Getting to the Pain Point
I’ve joked that my stress fracture came from an overflow of stress, that I was “stressed all the way down to my bones.” The fact that we’ve been overwhelmed by change this year makes that a little too true, but really I don’t know exactly when or how I broke my fourth metatarsal. It happened silently, over a series of weeks, and under the supervision of a podiatrist.
When I made it to the orthopedic surgeon, I tried to give him the whole, long story, but he would have no part in it. I’m sure he’s like my husband, that he likes bullet points instead of detailed descriptions.
Dr. Krauss, who—by the way—is a mountain of a man, went straight to his examination. And there’s no other way to describe it—he simply mashed on my foot, hard. He pinched it, and I mean HARD, asking, “How does this feel? This? What about here?”
When he reached the previously unknown problem area—remember, I thought my pain problem was really near my big toe—I was shocked. He put the squeeze on me and tears sprang to my eyes. Not the sad kind, all welling up and glistening, but the involuntary kind of tears, sharp and instant. Yeow! I sniffed them up and tried to get a grip on myself.
You’ve got to show up, to get the help you need
Then he left the room to look at the x-rays and MRI that I had brought from my previous doctors. Of course, I’d already been told that the x-rays didn’t show a fracture. I had read the MRI’s written report, and there was no mention of anything out of the ordinary.
In fact, when I first entered the waiting room and saw the people there with walkers or casts with screws sticking out, obviously healing from surgeries, I felt like such a fraud. I was afraid the doctor would think I was wasting his all-important-surgeon time.
After a quick review of the situation in the waiting room, I decided the only thing worse than showing up for an appointment that you don’t really need, and feeling foolish, was no-showing on an appointment, and feeling rude. So I stayed.
In the exam room, I half-expected him to say, “You’re almost fifty. This is your new normal. Get over it,” but he didn’t. He did say, “I can see no fracture on your X-ray. And the MRI just shows normal anatomy.” I sunk into my shoulders and stared hard at the floor.
Then Dr. Krauss really found my pain point, and it wasn’t just in my foot. He quietly asked, “But you’ve been in a lot of pain for a long time now, haven’t you?” Oh great. Here comes the ugly-cry. Sniffling and gulping, I nodded, searching his face. My throat was tight and no words could make their way out.
Then the ugly-cry got a little worse. He said, “Don’t worry. I know we can fix this.” We. We. People, it was like my lungs suddenly filled with air, and I heard two important things things he didn’t actually say: You’re not alone and you’re not crazy. And that brought some sweet relief.
Here on the blog, I’ve been looking at this stress fracture as a way to learn about my heart, to learn from my pain. I see that pain in our body is like the other pain in our lives.
Find the pain point.
Then you can make changes
that lead to healing.
So often, we shuffle through our pain. I think it’s what chronic, survival mode looks like. When pain becomes our “new normal” we might start to make too much room for it in our lives. We might get to be old friends with it.
Remember, pain has a purpose. It is there to show us a need. Pain is the body’s cry for help. Pain is also the heart’s cry for help. In order to move toward healing, we have to find the pain point.
Spiritually, we can always go to God for healing, but our prayers are more effective when we humble ourselves and name our need.
- Lord, my pride is getting in my way. Please help me to overlook offenses. Help me to be generous with others, like You are, when they hurt me. Help me to remember, when I feel unloved, that You love me, completely.
- Lord, pride again. I’m worrying — is he, or isn’t he, mad at me. I get stuck on what others think about me, instead of asking You what You think about me. Show me the Truth.
- Lord, I am in fear over my husband’s health. I know You are my Provider, but I fret about the chronic pain, the weariness, the nagging injuries. I hold tightly to these worries, as if keeping watch over worry will keep the really, really bad things from happening…but I need to let it go and trust You. Can you show me how?
How’s your heart, sweet friend? Are you in pain today? Has it become your “new normal”? Whether the pain is quietly nagging, or it is mowing you down, the first place to go is to Jesus. Sit with Him and ask Him to reveal your pain point. Getting the right diagnosis is your first step toward healing.