SCIATICA AND METAPHOR: GIVING VOICE TO PAIN
For the past few weeks, I have been dealing with sciatic pain – sometimes mild and sometimes excruciating. The pain seems worse around my knee, but it begins in my hip. Then it goes down my leg and even in my foot. Since I didn’t have the diagnosis at first, I had no idea what was causing it and had a hard time describing it to others. There were a few Chronic Joy printables scattered on my desk, and one of them caught my eye – Metaphor: The Language of Pain. I thought to myself, Wow, that’s just what I need!
After making a list of the symptoms and answering some questions on the printable, I was able to describe my pain using battle terms. I originally thought about writing an allegory from my notes, but it seemed better to just share it as I wrote it. I hope it will encourage you to check out the Metaphor printable, especially if you have chronic illness or pain.
SCIATICA AND METAPHOR: THE BATTLEGROUND
Sometimes my whole leg feels like a battleground where I am fighting pain from an unknown, unannounced enemy. My knee is constantly pummeled by pain. Sometimes there is a lull when the pain is less. Other times it’s like a bomb has gone off behind my knee causing a burst of excruciating pain. I quickly change positions, gather weapons of defense, and hold my muscles firm (which unfortunately causes more tension).
As the battle drags on, each day is a drain on me physically and emotionally. My energy wanes and I feel washed out, ready only for sleep. Walking becomes harder as my left leg screams to be left alone. I limp, putting more pressure on my right leg but knowing that if I’m not careful, problems might start up there, too.
Yet, I don’t give up. I fight like a good soldier, calling upon reinforcements to support me. These come in the way of friends who send encouraging messages, songs, or scriptures and let me know they are praying for me. I also turn to God in desperation, calling on Him to give me strength, healing, and wisdom. Then, I find practical things to do that help little by little.
This verse is helpful because it reminds me that God is my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before him. God is our refuge. (Psalm 62:8)
- I know that movement will help in the long run, even though it seems easier to sit and prop up my leg. After sitting, especially for a long time, my knee and leg are very stiff and take time to loosen. I sometimes set a timer to remind myself to move every couple of hours. That helps a lot even if I just stand up, stretch, take a few deep breaths and walk around the house.
- Riding the exercise bike does wonders for my knee. Pedaling is the kind of movement that gives strength; after just 15 minutes, my knee feels much better. By pedaling a couple of times a day, I am victorious in this part of the battle of pain.
- I practice simple exercises almost daily because they give relief from the pain. At the same time, they strengthen my muscles and encourage flexibility.
- Using distractions like crocheting while propping up my leg keeps my mind from focusing on the pain and muscle tightness. I’m still able to cook and do some light cleaning by balancing chore time with rest time.
CHRONIC PAIN: FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT
Gradually, I am finding more relief, but it’s sporadic. On rainy days, the pain is noticeably worse. It seems to be taking a long time to heal, but I know now that sciatica can take several weeks and may even come back. This has made me realize the importance of adding more exercise (like walking) into my daily routine.
Sharing in suffering as good soldiers is part of how we fight the good fight. We know that Jesus understands our suffering and empathizes. Knowing Him as our Savior gives us hope and helps us through every day. Our suffering can make us bitter if we just focus on it, but if we take it to the Lord, it can drive us closer to Him.
Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of eternal life to which you were called and about which you have made a good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- Are you on a battleground today? Are there reinforcements you can call on for help?
- Do you know of someone doing battle? Can YOU be their reinforcement?
- Have you been able to “pour out your heart” to God? Is there a creative way (perhaps using Metaphor) to do just that?
Chronic Joy® Content Coordinator and Prayer Team
Gayl is a writer, poet, amateur photographer, artist, nature lover, crocheter, and seeker of truth and beauty. She and her husband, Steve, have 7 kids and 14 grandkids, some have chronic illness and one son is with Jesus. Gayl was a church pianist for years and homeschooled her children. She has published poems at Spillwords Press and an article in Five Minute Friday: A Collection of Stories Written in Five Minutes Flat. Her desire in life is to glorify God and encourage others. Check out her blog: Words, Photos, and Art.
Metaphor • The Language of Pain
Sometimes what we experience because of chronic illness, mental illness, pain, or suffering can not only be difficult to explain but also (for those who don’t experience it) difficult to understand. Metaphor can be a useful tool.