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Thank You, St. Jude

Jude, also known as Judas Thaddaeus, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus.

He preached the Gospel with great passion, often in the most difficult circumstances. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he made profound differences in people’s lives as he offered them the Word of God.

The Gospel tells us that St. Jude was a brother of St. James the Less, also one of the Apostles. They are described in Matthew as the “brethren” of Jesus, probably cousins.

St-Jude-9-205x300St. Jude is traditionally depicted carrying the image of Jesus in his hand. This recalls oneof his miracles during his work spreading the Word of God.
King Abagar of Edessa asked Jesus to cure him of leprosy and sent an artist to bring him a drawing of Jesus. Impressed with Abagar’s great faith, Jesus pressed His face on a cloth, leaving the image of His face on it. He gave the cloth to St. Jude, who took the image to Abagar and cured him.

In the Catholic Church, St. Jude is the Patron Saint of Hope and impossible causes. Those who are in despair or distraught over finances or other circumstance in life are encouraged to ask St. Jude to pray for them.

Like so many times in the past, I can be too stubborn for my own good! LOL  I finally came to my senses when we were in nasty financial situation. My husband, who is self-employed, did not have work lined up and the monthly bills looming. (I am still battling for my disability, of course! At least a Hearing date has been set!!)

I asked St. Jude to pray for our financial situation.  As soon as I finished speaking to him, I heard my husband answer his phone.  He was headed out the door for a job.  The work has continued and is continuing for him.  We will be able to pay our bills this month thanks to the prayers said on our behalf by St. Jude!

Just as our friends and family pray for us, the Saints are there to speak to and to ask for their prayers as well! I now thank St. Jude each day before asking for his continued prayers.

Prayer Warriors

I understand that not everyone believes in God or in prayer; however, I am a strong believer.  There have just been things that I have experienced that could be explained no other way.

We often ask our friends and family to pray for us.  There is comfort in knowing that saint-jude-1606173_1280there are prayers being made on our behalf as we deal with crises, illnesses, chronic health conditions, sicknesses, surgeries, etc.  Yet we often sell ourselves short on all of the prayers sources available to us.

Being Catholic, there are so many Saints that are able to pray for us.  We do not pray to them; we ask them to pray for us…just like our friends and family.  Further we can always ask those dearly departed family and friends to pray for us as well.  Before you know it, there is a swell of prayers being raised to assist us in our time of need.

praying-hands-2535750_1280Of course, none of this takes place of our
personal prayers that are placed to our Heavenly Father through Jesus Christ.  There is a calming influence as we “unload” confess wrong doings, express our concerns, pains, sadness…as well as all that we are thankful for.

As we express ourselves, we are provided the opportunity to send up a “thank you” for all of those that have said prayers for us…and ask for Heavenly Father’s blessings for them also!

Results Are In!

The prep for the pain pump trial was very basic…just required a typical fasting…no food or drink after midnight the day prior. My pain specialist had approved a few sips with one of my meds prior to 6 am to help with the travel to the medical facility where the trial was to take place (a little over an hour drive time away from us).

I was required to have someone drive me and to have someone with me for 24 hours after the procedure. My husband was able to arrange his work schedule around those requirements.

I was very anxious of course! I did not sleep well the night before…as is always the case for me prior to a procedure.

Upon our arrival, I did not have to wait very long. My husband wheeled me back to what would be the area I would return to after the procedure. The nurse reviewed my history, asked the typical allergy to medication questions we are so used to and took my blood pressure. The nurse also placed an IV in my right hand in case I would have a reaction to the medication to be used in the injection.

The Medtronic rep then came to visit with us. We had a good discussion…he asked me questions regarding my knowledge of the upcoming procedure…we spoke about what would happen and rough time frames if the trial is successful…he was very courteous, professional and personable! There was no sense of being rushed…he wanted to make sure that all of our questions were answered.

It was then that I learned that he was my dedicated Sales Rep who would be present for the surgery if the trial was successful. He is also partnered with a clinical specialist. I was very impressed with the company structure and how Medtronic is set up to not only provide a product for those of us who have run out of options for our pain treatments, but to have a dedicated team who is assigned to us to support us…who genuinely cares.

By this time, the single pain med I had been allowed to take was quickly wearing off! I am thankful for the wonderful caring staff of my pain specialist…I could not help but be a bit grumpy!

I was taken back to the procedure/surgical room. I did not have to disrobe…just had to lie face down on the table. My back was then prepped with the typical skin cleanser…then told to expect a pricking sensation from the needle as the selected medication was injected into the epidural space. To be honest, I barely felt the needle or the injection!

I was then taken back to what would be my recovery area. I was very tired of course so I was awoken in about 45 minutes by my pain specialist to ask how I was doing. It was at that moment that I realized that I did not have pain in my feet, my right leg or hips!

Needless to say, it was completely surreal! The pain in my upper body was very present but no pain sensations were present in my lower body!!! As my pain specialist explained, he had placed the injection in the lower spine (picture an epidural) so my lower extremities were targeted. I also did not exhibit any type of adverse reactions from the medication.

We were ecstatic! The trial was going beyond our expectations! I actually walked a short distance using my wheelchair as a walker and felt ONLY the weakness of the lack of muscles in my lower body! It was exhilarating, exciting, unreal…like all birthdays and every Christmas of a lifetime being celebrated at once!

I was kept for four hours after the injection for monitoring. During that time, the nursing staff provided crackers and water to help calm my hungry tummy. They had quite a selection of snacks to choose from, so I was easily able to find something I could snack on that was within my dietary parameters.

At this point, it was just a matter of how long the relief would last. Would it last a handful of hours? Would it last a day?

On the way home, I felt the tell-tell signs that the pain was on its way back. Once home, I felt like had been hit by a Mack truck…then beaten with a baseball bat. Yet no amount of pain, could take away my elation! The pain pump trial had been a huge success!

Now I am awaiting the scheduling of the surgery!

Prayer

Prayer…it can be such an integral part of our lives.  I know for me, prayer is a vital life line.  It allows me to hand over my fears…frustrations…disappointments…concerns…as well as all that I am thankful for.

We learn many formal prayers….”The Lord’s Prayer”….”The Glory Be”…as Catholics, many more are learned…”The Hail Mary”…”The Apostles Creed”…”The Divine Praises”… I am sure several others have come to your mind.

We also learn to pray informally.  We are often told to use “The Lord’s Prayer” as a template for our own prayers…we are encouraged to use our own words…to speak to God as if he was in the room for us…like we would speak to a friend.

Often we can find ourselves in a rut…saying similar words as if by rote…going through the motions…not really allowing ourselves to open up and speak with our hearts not just our minds.

Many of us were taught the following pattern for prayer (referred to as A.C.T.S.):

Adoration – “Praise be to God!” -Psalms 68:35
Tell God how much you appreciate Him.

Confession – “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” -1 John 1:9
Tell Him where you have fallen short. Be as specific as possible.

Thanksgiving – Always “glorify him with thanksgiving” -Psalms 69:30
Thank God for His love, His faithfulness, His patience…express gratitude to Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Supplication – “Make your requests known to God.” -Philippians 4:6
Tell God what is on your mind…whether it be for yourself…a family member…a friend…you can also just speak thoughts that you are having.

I know that I often pray informally…yet there are many times…especially when Fibro Fog is thick…or my mind is wandering all over…I find comfort in reciting one of the formal prayers…even if I cannot get all the words correct…it helps me to relax…to shift my focus.

Our Heavenly Father knows our hearts…He knows our needs…He wants us to commune with Him.  Whatever type of prayer…as long as it is from the heart…will be heard.

Limitations

It is disappointing as we struggle within our limitations.  Limitations that have been imposed upon us by ill health…whether it be Fibromyalgia, Polyarthralgia, Chronic Pain Disorder, Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc. I am not suggesting that we are always disappointed or unhappy…not at all! Disappointment is a poignant visitor in our lives.

The medications that we take interact with our bodies and our conditions in a number of ways. For instance, when switching up doses or adjusting to a new medication, I often deal with the inability to stay awake. We can make tentative plans…only to find that I have curled up in bed and can not awake in time.

This used to really bother me. It often left me feeling guilty…feeling like a flake…or feeling that I have let my family down. However, I have come to the realization that this is just another aspect of my conditions showcasing my limitations. This can be interpreted in either a positive or a negative way. It is MY choice in how I react to these limitations.

During this most recent incident, I simply said a quiet prayer…something like, “Heavenly Father, you know my desire…” Truthfully, that is as far as I got before falling into a very deep slumber! I awoke hours later…to find that my husband and son had not yet eaten lunch.

We had missed an opportunity to get out and join friends for Church, however, I did have the opportunity to eat a quiet lunch with my family…and to enjoy a relaxing afternoon with them. No one was frustrated…they understood that my body was demanding sleep. I was not frustrated….I was disappointed, yes….but I know that there will be other opportunities!

I have learned to be a lot easier on myself…to not be so judgmental or harsh on circumstances that are truly out of my control. I know that my heart and mind are in the right place…even if I can not get my body there!  LOL

A sense of humor is a must for us as we deal with these situations….as we are reminded of our limitations. Yes…my body will always have the last say…I will continue to make plans and to find that I am not always able to go through with them. That is just one of the many lessons of living with chronic health conditions.

God Speaks

God speaks in so many ways…sometimes it is through a friend’s voice…sometimes it is an impression…sometimes it is in something we read…

Last night, I had some very heavy thoughts…wanting to somehow become more proactive in our community for those that are living with chronic pain (those with the condition/illness as well as family members, co-workers, friends).  I know that there are quite a few individuals dealing with this…just like I am.

The strong impression of pursuing working with the American Chronic Pain Association weighed heavily on me…I just kept praying for the right direction that I should pursue.

This morning another strong impression was given to me…to speak to a few individuals in town regarding a potential meeting place and trying to formulate my idea into a more concrete idea.  Keeping in mind that I am severely limited…as are some that I would like to reach out to…

Then I sat down and read the daily devotional for today, December 8, from “A Catholic Woman’s Book of Days” by Amy Welborn.  It reads in part:

“…God chooses each of us, too. We live in a hurting world that yearns for the healing touch of God’s love.  It seems beyond us.

But I have to remember this as well:  If God wishes me to be a part of this great work, He will give me the gifts I need to do it, and I have Mary’s prayer and witness to guide me along the way…”

Talk about a wonderful answer to my prayers last night! A great reinforcement to push ahead and to discuss my idea…to set about a meeting site…and further contacting the ACPA for the materials….

Faith

While reading Matthew 8:5-10 KJV, I was overwhelmed with the faith that was demonstrated by the centurion:

“And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.

And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.

The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.

For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.”

I read this…then read this again. Each time the same question came to my mind…is my faith as strong as the centurion demonstrated?

Each of us is in a different place in our Faith.  Just as the path of chronic pain has its twists and turns…its ups and downs…so does our walk of Faith.  There are times we feel strong and secure…like we have a full measure….there are times that we struggle…like we are grasping tightly to that small grain of Faith that is the size of a mustard seed.

Remember…no matter where we are on these paths…our Heavenly Father is there…always watching…and listening to our prayers.

 

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