Hitting the bottom and crawling out . . .

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taking pics in Yosemite

The images in this post are from a family trip to Yosemite we made a few weeks ago. We had to postpone it because I was so ill. I was thankful to eventually go and enjoy God's beautiful creation with my loved ones.


It began with a sharp pain in my leg that I tried to ignore. (Isn't that what mothers do?)

It wasn't long before the pain grew so intense that I wanted to cry each morning as I hobbled out of bed.

After a few days of this inescapable torture, I realized it probably wasn't a pulled muscle, like I'd originally thought.

My skin burned when my clothing brushed against it. My nerves felt like a hot, electric wire, and my foot went numb.

Something was really wrong.

I took to google (of course) and figured I must have sciatica. Hunting for relief, I found stretches that were supposed to help. Except I didn't want to do them. I didn't want to do anything.

It wasn't long before I knew I was wrong, again.

I didn't have sciatica, I had shingles.

What? Shingles! I thought only old people got shingles. Shingles was not even on my radar.

Waterfall in yosemite

I'll spare you the gory details (just google it if you really want to know. But hey, that's your call. You'll probably wish you hadn't).

The next ten days found me mostly in bed. My mother-in-law took the kids and let me sleep and rest. (She is amazing. I thank God for her. I really do.)

As I stared at the ceiling, I knew, I had let myself go too far. Stretched myself too thin, stressed myself too much.

And all while barely leaving the house.

Did you know you can do more than you really should in the comfort of your own home? Yep. It's true. (I bet you knew that already.)

You don't have to gallivant all over town and sign up for 101 things to over do. You can do that at your very own kitchen table.

So, come to find out, if you have ever had chickenpox, you can get shingles. It lives in your spine waiting for an opportunity to rear it's ugly head.Β  However, it usually doesn't manifest itself unless you have been extremely stressed or your immune system is low.

Leading up to this I had been stressed. I hate to even say it. What does that mean anyway?

But truly, I had been feeling so overwhelmed that my stomach was in knots every single day. It was as if I could feel the stress hormones shooting themselves into my system.

I knew I was struggling, but didn't know what to do about it. I didn't know how to stop the roller-coaster.

Well, shingles did that for me.

Ten days of bed rest will give you time to think. Pain has a way of getting your attention; I'll tell you that.

When people ask me if I'm getting back to normal, my answer is, “No.”

I'm striving to find a new normal. One that involves rest and quiet spaces. A normal where I learn to let good things go in order to do the best things and accept that I don't have to perfect to raise great kids, trusting God to make good of my humble efforts.

River at Yosemite

It's hard for me to admit that I've struggled. I don't want. But I know I need to.

I know that many of you struggle to, and you might not even realize quite how much you are struggling until one day you find yourself in bed too sick to move. I hope it doesn't get to that point for you. But if it does, know there is another side.

You don't have to fly out of the hole you are in. It's okay to crawl. Just keep trying. And take time to rest along the way.

I'm so thankful for you who read this blog, for those who have reached out to me, and those who have prayed for me. I am so blessed.

If nothing else, I want you to learn from my mistakes. To know that you can't keep going and going and pushing and striving. You have got to rest. There is only one of you and one person can only do so much.

Yes, one person can do many great things. But you don't have to do all of them today.



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  1. Thanks for sharing. I’m glad you are feeling better and God blessed you with some rest, healing, and a new perspective.

  2. I had the same on my tailbone area shall we say. I unfortunately continue to have residual neuropathy from having the shingles, kind of like sitting in a bed of nettles. Lovely. Was so not on my radar either. I was in my 50’s. Hubby had them when he was in his 40’s on his face very near his left eye and on his forehead. Gads. Nasty business for certain. Brother in law at the very young age of 18 after his parents divorced…………..stress? Yep I think so. Anyway enjoyed you post very much. I do empathize with what you were and are feeling.

  3. I had the same on my tailbone area shall we say. I unfortunately continue to have residual neuropathy from having the shingles, kind of like sitting in a bed of nettles. Lovely. Was so not on my radar either. I was in my 50’s. Hubby had them when he was in his 40’s on his face very near his left eye and on his forehead. Gads. Nasty business for certain. Brother in law at the very young age of 18 after his parents divorced…………..stress? Yep I think so. Anyway enjoyed you post very much. I do empathize with what you were and are feeling.

  4. Stacy,
    Thank you so much for sharing. So many people think that “only old people get shingles” and that is not the case at all. I got mine down the left side of my back in 2009, I was only 46. I wholeheartedly agree that stress the the major culprit. After many years of unusual symptoms and trips to the E.R. and painful tests, I found out I had MS. It was a blessing and a curse kind of situation….I finally found out what was wrong with me….but it wasn’t the sort of thing that a pill could cure. I was totally frightened and overwhelmed, but thankful that I could finally tell everyone it wasn’t “all in my head” (it’s in my spine too…lol..a little MS humor). About a month after my diagnosis I was the lucky winner of a case of shingles down the left side of my back. The pain was immense and as you said I spent 10 days in bed and it gave me time to gain a little perspective on my future. I decided to be a LOT nicer to myself….and to learn to say no once in a while. It was difficult at first but as things progressed I found that I was a happier person and in turn my children were happier people too.
    It is now 5 years into my diagnosis and I have had my good times and my bad but I try to take everything with a grain of salt and hope for more of the good days and the bad.
    I still do too much every now and then…and my body lets me know when it is time to knock it off and lay even if I am working on the latest batch of soap that I have been dying to try out.
    I know that this was a VERY long post and I hope I didn’t bore you to tears, But I guess the moral of my story is listen to your body when it tells you that enough is enough (and it will tell you) sit down , take a breather…it’s ok you don’t have to be Superwoman every day.

    God Bless,


  5. I also had shingles. I was a really healthy person (ran every day etc) and I got it around my neck and I was in my early 30s!! But my life was crazy. I was in a brand new serious relationship, my job was stressful, and my dad was on and off in the hospital. I was lucky that I caught it in time. If you get them around your neck they can go into your eyes and blind you. At that time my doc said I was lucky to treat it early since there was no one in this area who would treat it if it moved to my eyes. Once they were gone I had probably 3 months of residual pain and it finally went away. I know it may not feel like it, but this too shall pass and you will be okay.

  6. I am so glad you are feeling better, if not normal. Illness is so humbling, isn’t it?

    I had the chicken pox when younger, and I’m so torn about the vaccine. I haven’t even seen a doctor in 5 years, I’ve skipped many vaccinations for my kids (but not all!) and I’m just so reluctant to even consider it. You are causing me to rethink…..

    1. Thanks, Andrea. Yes, illness truly is humbling. More so than I thought

      I saw an ad for the shingles vaccine while I was sick. I couldn’t believe it. I’m not sure if I’ll get it. Weighing the benefits of missing out on shingles (which would be awesome) but also wondering about what side effects there might be from such a new vaccine. It’s so hard to decide!

      Thanks for your encouragement.

  7. I had shingles as a teenager and it was miserable, especially the shot to treat it! I learned the hard way not to do too much and it has served me well most of the time. Rest is needed and overachievers often underestimate the need for it, unless we feel exhausted. I do empathize with you. It is a miserable condition and one which I do not wish on anyone.

    1. Thanks, B. You put it so well when you said, “Rest is needed and overachievers often underestimate the need for it, unless we feel exhausted..” That is often how I feel! Now I’m striving to rest before my body yells at me.

      I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Thanks so much.

  8. BTDT. Don’t feel ashamed to admit that you can’t do it all. We both know Someone who can.
    The benefits of crawling is being on your knees, a place we should all aim to be.
    Praying for you. Strength, grace, and His peace on you and your household. πŸ™‚ Enjoy the new normal.

    1. Thanks, Sage! I appreciate your words and prayers so much.

      Yes, this place of crawling does have it’s benefits πŸ™‚ I am drawing closer to Him and that is always a good thing.

  9. Stacy,
    This is a very timely post for me and I thank you for it! Been letting things build up and not realizing that I’m stressing… Our bodies can only take so much, though our minds say “keep going!”. Sooner, or later, our bodies tell us, “I’m done. We are gonna rest”.
    I’m one of those few who have never had chicken pox as a child (thank you Dad! He didn’t either), so shingles are pretty unlikely, but I suffer from migraines. I thought maybe my usual triggers were the cause (heat and sun… summer is a nightmare for me), but I noticed that I have been able to stay relatively cool lately… ??? Yes, the stress is getting to me and my body is yelling, “Hey! Slow down!”
    I’m so glad you’re doing better. And what a wonderful way to relax! I hope I will be able to make a trip to Yosemite this year as well. God’s amazing creation needs to be enjoyed and praised always! In the grand scale, like Yosemite, or just the simple act of waking up in the morning and giving thanks for another day… <3

    1. Thank you, Lotus.

      I hope you can continue to strive to stress less and slow down. It’s something we have to always work on, I think.

      I appreciate your kind words of encouragement.

      Hope you make it to Yosemite!


  10. When I read the first few lines of this post, I thought “shingles”…I had them when I was about 30 and my mild case was absolutely no fun. I would take a C-Section over shingles.

    We were blessed to discover some natural treatments for me to use in addition to the medicine from our physician. Cayenne capsules are fantastic. You may already be aware of their uses, but just in case you are not, here’s what I did. Take one capsule in the morning on a FULL stomach, and one in the afternoon on a FULL stomach. This is not what the bottles or websites will tell you to do. You do not want to take two at a time, or you will have more problems than the shingles….and you will have lots of time by yourself in the water closet…don’t ask me how I know this. πŸ™‚ The capsules help kill the virus (for lack of a better term) and actually helped me get over my shingles in two weeks instead of months like our doctor predicted. Eating oranges and taking high doses of Vitamin E helps, too.

    I hope you are back to 100% soon!

    1. Thanks, Minnie.

      I will definitely remember the cayenne if the shingles ever come back (I hope they don’t).

      A friend recently shared with me that high does of B12 are also supposed to help. I wonder if they do . . .

      Glad you were able to get over the shingle sin a matter of weeks instead of months. That is a blessing! Sorry you had to enure that, though. It is a painful experience.

  11. Hi Stacy, I was so sorry to hear about your being sick with shingles. Sounds terrible. I hope it is fading in its intensity. Thank you for sharing your trial with us. My Malisa got a small case of shingles when pregnant with her 3 yr. old. My nephew got a small case when he was in his early teens. I know they say stress aggravates it, but there must be something else that brings it out. I, too suffered from being too stressed as a young mother and it took a long time for me to realize the damage that being “over-emotional” and worrisome can cause. I didn’t have shingles and I cannot imagine why not. ☺ But I did find that I stressed my nervous system out and I crashed after my sixth birth. Kinda’ like anxiety attacks with a very elevated blood pressure. I look back and wish I could have been more a more relaxed momma, cause the kids truly never did anything to cause my over-worrying! I try to encourage mommas to relax and enjoy each day and not get wrapped up in having perfect kids and a perfect house. Thank you for sharing! Get well quick!! ☺

    1. Thanks Susan.

      I appreciate you sharing with me. I am encouraged to stress less and rely on God more πŸ™‚

      Grateful for you!

  12. I feel your pain girl…I have had shingles on my face for over a year…had to watch it very carefully, as it was heading toward my left eye. My husband got lots of info from the doctor in the ER. I was in too much pain to really pay close attention…He told me to NEVER LOOK THIS UP ON THE NET….I knew it could get very ugly quick…so I never looked it up….I read the forms the doctor gave him, and that was enough…I still have the residual pain and red marks above my left eye, and I still take meds to help with the pain…..it’s not anything I would wish on anyone……glad you are feeling better….

    1. Debi,
      You poor thing! That must be very painful.

      I’m sure it was scary for the shingles to get near your eye! Amazing that you could have the self-control not to look it up online!

      I hope you continue to heal and the pain goes away. I have a few scars, too. I’m surprised that even the smallest spots left their mark. Perhaps a good reminder for me to chill out whenever I see them.

      Take care,

  13. Stacy,

    Your post symbolizes for me one of the most beautiful qualities in humans, going through exceptional pain and yet still wanting the best for others.

    Thank you for warming my heart with your letter.


  14. Awww Stacy, I’m so glad you’re feeling better. My coworkers and I were JUST talking about shingles tonight, and I told them that I was fearful, as I’ve had chicken pox twice in my life. It’s amazing what will grab our attention, forcing us to examine our ways. I know that we do have some control over our lives, but I think many of us want to take almost complete control, which I struggle with as well. I need to rely more on prayer than I do, and this post was a sobering reminder of that. Although the content of this post included the dreaded s-word, you sure managed to turn this essay into a beautiful, beautiful thing. Thank you, Stacy.

    1. Thank you so much, Evon. I sure hope you avoid getting the dreaded shingles! Take acre of yourself πŸ™‚

      I agree with what you said about prayer and am striving to pray more often and more faithfully.

      Blessing to you.

  15. I feel your pain. Or should I say felt it. I got shingles when I was 27. I had an extremely stressful job and family situation. That’s when I learned all about shingles and stress. It’s sad that it takes something like that to knock some sense into us sometimes.

    1. Thanks, Tiffani. I’m sorry you have experienced the pain of shingles! Here’s hoping we never get it again. I appreciate your comment.

  16. I’ve never gotten shingles but I know what it’s like hitting rock bottom and having to re-evaluate everything. 3.5 years into my marriage, I was on my third pregnancy and nearly miscarried ending up in the hospital. I was severely depressed, stressed to the max, and wanting to leave my marriage. Looking around my hospital room, I realized that I was trying to be a superhero and I had to say “no” especially to some of my close family members and I had to put boundaries on my life. Fast forward five years and the child I was carrying is now 4 years old. My husband and I are still healing but are committed, and I am intentionally taking times of rest even if it means sitting for 15 mins to have a cup of tea. It’s been a process and a journey. God does not want us to be machines or doormats, or religious martyrs, He wants us to enjoy life, thrive, and rest in Him!

  17. @Stacy sad to know about you illness, it’s good you feeling better right now, take some rest, God Bless You, thank you for sharing!

  18. A new normal. Such a perfect sentence. I hadn’t thought of it with those words.
    So glad your on the mend, and made it to your vacation. I too learned the hard way. I didnt’ realize how stressed I was, it seemed normal, I also didn’t realize I wasn’t eating enough, drinking enough fluids. Ended up with afib. A long journey for one Thanksgiving day spent in a hospital. Takes time to readjust to a new normal.

  19. I’m so glad you are better now, Stacy, and I love the new normal that you are talking about. You know that I can relate to so much of your story. You’re so right. And it’s so much better to slow down before……but when we don’t, well, we learn all the more, I suppose. Hugs.

  20. I have read that the shingles virus like to reside hidden along the spine. I’m thinking that Raindrop Treatments with essential oils might be of help to eradicate the shingles virus where it hides to help prevent return episodes. No one wants to live through that again! Take good care of yourself and boost your immune system through diet, exercise, sunshine, and joyful living! Wishing you the best!

  21. I too had shingles in my left leg and your tale sounds so much like mine. Pulled muscle, pinched nerve, Whoa! Shingles! I was blessed with an extremely light case, however, I have continuing neuropathy in my leg and back. I have been doing chiropractic care for several months and can honestly say it has really helped. I’m so glad your feeling better. Everyone take care of themselves!

  22. wow, totally unexpected. here i am researching natural remedies and i stumbled across your post. answer to prayer? i dont even know you, but as i read each sentence and got deeper into your post it was as if i were reading my own story. im 45, i homeschool my girls, my husband is a streetpreacher. 2yrs. ago i began getting migraines, 6 “specialists”, multiple diagnoses, too many unnecessary meds and who knows how much money later im exhausted, done. initially the doc said sinusitus, my ears crashed a few months later, by that i mean when i spoke it was as if i were screaming in my head. the ENT says eustachean tube dysfunction. the hearing/balance doc listed things i cant explain really, my brain isnt comfortable stable wise with what im walking on… and hearing loss due to nerve damage, high red blood cell count. the neurologist gave me an MRI day before thanksgiving which showed migrain damage, high red blood cells and low oxygen. change in elevation makes my skull feel like its cracking open. each doc had their own meds, which left my immune system wrecked. when i read your story i felt your pain, and that surprises me, im not a people person, and i dont share personal issues. somethings wrong with me, and im scared. adam and eve were born in the garden of eden right? i believe there is a way to help myself, im desperately seeking it. my nerves are shot, im not the same person, im angry alot. my family needs their mom/wife back. wow. i dont know why i was drawn to tell you all this, but im glad i did. im a praying person and you will be at the top of my list. your definately not alone, we have God too, theres a reason for all this, i dont know what, but i continue to look for the answer, im jodi stacy, nice to meet you:) phil.4:13

    1. Dear Jodi,

      Thank you for your kind words and your prayers. Thank you for sharing your struggles with me. I will pray for you, too.

      It’s so tough to be in this place. It can be really scary. Keep clinging to Him and taking one step at a time.

      I pray you find answers. Not knowing can be the scariest part.

      (I just had some blood tests and found that my thyroid is messed up – so, that was part of my health issue that I didn’t know. A lot of what I was feeling makes sense. Now I know, I am trying to address it. It does help to have some type of action steps to take).

      Thank you for the verse, too. I love that one.

      Take care.


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