Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What's Your Pain Level?

A routine part of the cancer experience is having the nurses at the doctor’s office ask you what your pain level is when you go for an appointment.
For the last year I have been able to usually say zero. On occasion I have had my spikes, but for the most part it has been manageable.

Until last Friday when the pain in my chest became so crushing I simply could not handle it. After a visit to the ER they admitted me to try to find out exactly what was happening and manage the pain. I was consistently choosing 9 and the very unhappy face on the pain charts and Robert asked what it would take to get to a 10.  
Hmm.. good question.

After many tests, the results showed that the tumors around my esophagus and behind my heart have increased even in just a week and they are squeezing that area terribly.
Monday I will start radiation in conjunction with the chemo to try to shrink these hot spots down.

As for the current pain, I have some pain management meds that work pretty good,
but it’s usually never really gone. 

Pain is a symptom that something is not right. It can be short lived or long term, but in any case, it’s sudden shooting signals are a warning sign.

Pain is also a symptom of being human. It begins at that very first shock of light and temperature change we experience at birth and continues to show up as these temporary bodies we live in get bumped, bruised or besieged.
Traveling through the plains of time, our experiences can leave the raw nerve endings of our emotions shocked and wounded as well. Not to mention the strain living in a fallen world takes on our souls and minds.

Some become numb to the pain over time, others approach it like a badge of honor while still others begin to slowly disappear behind it
In my observation, everyone tries to escape it. Some last longer than others before their search for relief takes center stage; but pain is misplaced, it is a foreign enemy we simply cannot coexist with forever.

I find it so inviting that God is referred to as the God of all Comfort.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort...” 2 Cor. 1;3

Jesus experienced all the same sorts of difficulties we have when He was His physical body, so that He can relate to each of us in whatever situation we are going through. And certainly He knows how to aid and comfort those who share this frail frame.
“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15-16

That’s probably why I find that people who seek to comfort others remind me the most of Jesus. Those who use their time and resources, gifts and personality and anything else they can find to help soften the jagged edges of pain.

My nurse (Floyd) in the hospital was like this  Very kind and gentle, even his wording tone, and movements were comforting. He has definitely found his niche.

I am surrounded by so many sweeties in my family that all comfort me on so many levels. A kind word, a store run, a quick trip to the fridge.... again, a warm blanket, a gift, a smile, a long talk, a passionate prayer a heartfelt praise. A long sit in silence, another store run, more ice, driving around to countless appt’s and errands, a phone call, carrying my belongings, looking after a water bottle, making me laugh, holding me up, another store run, fixing the pillows, txting I love you and so on (after another store run..:)

Sometimes our Lord is a mighty Deliverer, but sometimes He is a tender Comforter and we learn different aspects of His personality through both experiences.

If it were not for pain, we wouldn’t know the God of all comfort and the blessings of His army of comforting messengers.

This song goes out to all you “angels” of mercy doing what you do in countless situations. Be encouraged. Your kindness makes it bearable. We feel ya. 
Muah!!! xoxoxo

Angel by Your Side Francesca Battistelli

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.” Hebrews 6:10


  1. Hi Lisa,
    We are praying for you daily...not just for you but for all those "sweeties" in your family. We love you.

    Johnny and Stacy Gallego & Family

  2. Acid reflux, a side effect of chemo, helps me relate a little to what you might feel in your chest. (It felt like a heart attack coming on.) In my case Nexium helps relieve the pressure, but what's needed is to get to the source of the pain and drive it out....hopefully for good!

    I appreciate your insight. I also find pain is analogous to sin as the sign that something deeper is wrong and if not properly treated and driven out, it can leave permanent damage.

    I pray for your comfort and most earnestly, that the medical team uses the resources the Lord provides to uproot the tumors and eradicate the pain ....until Jesus comes and forever thereafter.


  3. Lisa,
    Thank you for always sharing the truth of God's word - no matter what.
    We love you and are praying fervently for you and your family.
    He is able...

  4. Lisa,

    I'm not sure if your doctors at U of Colorado have already considered this possibility but I've read several times of the theory that by inducing an infection in a cancer patient near the site of the cancer, that the immune system can be induced to attack the cancer. It's pretty much a hypothetical thing at this point but I was wondering if you have heard about it. It would probably be very much worth addressing with your oncologists if they haven't come up with it on their own. In any event please do know I am lifting you up in prayer and am telling all of my friends to lift you up as well.

    God bless you sister.

  5. Lisa:
    I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling. I am praying for you and wish that I could do more. We are pretty new to Calvary so I have never met you in person, but because we are sisters in Christ, I know that we are connected by Him. We are praying for you, Robert and your family. May you feel the prayers of all of those who have grown to love your family through Calvary Tucson. I pray that you have a respite from the pain you are experiencing and that you get some positive news from your treatment to come. In the meantime, I pray that you get the rest you need and that the pain doesn't interfere with your rest and comfort. May our Lord Jesus Christ provide you with comfort, peace and the knowledge that there are many many prayers going to heaven for you, more than you can even ask or imagine! Lifting you up in prayer.. Lynn and Paul Krofcheck (West Campus)

  6. I love you, Mommy! You are my sweet bonita mamacita, hero Warrior Princess and He is holding your hand! Joshua 1:9

  7. The many ways God shows us we aren't alone Elijah in the cave, God ministers in so many ways ...thru the kindness of others...Our God changed my perspective of Him thru adversity.....may God comfort you Lisa Furrow and family.

  8. Lisa
    Words do not flow from my fingertips as eloquently as yours. I know what pain off the chart feels like It is mind numbing and my bodies pain receptors were seared to a place I hope to never return to.Once my doctor alleviated my pain level to a tolerable 3 to 4, I found prayers and constant talks with Christ kept me sane and even able to participate in life a little.I understand absolutely everything you are experiencing. The angels in my life who do store runs, pharmacy runs, get ice packs, and keep me hydrated are more precious than they can know. I pray your tumors shrink and give you relief; in the mean time, I pray for you to have the strength to get through this, Lisa.

  9. Sweet Lisa, today I'm praying for the face on the far left of the scale for you! Love, love, love

  10. I wish I were in Tucson. Even though I have been away from Arizona for so many years, my time at Calvary in Tucson is so dear to my heart. I am praying. Sounds like what everyone is saying/doing. But, our God hears our prayers. He hears the wretched cry out to him and petition for healing. He is our healer and desires you to know Him by that name as well. Whether we are saved from our fires and tests, or delived through them, or taken home by them, our bonds will be gone and we will meet our Savior in the midst of them. You are an encourager of the rarest sort. The kind that suffers and still reaches out. The lover of people. May His peace bring you rest today. May His mercy renew your Spirit in the morning. May His strength sustain you during treatment. Thank you for your transparency. Thank you for walking what you believe. Miss you. Anique

  11. It breaks my heart to hear what you are having to endure and to know that your family suffers with you. I love the book you gave to us women at the retreat two years ago: "Streams in the Desert" by L.B. Cowan. The following passage from her book on page 314 from October 24th speaks volumes to me: "I will make thee a new sharp threshing instrument." (Isa. 41:15) "A bar of steel wroth five dollars, when wrought into horseshoes, is worth ten dollars. If made into needles, it is worth three hundred and fifty dollars; if into penknife blades, it is worth thirty-two thousand dollars; if into springs for watches it is worth two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. What a drilling the poor bar must undergo to be worth this! But the more it is manipulated, the more it is hammered and passed through the fire, and beaten and pounded and polished, the greater the value. May this parable help us to be silent, still, and long-suffering. Those who suffer most are capable of yielding most; and it is through pain that God is getting the most out of us, for His glory and the blessing of others." SELECTED

    May God give you the strength to endure this horrendous trial. I am sorry you are in pain. Love....Toni Ain

  12. I don't have the words, but I do have knees and intend to wear them out. Love you guys.

  13. Lisa, I pray the Lord to bear you on eagle's wings and carry you through this difficult time in your life. I will be lifting you and your family up to the Lord in prayers.

  14. Praying for you!! Our Lord is AMAZING!!

  15. Praying for you Lisa..

    Not For A Moment~ Meredith Andrews

  16. Me and my family pray for you. It'd be nice to meet you sometime.