So, I’ve been dealing with minor chronic pain and fatigue for years.
Going on the GAPS diet taught me so much about autoimmune conditions, and really listening to how my body feels… I now realize autoimmunity (at least partly) stems from having a compromised gut. I’m also not alone. More than 100 million Americans struggle with some sort of chronic pain and/or fatigue. Do you??
Another contributing factor is the fact that my back has mild curvature. Chronic back pain in addition to chronic muscle/joint pain, and fatigue….sigh.
Chronic pain is… well, it’s hard not to feel like your life is simply dictated by the amount of inflammation that decides to show up for the day. What kind of day is it going to be today? Am I going to get much done? Or am I going to cave in to the burning in between my shoulders, and middle back, joints, and muscles, as well as the rest of my body? Are things going to happen with ease, allowing me to feel normal? Or am I going to feel like I’m slugging through mud with every step?
I still haven’t quite figured out my triggers. It’s like being a character in the worst detective mystery ever written, where the culprit’s different in each scene and always on the loose.
And what’s worse, my family’s lumped into the story too.
I try to be honest with my kids. I can keep up with them for a *little* while, but most of my energy has to be spent on making meals, loading and emptying the dishwasher, changing the laundry, homeschooling, you know the drill. Most of the time, with the pain, I feel just. . . spent.
And so I tell them.
“I’m so sorry sweetie, I can’t pick you up right now. Mama’s back is hurting.”
“Okay guys, Mama’s feeling really tired tonight. Please, just be obedient and helpful and it will all go easier that way.”
I try to explain to them that I don’t know why my body hurts. I can’t figure it out. I tell them that God heals, and I know I will be healed. I tell them that I always love them, even if I can’t get down onto the floor to play Legos today. They ask and wonder, why is Mama always tired, why does your back hurt today, Mama?
I’ve always answered the best I can.
Until yesterday. Yesterday I started wondering if this is really the best choice for me to make.
I was tucking my 2 year old into bed for nap time. I read her a little story before I leave each time. Yesterday she got this frowny look on her face and said, “Hold me.”
“Okay. What’s wrong?”
“My body hurts.”
It honestly made me want to cry. It’s the same thing I tell her when I can’t keep up with her. My body hurts. She’s listening. And emulating me!
My eyes started to tear up. I held her for a while and read to her, and let her take her nap. Later that day, I told her to pick up a mess that she had made.
“My body hurts.”
Ouch! Double ouch. Ouch because I truly am in pain each day, and even worse, ouch because my precious daughter thinks that she has to be, too. Or that it’s an excuse to not do something she needs to do.
It might be just a phase. Either way, I don’t want her to grow up thinking that to be a woman is to be in chronic pain. That when she becomes a mama, she won’t be able to do all her kids want because she feels burning pain in her muscles and joints.
Even though I always want to be honest and upfront within reason to my kids, I think I’m going to have to back off a little with my honesty. I’m not talking about faking anything. . . I just didn’t realize that they listen so well – especially my daughter, who is at the age where she is trying so hard to do the things I do.
She grabs her plastic dishes and fills up the bathroom sink, telling me, “I’m washing dishes.” When she sees me brushing my hair, she runs and gets the comb to brush her hair. She wants to wear necklaces and rings like I do.
But she won’t wear chronic pain. I’ll do my best to not let that happen. With God’s never-ending grace for me each day, I’ll grin and bear it and always have hope in healing.
Because she has her whole life ahead of her, not mine, in its current state. She’s going to change the world. <3 Chronic pain-free.