Misery involves pain, but it is more of a condition than a sensation. Misery is less demanding but more exhausting than pain, the undeniable evidence that your life today in no way resembles the life you knew before this tragedy, the growing and haunting awareness that your life may never be the same. Where pain is more of a snapshot of your affliction, misery is a short documentary covering your agony.
Whether the story is about your shatteringly unfamiliar emotional world brought on by whatever is breaking your heart or your alien experiences of pills, waiting rooms, CT scans, prognoses, insurance claims, biopsies, and medical preoccupations your physical emergency has plunged you into, there are times when the contrast between your past and formerly anticipated future and the actuality of your present condition steals every bit of hopeful and positive energy from your soul. There is a new rhythm to your life you cannot deny when you take an honest look at what now defines your daily routine. You unexpectedly catch a glimpse of the “new you,” which forces a more objective outlook, and you admit what others must be thinking. Because if you were watching you, you too would conclude that there is little hope for this miserable creature.
My Most Miserable Memories
My unique “misery cinema” surrounded the battle to stabilize my temperature as the leukemia burned ever-deepening layers of my skin from my bloated body. One doctor described my condition in layman’s terms: “Your blood is ticked off, and it’s taking it out on your skin.” I would wrap myself in an old quilt most of the day; its bloodstained, body fluid–discolored patches offering undeniable proof that life had changed. Inevitably, even the heavily padded and gratifying warmth of the quilt could not contain the heat streaming from my capillaries through the compromised skin. Shaking uncontrollably, I knew it was time to face the worst misery of my life, what I came to call my “greased pig” experience.
Keep in mind that my then once-fit-body had morphed into a swollen, purple-red, moon-faced distortion of my former self. I hated seeing my new Jabba the Hutt figure in the mirror and the horror in friends’ eyes when they saw the new me for the first time. Bloated and disfigured from the disease and the medications to inhibit its advance, I was, in a word, gross.
The only cream capable of sealing my skin enough to retain heat was Eucerin, not the lotion but the cream. Did I say cream? It felt more like paste, and my only remembrance of the stuff was watching my girls use it to take o. the ridiculous face paint they experimented with during their excessively made-up adolescent years.
I would steal away into my bedroom, a tub of lard preparing to apply a tub-o-lard to his body. One bath towel to sit on, another to protect the carpet from my gelatinous feet, and a fan I knew I would need sooner rather than later. Judy would come in, and we would begin spreading the salve, watching it literally melt into my superheated skin. For about five minutes, comforting warmth would return to my body—only to change moments later into a suffocating coat of gel that caused sweat to pour. Then out came the fan, for about ten to twenty minutes of pure, unadulterated misery.
Early on in the experience, I called on every spiritual resource and procedure I knew of, but nothing worked. So I sat in front of the fan, weeping as the misery drained hope from my mind and, more dangerously, faith from my heart.
I was losing the battle.
But then God moved a man who was mentoring me to send an email with advice that would pull me through the crisis. In tomorrow’s blog, I’ll share what he told me. Prepare yourself, it’s radical advice and it isn’t what the sufferer wants to hear.
Questions: Maybe you’re about to give up right now. Would you trust God enough to ask Him to prepare your heart for this radical method to make it through? How can I pray for you so that you can make it through at least one more day?