praying for you.)

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  21. RA is actually pretty common in younger folks, so not a bad idea to check that out. Autoimmune disorders tend to hit people when they are younger rather than older. I’m at risk for it – 2 autoimmune diseases + years of steroids = more bad things. Pain all over along with fatigue, my first thought is Chronic Lyme. very hard to diagnosis and very hard to treat. I have Hashimoto’s and if it was just fatigue, i might lean towards something thyroid-y. have you ever had a full thyroid panel? it’s 7 different tests, also good to check DHEA, vitamin D and Iron levels. any insufficiency with those can lead to massive exhaustion. But the chronic pain, especially the sheets comment you made, leads me to fibro, some sort of chronic nerve pain/chronic fatigue or chronic lyme. possibly even some combo of the above.

    Thankfully, there are lots of ways to treat chronic pain without opioids. Best to get to the root of the problem and go from there before worrying about medication options. God can steer us in directions we may not have chosen by virtue of taking away all other options. shutting doors and opening windows as it were. :)

    Also accupuncture is amazing for chronic pain, it helped immensely when my IDB was really bad. As does meditation in general, (turmeric and curcumin are good alternatives to advil as prolonged NSAID use is not so great for your health either.) And I cannot say enough good things about a good Chiropractor. Finding my current Chiropractor has saved me a lot of chronic pain, stopped my migraines, and even rid me of my chronic ear infections. Let me know if you want info on my guy. He’s so amazing and kind and on the East side of Cincy.

    I’ll be praying you find some answers and some relief.

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  22. RA is actually pretty common in younger folks, so not a bad idea to check that out. Autoimmune disorders tend to hit people when they are younger rather than older. I’m at risk for it – 2 autoimmune diseases + years of steroids = more bad things. Pain all over along with fatigue, my first thought is Chronic Lyme. very hard to diagnosis and very hard to treat. I have Hashimoto’s and if it was just fatigue, i might lean towards something thyroid-y. have you ever had a full thyroid panel? it’s 7 different tests, also good to check DHEA, vitamin D and Iron levels. any insufficiency with those can lead to massive exhaustion. But the chronic pain, especially the sheets comment you made, leads me to fibro, some sort of chronic nerve pain/chronic fatigue or chronic lyme. possibly even some combo of the above.

    Thankfully, there are lots of ways to treat chronic pain without opioids. Best to get to the root of the problem and go from there before worrying about medication options. God can steer us in directions we may not have chosen by virtue of taking away all other options. shutting doors and opening windows as it were. :)

    Also accupuncture is amazing for chronic pain, it helped immensely when my IDB was really bad. As does meditation in general, (turmeric and curcumin are good alternatives to advil as prolonged NSAID use is not so great for your health either.) And I cannot say enough good things about a good Chiropractor. Finding my current Chiropractor has saved me a lot of chronic pain, stopped my migraines, and even rid me of my chronic ear infections. Let me know if you want info on my guy. He’s so amazing and kind and on the East side of Cincy.

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  23. What a beautiful & much needed post (for me)! As far as the physical pain, I am so so sorry that you are experiencing this. I had something similar start happening this past fall, but recently underwent surgery for endometriosis (praying my symptoms will go away). That combined with so many general life sufferings at this time has been difficult for me and my husband. I have been trying (and failing frequently) to offer it up for so many that I know are bearing greater trials, but only with God’s grace. Thank you for this beautiful post and bringing to light that apostolic letter! I will for sure be reading it. And praying for you!

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  24. Great post! I’m from New Hampshire so I can’t help but ask if you been tested for lyme’s disease. It seems to be the most common cause of unexplained awfulness around here. Maybe not relevant but just thought if throw it out there. My cousin was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis st 11 but a priest prayer over her avd had an Inspiration in prayer and told her mom to have he tested for lyme and it was. Sorry my comment isn’t related to the more important parts of your post.

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  25. I read this and felt like I was sitting at your kitchen table while you talked and while going through your JPII (Thats a good thing).

    I do hope they discover the culprit. I can only imagine that the “not knowing” is just as painful as the physical ailments; if not, more at times. Until then, I’ll pray for your perseverance, my friend. May your suffering gain you all the graces and bring you closer to Our Lord.

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