Working through pain, whether physical or emotional, can be frustrating for those with breast cancer. Get freedom from chronic pain. I have empathy for my fellow twenties and thirty-somethings.
You’ll Get Freedom From Working Through Pain:
- Physical Pain
- Emotional Pain
- Spiritual Pain
I’m grateful I haven’t had much pain since finding the lump in April 2022.
I know that’s not the case for most with breast cancer. Those masses can push on nerves or be in awkward places on your body.
Or maybe you are like my friend who had a hysterectomy this summer. Thankfully she could take advantage of disability insurance from her job. Now is cancer-free, joyfully back to work, and working out.
Or maybe you are like my Bible Study teacher’s young nephew who, with the surgeries, and multiple rounds of chemo, it’s still spreading like the Maui wildfires. Leaving you asking, “Why me? Why isn’t this working? When will this pain go away?”
“At least 100 million adults in the United States suffer from chronic pain, according to the Institute of Medicine.” Source: apa.org
I pray that today as I write this after being up all night in pain, you’d be empowered and have renewed hope.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Romans 15:13
What Is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is pain that lasts more than 3 weeks. It can be there all the time or it can come and go.
After going on Accutane in college, I developed lots of food sensitivities. I’d bleed 3 weeks out of the month for a decade. I had surgery and went to doctors weekly, trying to have a normal period so that we could get pregnant. I regretted that I cared more about physical beauty and didn’t think I’d be that statistic who gets all the bad side effects on the drug label. I was disciplined, following a strict diet and workout program to try to balance out my hormones.
“Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares. She cries out in the chief concourses, At the openings of the gates in the city She speaks her words: “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?” Proverbs 1:20-33 NKJV
Keep reading to get wisdom. Feeling discouraged? Message me on Instagram and summarize in one sentence about the miracle you are believing God for. I’d love to record a voice prayer for you.
Working Through Pain: Pysical
It was December 2014 when we took this photo. Robert and I were driving back from Christmas in Albuquerque. About an hour into our drive back to San Diego is when the pain started in my right upper chest and shoulder blade. Over the course of 7.5 years, there were only a couple of times chronic pain went away.
The doctors couldn’t figure out why. After a few months, I got tired of people at the gym and in my classes asking, “Are you pregnant?” Those comments were like salt poured on an old wound of my dad making fun of women in general, daily my mom and me once in a while for our weight and appearance, so I closed down my personal training business and stopped teaching group fitness classes.
I learned the best way of working through pain. I avoided foods that caused inflammation. Went to multiple treatments a week then working from home in my office. Thank goodness Robert and I had RebelFish Local, our marketing agency so I could have a flexible schedule.
How to Protect Yourself From the Damage of Chronic Inflammation?
Have the Mindset “It is Strange Being Attacked With Sickness”
I hear people at church justify chronic pain due to getting older. Others say, “It’s that time of year again where I always xyz” or “Yeah, something is going around.” You’ve got to hate sickness and disease. You’ll probably be right if you think having all your symptoms is normal.
I hate sickness and disease. I never want to think it’s normal for me or anyone ever again. I spent way too many years thinking it was my fault I had chronic pain. I begged God to heal me but all along I didn’t realize I already got it. At the cross, I was forgiven and I was also healed 2,000 years ago.
I thought our house was making me sick because we live so close to the ocean and mildew is a constant element I battle. Then I discovered that even the Bible talks about inflammation.
“The Lord will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought and with blight and with mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish.” Deuteronomy 28:22 ESV
But what if there is another way? Another way to pray? Another way to become free from chronic inflammation?
I believe there is. Keep reading.
Avoid Inflammatory Foods
Last week a friend called me asking me what cleanse should she do? I asked some questions and it sounds like there is inflammation going on. If you get bloated, have a rash, acne, feel puffy, or the pain spikes in your joints or the chronic pain spots you most likely ate something.
I like Whole30 best for discovering food sensitivities that are causing inflammation.
Whole30 Elimination of 5 Categories of Food (and Beverages)
I’ve even done birthday parties were I hired a chef to make a Whole30 meal at the resort. There are so many really good Whole30 recipes. Read the 7-day meal plan blog post.
I also love the Alcat food sensitivity test but goes along with a 9-month elimination and re-introducing food meal plan. I think for most people, that is too long and too strict.
So that’s why I really like Whole30. You eliminate inflammatory foods for 30 days then there is a Reintroduction Phase that is 9 days.
There are also AIP and FODMAP diets but I haven’t done those.
Your body is unique. While experiencing pain, avoiding inflammatory foods will make you feel so much better.
I’ve been gluten-free for years. I prefer grain-free and feel best but I do like to enjoy gluten-free bread or a dessert once in a while.
But for the past couple of weeks, I really wanted sourdough bread. I had it a couple of times and got a rash on my face and some ance, which I rarely ever get since I did Accutane in college.
I had it for a third time this week and boom, I was up all night in pain around where the masses are in my breast and armpit.
My oncology naturopath in San Diego said, “I think you are right; it’s inflammation.”
I went in for 3 hours of 3 bags of IVs to help me detox and feel better.
- Nutrients – Vitamins & Minerals
I slept great and slept in! My body needed it. I’m feeling much better. No more gluten or sugar for me!
How to Relieve Pain Without Pills?
I hope this blog gives you some ideas to give you relief without pills. Pills never worked for me in the past so I just wouldn’t take any. Not even ibuprofen, even though my primary care doctor said it helps with inflammation.
There were times I’d want to numb the pain with a bottle of white wine. But that’s inflammatory. I’d had worse side effects for 3 days.
Overall, for persistent pain, most medicines are only ~30% effective so you can’t rely just on medicines to manage pain. Source: painhealth.csse.uwa.edu.au
Ice packs are what have been helping with the pain I’ve been having this week. I put it on my breast and armpit. I liked that better than the heating pad right now.
Should I Push Through Pain or Rest?
Not everyone has the privilege to stay home and rest. Maybe you have kids that need to be driven around or you work full-time and don’t have any more vacation days.
Although 80% of leaders recognized that chronic pain was a concern for their organizations, the same number (80%) did not know how to deal with employees in pain, and 77% wanted to know what they could do as leaders to help. Source: hbr.org
In my experience, pushing through pain makes it worse. Or it takes longer to go away.
This week I’m on day 4 of this pain.
I chose to attend my two Bible Studies, go sailing, do work meetings, and paddleboarding. It was so much fun but my week was too full. Today was my first day with no appointments and my body is feeling much better.
How to Exercise with Chronic Pain?
Start each morning stretching. Foam roll your spine, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves. I do this 2-3 more times throughout the day. It feels good and makes my posture straight.
You can work around the spots you are having pain. So with breast cancer doing push-ups, bicep curls, bike riding, or shoulder stuff could not feel too good.
But 15 minutes of legs and core is great.
I love walking. My goal is to get outside for at least 20 minutes a day without sunscreen. All that vitamin D helps me feel so much better.
The results, published in 2017 in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, found that on average, participants experienced a 5 percent drop in inflammatory cytokines after just 20 minutes of brisk walking on a treadmill. Source: slate.com
Sometimes when you are doing a full-body dumbbell workout or standup paddle board, you don’t feel any pain.
But if you feel worse after the workout you did, work out for a shorter period or try out a different workout next time.
Working Through Emotional Pain
When Robert’s mom passed unexpectedly through group grief class, the counselor challenged me to check in with my emotions daily. It was hard. I only knew two emotions. Happy and angry, which I grew up being taught you should only be happy and always have a smile. So I Googled that cartoon image and the emotion list so I could identify emotions.
As a StoryBrand copywriter, I use this emotion wheel every time I sit down to write. I’ve been able to release a lot of physical pain due to trapped emotions in my body.
The chronic pain lasted for 7.5 years, spending tens of thousands of dollars annually. I remember making the joke, “It must be gone since my body can’t handle this old chronic pain and the mass.”
It was such a nice break not to have stabbing chest or shoulder blade pain that felt like a bird claw digging into my muscle.
Stress and Chronic Pain
Identify and eliminate stress. I like the Horacio Printing Refocus Cloud. I do this exercise every season.
I use her Dream Planner so it helps me to check in weekly so I don’t overcommit and people-please which always causes stress.
When you eliminate stress by saying no more frequently and creating boundaries, you can work on other emotions contributing to chronic pain flare-ups.
How to Control Pain Mentally?
Chronic pain can feel so out of control. I’ve been there where nothing seems to work.
Last week I went to a conference. I wanted to experience a miracle of all masses disappearing. It was day 3 and I thought, “I’m asking for this big thing but what about this hamstring pain, how do I make it go away?”
I rebuked the pain and command it to go in Jesus’ name. But it still lingered. I asked the Holy Spirit. “Forgive.” I argued, “But I already forgave the Pilates instructor from 2 years ago?” I forgave her again. But the pain didn’t go away. I thought, “Is there anyone else I need to forgive?” Robert, my husband. I forgave him. Boom! No hamstring pain.
Since then, a couple of times, that irritating hamstring came back. I either rebuked it in Jesus’ name or forgave someone else then it went away.
I know. WILD.
Just like you, I’m learning and trying things out.
Prioritize Your Well-Being
As a woman, wife, or mother, I’m sure you are like most who put others before yourself. Now is the time to ask for teamwork. Hire people for help or ask friends from church. You’ve got to prioritize yourself.
The Emotion Code book has helped me to release trapped emotions. You could spend 5 minutes a day identifying and eliminating trapped emotions.
My friend hired one of their certified coaches, met with her 3 times a week, and got all of her trapped emotions released in 4 months.
When you hire someone, it is easier to show up to the appointment and do the homework. I know not everyone reading this has the budget. Most of what I do for my well-being I do it myself and it just takes the discipline to do it each day.
Working Through Spiritual Pain
I put this last in the blog, but I think it’s the most impactful for working through pain.
For the past 6 months, once in a while, pain creeps in. Reading the book God Wants You Well taught me that your first response to pain, diagnosis, or sickness is critical!
As believers, you have the Godhead living in you. That means Jehovah Rapha, the Lord who heals, is in your spirit woman. El Shaddai, the God who is more than enough, is in there too. How? Because we are “in Christ,” you have the authority and power to heal yourself, cast out spirits of infirmity, and so much more!
“Truly, truly, I say to you, she who believes in Me (Jesus), the works that I do, she will do also; and greater works than these she will do; because I (Jesus) go to the Father.” John 14:12 NASB1995
In chapter 12 of God Wants You Well, lightbulbs went off.
Healing and Deliverance
Throughout this healing journey, I’ve been studying what the Bible says about healing and deliverance. Read the blog “I Am Healed Because He Said So” and you’ll see many healing Bible verses to get you encouraged.
I’ve discovered that many things I was taught by Baptist preachers and things drilled into my brain from family members don’t align with what the Bible actually says.
You’ve got to read the whole chapter and, many times, read the whole book of the Bible for context. Then you’ve got to go to the Old Testament or history for the context of what was going on when that book of the Bible was written.
I’m so thankful one of my massage therapists and prayer warriors gave me that book and told me about this conference.
Healing Is Here Conference
It’s free on YouTube. I watched Healing is Here 2022.
A pastor and guest speaker shared about tumors falling onto the floor. What?!?! I’d never heard of that. But who am I to put God in a box? I want to see signs and wonders in real life.
Sometimes I feel alone. Maybe you do too.
I never wanted to join a cancer support group. It seemed negative and just a place where victims complained about their lives. Now, I could totally be wrong since I’ve never been to one.
My desire is to renew my mind, healing, and community.
Two weeks later, I flew out to go to the Healing is Here 2023 conference in Colorado. I traveled alone. I had more time to think and spend time with Jesus.
I’m so glad I went. I saw miracles every day.
Breast Cancer Miracle
On the final night, a young woman with a large breast tumor testified at the microphone that it disappeared! My husband was watching the YouTube live stream. We both got emotional with happiness for her.
That is what was the same miracle I’ve been asking for since January 2023 when I heard God say, “No surgery, be bold.” I believe it will happen.
“Because she loves Me, says the LORD, I will rescue her; I will protect her, for she acknowledges My name. She will call on Me, and I will answer her; I will be with her in trouble, I will deliver her and honor her. With long life I will satisfy her and show her My salvation.” Psalm 91:14-16
Feeling encouraged? Message me on Instagram and summarize in one sentence about the miracle you are believing God for. I’d love to record a voice prayer for you.