Katie & Briscoe

Katie & Briscoe

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thank You, God, for Muscle Relaxers!

So, I've got this whole new issue with MAJOR back spasms. NO fun at all. I had a few after the first chemo treatment, but this time around they've been much, much worse. Bad enough to literally stop me in my tracks and to push me dangerously close to hyperventilating during the worst one. I talked with the Dr.'s office on Wednesday morning (after having a HORRIFIC spasm the night before that I thought just might actually kill me. Sounds melodramatic, but I could not breathe or move when it hit.) The nurse called back to let me know he was prescribing a muscle relaxer for me. I started taking them Wed. evening. It took a while for them to kick in, but I was feeling vastly better when I got up Thursday morning. Today (Friday) has been a little rough for me. I had an appointment in Madison and decided to go to Walmart after to pick a few things up. I actually grabbed a quick bite to eat,stopped at the Dollar Tree to pick up a pair of cheap sunglasses, ran into Staples looking for something, then went to Walmart. By the time I left, my back was throwing a royal fit. I don't even want to think about how bad it would have been if I wasn't taking those muscle relaxers! As it is, I wasn't entirely positive that I'd get the few things I'd bought loaded into the trunk without having to flag down a passerby for help. I had planned to go to Carrollton from Madison to look for something I can't find in Madison, but I ditched that idea quick. I figured I'd be doing good to just make it home.

You know, it's kinda hard to turn around and look behind you when trying to back up or change lanes when doing so causes a massive muscle spasm. Basically, I was just thrilled to make it home in one piece. LOL I did get home safely, though I left most of what I bought out in the car. Mark will have to bring it in tomorrow. I got some cream cheese and pepperoni slices, as well as a couple of pieces of fabric, and that's all that made it into the house with me. The rest of it is hardly what I'd call heavy, but it was just about all I could do to wrangle it into the trunk non-the-less, so I figured it would be just fine where it is for now. I came into the house, put the 2 cold things into the fridge, got myself a drink, and collapsed onto the couch with my beloved heating pad.

I am feeling better now that I did on the way home. When I got in the car after coming out of Walmart, I took 3 Ibuprofen tablets. I guess they've kicked in, because I'm not hurting quite as bad as I was. I'm thinking that I may have to talk to the Dr. about something stronger, though. Much as I hate it. I really did not want to have to take the muscle relaxers. I hate having to take prescription meds. But that spasm Tuesday night was enough to make me bite the bullet and call the Dr. I do believe that is the worst pain I've ever felt in my life. And the worst part is that it was so bad that my entire body seized up. Before the spasm was even over I could feel my lower back starting to spasm as well. It's been achy and sore ever since, though it isn't spasmodic like the other spot is. I'm on a very low dosage of the muscle relaxer for now. I thought it was going to be good, but after today, I'm wondering if we might not have to up the dosage. I need to be able to do basic things like go to the grocery store or sit in a waiting room chair without having it trigger an episode of spasms. I'm supposed to talk to the Dr. about it when I go in on Monday to have my 3rd chemo treatment.

Honestly, I'm a tiny bit worried about how the next treatment will effect me. I was a lot more tired after the 2nd one than I was after the 1st, which is not unusual. But what does that mean for the next one? And the aches and pains from the Neulasta shot were a lot worse the 2nd time around, too. I think it is at least partly responsible for the muscle spasms. Just please pray that everything works out. I know God is in control and that He will get me through it.

Tuesday night, when that really bad spasm hit me, I couldn't do a thing. I'd gone into the bedroom to lay down with the heating pad on my back. The spasm hit me the second I laid down. It usually spasms a little when I lay down, but never anything like what happened that night. It hit me so hard that breathing was impossible for a few seconds. Then, when I could take a breath all I could do was take fast, shallow breaths because deep breaths were impossible. My entire body felt like it was in spasm right along with my back. I was shaking from the pain. I couldn't yell for Mark, and even if I could have, I doubt he would have been able to hear me all the way at the other end of the house. I hadn't even brought my cell phone into the bedroom with me, so I couldn't call him, either. So, I did the only thing I could do. I closed my eyes and started praying.

I told someone earlier today that skeptics out there would probably have all sorts of answers for what happened next. I was on my back and though the heating pad wasn't precisely where I would have liked it to be, it was beneath the spot that was the source of all the spasms. I turned it on right after I stopped praying. And, as bad as muscle spasms can be, the worst of the pain does usually come and go fairly quickly. Still, the pain that had my entire body trembling and brought tears to my eyes faded almost immediately after I prayed. I call that an answered prayer. You can call it whatever you like. But the pain eased and though I still could not move at all, at least I wasn't in agony. My pulse rate began to ease, I was able, after a few minutes, to relax my body while the heat from the heating pad worked to ease the spasms. Mark came in to check on me just a few minutes after it happened. By then, the worst of it was over, though, like I said, I still couldn't move. Any effort to change position or roll over or anything like that caused a jab of pain as the muscle would clench. So I just laid there with the heating pad. I read a little, prayed a little, and just let my body slowly relax. It was several hours later before I felt comfortable trying to roll over. When I managed that without triggering another series of spasms, I figured I was going to be okay. I didn't sleep much, and I was up early the next morning to call the Dr. I did feel good enough to fix breakfast that morning, though I didn't do much else for the rest of the day until we went to pick up my new medicine that evening. Still, though it all, I am thankful. Thankful that I wasn't completely alone when it happened. Thankful that God heard my prayer and answered it so swiftly. Thankful that I could call the Dr. and get something to help with the spasms. Thankful that the pills are generic and so therefore are also pretty cheap. And thankful that it isn't worse than it is. Because it can ALWAYS  be worse. However bad we think we might have it, however rough the road we might be walking, there is always someone else out there who has it harder. It reminds me of a little story I read once.

A man comes to God and tells Him that he just cannot carry his cross any longer. It is too heavy a burden to bear. So God leads him to a door and opens it. Inside there are crosses everywhere of all shapes and sizes. God tells the man to put his cross down and go pick out another one. He leans his cross against the wall and begins to wander through the massive room. He looks at all the crosses, some so enormous that they reach the ceiling far above. Others smaller, but made from terribly rough wood that would certainly be uncomfortable to carry ever day. He lifts a few of the crosses, but they all seem so heavy! Finally, he spots a cross that is much smaller than all the others. He rushes to it, picks it up and sighs in relief. It isn't all that heavy at all. He carries it to the door and nods as he passes God on the way out. God smiles and says, "That's the cross you came in with."

It's easy to think our "cross" is heavier than someone else's. Easy to look around us and think that we are alone in our suffering or struggles. But that is never the case. God is always with us. He even bears the weight of our cross, if we will let Him. And there are always others out there bearing burdens far greater than our own. Maybe we can't see them because the person is always smiling. God sees our hearts, though. He knows what we carry within us that no one else can see. He sees our tears, even if they aren't physically falling from our eyes. How wonderful it is to know we are not alone! Christ Jesus died for us, suffered in our place, took on every sin we and the rest of the entire world have ever committed. He was beaten and bruised for us. The Bible tells us that by His stripes we are healed.

There's a song by the group Selah titled Beautiful, Terrible Cross. It is such a powerful song because that's what the cross is. It is a terrible, horrific, evil device of torture created by men. Yet, the cross of Jesus Christ is the most beautiful thing in the world because it is there where our Salvation was made real. It is the place that our Lord and Savior won the battle, where He defeated death forever and made it possible for us to be fully free from the inescapable debt of sin that we owed. It is beautiful and terrible at the same time. Here are the words of the song, followed by a video.

There is a beautiful terrible cross where though You committed no sin
Savior You suffered the most wicked fate on the cruelest creation of men
Yet on that beautiful terrible cross You did what only You could
Turning that dark inspired evil of hell into our soul’s greatest good
We see the love that You showed us we see the life that You lost
We bow in wonder and praise You for the beautiful terrible cross

There on that beautiful terrible cross though darkness was strong on that hill
You remained sovereign, Lord, still in control as Your perfect plan was fulfilled
We see the love that You showed us we see the life that You lost
We bow in wonder and praise You for the beautiful terrible cross
We gained the riches of heaven Jesus You paid the horrible cost
We stand forgiven and praise You for the beautiful terrible cross
For the beautiful terrible cross

In the cross, in the cross be my glory ever
Till my raptured soul shall find rest beyond the river

If that doesn't touch something inside you, then you might want to check up on your salvation. And just for good measure, here's another powerful song on the same subject: The Power of the Cross, by Keith & Kristyn Getty with Stuart Townsend. Here are the words, again followed by a video of Kristyn singing the song.
Oh, to see the dawn of the darkest day: Christ on the road to Calvary.
Tried by sinful men, torn and beaten, then nailed to a cross of wood.

This, the pow'r of the cross: Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath— we stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see the pain written on Your face, bearing the awesome weight of sin.
Ev'ry bitter thought, ev'ry evil deed crowning Your bloodstained brow. 

This, the pow'r of the cross: Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath— we stand forgiven at the cross.

Now the daylight flees; now the ground beneath quakes as its Maker bows His head.
Curtain torn in two, dead are raised to life; "Finished!" the vict'ry cry. 

This, the pow'r of the cross: Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath— we stand forgiven at the cross.

Oh, to see my name written in the wounds, for through Your suffering I am free.
Death is crushed to death; life is mine to live, won through Your selfless love.

This, the pow'r of the cross: Son of God—slain for us.
What a love! What a cost! We stand forgiven at the cross.

I really do love the Gettys. They have written so many incredibly beautiful and powerful songs. They consider themselves to be modern hymn writers and I would have to agree. I love their music. And Kristyn's voice is so typical of Irish singers. Beautiful, clear, and deceptively powerful. They've been given a wonderful gift and they have devoted themselves to spreading the gospel through their music. I love that.

Okay, enough preaching for one night. I'm feeling much better now that I've spent some time with my heating pad. I think I'll see if my back will hold up to me doing a little laundry. The bending over is often a bit of an issue, so we'll just have to see how far I get. I really need to toss a few things in the washer, though. I'd love to try running the vacuum, too, but that might just be a little too much. LOL Poor Mark is going to have to spend his weekend cleaning house. Bless his heart. I sure do love that man. :)

I hope everyone out there who reads this will take the time to thank God for all their blessings. A thankful attitude - as well as the ability to laugh at yourself and your situation - are profoundly important keys to living a joyful life, I believe. So be thankful for all you have and take a minute to smile and laugh. It's a great way to relieve stress!

Blessings to all,


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