Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Invisible Assassins

You can't see them, but you know they're there. They make sure of that. Sometimes they begin their work in small, subtle ways. Sometimes they come roaring in like a hungry bear just waking from a long hibernation. They take pleasure in the kill no matter their tactic as they destroy your motivation, your focus, your ability to comprehend and maintain some semblance of normalcy. As the minutes tick by and your energy drains, they take pleasure in knowing each time you fake a smile or a laugh, all you really want to do is curl up in bed and cry or sleep for a hundred years. They attack men and women alike, older and younger as the days go by, and because they are invisible, they are often dismissed by those that do not fight them off themselves. The medical professionals lump them all into one category called  "chronic pain," but for those of us who battle them every single day, they are invisible assassins.

Mine began plaguing me several years ago in the form of an inflammatory disease called Costochondritis. This is when the cartilage between the ribs becomes irritated and so inflamed that even the smallest amount of pressure can feel like a jolt of electricity is being sent through my body. Even wearing a bra can be intolerable on days when it's bad. One time, my dad poked me in the ribs because he didn't know I was having a day and whatever happened on my face and to my body must have scared the living daylights out of him because he just froze as his eyes bugged out. I turned white as a sheet and my eyes filled with tears, and my mother hastily explained why what he had just done was the wrong thing to do. It comes and goes. I'm happy to say it is an infrequent occurrence these days, but when it does come around, it definitely camps out for a few days and likes to be as strong a presence as possible.

Lately, I've been dealing with some unexplained nerve pain. A neurologist I went to a while back said it was Fibromyalgia. I knew it wasn't. My new Neuro knew it wasn't. It's idiopathic, meaning no one can figure out the source or cause, which 40% of chronic nerve pain is. I don't know if she told me that in the hope of making me feel better about it, but it didn't. Didn't make me feel worse, but it definitely didn't make me feel better. All I know is that I have certain spots on both arms, hands, my back, and my left leg that are sensitive to the touch. When I say sensitive, I mean to the point that even washing my hands brought me to tears because the simple feeling of a gentle stream of water on them made my bones feel like they were shattering. Still does at times. So I stand in the bathroom and cry until it's out of my system, collect myself, and go back out to rejoin life. I don't do it to be deceitful, I do it because, frankly, I don't want to dwell on it, I don't want to complain, and no one can fix it for me anyway, so why bring it up?

As of this morning, I'm on day four of waking up with deep nerve pain in my left tricep. It literally feels like fingers are reaching into my arm and trying to pull the muscle from the bone. I'm exhausted. I'm sad. I'm...so sad. There are things I want to do with my life, and for some reason, God is letting me go through this right now, leading me down this path that seems so contrary to the path I want to be going down. I don't quite get it. But that's not the reason why I wanted to write this post.

We talk to dozens of people throughout our days, our weeks. Be aware of people. Be kind to people. I promise you that those in your life who make you smile the most, who go out of their way to be helpful or kind are often the ones who are hurting the most, and they're the ones who are the best at hiding it. That's just how it seems to work out. Just...love one another and have patience. We're all so busy rushing around and it's only going to get worse as the holidays approach.

Don't judge people based on what you think you know.


As we like to say at CenterPoint, go be a blessing. You don't know who needs it today.


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