Sunday, April 20, 2014

That's a Relief!

At last - a few days of pain relief after months of the most appalling pancreatic agony!  Diane and I travelled last week to University College London Hospital for a procedure called a 'coeliac plexus block' which is done under heavy sedation in the endoscopy unit there. A large amount of steroids and narcotics are injected directly into a bundle of nerves right near the pancreas in an attempt to interrupt the pain - and voila - a pain free Easter pour moi!

Years ago I had a series of six such blocks and they gave me varying degrees of effect, ranging from nothing at all (twice) to six weeks of glorious freedom. I don't know how long this one will last, but it is such a pleasure to experience life like so many do without the nerve tearing, burning, intensity of pancreatic pain.

In all these 18 years of battling this condition we have found it essential to take hold of something someone reminded us of in church this morning. Jenny stood at the front of the building and said that she has come to understand, through her many years of sorrow and struggle in different ways to mine, that our sufferings are there for a reason. 'They are', she said, 'allowed by God so as to make us more Christ-like'. Now I wish that God had other ways to make more Christ-like - in fact I'll bet Jesus Himself would have preferred other methods to that when he heaved the cross to his shoulder that first Easter, but he knew I needed him so he went to an unimaginable place of pain for me (and for you).

Jenny was right.  The bible actually says so. There may be many other reasons why we battle, some our own fault and some the fault of others, but God has not finished with us yet and we need to trust him even when we cannot trace his ways.

Meanwhile I'll just be grateful for a few days off and pray it lasts a long long time!