Sometimes, all I need is a spoonful of strength.
Living with a chronic disease reminds me of some of my previous plane trips. I’d start off full of nervous anticipation with a little fear of what lay ahead once on board. There were some smooth passages and then all of a sudden we’d hit almighty turbulence.
Chronic Illness Turbulence
Today I hit “chronic illness” turbulence. The less pleasant part of my health journey.
It’s not just one thing, it’s a culmination of health events which have created cyclonic circumstances.
The consistency of bone pain, worsening of avascular necrosis in my right hip, new stress fractures in my pelvis and feet, all add up. They are contributing to a fatigue level that is making me feel like I’m drowning in fog.
My non-union femur constantly has muscle bleeds. I literally can’t lift my left leg off the floor when this happens and I need help with everything. That’s painful turbulence of the highest degree.
Scans and X-rays on my leg have revealed I now have bone growing into my muscles. It’s apparently a complication of my rare bone disease and my body trying to heal my broken femur. It’s getting it all wrong.
So I’m experiencing what can best be described as “chronic illness turbulence”. I’m hanging on tightly through this part of the journey.
The outlook is…..
More turbulence ahead is imminent!
The words of a favorite hymn echo in my mind and provide me with a strong anchor as I sing silently and pray for strength:
Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
when the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
will your anchor drift, or firm remain?
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
steadfast and sure while the billows roll;
fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love
(Priscilla J Owens)
Calming the Storm
This chronic disease onslaught can be all too much to comprehend at times and I need to try to calm the storm. I need to quieten my mind and body.
While treading water, after what feels like my chronic illness flight has crashed into the deep-sea, I’m beginning to think upon things that are certain.
It’s the certainties in life that restore my calm. Without them, I would undoubtedly drown.
My certainties each and every day are:
- My faith;
- I’ve got through the turbulence before;
- My husband is here by my side;
- My medical team is so supportive and are working together to provide me with the best care possible;
- It could be worse…it could always be worse;
- I understand why my leg pain is worsening and I know to lower my expectations of my physical capabilities even further;
I know, without a shadow of a doubt, my strict daily rest patterns are integral to reducing the intensity of muscle pain in my legs and to prevent bleeds. Note to self….do not try to miss them!!
A Spoonful of Strength
I’ve realized through my chronic illness journey and through journeying with others, who are living daily with the uncertainties of chronic illness, that sometimes we don’t need the turbulence to disappear completely to be happy and at peace.
Sometimes, all we need is a spoonful of strength, found in the things that are our anchors in life.
Those places and moments where we find certainty that the turbulence will settle and calm will return, they are the things that strengthen our hearts and minds.
My faith in God continues to encourage me through the calm and the turbulent passages of my health journey.
As I pray for strength and comfort, my answer often comes in simple ways.
Sometimes it’s via a friend sending an encouraging message when I least expect it and at just the right moment. God’s perfect timing still never ceases to amaze me.
Sometimes it’s a song, playing on my Spotify playlist, that is just perfect for my situation and immediately lifts me.
Whatever turbulence you are journeying through, whether loss, health, work or family, look for a spoonful of strength.
Our trials will not always be removed entirely. One thing I am certain of is that God will give us the strength we need in the storms of life. We just need to ask, listen and look for the answer.
A spoonful of strength gives me the resolve to hope that tomorrow will be a better day.
5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Psalm 62: 5 -8 (NIV)
Sam retired early, from an Executive Management career in Banking, due to a rare bone disease. She is the founder of an online support forum "Medical Musings with Friends", a place where the hand of friendship & understanding is offered to anyone living with the effects of chronic disease.