Beating Chronic Pain: Healing and Hope Inside His Plan {Part 2}

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The waiting, Lord. The not knowing. The questions. The battle. I’m just fine, Lord. In all of it. Because I have you. And in all that, I’m thankful. Because you’ve blessed others through me. And you have blessed me.

 

I am doing tremendously better and I’ve wanted to tell you about it for a long time now. It’s just that I wanted to be sure the time was sufficient for me to see if I was helped and just how much. I have been experimenting with treatment, seeing a rheumatologist, and reading tons and tons of articles and journals. I am ready to share now. Sharing not medical advice, but Godly living for the whole body and and mind … and how I have gone from chronic pain and symptoms that have bothered me for years to this amazing turn around.  I don’t think it was a coincidence that I changed things in my life for the better after I began seeking knowledge about these things. But then again… I don’t believe in coincidence.

 

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I prayed through this with great hope, and looked forward to sharing the progress as I have had many asking about it since I shared so much of the painful journey while trusting the Lord. I wanted to get rid of this severe pain in my life. I wanted to be able to stand longer than 15 minutes in the kitchen and walk without pain that occurred within 15 minutes of walking. I’ve experimented with the treatment plan to make sure that it was truly helping me, so I stayed on it for a while and then went off for a few reasons and now I’m back on the plan. It is all natural and it is easy. I spoke to my rheumatologist about it and he said to me, “If this is helping you then I recommend you absolutely stay on this plan. The medicines that we prescribe are for the symptoms only, since we have not found a cure for it. And the truth is, they only help about 20 to 30% of the time.”

You may have done as much research as I have to make your best decisions regarding your health. You may have already tried several things I’ve tried, and they haven’t worked for you. I understand how hard it is to find the very best ways to improve. I came about this from a very different perspective, because I wanted God to be in the middle of it. I didn’t want to just go to God in prayer only asking to be healed or to feel better, because prayer is not just a one time/one mode thing for me. It is how I live in relationship with God.

I thought many times about how God healed me when I was 27, from depression and brain disease, and how powerful that moment was. I am so thankful that He took that horror from my life that I had experienced since I was a child. I knew that day without a shadow of a doubt that He was going to heal me. He had worked in my life for years and years to help me grow closer to Him, even when I had strayed into other things beyond His umbrella of grace. I had so much pain and anguish that I ran towards other things to find peace and none of it worked.

But that day was a culmination of many years of getting to know God better and relinquishing control I thought I had or needed to feel better. The moment I was healed is one of the most significant things to happen in my life. Important days…  they are life giving ~

giving my life to Christ and accepting His gift of salvation,
marrying my husband,
the birth of our daughter,
the healing my husband experienced in the hospital in 2008,
and my healing in June 1997

 

… those days mark my life with beauty and grace and love beyond anything human. They are days God showed up so amazingly in my life that His presence demanded that everything else wait.

 

I went home after that prayer with the prison minister who visited our church, and I knew without a shadow of a doubt God healed me. When it comes to a conversation between a soul and God like I experienced that night, the soul just knows. I knew nothing more in that moment except that God stepped out from heaven and into my earthly world and removed the beast that have plagued me for so long.

I know healing. I know it intimately.

 

And there is not a day that I breathe that I’m not thankful for what He has done since that moment. I’ve been able to tell my story and help people inside their own hell on earth with depression. His glory shines through every time the story is told, when it lands on the ears and hearts of those who need to hear it.

I know healing. I know intimately.

 

Because I know healing, this Fibromyalgia chronic pain beast, has been another source of growth in my relationship with God. I asked and believed for healing, but inside my soul knew it was different than before. I have heard God saying “not just yet”. For some, especially those who know of my first healing and long for another in my life {you are beautiful to me} that is possibly a hard thing to understand.

“Why, as a person who has been healed miraculously of long suffering, can she accept not being healed again?”

 

Some question whether I have enough faith or belief. I truly feel love and blessing from those people, but I assure everyone… those things could not possibly be further from the truth.

I know healing. I know it intimately.

 

God wants me to be healed and whole as much as I do. But sometimes in His plan there is reason to pause, to wait on the manifestation of that whole healing. And because I love God so very much, and I desire nothing more than to live with in His plan and not my own… I wait upon the Lord.

 

 

Healing on the Way to Healing

 

During this waiting time I have experienced so many symptoms that I thought I had several different things going wrong in my body. But the more I researched and read articles and medical journals, I realized that there had to be some connection. I prayed, as I always had, that God would show me what I needed to know and lead me to the truth through what I was reading and studying.

Maybe I could help other people.

 

What has helped me may or may not help you, but I strongly encourage you not give up and not to just accept blindly the normal protocol that can produce other long term effects. Keep looking for things that will help until you are healed. Sometimes God chooses to use our situation to bless others and bless us in ways we never imagined… inside that waiting.

Humanity needs God. And inside our humanity we can show God to the world. When God’s people walk inside His plan, boldly, the world can’t help but see it. And from the outside looking in, they want more than what they have in life. They want what we have. Let’s show them. Let’s show them God.

As I prayed, I asked Him for knowledge. I want to take care of this body, this vessel for my soul, that He has given me. I began to see how very easy it has become for people to abuse their bodies by not taking care of them in the healthiest way possible. I wanted to take responsibility and not become a worldly statistic.

Two doctors agreed that I had a malfunctioning nervous system. That made so much sense when I compared it to the fact that I had lots of symptoms and problems all throughout my body but at different times, recurring with no particular pattern for the last several years, and yet nothing that could be pinpointed. I needed to fix what I had gotten in a bad way.

If you have chronic symptoms for no apparent reason, you might want to look to your central nervous system. The nervous system has two basic components: the sympathetic nervous system part and the para-sympathetic nervous system part. The sympathetic nervous system component is also known as the ‘fight or flight’ system. When a person is in danger or has some serious event going on in their life that causes much stress, the body is put into fight or flight mode. Essentially it helps us deal with danger or major stressful situations by controlling different parts of the body. It is what helps people in high extreme emergency situations.

The doctors both said that my sympathetic nervous system was on most the time. That meant that even when I didn’t have a high stress situation going on in my life {I’ve had a few!} that my sympathetic nerves were still turned on to high gear. This affects the digestive organs, nerve communication issues, skin sensitivity, pain throughout the body in the muscles and sometimes joints, temperature intolerance, headaches, and numerous other problems. In fact there are about 40 known symptoms that can occur with Fibromyalgia and other chronic pain syndromes such as CFS and ME. And the cross over symptoms with other ailments lead me to think the nerve communication malfunction – which starts in the brain – could actually be part of the cause for numerous illnesses.

For those who have these malfunctioning nerve conditions, it is a massive undertaking during a particularly bad spell to deal with it. People looking at us don’t always see the symptoms that are flaring up. Unless they are educated about chronic pain illnesses, they don’t understand the degree of pain can actually be so severe that just our clothes touching our bodies can cause pain, let alone hugging someone or shaking their hand. I don’t pay mind to the stigma, but I do want people to understand before judging others; because if they do then judging never happens.

I wanted to learn everything I could about my body and how it works especially the nervous system. As I prayed and read, I believe God revealed to me that all those years ago some of the symptoms that accompanied my depression probably were caused by this very same thing. Seems I have been dealing with this on some level my whole life.

What I learned is this: in order to have a properly functioning nervous system certain chemicals in the brain and body needed to be replenished to appropriate levels. I was amazed to see how intricately our brains control our bodies and how the slightest imbalance of anything that our body needs can cause symptoms that most of us put off to other things. There are so many illnesses, I believe, that can be eliminated from our lives if we just took better care of ourselves. So that’s what I started to do.

A common underlying factor for chronic pain and some other illnesses is non-restorative sleep which causes unhealthy levels of serotonin, melatonin, and certain hormones. I found many doctors who have tried to find reasons and causes and subsequently treatments. Many of them agree that these things being at unhealthy levels can affect us greatly, to the point of these chronic illnesses. I found a doctor who had successfully treated thousands of patients around the world with Fibromyalgia and CFS symptoms. I have a friend who has Fibromyalgia too, and she has seen great success. She is being treated by him and her life has improved as much as mine. Since I couldn’t visit his office or afford the long-distance care plan, I watched his videos in which he trains other doctors to help patients through this treatment plan to restore and maintain the proper levels of what is needed to have a heathy nervous system. He explains in his book that he feels that this is the mission he has been given in life, to help people have their health restored.

So I listened to his videos and read his recommendations. I began his plan of treatment in the middle of this past summer by starting with something called 5HTP which is 5 Hydroxytryptophan. You’ve probably heard the word tryptophan before at Thanksgiving time, because it’s commonly thought that because of the tryptophan in turkey people want to nap after a Thanksgiving meal. While there is tryptophan in turkey, it is not enough to make us go to sleep. {But when we add all the other things we’re eating, especially the carbohydrates and other items with tryptophan – and the fact that we usually overeat! – the naptime desire usually follows.} I knew my 2 hours of sleep most nights for several years, with a couple of longer night scattered in between, were depleting my system of seratonin and the other chemicals. I needed sleep!

His theory, which is very similar to what other doctors in the world who are studying:

If our serotonin levels, among other needed chemical and hormone levels, were restored to normal then our stress-coping hormones and brain functions would also be normal. That means that our nervous system would not stay on high alert all the time making our bodies react.

 

Since one of the main symptoms of this illness and similar ones is problematic sleep to the extreme, it made sense to me that restorative sleep would in turn raise the levels of tryptophan which then turned into serotonin – which helps in the production of melatonin – thus bringing about a healthier beginning process. Healthy beginning process means healthy functioning nervous system and brain communication.

I knew that no matter what, my years of getting very little sleep every night meant my body was running on empty… and then so was my nervous system. The funny thing is that I found out even when a person sleeps, if they have an unhealthy body and brain function, then their sleep is not restorative and they are not producing the right levels of these chemicals so badly needed in our bodies. Sleep, friends! It does a body and brain good!

I read carefully and listened carefully to this doctor’s protocol and compared it to others around the country. They had a lot in common that made sense to me, and so I started the treatment this past mid-summer. {Keep in mind that I am also in perimenopause which causes symptoms of its own and so I have to separate those out.}

 

The treatment plan has helped me tremendously.

The first thing I noticed is that I was sleeping so soundly that I felt like having a party in the morning to celebrate. I was actually going to sleep and sleeping six to nine hours at a time. Despite the few times in the last five years that I felt like I was having a stretch of good sound sleep, I just hadn’t felt the same as this. I couldn’t believe that I was sleeping so soundly. While I still have had some body pain, it has reduced at least 80 to 90% compared to what it was before the treatment plan began. The other symptoms have reduced drastically as well. And some of what is left could be peri-menopause.

Come on body! I started this “change” 6 years ago and I said I’d take the beard hairs if you just got on with it! I DON’T want a full beard though so hurry up!

 

The few weeks I stopped the treatment, my sleep pattern quickly went back to problematic. Now I am sleeping again, and the pain I had during the time off of the treatment has again subsided substantially. I still have some pain and symptoms, occasionally, and that’s almost always in the morning which is common for this illness. I have been taking several of the suggested supplements and vitamins in this plan, and while I believe they all are helping, the major thing that I am so thankful for is that I have been sleeping.

Thank you TURKEY! ;)

 

And because of that, I am confident my serotonin and melatonin levels have begun to level out, which, as I mentioned, is the beginning of the brain process that even extends to the adrenal glands. My life has drastically improved! I am so thankful that through my journey and trying to take care of this body that God has given me, that He has helped me to feel healthy again. I am so thankful that my trust in Him led me to knowledge that I need to have. I’m so thankful that I’ve been able to encourage others to experience these things and help shine a light into their lives. Some of you are those very people that have now become my friends. I want to encourage you to try everything you can to be healthy until your time of healing arrives. And if your sleep is rare or non-restorative… then, what might change in your life if it was better?

We’re given one life on this earth and one body to live it. We are to go into the world. Let’s go healthy, together!

 

Live Blessed,

Heather

 

40YearWanderer.com ~ The Vision
GoingALLIN.org ~ The Mission

 


 

 

Related articles that I pray will encourage you, friend:

Why Am I Not Healed Yet?

Conversations With the Enemy and God: Faith In the Midst of Chronic Pain

The Trapped Mind Series at Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood

If you’d like to read the soul-deep stuff I share… I’m eternally grateful to walk this journey with you… You can get me in your email inbox… Well, not really me. ;)


Have you gone ALL IN yet? I invite you to the ministry that has been in my heart for a decade.
It’s different than anything you may have ever seen. It’s #ALL IN for Christ.

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10 thoughts on “Beating Chronic Pain: Healing and Hope Inside His Plan {Part 2}

    • Heather Mertens says:

      Oh Lynn, just taking the 5HTP to sleep has been amazing! And that it helps build the seratonin has changed my life! Thank you for taking my needs and praises The Lord! That is blessing! You are a dear dear friend to me.

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  1. writerwannabe763 says:

    I’m so glad that you’re feeling better, and that you have had doctors who have helped you. I know what you mean when you talk of the effects of non-restorative sleep. It’s been about 2 years, and because of one thing and then another and then another I still do not sleep regularly well at all. There are some nights when I do get that 5 or 6 hours, but like you said it is the exception and not the rule. We are just in the process of changing doctors because she doesn’t seem to take our concerns seriously….Anyway, so happy for you Heather… Take continued care of yourself.. Diane

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  2. Dawn Boyer says:

    Praising God for the healing and the continued health in your body, and even more praise for the way that He is bringing good out of the struggle because He never wastes hurt or a difficulty.
    Bless you!
    Dawn

    Like

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