I had shingles in the fall of 2008 while pregnant with my 2yo. It was not fun. I got it from being OVERLY, extremely, "oh-my-gosh-the-world-is-ending" stressed about the presidential election. My parents had gotten so head-over-heels into prepping and "end-of-the-worldness" (not saying they ALWAYS go together, I think responsible/reasonable "prepping" is great) and were CONSTANTLY talking about how if the election went a certain way that we'd need to move to the mountains and burn our vehicles and live out our last days hiding from the government and how I'd have to learn how to perform surgery and do stitches, on and on. Here I was, just turning 26 (figured out it was shingles the morning of my birthday), having the absolute time of my life. I was married to an amazing guy, had 2 beautiful kids and another precious blessing on the way, we had started homeschooling, work was going great for my husband, we'd just moved to a bigger apartment less than a year before, got the vehicle of my dreams (older and it just about fell from Heaven the way all the details worked out)...everything was so great and here my parents were telling me day in and day out that I was going to have to take my kids to the mountains and raise them in seclusion (seriously, they talked about how they'd shoot anyone who got too close to our dwelling)...in this life my parents were painting, my kids would never get to experience love, they'd be hermits and have no idea how to be around anyone outside our family. Unlike my husband, I daydream about my children courting and marrying. I'm out of this world EXCITED and ECSTATIC that they might find someone to love as much as I love their dad. Giddy. But my parents were completely dashing that dream. I couldn't even pick a homeschool curriculum because anything that required computers or library access would be out because we'd be in the middle of the forest, secluded, for the next 10+ years according to their plan. Thinking about it now it makes me sick the lack of faith they had and the effect it had on me. How did I fall for it all? I was absolutely sick with worry and scared out of my mind. I know I drove my friend crazy talking about it. I'm so thankful that eventually she told me that she couldn't be a part of the conversation anymore because it was worrisome and overwhelming...it gave me courage to eventually say the same thing to my parents.
My "reward" for all the stress...shingles. It all started with some severe pain in a small spot just to the right of my spine at about my bra line. It was terrible. I'd check it once an hour (or more) fully expecting to see a deep purple bruise. I was certain I had to have backed into something and not remembered (which is easy for me to do, I'm constantly noticing new bruises and am left wondering how on earth I got them). No bruise ever came and eventually little blisters did. The morning of my birthday I spent hours researching rashes and blisters and all sorts of scary things and came to shingles. It fit. I sent a picture to my friend and her wonderful in-laws confirmed it. I decided at that point to treat it holistically. I was probably already beyond the time limit for antibiotics (which we try to use only as a LAST resort) and found that garlic would be great. So I took a ton of garlic and endured the pain for days. I found too that apple cider vinegar was great for the itchies. I thought for sure it would burn, so I took my sweet time trying it out, but it didn't. It cooled and eased the itchy sensation. Wonderful! My husband noticed a second patch of blisters starting to surface after several days, but the garlic knocked it out! Amazing. They never fully came up. I did end up with some nasty scars, but that's ok. At least they're on my back.
Fast forward now, 2 1/2 years later and here I find myself with that all too familiar intense pain on my back. This time it's on my left shoulder blade near my arm and also on my left front about where the hooks of my nursing bra hit. I noticed the pain late yesterday and within a few hours checked the mirror and saw nothing, so I cut up a garlic clove. I used softgels last time, but I have none right now and I wanted to get started on some right away. Plus my friend has told me MANY times how much more effective plain old garlic is. I just have to cut the clove up very small or I choke (so pathetic!). I took 3/4 of a clove last night (my 4yo daughter beat me to the last 1/4 and chewed it up excitedly!) and 3/4 of a clove this morning and would you believe me if I said the pain was MORE intense this morning than last night, but it is LESS intense this evening? I don't know if I'm out of the woods yet or if I'll end up with some blisters, but this sure seems promising! Thank you to my sweet friends who are praying for me, and to Jesus for being the ultimate healer.
And the reason for the stress this time? I think it's sleep. I've never been a sleep fan, always had a hard time falling asleep, and I just operate on less than most people. But as a mommy to 4 kids I am tired a lot and I do cherish those 6ish hours each night. I've been struggling lately though. My 2 yo is still in bed with me (and that means no room for my husband who has made a huge sacrifice and slept on the couch since the night my labor started with our 5mo) and he likes to kick a lot and put his arms under me. I don't want to hurt him, so I'm always waking up and pushing him back to his side, and I also don't want him to hurt the baby-or for her to roll off the bed while she's on the other side, so I sleep with my arm around her. My hair is also driving me crazy at night too. I roll on it and it gets pulled and wakes me up, or I'm afraid that it's on the baby and I wake up to move it. I'd wear it up, but my scalp is so darn sensitive that that would just give me a perma-headache, plus I have dread locks and it's important that they have time to breathe so they don't get yucky. Then there is my poor bladder that has been so abused by 4 successful pregnancies-especially the 3rd. He just really nailed my bladder for some reason and it's never recovered...so I'm up several times a night to go potty. And of course then I have to think about my 4yo who sleeps perpendicular to my bed...well, at least that is where her mattress is, she is usually on the floor next to it, and I've almost stepped ON her head several times. And then there is my 7yo who sleeps perpendicular to the 4yo and his allergies. He snorts and sniffles and coughs several times a night, which also wakes me. But this is all important stuff that is non-negotiable as far as I'm concerned. I'm not going to boot the baby and the 2yo from my bed (though I'd be lying if I said I wasn't longing for the day that the 2yo is ready for his own bed...we've tried and he wakes up and cries for me until I let him back in bed with me), and I'm not going to boot the 4yo and 7yo from my room either. The hair, I could always cut I suppose, but I've worked SO long to grow it out, I'd be really sad, and so would my 4yo who says that girls should have long hair. So I need to find another way to deal with this stress, obviously. I'm going to start reading my Bible in bed (well, ok, I'll be reading on my phone on biblegateway.com) and praying more. I know that I can still be aware of all this stuff without letting it stress me out so badly.