Healing is Painful

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 It was around this time last year that I  started intensive treatment for Lyme disease. I had to travel to a medical center in another city, a few hours away from my home, and stay there for a month. I knew that the treatment might make me sicker before it made me better and I was willing to do whatever it took to get better!!! Little did I know just how painful the treatment would be. Sometimes in life healing isn’t all warm and fuzzy. I’m not just referring to physical healing but also to emotional, mental, and spiritual healing. Sometimes healing is painful! Even when the process of healing is painful it is totally worth it when we finally come out of it healed.

 In my case, the Lyme disease had gotten so bad I was unable to control my hands or my legs. I had to be carried every time I got out of bed… even going to the bathroom (which is only across the hall from my bedroom). The nerve pain throughout my back, legs, arms, and head had gotten severe.  Every rib hurt. Every muscle hurt. My bones felt like they were deteriorating…. It felt like someone was squeezing my rib cage slowly breaking my bones and making it extremely difficult to breathe. The Lyme had made its way up my spine to my TBI (traumatic brain injury) so my brain injury symptoms got worse. I had trouble talking for long periods of time. I got confused easily and would stumble over my speech or talk slowly (which anyone who knew me before knows talking slow is not a habit of mine ;)). I was EXTREMELY sensitive to light and sound. I was nauseas and felt like I was spinning all of the time. But I was filled with hope as I left home to go get treatment.

I was most at risk of dying during the months leading up to my treatment. Without treatment  Lyme disease can kill you. I knew I had to get help. I knew this was the road I had to take in order to get better. I knew it was going to be hard. I had been warned that I would get sicker during treatment (kinda like chemotherapy) and I was ready for that.

My heart swelled with joy as I thought about how life would be when my symptoms got better from Lyme treatment. The doctor had put me on pre-treatments for 3 months before he would allow me to start the main treatment. I was so frail, and so sick that he had to build up my immune system before my body would be able to handle the 4 weeks of IV antibiotics. Finally the day had come and I was anxious to get started… but before they could start my treatment the doctor sent me to a hospital to have a PICC line put in me (a tube that doctors insert through a vein in your arm that travels up to your heart).

I was told that I wouldn’t feel anything when they inserted the PICC line, but my luck wasn’t so good. They gave me a shot to make me go numb in my arm before they inserted the PICC line. Unfortunately it didn’t work and I could painfully feel them start pushing the tube up my arm. I tried to just suck it up and wait for it to be over. But they had a problem and after sticking it up a few inches it got stuck and they had to pull it out and try another vein. When I told them I could feel it and it hurt they gave me a 2nd shot to numb my arm. Again they tried sticking the tube up my arm and again I could feel it as they had trouble pushing it up my vein. My doctor later told me he thinks I went into a venial spasm (which basically means your vein spasms in and out so all the nerves in your vein squeeze against the PICC line making it extremely painful).

I was told that usually  this procedure takes around 15 minutes. Mine took over 2 hours as they stuck the line in and pulled it out. They’d go half way up my arm and then take the whole thing out (which hurt like crazy when they pulled it out).. Then they’d try another vein but that too would go into a spasm. The nurse performing the procedure felt so bad  knowing she was causing me pain. I turned my head away trying not to watch and was looking at my momma. But as I felt the harsh pain, my eyes swelled with tears and I looked away from my mom so she wouldn’t know I was in pain. My mom would ask me “are you ok honey” but I had trouble speaking. Finally I let on that it was painful. I could tell my mom was just dying inside as she watched her baby lay there in such pain for another 2 hours .

That procedure was  just the start of how difficult the treatment would be. My doctor said he had never worked with a Lyme Disease patient who was as sick as I was. So the normal side effects had intensified in my case. Normally the patients are taken to the 2nd floor where there are recliners and windows to look out. But my POTS (Postural Orthastatic Tachycardia Syndrome) was so bad I couldn’t lay in a recliner without passing out.  I had to be completely flat on my back.

They kept me downstairs in a room that wasn’t set up for this type of treatment. It was a small room with a hard, flat examining table. That was the only place I could lay flat and the only place they could make dark. I was so sensitive to any light so they kept me in the pitch dark lying on an uncomfortable hard table with an IV pumping up my arm for many hours a day.

I couldn’t listen to music since I was so sensitive to sound. And I couldn’t talk since my brain injury made it even more difficult to speak.  My amazing mommy would sit in the dark with me and encourage me through it. My dad and brother Nic would also make trips up to Ft Collins to support me through it. Most of my siblings and their spouses also made a trip to come and see me for my birthday during that month. Their love helped give me strength of heart to keep fighting to get better.

They were truly God-sends. I don’t know what I would of done without my amazing family’s support, or without my many friends praying me through it.  God gave me what I needed to keep going. He usually does that for us through our difficult seasons. He gives us just what we need to keep going. It’s easy to focus on the darkness of our trials, but we have to look for those gifts God gives us to get us through.

I became so weak and so sick during the treatment that my body was like the clay animation figure, Gumby! My mom or whoever else was there would have to pull my torso up from lying down and they would move my arms and legs for me and help pick me up to get me in and out of the wheelchair.  The PICC line made my arm really sore the whole month and as soon as they started my IVs my arm was so tender that it really hurt feeling the IV flow up my veins.

But that was small compared to my other symptoms. My migraines were horrible, my nausea was intense. My brain hurt. I lost my speech so I couldn’t really talk or convey what was going on. I couldn’t even lift my arm without help… my mom would have to hold my neck up for me as I took a drink of water. The nerve pain through my back, arms, legs,  hands, and feet was the worst pain I had ever felt. Then when they stopped the IVs I’d be in such intense pain and extra sick the rest of the night. I had nightmares and so much insomnia… by the time I fell asleep it was time to get up again for another day of treatment. So there I was laying on an uncomfortable table for 6 hours with horrible pain throughout every part of my body.

My mom stayed by my side every day in the dark, quiet room while she witnessed her daughter suffer. She was my angel, my strength, and my comfort through that time. She was another gift God gave me to help me get through. I was determined to keep on fighting and complete the treatment. I knew if I could get through it the benefits would outweigh the difficulties I was facing.  I remember my mom seeing how sick I was and gently saying “You don’t have to keep doing this. We can go home. We can stop treatment if it’s too much.”  But I never even considered going home until I finished my treatment…. Actually I wanted them to keep me there extra time just to make sure we had done everything we could to try and kill the Lyme.

The treatment was extremely painful but with God’s grace I got through it! God carried me through it. And He sent me enough encouragement to keep me going. He knew that my family visiting me, and  all the letters and fb comments you all left for me would bring a smile to my heart and would give me extra strength to go on.

The doctors didn’t really tell me that the next 6 months after treatment might be more painful than before treatment as I continued to detox the dead Lyme bacteria in my body. But when I started seeing progress I was sure glad I did it! I had lost control of my arms and legs and the next month or two after treatment I gained control of my limbs again. That was so huge for me!!

Since the Lyme Disease had made my brain fog and TBI symptoms worse I was so excited when those symptoms started getting better. For instance I would start talking louder, clearer, and faster than I had in a long time. My thoughts became clearer for me and my brain didn’t get “stuck” nearly as much as it used to.

My case ended up being more complicated as I am healing slower than most.  Soon my doctor discovered 3 different types of parasites in my body that had multiplied due to my weak immune system and started reeking havoc on my fragile body. Basically the parasites preyed on the weaknesses the Lyme disease had left behind.  Because we had lived in India, my doctor referred me to a parasite specialist who discovered 3 additional types of parasites (6 total) and has me currently going through a treatment program for that… and of course it hasn’t been easy.

The last few weeks I’ve been so sick from the parasite treatment with horrible nausea and the room feels like I am spinning worse than it always does. My nerve pain is higher and more intense. I just lay  in bed knowing that even though the sickness is worse right now, in the long run its gonna be better once the parasites are dead and no longer in my body.

Isn’t that kinda what our emotional wounds are like, parasites that make us emotionally sick?! The sad memories and the negative thoughts we have are like parasites in our hearts and minds. They’re nasty little things that need us as a host in order to stay alive.

Without help, I  think that our emotional wounds can kill our spirits. They suck the life out of us. With time they can cause us to become bitter, or fearful so we never live or love as much as we could. We have to recognize the symptoms of our pains and then choose to get help.

The good news is that God can heal us from these wounds if we ask Him to. But often the “treatment” is slower and more painful than we expect. He cleans us out and puts His healing on our hearts and minds . We slowly start to feel better. We start killing the negative thoughts. The sad memories just become memories. We forgive those who hurt us.

We all  have hurts, scars, or scabs left behind from what others, or from what we have done to ourselves.  We’ve all been through our own trials, and often those trials leave behind painful memories. We attain hurts that go deep into our souls. Sometimes we are silently tortured by the wounds left on our inner being. We don’t want to feel the pain… but sometimes we don’t want to get healing when we realize that the process of healing may be painful. But let me assure you it is worth it!

There have been many times that I asked God for healing in my heart for different hurts or issues. As I continued to ask Him, He started to answer that prayer. The thing is that we have to face the painful memories before we can work through them. We will eventually find our destination –healing. But why do we have to work through these memories??? Well we can never find freedom or healing from our wounds until we face them head on. Denial might be a crutch, but it is never a cure. So God brings back these memories and often shows us what happened in our hearts when those trials occurred. He often asks us to forgive those that left these wounds on our hearts… sometimes we have to even forgive ourselves.

He shows us patterns of behavior that occurred due to those tribulations. He shows us coping methods that aren’t healthy. He shows us wounds that turned to bitterness and unforgiveness, anger or hatred, self mutilation, and many other sins that we may have allowed to be a result from the hurts left behind.

I can’t tell you how often I just see the dirt in my heart and just pray over and over “Purify my heart God.” I love that song psalm “Create in me a clean heart Oh God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence oh God. Take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of my salvation, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51)

As God cleanses us, and comforts us , He brings us to our destination—Healing.

I may have a lot more healing to go through physically (and emotionally too) but I’m much farther than I was last year. Sometimes it’s easy for me to get discouraged since I am still trapped in bed every day with so many symptoms. I often get impatient and feel like this is the slowest healing ever lol!!! But the important thing for me to remember is that I am healing. No I’m not healed yet, but I am in the process of healing.

No I’m not where I’d like to be, but this is a journey and God is on the ride helping me through each day.  I praise Him for the healing that has taken place and I cry to Him about the sickness left behind. He is there to listen to me and help me through whatever I am going through. His strength is the only way we can get through this difficult life and still find joy along the journey. This sure is a Radical Road we’re on. But it is an amazing road we were destined for.

So if you’re going through hardship in your life I just want to encourage you to ask God to help you get through it. One day at a time… sometimes all we can handle is one minute at a time. If you have any hurt ask God for healing and He will help you start to heal. The healing might be painful, but it is worth it.

God bless you and be with you, and be near you on the radical road you’re on. If you’d like to follow my journey on facebook visit : https://www.facebook.com/RadicalRoad/

Psalm 118:17 I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord.

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds

Psalm 107:20 He sends forth His word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and destruction.

Psalm 34:15, 17 The eyes of the Lord are toward the [uncompromisingly] righteous and His ears are open to their cry. When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their distress and troubles.

Psalm 46:1 God is our Refuge and Strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation], a very present and well-proved help in trouble.

 

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5 Responses to Healing is Painful

  1. Reblogged this on S. W. Krull Imaging and commented:
    An update on Rachel’s journey to healing!

  2. mbyutzy says:

    Wow, Rachel! You’ve done it again. You are a true encourager. God is teaching you many things during this whole process, which you pass on to us. Love you and keep praying for your healing.

  3. WOW BELOVED! “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace.” Isaiah 55:12
    I am coming to co. DEC 5-20 see you soon:) I love you Rachel, Love Sondra

  4. psalmsheb says:

    You are beyond amazing because you have truly yielded body mind heart and soul to the Lord. In the “natural” you may still be sick, but you are healthier in spirit than any other person I know. I love you so much.

  5. Kirk says:

    Holy, moley, Rachel! Every time I read one of your blogs, I think this woman can’t get any more amazing – but you do! Every time! My eyes misted up reading this. The description of your pain hurts me to hear – and I’m just reading this! You’re living it! I just saw this – Julie and I were out of the country for a few weeks and only home a day before we went to the cabin for Thanksgiving. You are a blessing to all around you. We love you and look forward to the next time we can visit. Merry Christmas to your and all the family!

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