Chronic pain

My story

Welcome to my blog, Daily Dependence.  This is the first time I have ever blogged for the sole purpose of sharing what I am learning with a broader audience, so thank you for taking a chance on me and taking time to read this post.

As I explained in the About Me section of this blog, I am a wife and mother of two beautiful children: Zac (3.5) and Hannah (10 months).  My husband and I have had the privilege of adopting both of our children domestically, and though that wasn’t our original family plan, God has proven that His plan far exceeds our own.  I am also a licensed physical therapist and practiced for 10 years prior to the birth of our son.  Once our son came into our family, I made the choice to stay home and raise him, though at the time I still worked a few hours every week or every other week.  Once we moved from MI to IN, I attempted to find a PT job prn (as needed) but again God has proven that his ways are higher than our ways and I am currently unable to work even prn due to physical limitations.

On Jan 13, 2013, I got the shingles virus.  I will never forget my appointment with the doctor where I foolishly spent the majority of the visit asking the doctor all about where I could and couldn’t go based on how contagious I was.  Being a PT I had heard of postherpetic neuralgia so I did spend a minute asking him if I could get that and he reassured me that it was very unlikely being that I was 34  and healthy.  Wow – how wrong we both were!  I quickly realized that I would not be able to go anywhere due to the severity of my pain.  I remember how daily the pain seemed to double for that first week – it was like nothing I had ever experienced. Because the virus was on my back and stomach, it made all movement very painful: sitting, standing, walking, bending over, holding my son, etc.  The only somewhat tolerable position was lying down flat in my sleep number bed on a super soft setting.

Most people my age know nothing about shingles so let me give you a brief explanation with special thanks to Wikipedia.  Shingles or Herpes Zoster is a viral disease that usually presents itself in painful blisters that often contain themselves to one side of the body and form a stripe or line across the body.  If you have ever had chickenpox (varicella zoster virus) as a child or young adult then once your chickenpox symptoms resolve, the virus lies dormant in your nerve cell bodies.  For various reasons (most unknown), the virus can come alive later in life and cause shingles which presents with very different symptoms than the original chickenpox virus.  The virus can affect just one spinal nerve or (as in my case) several at once.  The blisters typically heal 2-4 weeks after they arrive but with some patients, the pain lingers even though the rash is gone – also known as postherpetic neurlagia or PHN.  PHN can last several months to several years – if not for life.  Based on my research limited to the internet, it is very rare for PHN to occur in people under the age of 40, especially healthy people under the age of 40.  The kicker is that shingles can return because the virus never leaves the body, so even if you’ve been affected once, you can be affected again and in some cases, repeatedly.

So even though my blisters had healed, the pain continued and it took months for the severity to lessen even a little.  I spent the next several months seeing doctors, trying home remedies, going to an acupuncturist, etc.  About 9 months after the initial virus, I finally found a medication regimen that seemed to work for me and I felt like I was starting to get my life back.  I was able to start to try working out again (though very light and often still painful), and I was able to care for my kids easier and complete more than just the basic tasks.  So I signed up for a PT course that was out of state.  It was great to get to “practice” again and learn again, especially in a field I’ve always been interested in – vestibular rehab.  Two days after I returned home (about a month ago), my pain came back with a vengeance.

It’s through this past month that I’ve realized that for whatever reason, this part of my journey of life is not over.  I won’t lie, I’ve spent almost this whole month wallowing and crying… a lot of crying.  But lately I feel God dusting me off and encouraging me to live – pain or no pain.  The PT in me, just wants to fix it and move on but I’m quickly realizing (though it’s taken me over a year) that the medical community is too baffled by this idea of PHN and there is no magic cure.  I have recently received a nerve block and started again on antivirals with the thought that the virus returned though I never had the actual blisters.  My doctor and I know though that both of those treatments are what they seem – a shot in the dark.  Luckily I have a God who is the master physician and who is never baffled.  I’ve come to terms with the idea that he could heal me but for whatever reason has chosen not to.  I am reminded of Isaiah 55:8-9 that says the following:

‘”For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.'”

I don’t know why I still have pain, especially at what seems like an inconvenient time – when my kids are still so little and need me so much physically, but I don’t have to know why.  I just have to know that I can trust Him.  One thing I hope to show through this blog is that even when our present circumstances are hard and not ideal, we can trust Him regardless of what happens here on Earth.  Through my ultimate favorite bible study, Gracestoration (I’ll share more in later posts), I have learned that the Lord has designed us to be dependent creatures.  We were never intended to do life alone without Him.  I think He sometimes allows difficult circumstances to remind us that we are to be Daily Dependent on our Creator.

So why am I blogging?  I am not blogging so that you will feel sorry for me or for this blog to even be about me.  I am blogging with the hopes that God can use what he has taught me to encourage you in your daily walk with Him.  I hope and pray that you can too learn to be daily dependent on Him and in turn find rest in Him knowing that the God of the universe loves you more than we will ever know, regardless of what happens here on this Earth.

My hope is to blog on a regular basis but I’ve learned since I’ve had kids and have had PHN, I will make no promises 🙂

God bless.

8 thoughts on “My story

  1. Thanks for sharing, Sue!! I didn’t know the pain returned 🙁 I’m glad I do now, though, so I can be praying. Love you, friend!

  2. Love that you started a blog, hate what’s been happening to you. Love your faith and dependence on God. Thanks for sharing; look forward to reading more. Will be praying for you and the family.

    Just a note: I’ve been reading Misty Zeller’s blog (, I think) and she writes similarly to you…life is hard, but God is good and I will trust in Him. Not sure if hers will encourage you, but it does me. Very Psalm-like. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Dearest friend,

    I’m sorry to hear you are in pain. You are in my prayers. I’m glad you are opening up. Do not bear your burdens alone.
    Galatians 6:2 Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

    Job 6:10 This would be my comfort; I would even exult in pain unsparing, for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

    Pain removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul. ~ C.S. Lewis

  4. Sue. You’re right…I don’t feel sorry for you. Your endeavors online will no doubt bring a little more light into what seems to be a dark and dreary world. So you don’t have my pity. You have my attention.

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