Does suffering make sens?

testimony

NEWS ASTRID

HOPE IN THE HEART OF suffering

What unites us the most?

Suffering

It was with this question that Michael Card began the concert in 2011 at the Théâtre de Vevey. Yes, suffering unites us most, even in our differences.

« Come lift up your sorrows » is one of those songs from the concert that touched me the most. You can find it below.

 

Operation on 28.3.22

The operation took place successfully. Two tumors could be removed, as well as the spleen and a bit of the stomach, and the intestines which were stuck to scars from the previous operation were cleared. Afterwards, hyperthermic intraperitoneal chemotherapy [1] (HICP) cleaned up the whole area.

[1] An operation that consists of chemotherapy in the abdomen associated with hyperthermia. The surgeons install a liquid at a temperature of 42-43°C in the abdominal cavity to obtain a maximum effect. To do this, they had to remove all my organs first.
Remade like new! It was amazing what Professor Lehmann and his team were able to do!

For two days I had no pain because I was kept under epidural. What an ingenious idea.

Wednesday it got worse. A new oral coverage of the pain, because the epidural had to be replaced. I was offered medication to protect the stomach and a proton pump inhibitor. (Nexium, Paraprazol/Primperon) Unfortunately, these medications produce nausea in me. (It was only in Montana that I learned that I was intolerant to histamines, which produce this opposite effect… it’s good to know). But at that moment I could’n convince them. So I’m ready to go that journey and demonstrate by the results. Continuous vomiting, no pain coverage … I needed help. In the evening the epidural is reused and a pain-relieving plaster works miracles.

But on Thursday the epidural has to be removed, the plaster is removed, because according to the pain specialist, there is too much risk of dependence… Thursday evening I reach my point: I can’t take it anymore. By the way, it reminds me of Ed Mylett who said, « Depending on what you do, when you can’t take it anymore, will determine the success of your life. »

The vision of having to spend the night in these conditions (vomiting and pain) was unbearable for me.

What do I do when I can’t take it anymore?

I needed to set a closer goal! One minute at a time, divided into 8 long breaths, a short pause where I blessed one person and started again.

During that night I was able to doze off several times …. what a victory.

With this sacrifice of pain I was able to obtain the next day with proof and more clarity a new regime of treatment of the pain, the plaster was granted to me.

Faced with anyone who has a belief or opinion other than our own, going in their direction is often a sacrifice of pain. But it will give us the clarity and authority with evidence to back it up, that another solution might be better.

On Friday the catheter was removed and I was finally ready to get up and go to the bathroom. Note that during such an operation the body retains up to 7 kg (water, chemo, medic. etc.) and I was fed and hydrated artificially. Friday was my elimination day. In the morning, I received a Bible passage that said: deliverance is near! What a surprise, not only did my pain decrease, my body was emptying thanks to an exercise that consisted in moving simply by going to the bathroom, every 2 hours.  And against all odds, my intestines started to work. The worst was over!

These two songs above have been with me all week.

Reflection on suffering

Suffering has no smell, no color, it is completely forgotten after childbirth. But what is it that makes pain so invasive that we don’t know how to deal with it? Medical schools are becoming aware that there may be another way to go besides medication. I realized that if I let the pain take over, it would take over me. But by filling my thoughts with something else, like breathing, praying or reciting Psalm 23, the pain could take up less space.

In traumas, the pain attaches itself to fear and a related event. It can be a color, a smell or another event. The purpose is to warn us if the next danger is coming. But these reminders of fears can also be negative when they are not conscious. I am very interested in this subject, I will elaborate on it next time.

If you are interested, you will find more on this subject in another article:

https://ressourcesdevie.ch/mes-emotions/

Video of :

Boris Cyrulnik – Traumatic Memory

Hope in the heart of suffering

A few years ago I translated and adapted Michael Card’s book « Sacred sorrow » into french. Here is an excerpt:

What if the real answer to suffering is found in the presence of God? It draws us to seek God for our most basic needs and to lay down our existential fears.

In Estelle Romano’s latest film, Fragrance of faith 2, she describes it this way:

When you feel helpless, don’t be afraid, He is with you.
And when you go to the place of suffering, remember, He has called you and equipped you. When you think it’s over, don’t be discouraged, for His kingdom is near.
Watch this wonderful film at www.fragranceoffaith.org

How to accompany suffering?

My daughter has just co-written a book for her Master of Arts degree on the care and management of suffering in the hospital. She describes the event 8 years ago when everything started.

These texts are translated below.

I was so touched by these texts.

Yes, it is difficult to accompany a person who is suffering. Even naturally we try to avoid it because this powerlessness pushes us to our limits and confronts us with our fears. But when we have suffered ourselves, we are already a little better prepared. But this can also be learned, it is the school of empathy. In these texts, it comes out extremely well:

« It’s okay not to be okay. »
« Before you want to help someone, you have to be able to listen to them! »

Let’s realize how important it is for a person who is suffering, to have people around them who support them and trust them that they have the potential* to endure and get through this suffering… and in the worst case… that they can reach Eternity by accompanying them a bit on this path. I have had the privilege of accompanying my mother and others in this way.
Often we need to learn to be authentic on both sides and learn to name our emotions and challenges.
In recent years, accompanying and coaching people who are ill has become a privilege. In these stages of life, we are so much more open to change and grow and start an intentional living.

A trial can destroy us or we can choose that it can make us stronger!

That’s what I choos.

*It is true that a person who is reconciled with his or her creator, inhabited by the Holy Spirit, has access to a dimension of potential that is difficult to describe.  It is said in the Bible, « You shall not be tried beyond your strength! »

Naomi Meyers text 1 translated:

I heard my brother crying.  He was outside on the phone with Mom.  I thought that his goat had had an accident or that the baby goat « Nuage » who was sick had not survived.  Then he handed me the phone and then, I don’t remember anymore.

Cancer of the uterus  

My great-grandmother 

My grandmother 

My grandmother’s sister 

My grandmother’s other sister 

My paternal grandmother 

And now you, mom 

A cancer in her belly.  About twenty years ago, it was me who was there in the warmth. Her belly has swollen.  It looks like she’s pregnant.  

But this is not life.  

The cradle of my childhood. Pocket I grew up in.  

I found out this news while I was at a scout camp.  

That night I went to bed in my tent alone. I looked at the stars and prayed.  

The next day I packed my things and knew that everyone had been told. I could see the eyes turning or turning away.  I remember thinking very loudly, « Behave normally with me. »

Don’t look at me. Don’t say, « Oh you poor thing, » as I walk by. Don’t whisper, because I will feel like you are talking about me. Why look at me stupidly and expect me to say something? I’m not ready. I don’t understand what’s happening to me. Some people run away from me, others come to talk to me. I see them hesitating about how to be with me. Some reassure me and say, « It’s going to be okay, » while others hug me. 

But I want to shout at them: « Oh yes? She’s not going to die? How do you know that? Even the doctors don’t know. No, that’s not going to be okay! It’s not okay! Don’t try to make me feel better. You don’t know if that will going to be okay!

>> But I say,  « Thank you, » and attempt a smile. 

Some people act like nothing happened…but it’s almost worse. Others fall apart so I feel bad. I don’t want them to fall apart. I tell myself that I am holding on while they are not allowed to cry. And if they fall apart, then nothing holds. 

And then you came to me. You have already lost your hair. You still wear the scars of your fight. You have beaten the cancer. You looked at me and even though we didn’t know each other, you hugged me and didn’t say anything. We stayed like that for many minutes. And then I realized: it’s okay not to be okay. 

I am not alone.

2nd text translated:

« If you had told me, I would have understood. I didn’t know you were suffering. »

It all happened eight years ago. Your cancer was eating away at your insides. It was a horrifying sight to see my mom lose all her abilities little by little. You used to walk, sometimes you would even run to meet me, you would hug me. Now you don’t move anymore. We even have to help you to go to the bathroom. Yet when I come to see you, you tell me that everything is fine. That you are confident and that you will fight. When I hear you, you sound like a superhero who is going to change the world. When I see you, I see a skinny little woman in a bed who barely has the strength to speak. I was in pain, but I didn’t dare tell you. I thought it was selfish of me to tell you my problems. We all needed to take care of you. You needed a positive environment. I wanted to talk to you like I used to; about my classes, my roommate and our plumbing problems. Sometimes I wanted to cry with you and tell you that cancer was bullshit and that it scared me. But I didn’t say anything. So during my visits I took care of you. Beyond your illness, cancer has affected your identity enormously. I didn’t know it, but you didn’t like the visits that constantly reminded you of your illness

The heavy perception of people who see you as a victim in your bed. All those people telling you that they will pray for you. You were suffocating, you didn’t feel like you existed anymore. This cancer seemed to have taken over your life. The others seemed to have forgotten who you were before all this. And you were afraid you would never see her again:

The businesswoman
The warrior who loves to travel
The dreamer, the ambitious
The mother of four children.

Both of us didn’t dare to say anything. I didn’t want to disturb you and you wanted to protect me. For a long time, we played this role. You the patient. I was the caregiver. But one day, you received some bad news from the doctor and you needed to confide your suffering. I lay down beside you. And you told me everything. Your sadness, your feeling of not existing anymore. You were able to talk about other things than your illness and I found my mom. I wanted to give you a kiss and I was finally able to find your cheek.
During our time on your bed, a friend had planned to visit you. When she arrived through a door she heard our laughter mixed with our tears. She did not want to interrupt the moment and tiptoed away. She understood that the needs are not always the ones we see.

Before you can help someone, you have to be able to listen to them.

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