Last night I had a terrible evening/night. As a paraplegic, I have had severe muscle spasms for the past 30 years. Without feeling anything from the waist down, it does not make a lick of sense that you could stick a knife in my leg and I would not feel the blade; yet I experience excruciating pain with every muscle spasm.
How is it possible to feel pain where you do not feel pain? What’s the point of paralysis if I’m going to hurt? I can’t walk. So at least let me have zero pain. That seems fair, right? Oh wait… no one ever said life would be fair! 😵💫
Unable to sleep and wanting to cry from pain, last night I began to time the spasms. They were approximately two seconds apart. They began around 5pm and ended around 4am. Just to fall asleep, I took 7 muscle relaxers, 4 Advil, and 2 Tylenol. And a partridge in a pear tree.
I wanted to crawl out of my own skin from exhaustion, irritation, and agony but instead read a book and watched Hulu in hopes to distract myself. (Yeah, that didn’t work.) I got out of bed hoping that changing positions would help. (It didn’t.) I ate a piece of chocolate. (That actually did help for one second.)
But then a single second later, I was smacked with another wave of pain. I went back to bed before I stuffed my face with 7,000 calories of chocolate.
Over the years, I learned to live with the constant pain and frustration of my legs tightening and jumping. I have broken bones from spasms, fallen out of my wheelchair, and spent many sleepless nights. I took numerous pills to control the spasms but they just left me feeling like a zombie.
Desperate over the years, I tried different things to end the spasms. I went to therapy, bought a standing machine to stretch my muscles, changed medications, and even had nerve blockers in any attempt to stop the pain.
Raising three children, being a wife, volunteering at church, taking care of a home, cooking meals, doing laundry, going to sporting events, school activities, and maintaining relationships continued to happen all while living in constant pain and taking strong medications. I know at times my personality left a lot to be desired as I was short tempered, irritable, depressed, anxious, and impatient. My husband and kids probably endured the brunt of my mood fluctuations.
It was hard. Life was hard. And I was weary.
But then my doctor offered me hope. He suggested I try Botox treatments by having injections put into the muscles of my legs. He sent me to a spinal cord specialist, and I began the treatments of injections every few months.
My life changed immediately. Botox stopped my spasms almost completely. I no longer needed so much medication, going from 28 pills per day to 1 1/2 pills per day. I did not have constant cramping and discomfort. I slept at night without levitating off the bed. It was a miracle! After 27 years of living with torture, the emotional roller coaster wasn’t as wild of a ride. I could think clearer without a row of pill bottles that said “will cause drowsiness.” I felt like a new person. It felt like freedom.
And bonus… I had wrinkle free legs.
Unfortunately my doc never agreed to save any for my face.
Three years I lived pain free. My brain and body forgot about the 27 years of pain. Until my insurance denied my treatments. Fighting the company did not work, and I had no choice but to quit getting the injections.
Each set of shots cost $13,000 which I get is EXPENSIVE! When someone at the insurance company stamped “not approved,” they did not think about the person on the other end of that form and what they were deciding about their life. Their health. Their mental well being. Bottom line… it was expensive and deemed not worth it. But they were worth every single penny to me.
Sadly in the past few weeks, the spasms have been returning, and they gain in strength and intensity every day. I will just put it out there that it is arduous! I do not want to go back to that exhausting, wearisome, frustrating, painful, annoying, crappy, and burdensome life! (I feel a two year old tantrum coming on just thinking about it.)
This is the part of my blog where I switch from a difficult situation to how God has worked in my life. What He has taught me through the difficulty. How I can choose to glorify Him despite the trial.
But at this moment, I am laying in bed jumping and hurting and facing another sleepless night with these dang spasms, and I can only pray “please God…”
- Please help this pain stop.
- Please let the medication kick in soon.
- Please allow my new insurance to cover my treatments.
- Please give me rest. I’m tired.
- Please remove my frustration and replace it with a heart of thankfulness.
- Please do not allow my heart to become angry, bitter, or depressed. Instead fill me with the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control).
- Please God… use this to make me more like you, Use this experience to touch someone else who is struggling. Use my life to give you glory.
It is easy to make it about me when I am feeling pain every two seconds. It is hard to think about anything else when you feel that radiating, constant pain. It consumes me, making it a challenge to think about anything else. Therefore, my biggest “Please God” is that I do not make it all about me.
God first. Me last. Please God.