After months of research and great anticipation the big day finally arrived. I got to try for 7 days a temporary spinal cord stimulator in hopes of finding significant pain relief. Wires were put into my back and connected to a battery back. Then, everything was taped so much to my back that even the strongest tornado couldn’t shake it loose. I couldn’t bend, lift, twist, or reach for the next week. I was not allowed to bath or shower the entire time. My 7 year old didn’t quite understand these instructions. He said, “Daddy, I know you can’t take a bath, but at least you can go swimming.” I told him to go and ask his mom how the two of those things were quite similar.
Anyway, along with this unit came a device used to control the level of pulses sent throughout my lower boy. With just a few clicks I could feel sensations from my lower back all the way through both feet. After I got past my initial discomfort, I was able to discover the potential of this device. I received nearly 100 percent relief while I was lying down. It gave me as much as 75% relief while on my feet. It took a lot of trial and error to discover whether I would want this stimulator to be surgically implanted in days to come. Praise God, I discovered this unit could definitely help my situation.
Now, do understand this is not a cure for anything, but advanced technology that helps you to not feel extreme nerve pain. You still have to recognize your limitations, but man it’s nice to not have to cry yourself to sleep. You will still have tough days, but man its nice to get out the house a few hours without feeling like you’ve been hit by a car. This unit basically gives you back some quality of life. Instead of spending the rest of your life with a miserable level of pain.
There was only one thing I had to do to experience this relief and that was try it. After all, how else would I know if it could help me? I knew worst case scenario I would have wasted 7 days of my life trying. But, I knew that was nothing compared to spending the rest of my life having never tried to find some relief.
You know sometimes God puts opportunity in front of us. Maybe it’s a certain job, relationship, or window that could lead to brighter days. Or maybe it’s a spinal cord stimulator that could change the course of your life. Whatever the opportunity you can’t know the possibilities unless you give it a shot. Personally, I would rather die trying than to have never tried at all. Thanks to my seven days of trying I now know that better days await me. However, I would have never known if I had never tried.
“Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.” (Ephesians 5:16-17)
Recently my oldest son Matthew graduated from Colleton County High School. There could not have been two prouder parents watching that day. We took every picture we could and enjoyed all that day had to offer. The only thing I didn’t like was what we encountered in our attempt to exit the school parking lot.
Do realize there were hundreds of people filling Cougar stadium that day. So it was expected that it would not be an easy task to get anywhere quickly. My graduate son and I rode together on our way to his graduation party not even a mile away. Well a mile might as well have been one hundred miles.
I’m not joking when I say it took over 30 minutes before we even moved out of our parking space. We watched as car after car passed by determined not to let anyone take the space in front of them. I had never seen anything like it. I’m talking about people that would look you dead in the face like they might kill you should you pull out in front of them.
I must admit that this preacher was doing all he could to let the spirit of God continue to lead him. At one point, I literally rolled down my window to speak out kindly to one lady the words “What are you teaching your children?” My graduated son was like “Daddy you’re going to get us killed.” To which I replied, “Sadly, you’re probably right son. But, I just can’t believe someone would conduct themselves in certain ways while their kids are watching their total unselfishness.”
Now, I can’t speak for those folks, but my momma raised me differently. I was raised to consider others’ needs more than my own. I was raised to open doors and look for ways to show kindness. Honestly, I find the opportunity to do such things is a joy, not a burden. It was obvious that many passing me by that day did not feel the same way. You could see it on their face and in their actions.
For those who have had this kind of stuff happen to them before I don’t feel the need to explain. I do want to challenge all reading this right now to not be that person. Don’t be so rude, but look for ways to show kindness. Don’t be all about yourself, but consider others above yourself. Don’t rob yourself of the blessing that comes when you love your neighbor as yourself.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)(NIV)
Mother’s Day started out as a pretty good day. I woke up very grateful for the mother I’ve been blessed to have all my life. In fact, I preached about how grateful I was before many others at church. Everything was great until nerve pain began to surge throughout my body. I’m talking about the kind that makes my entire inside feel like I’m on fire, but nothing will put out the flame.
It’s in these moments that I find I’m desperate to find someone who truly understands my pain. It’s in these moments that I feel the most misunderstood. I find that my words can’t make someone else understand what they’ve never experienced. I find that their lack of understanding only makes me feel more misunderstood. In fact, it just simply makes me feel totally uncomfortable in my own skin.
Now, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no one to be upset with concerning this matter. I’ve also concluded that it’s during such critical moments that we each desperately need to be understood. We all long for someone to recognize our pain and encourage us through our pain. And, I believe this can only happen when the person in front of us can truly identify.
Ever since chronic nerve pain has interrupted my life I’ve found myself drawn to others who have similar pain. When I run into anyone who can really identify it settles my soul deeply. Why? Because we both speak similar language. We both know what it’s like to go day after day just wishing for that particular pain to go away. We both know what it’s like to pray every night that we aren’t up all night.
You see, we all need to feel that we can confess our struggles without being judged. We all need to bare our souls without being misunderstood. And, we all just need to get certain things off of our chest before we explode. I’ve concluded that this is done best when the person in front of you not only cares about your pain, but can identify with your pain. Whatever your pain the encouragement of others is critical. I encourage you to find your tribe and those people who can truly understand your struggle and encourage you through your present battle.
(2 Corinthians 1:3-4)(NLT) 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.