I have a very high tolerance for pain. It is no stranger to me to continue functioning while enduring severe pain. However, I can never stand itch. I'm the kind who would purposely scratch a mosquito bite till it bleeds so that it becomes painful rather than itchy.
So, it was a special kind of hell for me when I started having puritus (extreme itch) all over my body 6 weeks ago. It began with my calves, then my thighs, followed by my arms. It spread to my face so that even my eyelids, ears and scalp were unbearably tingling with the overwhelming urge to be scratched. I tried not to give in to the instinct, just like I advised my daughter with eczema all these years. However, I kept waking up subconsciously clawing all over my body the moment I fell asleep. Needless to say, I tore through my skin and stained my bedsheets with my blood.
I hardly slept at night and my days were pure torture because my homemaking work is mostly very physical and sweaty. Each drop of perspiration stung my irritated skin like a needle piercing me. The sunlight was like fire to me and the unprecedented heat wave of March increased the itch manifold. Even the wind felt like sandpaper. Cooking is no longer enjoyable because the oil fumes and the heat totally exacerbate my condition.
My children, being young and immature, could not extend much sympathy towards me regarding my condition, especially when I still forced myself to be functional and continued caring for them as well as I could. But the number of breakdowns in front of them I had over the past month rivalled the number I had in a normal year. It was so painful for me to see the fear in their eyes when they witnessed the wretchedness of their suffering mother.
As much as my wonderful and self-sacrificing husband bent over backwards to help me through it, this valley of darkness was mine alone. Only God was with me in the middle of the night when I cried out to Him in agony and sheer exhaustion. Multiple trips to the doctor and all sorts of medication did not work. Friends rallied in prayer and I simply collapsed helpless before the Lord in a mess of tears, snot and shredded skin day in, day out. I hardly stepped out of the house apart from buying groceries. I wailed to Him all alone. God was the only One who stood between me and dangerous suicidal thoughts.
As I study the book of Revelations this year with BSF, I am comforted by the promise of the victor's crown at the end. The precious intimacy of the new name on the white stone known only to me, given by my Saviour. Though I am of little strength, God would not burden me with more and exhorts me only to hold on to what I already have. That I could do. I clung on to my Lord who has already forgiven me all the hurt I caused in my loved ones while I lashed out in frustration in my suffering. God did not promise to remove us from trials and tribulation but He promised His presence. It was His love and mercy at work even during the times when I turned my anger and yelling towards Him. He simply lifted me up from my miry clay.
Through a divine appointment, I went to see a doctor who is a fellow believer and he gave me a different type of medication.. I took his advice and changed the laundry detergent. After doing countless loads of laundry with a new organic washing powder, my condition improved by 80%. Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! For the first time in a long while, I could sleep through the night. The dark clouds of sleep deprivation slowly parted. The fog of depression has lifted. There is finally light at the end of the tunnel.
Even though I am not yet fully recovered, I am grateful to Jesus for being with me through it all. I had never felt more alone and misunderstood before. Even when I was incapacitated in my pregnancies, people still somewhat understood my misery. But this? Those experienced with eczema kept telling me that my condition is not really serious because the itch did not come with visible rashes. No one could tell the extent of my suffering because I didn't look as bad as I feel. My family doctor actually said there was nothing he could do for me. Even my own mother asked me not to visit her because she thought I had the measles!
As I trust God to eventually heal me completely, I will rest in Him. Even if I do not recover 100%, I will still praise my Lord! Amen.