What do you do with your worst fears? How do you get through the most difficult parts of your life? Or... fear, pain, and all that jazz.
A friend of mine posted these questions, well something like them, on Facebook recently and her friends weighed in. I said I tried to distract myself when faced with fear. For the difficult parts in life, I thought perhaps taking them one day, hour, minute or second at a time might work - breaking them up. Others suggested leaning on God which is probably a really great thing that hadn't come to my mind right at that moment. But those fears and difficult parts of life for my friend are different than my fears and difficult parts of life. She has cancer and I have MS; well, we both have MS. I bet we fear the same thing and that is for another blog or I think I will just leave it. Difficult now is her facing chemo; difficult for me recently is facing pain in my legs from MS; very different circumstances and I tried to think how my pain is so very different and minor than what she might experience, yet the pain over the past week for me has been excruciating. And it's invisible. Invisible is excruciating, so often. And how did I deal with it?
Last week I went to bed with a slightly strange feeling in my legs. In the middle of the night, I woke up and have what can only be described as MS leg flu. When you have the flu, and not the stomach flu, your body aches, correct? I haven't had the flu for a long time, but I remember my whole body aching (in addition to things like a fever which cause the achy feeling). But last week I didn't have a fever. I just had aching legs from the waist down. It hurt. It hurt a lot, in the middle of the night, as I was just lying there with everyone else asleep. The last thing I wanted to do was to get up, but I got up. Ouch. That hurt. Putting pressure on my legs helps in the long run, but in the process it is also painful.
In the morning (minus sleeping from being in pain), I was still in pain. Fantastic. I wanted to cry and could have, but what was the use of that? It wouldn't help the pain go away. Tylenol! That brought the pain down. Please do not respond to this and tell me to try marijuana. That will never happen even if it becomes legal. Just trust me and leave it alone. No marijuana for me. No discussion. Just clarifying things.
So, I walked before leaving for work. I drove to work in pain. I walked. I drank water. I walked. In the afternoon I took another Tylenol. I walked. It hurt. I walked. All I wanted was to be free from this pain.
Gradually the pain went away but it comes and goes in spurts with no rhyme or reason, which is typical of MS. During one between spells of pain, I sat on my deck for few minutes and cherished the feeling of legs at peace. Freedom from pain.
And then, well my legs said walk! No more sitting. Back and forth and back and forth, they took turns having spasms.
And now the pain has all been gone for a few days. There has been peace that I cannot explain.
And with the pain gone, I have gone back to the great advice I gave my friend... that I did not follow. I didn't break up the pain into days, hours, minutes, or seconds. I just wanted to cry. The thought of breaking it up didn't even occur to me as it does frequently when I am working out. And the thought of leaning on God during this time didn't come to me either. I instead complained on Facebook and tried to hide my pain from the world.
Looking back, I think maybe I should have had one of my "conversations" with God where I tell God where I think. I couldn't break it up. The problem is that I didn't know when it would end.
Today I had a realization that my legs were at peace - not hurting - not jumping. And then in a strange way that makes no sense I said thanks to God for getting me through this, this pain that will come again.
And my friend? I wish her the very best. I hope she finds a way to break apart the ugly beast of chemo symptoms. I hope she leans on God and finds peace during the difficult times ahead. And I wish I had set a better example.
But maybe, just maybe, leaning on God afterward because the process was too painful to go there, is ok. God will be there the next time, and each time, and knowing that is perhaps what I need.