"Like a song in the wind, Lord you call me again...surrender.
And I find myself drawn to your voice as I lean to the choice...surrender.
Like the echoing sound of the sea, Lord you echo in me...surrender.
Like a dancer I follow again to the music within...surrender..." ~Debbie Boone
There's nothing like chronic pain to get a person's attention! My journey with it began during the Christmas season of 1991. I had been sitting on the floor of my bedroom wrapping gifts. When I stood up, I had a crippling pain shoot into my left hip. It was so severe that I couldn't put any of my weight on it. I fell onto my bed and took a deep breath like I'd been taught to do in birthing classes. Within a couple of minutes, the pain disappeared as quickly and mysteriously as it had appeared. I had experienced moments of mild pain in this hip several times before, but nothing like what I felt that December night.
Christmas came and went, and with it brought a few more encounters with the same intense, debilitating pain. I was beginning to grow a bit concerned. In the back of my mind were visions of cancerous tumors growing in my body. It was time to see a doctor. I went to see an orthopaedic surgeon who happened to be an acquaintance of ours through our older boys' school. After one visit, I was off to get X-rays and an MRI. Both were inconclusive. At this point, the pain was becoming more regular, and my fears were increasing.
I saw several other surgeons over the next few months, all of whom were equally puzzled by my condition. Eventually, I ended up at the Kerlan-Jobe Sports Clinic in Los Angeles. Four more specialists examined me, took more pictures, and all came to different conclusions. All they could agree upon was the fact that my hip was rapidly deteriorating, my limp was growing more severe, my left hip muscles were atrophying, and the pain was worsening. I began physical therapy to avoid further muscle loss.
More months went by. This journey with my hip was taking over more and more of my life. I was in pain all the time now. I couldn't sleep much. I couldn't get comfortable standing or sitting. I was having to use crutches; what a nuisance when you have two small children! I was scared, frustrated, and angry. Why couldn't anyone figure out what was wrong with my hip? Was I going to have to spend the rest of my life like this?
One of the surgeons I was seeing recommended I try the Joint Replacement Institute in Los Angeles. Once again, I went through all of the tests. The doctor I was seeing at the Institute could feel something clicking in my hip when he examined me. When he put my X-rays up on the screen, even I could see an abnormality. It looked like someone had pasted a cotton ball on the socket of my joint. I didn't know whether to jump for joy or cower in fear.
For the next few days, I waited for more test results, wondering if I may have a tumor. My untrained eye had seen something; that couldn't be a good thing! In actuality, there was only one who knew what was wrong with my hip. One night, I cried out to him, "What is wrong with me?!" My Bible was in my hand, and I tossed it onto the bed in frustration. It opened up to Genesis Chapter 32. I looked down at the page and the first thing I read was, "When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip. Therefore, to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip because the socket of Jacob's hip was touched near the tendon." Was God trying to tell me something?
If you are curious how this turns out, please keep reading my blog. I will be telling my story in its entirety this week as I remember the bittersweet journey of living with chronic pain and healing.
"Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am faint;
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are in agony.
My soul is in anquish.
How long, O Lord, how long?" ~Psalm 6:2,3