The word “heal” can take on a whole different meaning when you have a chronic illness.
I remember the first thing they told us at my pain management program was “We are not here to take your pain away. If you could be healed from it, you wouldn’t be here.” The words hit hard, but we all knew it was true. We were there to learn how to live with our symptoms the best way possible.
As a Christian, I believe the Lord can heal anyone. And this isn’t about faith healings, just that God is in control of everything in my life.
So do these two things contradict for me? No, not at all. When people say they are praying for God to heal me, I say for them to pray for God’s will. He never lets anything happen without reason and I believe I go through what I do because I can then help others.
No, that doesn’t make the pain or other symptoms any less. What it does do is strengthen me to handle them. I often say to doctors or technicians when they tell me something is going to hurt that the good thing about chronic pain is it makes other pain tolerable. I don’t know if they ever understand what I mean by that. It is just important to me to put things in the positive.
When I cut my finger on a mandoline slicer my reason for going to Emergency was the bleeding, not the pain. When the doctor froze the finger he said the freezing would sting a lot. I just did my breathing, making sure I was exhaling as he went in. I had to hold my breath for the mammograms so I just concentrated on that and the squeezing didn’t hurt at all.
When someone asks how I am doing and I say that the pain isn’t bad, many say they are so glad I am healed.
I am not healed.
For one, the pain is still there and always will be in some form and intensity. On another level, I am not just dealing with pain. Nausea is almost a constant and is brought on by a lot of other things. I am out of breath much of the time thanks to asthma, allergies and being out of shape. Fatigue and insomnia are constant companions and can affect pain and other levels. Memory and thought functions are some days non-existant because of medications and the fact that the brain is working overtime to manage all the other symptoms.
I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t say that there are times when I get really angry and others where I just want to crawl into a ball and feel sorry for myself. But neither of these emotions sticks around for long. I pick myself up and am thankful that I have what I have in life. There are so many people worse and those are the ones I hope I can help in some way.
As for being “healed”, I don’t even think about it anymore. If my conditions could be stopped at the level they are at right now and not get worse, I think I would consider that healing.