When I was in the hospital after having Lila, I noticed that the joints of my knees and hands were very achy. It got worse as the days went by.
In later years, it would migrate- my back, my shoulders, my hips, my ankles…with it came achy, feverish type symptoms. It came and went. Was worse under stress.
I saw my family doctor, a rheumatologist…I had blood tests and exams and consulted Dr. Google constantly.
Many hypotheses have been formed.
1. Rheumatoid arthritis. For several years, the doctor felt it was this…even though it didn’t show up in my blood tests. It still could be, we’re just not sure and it still doesn’t show up in bloodwork. My symptoms always did fit this diagnosis and there is a percentage of people who have it without testing positive.
2. It’s related to the Vitamin D deficiency I have. This seemed very likely until I kept having flare ups even after being on megadoses of Vitamin D.
3. It’s related to Hashimoto’s disease. I was diagnosed with this in the fall. This seems somewhat likely, though the joint pain is an uncommon symptom.
4. It’s some kind of combination of the previous three or two of the three or something.
5. We just don’t know why my joints ache.
For five years, my joints have troubled me. And this morning finds me stiff and achy…my shoulders and neck and hips and back especially. I shuffle instead of walk, I can’t get comfortable. I need a heating pad for every part. I just want to stand in the hot shower all day long. And, there’s something else…some kind of allergic reaction or who knows what…but I’m itchy…really, really itchy.
I feel pitiful and put upon.
But I have a new life now and I have learned that I must be thankful…even in literal suffering.
So, my joints ache and burn…my skin itches and crawls…but I give thanks.
290. My little girls hugging
291. The way Claire backs into her little Adirondack chair
292. Lila counting down the days until her birthday on Friday
293. The smell of whatever Deanna cooked this morning
294. The coffee my husband made me
295. My recliner
My grumpy, pessimistic inner me protested when I said it was time to give thanks. She whined and cried and said, “I’m not thankful for being itchy and in pain and with no relief in sight.” But we persevered. Counting joys, counting graces, being thankful. Seven came easy and then even more…
297. Claire dancing to the SpongeBob theme song
298. A sunnier day than yesterday
299. A ride for Julia to Newport News
300. Chatting with loved ones on Facebook
Because don’t we all know that practicing anything makes it come easier? It’s the same with gratefulness. The more I practice, the easier it comes. And it doesn’t take the pain away, but it takes the pain’s place away.
The pain was winning. It was the biggest thing I had going this morning. Achy joints, itchy arms…they were my predominant thoughts this morning. It was my focus. I was impatient and sour and feeling sorry for myself.
Naming my joys took that place of honor from my suffering and gave it back to Him- the giver of all gifts. I had to sacrifice- I had to give up the right to self pity, the right to wallowing, the right to grumbling and complaining. I had to let that go in favor of the higher thing.
He is good, even in my suffering. That part doesn’t change. He is always good. And this too shall pass.
Doesn’t Psalms 30:5 tell us so? Weeping may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning.