Pain Questions #2

  • Oct. 25, 2017
  • #9258

Chronic pain can be disabling and isolating, but we can lean on Jesus because He understands our suffering. 

Chronic pain can be disabling and isolating, but we can lean on Jesus, because He understands our suffering

Pray Together

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with an important question about pain.

Welcome to Joni and Friends and, as I’ve shared before, we receive a lot of emails and inquiries from chronic pain sufferers because intractable pain is a disability. It’s a very heartbreaking disability because it’s so chronic. Just like nothing is going to make my paralysis go away, severe pain can’t be cured with a pill. You can’t cure muscular dystrophy, and most likely, your pain may not get cured. Most disabilities do not have cures, and the same is true for pain. And I will tell you upfront, the pain that I deal with in my back and hip makes my quadriplegia feel like a breeze, a walk in the park. Chronic pain is that hard, and like any disability, it is a huge game changer. Things will never be the same when you’re in chronic pain.

Our team at Joni and Friends received this email from Melinda who wrote, “My pain is so bad I just want to die. How do I keep from feeling like I want to commit suicide or give in to physician assisted suicide? How does Joni manage pain? Does she use prescription medications? How can I avoid becoming dependent on pain medication?” Wow, I mean all of these are good questions. And it’s one reason I’m so against physician-assisted suicide, because it can be so enticing to someone who finds life unbearable. But how do I manage pain? Well, first, I’ve accepted the fact that life is hard. We live in a broken world where suffering is inescapable. And when you embrace the truth that life is supposed to be difficult, oh my goodness, that helps. It relieves so much anxiety and fear. But I know that Jesus goes where no surgery goes. He goes where no doctors can reach. He goes where no counselors can go or pain medication can go. Clutching to His robe and constantly throwing myself into His arms, pleading for His sustaining grace. Well, some nights it has had me in bed, with such awful pain and yet, yet I have such a happy heart because Jesus understands. He’s been tempted and tested and tried, just like any one of us dealing with pain. So, perspective is important, and so is stretching often and breathing deeply and stretching more and drinking lots of water and stretching again and taking anti-inflammatories and more stretching. I also take a strong non-narcotic pain med to break the pain cycle every now and then. I don’t take it regularly because it has really awful side effects, and I don’t want to become dependent on it. But, every, I don’t know, fourth or fifth day or so, it really helps. My advice for anyone using daily medication is to work with your doctor to keep doing change-ups. Never stay on one medication too long. Keep yourself base-lined as best you can and work with a physician who understands good pain management.

Most of all, I don’t stay isolated. I share my pain prayer needs with other pain sufferers who I know understand. There are other things I wish there were time to say here, but you can write Joni and Friends for more resources on pain management. And one of the best is a booklet called “God’s Word on Disability” because, as I said, chronic pain is a disability. It might be an invisible one, but still just as much a disability as my wheelchair. So contact me today, would you, at joniandfriends.org/radio? And ask for your free copy of “God’s Word on Disability”. Because the Bible goes where no pain medication can ever go. And you can make it; you will. Because the Word of God says that with Christ, even dealing with pain is possible.

© Joni and Friends

 

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