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is faith something you can find in the dark?

is faith something we find, or create? or does it find us...

I know how important faith is, when I feel it i feel like i can climb any mountain no matter how high, the trouble is I also loose faith and sometimes when i most need it it's just not there....like now!

I am 28 years old and have lived with chronic pain for 11 years now. After 5 spinal fractures and multiple failed spinal surgery, infection in hospital meant I had to have metal work taken out too soon, then suffered collapse at lumbar-thoraic juncture. All this was 11 years ago and i was told that although things had not gone to plan they were sorry to say there was nothing else to be done and i'd have to do my best to live with it....I was 17 at the time and so i did my best to slowly build my life back.

It took about three years to get most of my daily functions and mobility back, but pain has always been the bigger struggle.

I did manage to so start doing bits of work, very limited at first and then building up, I then had increased problems with fatigue and hormonal issues which i am sure are related to the stress of chronic pain and pushing myself. After another period of rest and rehab un-employment got to me so i started thinking i'd like to study. Having no A levels because i was in hospital all that year when i originally had my accident i had to start from an access course which i did well at though sitting to write essays was a big struggle. I went on to complete a BA in a subject i was fascinated by (though not that practical for employment) social anthropology at the school of oriental and african studies....THIS NEARLY KILLED ME....despite my clear medical issues and debilitating pain levels they would not let me study part-time and the sheer work load and hours of sitting to read and write wore me down to the bone literally...i was suicidal in the final year, desperately struggling with intense daily pain, not sleeping etc but determined to finish...which i did manage to scrape through and put it behind me.

Trouble is that is finished of any confidence that i would be able to work...and i needed a long break just to get back to some semblance of sanity! My pain levels still spike any time i try to sit (just typing this i'm getting damn sore) a distant memory are enjoying going to the cinema or theatre or train journeys...as i'm sure many of you know!

now it's two years since i've graduated, I've tried of different bits of working, but as a surgeon told me today "you are basically unemployable in this state" (thanks). I'm sure this is a big part of what i find so hard...being so young when this happened i've not had the chance to build a career, an identity of what i do, but the deeper feeling is that i just have nothing to give the world.

so in a desperate plea to find peace in my body which would allow me to make something meaningful of my life i have been back to the docs for a review.

Now they have taken new x-rays, MRIs, CTs and are saying "wow i can't believe you were left with your spine in this state" yes its a mess of failed fusions, multiple ruptured discs, missing discs, kyphosis, bone spurs, scar tissue...ouch! seeing those images today was shocking for me even though i know everyday how it feels i did not know how bad it looked!

All of this has left me so tired, i'm not able to work, relationships have been taken passed breaking point, I recently separated from my partner after a tough year in which i was forced to have an abortion due to my pain levels and condition of my spine, so now even thinking i could have a family feels like a lost dream and he being also in his late twenties has had to follow his dreams rather sticking around just to look after me (in a way i am glad to see him be free and happy)....

i am left truly wondering why i would force myself to keep living this pain....faith escapes me at this moment...

the surgeon told me today that no-one can give me a pain free life...the structural damage to my spine is too severe...he is considering that i could have lots more fusions done in an attempt to reduce pain levels but cannot make any guarantee that this would ease things, it could also quite possible make things worse and would definitely leave me with less mobility...

hmmmm....here in the dark i'm struggling to find much hope or faith but glad to have found this site and its the first time ever i've really connected to others living with chronic pain (and hell its a lonely path to walk)

thanks to those who have read this far (sorry it turned into an essay)

from the wilderness



  • Faith is always there
    you can lose it
    you can find it
    but in the final cut, it never left you
    you may have abandoned it, angry and needing to feel some control
    you may have found it in a simple act of kindness

    it is always there
    the uncertainty of our special condition dictates that we will go through the multiplicity's of wringers
    I dont think you lost it, maybe questioned it, raged at it and cursed it
    but you still have it.

    Dont depair, there will be days, good and bad
    you will find in the end, the Faith in yourself will be the best thing that will hold you up.

    what happened today...
    stays in today
    all you have tomorrow is the memory that cant hurt you, the idea that you can make the day yours ,and the will to do it.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with you.
    the essential you is wonderfully and fearfully made, without seam or imperfection
    what makes you..
    is intact
    there is so much beauty and grace hidden there, just under the surface, that it wants to get out, and your fear and doubt cage the wings so eager to be free!
    you have to believe that you will find peace again
    You will find inner peace in the storm
    there is no guarantee ever made of an easy life
    there is the turmoil and strife of life, that is ours to bear
    suffering and pain our ours

    the choice of suffering is yours
    As it has been said
    pain is inevitable
    suffering is optional

    choose to take that path
    I will be right there beside you
    choose to give your self away, let go of the past life...
    you wont need it anymore
    it is a useless vestige that causes you pain
    cast away your sorrow and give it to the nite
    can you do that?
    Just one piece at a time
    one night at a time
    let go

    We will be right here beside you on the path through the darkness
    your never to be alone again
    There are a thousand million lights ahead and behind you, above you and below you
    a thousand million lights to guide and keep you
    The members of Spine Health are a family
    sometimes fractious, sometimes angry, sometimes sad
    but we are
    Never forget that
    each and every point of light is a person, whose little light,
    Fragile, wavering and small, is still a part of the greater, as you will be

    on the way to trails end, you will find lights in the Darkness
    each and every on precious
    each and everyone

    There will be inner peace

    Where there is Faith
    here is Hope
    Where there is Hope
    There is Love
    Where there is Love
    There is Strength
    Where there is Strength
    There is Peace.

    Dont fear, we cannot change who we are and what we have become
    what we can change, is who we will be

    Don't be afraid, we will be right here beside you
    the nite isnt so deep
    the sea isnt so wide
    and the storm so terrible
    that we wont find you and give you respite from the storm
    its not so easy though,, someday we may need shelter and you will spread your coat over us.
    hang in there,
    there will be days
    but you will shine

    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • Thank you, what beautiful words, i know i have felt these truths (or most of them) and then they seem to slip from reach....
    Ranchhand said:

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with you.
    the essential you is wonderfully and fearfully made, without seam or imperfection
    what makes you..
    is intact


    i just have NOT reached a point of acceptance where me-like-this is really truly ok. It's a fine line between acceptance that this IS my life, and hope that it will get better. I think i spent 10 years in denial just hoping that it would go away if i tried to me as normal as i could and put on a brave face, now i am facing the consequences of that denial, so many of my friendships don't include any real understanding of my suffering cos i have always tried so hard to hide it and live a "normal life" and over the last tow years I've felt more and more that people back away when they hear how i am really struggling. The psychological pain of beginning the process of acceptance is so intensified as it feel like such a lonely path.

    I feel as though i've been slamming my body against this concrete edifice of an identity, a fixed view of myself that JUST DOES NOT INCLUDE PAIN AND LIMITATIONS, and that i am constantly hating myself for not living up to. I have been unwilling to let my self-identity shift and my expectations change...i know this is the work i now need to do...and i feel so lost as to who i can be....

    i guess self-acceptance comes first, how can i expect others to love and accept me if i can't do that myself!

    beaten red-hot by pain like metal on an anvil...a new form is emerging in the blinding heat...i know not yet what will come of it...
  • Welcome to the club. Requirements for membership suck don't they? Sounds like you found us at just the right time, funny how life works like that sometimes...

    "Never going to be pain free". Simple little words that are devastating to hear. Recently a post was started about the best things you've been told on this pain journey & I said, "The Truth". I know it doesn't seem like it at the time but honestly, for me, it was the key to acceptance. Like you I'd existed in a state of denial for a long time & in the end it was crippling me more than my spine.

    It sounds like you've had a bloody hard year! I'm so sorry. He wasn't the right one & it wasn't the right time for you. Please know that acceptance isn't about writting-off your dreams. If there's something you truly need to feel complete you will find a way. At the age of 40 with a messed-up spine I was starting to believe that much of a 'normal' life was beyond me but I'm sat in the Texas sun watching my beautiful 4 year old daughter washing my sons trucks with a hose. She's semi naked with half of her long blonde hair hacked off from an adventure with scissors & covered in mud & another unidentifiable substance I'm choosing to ignore...life's never picture perfect! Or maybe it is.. ;-)

    I still have those dark times (I'm the 'Pity Party' English lady who's post you commented on) don't we all? They pass so much faster now. Life is too precious to squander in the gloom & an ocean of tears. You deserve better. Your life will come into focus. I'm not saying its easy but it is possible.

    I look forward to chatting with you & hopefully becoming part of your journey if you choose to hang out here. As RanchHand said, we're a family...sometimes a very disfunctional one but we're always here for eachother through thick & thin. ;-)


    Osteoarthritis & DDD.
  • Acceptance is a process, not a quick fix or a overnight place reached..you will find that you get there one step after another.
    All the tools you need are there inside, using them is the problem
    they are power tools..Empowering tools
    once you learn the power you have inside, things will never be the same
    Have Faith, you will find the light behind the rainbow.
    its rainy between here and there
    many puddles
    lots of mud to crawl through
    no shelter a lot of times
    and your skin will thin
    and it will feel cold

    but all these pass
    your going to toughen up
    the rain will cleanse
    the rainbows will grow more beautiful
    the mud? well, it washes off

    its not an easy walk, but were right here beside you
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • William GarzaWilliam Garza TexasPosts: 2,343
    edited 05/02/2014 - 3:34 PM
    Yeah, its hot
    it was a 100 deg or so the other day. but if i runned around half nekkid... sea world would be called! lol my friends in Chi town and Canada are still dealing with 50 deg!
    William Garza
    Spine-Health Mod

    Welcome to Spine-Health

  • I miss that wonderfully hot Texas sun--my bones loved the dry heat Texas offered.

    Lol, English, I remember when my daughter had her adventure with scissors, she lost half her bangs with one quick & diagonal cut, I believe, she too, was 4 at the time. Wonder why all little girls feel the need to cut their at some point? I remember cutting my hair too when I was little. Heads up, hide your razor because she will eventually try to shave too :-)

    Ranch, another great poem, "A Process" I still think you need to check into publishing your poems. I would still love to read a Chicken Soup Book about chronic pain and stories from patients with your poems following each patients story.
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