Two days ago. I stood in the middle of my floor, looking down, staring at my bare feet.
I watched every one of my toes curl under, pushing hard enough into my wood floor for each tip to turn white. One thing that comes with Cerebral Palsy in my case is spasticity. And one thing about spasticity? When it’s happening, there’s not much you can do about it.
My deep breath was shaky because I knew it was going to be a long one. Every inch of my body hurt, from the top of my shoulders to the tips of my toes that refused to relax.
Chronic pain. Two words that control my life more than I’d like them to.
I knew this could happen. I’m not even 6 months out of surgery and in a way, my body is screaming because it doesn’t know what the heck is happening. I’ve fought back with lots of time in the gym and home exercise programs but nothing is like going to PT. Which I finally get to start this week with UF Health.
But the past three days have been brutal. Miserable. Honestly, some of the worse I can remember.
College makes me hit the ground running. I often don’t look back and don’t give my legs and body as much attention as they need.
And since Sunday, the real struggles of CP have closed in, backed me into a corner and took a figurative sledgehammer to every inch of my body.
These are the times when it’s hard.
The times when I’m in my room alone. The times when the “why” questions creep in, and I often scream at God. My mind runs in circles as my body screams for relief.
Monday night, late, I sat on my floor, knees to my chest, watching my toes cramp in and out.
Leaning against my bed, my shoulders screamed from using my crutches a lot that weekend.
Resting on my carpet, my left hip begged for the sorta-new screw that resides in it to leave.
As the first tear rolled down my cheek, I remembered how they’d have me rate my pain out of 10 every morning in the hospital. Eight, I thought to myself.
This is an eight.
The floodgates opened and I was mad at God.
Like, really mad.
It’s like everything in me was telling me to run from this, but I couldn’t. Nothing I did made the pain stop.
My 20 years of this life have taught me that in these “eight” moments where there’s nothing I can do to control the physical pain, I just have to ride it out. And do my best to reign in my brain and not let it spin out of control. Because all my life, I’ve made the argument that the mental effects of having a physical disability are probably stronger than any physical aspect we experience.
For probably 30 minutes, I sat on my floor and completely failed at keeping my mind stable.
It spun and it spun. And I screamed at God.
I didn’t want this and I didn’t get this. What the heck is the point of making me feel like everything in my body is on fire, God?
Why? What’s the point? There’s got to be more to this. You’ve got to be doing something more with this, God.
I cried and pushed through. And then started digging for answers.
On my blog Instagram account, I follow a lot of other blogs (makes sense, right?)
One of the people I follow is Audrey Roloff. I had seen her post picture after picture of “Always More” written on her hand. So, considering that in that moment, I was searching for more, more answers to my pain, I decided to Google it.
I pulled up her blog and started reading. On her blog she said that “Always More” is her life mantra and referenced Ephesians 3:20:
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,”
Woah. Okay. God can do immeasurably more with my pain?
I cried some more. But for a different reason. Because the answer was right in front of me as I sat on my floor.
It has been on my heart to somehow reach out and create a stronger community within my dorm floor that is mainly all disabled students. I take for granted how blessed I am in my physical situation so lately I’ve felt convicted to do something about it. With a little help, I will hopefully be starting a bible study for the kids on my floor soon.
Maybe that’s it. God allows me to experience these extreme spurts of pain so I can relate better. So I can lead and serve these kids from a better place.
So I get slapped with a little perspective and stop taking for granted how blessed I am. Like I’ve said before, if my medical chart spoke for itself, I should be much worse off than I am.
Audrey also referenced Matthew 6:19-21 in her blog which is about storing our treasures in heaven.
One day, me and every other disabled kid will be pain free.
That’s where my focus should be. Building God’s Kingdom so more kids like me can have hope to cling to when they find themselves in a place like I was Monday. Screaming in pain, looking for answers, wondering why.
That picture is from a summer when I did intensive PT. It was one of the hardest, most painful things I’ve ever been through. But I somehow managed to smile.
There’s always more to the pain.
There’s always more hope to grab.
There’s always more people to reach.
Fighting this physical pain with everything I got and shrugging it off when I can.
But when I can’t shrug it off, I’ll cry secretly for 30 minutes. And then pick myself up and focus back in on what’s important.