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.
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