I have degenerative disc disease. In my neck. That's not a good thing.
I've actually had symptoms for a few years, but they were so mild, I didn't think much of them. I just thought I was spending too much time on the computer, or sitting oddly.
Then things got a bit more rough. You know, it sort of gets your attention when you can't feel your fingers. At first, it seemed like a pinched nerve, but that wasn't it. I got sent off to a pain clinic, and have been through several bouts of steroid shots. They've helped a bit, but not enough. On my last trip, I was told I was a "candidate for surgery" (wait, I didn't even know I was running for that office!). Thursday, I go in to "discuss my options". Goody.
I know I'm getting older and this s*%^ happens. I get that I have a tremendous hereditary disposition for arthritis. I get that. Unfortunately, I've had major surgery before, and I also get what a horrid, awful, terrible experience it is. As much as my neck hurts (and I'm in a pretty decent amount of pain every day), I dread surgery.
It's wholly human to dread pain. No healthy person seeks it out. I'm always amazed at the martyrs who seem so brave in the face of suffering. I know that they must have been terrified, but they find such comfort in Christ. I think about Miguel Pro shouting, "Vivo Christo Rey" as the volley of gun shots bore down on him. A witness to Edith Stein being led to the gas chamber heard her say, "Whatever
happens, I am prepared for everything. Jesus is also here with us".
I am well aware that surgery is not martyrdom, but it's still really scary. I'm trying to bolster my courage and take hope in all those who have faced far greater pain and suffering with true fortitude and grace. There is a great cloud of witnesses to bear me up, and in that, I take courage.