Well now Ive done it! This was my thought as I stared unbelievingly into the mirror last Tuesday morning. Did I do this to myself? Was it because I raced so hard on Saturday? I won…… so it was worth it right? But wait……I had had chicken pox as a child. This can’t be happening to me!
There was a big joke in my family that I will catch every flu that goes around twice but this is too far. This is just way toooooo FAR!!!!!! Could my luck possibly suck this hard? You have to be kidding me. There is no way that I can have blisters covering my entire body. AND MY FACE? I am in sales. (complete panic setting in) I sell homes for a living. I am the sole provider to my family of 6. If mommy fails we all fail. I really don’t have time for this. I wailed in my own head while sweat was dripping down my forehead. I was literally shaking in disbelief and complete and utter panic.
I went downstairs and showed my husband. “look at my face!” I said in a horrified squeaky voice. My 3 year old had just had them and my 18 month old was a day deep in them. They seemed fine! A little crabby maybe and the fevers were a little scary as a mommy but I don’t think they missed a single day of normal childhood play. So I should be good too right? I am only 40! Its not like I am an elderly person.
Not even 3 hours after I had this thought they started erupting all over my face, my throat, my mouth. I was literally completely covered. The exhaustion I was experiencing was more intense than post half-ironman or post marathon combined. Shit I felt better than this after natural CHILDBIRTH! I didnt know what to do. I was pacing in circles trying to think my way out of this one.
I couldn’t help but think, “GOD what have I done to deserve this insane debauchery?” I’m a good person, I work hard, I went to church last week (LOL). Come on God ol’buddy this is a bit much. Not long after this emotion I felt like someone was sitting on my chest. I went straight to bed. I woke about an hour later in the most intense fever sweat session of my life. I was so sick I didn’t know weather to vomit or pray I would die. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t swallow ( my throat felt as if it was losing its airway it was so swollen and painful) Yet the actual pox on my skin didn’t look insane yet or hurt. I wasn’t itchy! They just kinda hurt and i felt really sick. Maybe I would fare well through this?
I slept off and on all night. I took a few cold showers to get my fever down and at 10 am the following morning I knew something was very wrong. It felt like something was clamping down on my chest. I had now not eaten in 24 hours and things were getting very real. I really started to get pissed at this point. I truly did not have time for this! We were supposed to leave on a super fun family vacation to the Sedona Mountain Bike Festival in a few days and I could see those plans quickly unraveling. I knew I was a few days away from looking like a full blown lepper. As my good friend said when I told her “JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL!”
I drove myself to Urgent Care. There was no way I was taking my husband who was on kiddo duty. Mind you OUR 18 month old was covered in chicken pox himself and the three year old didn’t look too amazing. So I soldiered on alone feeling like I wasn’t even safe to drive. It took me a few minutes to figure out how to unlock he door to get out of my car when I arrived at Urgent Care. My brain function was at an all time low.
I have a little secret for you. Want to get a really fast service at Urgent care say to the receptionist really LOUD “Dude, I am covered in chicken pox and I feel like I’m going to vomit.” Lets just say I had a room in less than 30 seconds while they all whispered amongst themselves. One win for the Lepper. I felt really beautiful, and smart LOL.
Dr came in. Conducted the normal exams, she laughed at me, helped me laugh at myself and proclaimed, “You my dear have full blown Pneumonia and obviously Chicken Pox” Baby Jesus seriously? SO she prescribed the gamut of antibiotics, inhalers and antiviral medications for the horrid blisters that were still forming. They didn’t look that bad and I wasn’t even itching! Yay, I’m winning. Two wins for the Lepper. Im the Lepper Plague Ninja!
I barely made it home I was so tired. I almost pulled the car over to take a quick nap. But I was actually afraid I could die in the car in Winchester and that just seemed like a really shitty way to go out. Plus I imagined some cop pulling up to my window to check on me and seeing my horrid sweaty, blistered and swollen face. (insert scary horror flick music here) EEEEEK!
My situation got real that night. I now had so many blisters on my face you couldn’t tell where one blister ended and another began. My poor husband tried to console me. I cried,”I was just trying to be a great mom and put my children’s health first, but I never expected it would get me.” SO understand where I am coming from on this emotion. We do not immunize our children. We have our reasons and we have spent countless hours (weeks) researching so well that I could argue most Medical Dr.’s under the table. What I didn’t think about was the fact that I have a compromised immune system and all it took was one super hard effort at Saturdays Race stages and mommies immune system was set up for complete failure. And fail it did. I still would not change our decision to not immunize our beautiful natural children. I was thrilled they had gotten this virus out of the way for lifetime immunity. Now if I just didn’t die in the meantime that would be swell.
The next week I endured more than I think I ever have. Mind you have given birth to three of my 4 kids naturally, survived chemo and radiation when I had cancer, broken countless bones, but this…this was something else. LOL Lets lay it all out here for you…….. I woke up one night sleeping in a foot of water speaking Spanish. I do not speak Spanish and the last time I checked it is not safe to sleep while submerged. I was completely out of my mind with fever. It was Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, but with FIRE ANTS CRAWLING ALL OVER YOUR BODY,,,,,,,,oh, and pneumonia.
On day 3 My Primary Care Dr. did acupuncture, cupping and sent me home with some Herbal remedies as well as a new supplement regimen. My husband was trying to be a good sport but on this trip he could tell I was done. Standing at the elevator to leave the Dr office we had a silent conversation that went something like this- Me, “Please don’t let me die” Him, “Shit I will do my best but I can’t make any promises.”
The Dr who had seen me days prior at Urgent Care was now urging that I get admitted to the hospital and I just kept telling her I was fine. I knew I was safer in my own bed surrounded by my witch craft, tonics and oils LOL . I sound really crazy (I KNOW!!!) BUT mind you I looked like a full blown wicked witch so I might as well go with the going mood.
That night was the worse one yet. My scalp was under attack. By under attack I mean it was completely covered in welts. These were somehow the most painful I had. Yes, even worse than the ones in my mouth and throat. The torture was so intense I was soaking in oatmeal baths about every 10 minutes. I would almost fall asleep once I got back to bed and it would start over again. SO off to the tub I would stumble. I would get out and almost fall asleep again just to have my scalp on fire again.
After about two hours of this intense torture my itching was off the hook. I got the genius idea to cover my scalp in Calamine lotion. So I parted my hair in one inch sections and used a make up brush to paint my scalp. This gave me instant relief. So I covered my face, my chest and my back. I convinced my 3 year old who was awake with me at 4 am to take over while I tried to cover the other parts of my body. I was so cold I felt like it was 30 degrees in my bedroom.
We followed this routine for another hour. I was almost sobbing and just did my best not to scare her. She was concerned and I could tell this situation was getting worse rather than better. Somehow I had some relief and almost fell asleep sitting up on my bathroom floor. Then the calamine stopped working. I was so uncomfortable I had the urge to run screaming down the street. I just can’t describe this pain much better than to keep referring to NINJA FIRE ANTS chewing on my scalp.
All the while I was doing my best to not puke. The nausea was building. You know right when I didn’t think I could handle anything else……..SO then the puking started. Might as well. I couldn’t breathe well, swallow, eat, tolerate being IN my skin, might as well dry heave for a few hours. I had been living on blue gatorade for 3 days so it was blue mayhem. I would puke, scratch at my head, try to catch my breath and then puke again. My 3 year old lost interest and stumbled off to my bed.
I jumped in the tub. It had only been a half hour and the calamine was now doing nothing on my scalp and it was so hard on my hair I couldnt get to my scalp to itch it. My face was so swollen I looked like THE friggin Housewife Zombie from Hell. I put my poor scalp under water ( I used a combo of 2 cups Epson salt, 1 cup baking soda, 2 cup of oatmeal in a sock, 5 drops of lavender oil and two drops of Tea Tree Oil) When I went to shampoo my scalp I realized I literally had one huge dreadlock. I had plenty of shampoo but no conditioner left. SO now I had an itchy ass head and a calamine deadlock that didn’t seem to ever want to come out. Oh and sure might as well puke some more. Sliding all over my bathroom floor, puking in the sink, shaking all while. My poor 3 year old woke up the commotion and proceeded telling me stories about fairies and Ponies like I do when she is sick. I tried to acknowledge her as best I could. If I wasn’t in so much pain and so ill it was really quite comedic. Good Lord what had I done to myself. This for sure took the cake on all the dumb shit I had gotten myself into over the years. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, I’m awarded the DUMB ASS AWARD!
The next morning a girl friend brought me some essential oil blends. My fever was so bad now I was shaking wearing a big fluffy pottery barn robe my kids got me years prior for Christmas. I was also covered in every blanket and down comforter I could find. One of the blends she had me put on the soles of my feet. The others were to diffuse for my lungs, (Breathe, On Guard, Thyme). But then I hit the jackpot. She made this one blend and put it in a roller bottle for me. It was Lavender, Peppermint and Melaleuca. I would part my hair in sections and run this roller down my scalp. Holy Sweet JESUS we had a winner!! Sure it didn’t take it all away but I could finally sleep for an hour or so at a time. I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Before she had arrived I was actually considering shaving my head. Literally!
Day 4 was more of this, sleep, bathe, barf, sip fluids, sweat, cry, cuss, pray, complain, soldier, take meds, and repeat. My face was incredibly scary. I didn’t even want my own husband to see me. He was kind to me but even he busted out with a “Wow!!!!” or “ HA HA This is sooo BAD” every so often. I wanted to punch him. Of course during all of this he had to get my teenager to her Dr appointments for school sports, get her rides to her first games (which we would be missing) and navigate an 18 month old who was also battling chicken pox. The 10 yr old and 3 yr old were on their own. We were in a war zone and Mommy had left the building. I kept worrying about our 18 month old but Of course the sick baby was running around playing with army men all day while his 40 year old mommy was in a full blown health crisis. He liked to point to his pox and then off he would go. He had shit to do.
Day 5 I slept like 23 out of 24 hours. Day 6 pretty much the same. Day 7 I was finally sitting up in bed and could say for the first time in over 7 days my fever was completely gone. It had now been replaced with the most painful headache on the planet, It was like a hybrid between migraine, sinus headache and a tension headache. I am convinced my brain was literally swollen. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. My ears were ringing and my throat had hit an all time painful high.
I am now on day 8. I am no linger contagious. My face looks pretty sexy and almost completely healed! I noticed that the areas I used the essential oils on healed much faster like my face and chest. I also use a lot of coconut oil (plain) to moisturize so I am wondering if that sped up my face healing quicker than my body. Coconut oil is a miracle oil. Anti-inflamitory and antibacterial. I had also added Colloidal Silver topically to my face as well as taking it orally. I would rub cow ass on my face at this point if someone said it would work. Hehe
At day 6 I stated making a really yummy Turmeric Tonic Commonly called “Golden Milk”. This has been my main source of nutrition. Its really all I could/can tolerate. It was so delicious after I fine tuned it I am pretty sure it will be a part of my forever nighttime routine. It may even replace my morning coffee. I haven’t had caffeine in 8 days so I may just stay away from it unless I am on a long ride etc.
GOLDEN Tonic-I stared by making a turmeric paste. I made enough paste to last for a few days. Simmer and work into a paste 1/2 cup water 1/4 cup turmeric Put it in fridge to be used later!
Turmeric Tonic –Organic Rice Milk (measure out just more than one mug full since some dissipates. I also tried it with coconut milk and HATED it. Texture was gross. I highly suggest sticking with Rice Milk. Then simmer all ingredients on low heat for 10 minutes. -1 tsp coconut oil -tsp organic honey
-1 TBSP or tsp of Turmeric paste (I use somewhere in the middle) -4-6 peppercorns -1/2 tsp organic cinnamon -TBSP fresh ginger fineley chopped Strain tonic after ten minutes with any strainer to get out the peppercorns and the ginger. I’m telling you this is Delicious Central and really seemed to settle my stomach, give me some nutrients, and really helped reduce the inflammation in my body. I did a rotation of this and green tea for days without eating anything.
In another blog I will go into detail about my health situation but I have been formally diagnosed with Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. I have almost completely healed the Lupus but still battle painful Rheumatoid. This altercation with my immune system made most of my joints swell. I had one hip and a few fingers feel almost broken they hurt so bad. The day we went to see my primary I could hardly walk the pain was so heavy. Like I said I have had unmedicated childbirth so I can handle me SOME PAIN!! My kidney’s felt like someone punched me in them. Rheumatoid is a complicated subject but lets just say it SUCKS! And I have learned to deal with it.
I am a cancer survivor and when I was 10 spent almost 6 months in bed with Lyme’s Disease. I truly have the shittiest luck on the planet. Its almost embarrassing to talk about it sounds so lame. It has turned me not a seeker of health and I have mostly attained that. I race my bike, run a business, and mother 4 beautiful children. It hasn’t always been that way and lost almost a decade recently to sickness. After finding the proper Dr to support me I was finally done spinning my sick wheels. It was hell. But now After finding my groove again My days are full of happy and healthy and I truly don’t have time for illness like this.
The experience did give me some moments I will not soon forget. One night amid a good fever bout I dreamt I was floating above my bed with my deceased father. We were holding hands and he began to push me back into the bed next to my 3 year old. He kissed her forehead and then drifted off. It was like he said, “I could bring you with me but now is not your time.” It made me miss him terribly when I woke but it was a beautiful experience. I knew during this crisis that I was officially done with any external nonesense and that my life was much too precuous to care or further breed any bad doers in my life. I am too precious. I love me too much.
SO the week prior to this I felt terrible. I kept telling my husband, something is trying to get me. I could feel it in my joints. As I mentioned they will usually swell. I was also very tired. So I took a few days to really relax and focus on my 3 yr old who had chicken pox. I carried her everywhere and just hung out. I had a race nearing on Saturday and I wanted to be well for it so this seemed the best tactic. Rest always does me right. The two days proceeding the race my hubs took me out to pre-ride the course. I was unusually scared. The route seemed super hard. It is a Down Hill course ran by us in the Enduro Series but it wasnt nearly as hard as the Series prior. One Stage was full face helmet worthy for sure but nothing I COLDNT HANDLE. For whoever reason I was just not clicking at all. I finally ended up walking much of the one course on day one. I was so nerved out.
Day two pre-ride I was better. I was just super off. I knew I was battling some sort of a flare up. Now in my defense I feel terrible 50% of the time so I can’t hardly tell anymore if I am fighting something Viral or if its just my immune system attacking itself as usual. I was able to ride most of the line that day. I took some hilarious GoPro footage. We had some serious LOL after this. I screamed the F word about 5 times. (I bombed it perfectly at the race!)
So race morning I almost puked in my driveway. I felt terrible. Will and I talked all the way to the car while he tried to convince me not to go with one baby in tow. I had sessioned these Stages, Rested and was Focused. I was racing. We at least agreed I would reassess my situation when I arrived to the Race Venue. I felt fine once I choked down a couple bananas and hugged (gulp lol) all my buddies.
I raced my ass off. I actually had the best race to date. I was completely ON! It was the craziest thing. I picked perfect lines, my nutrition was on point, I was focused, aggressive and my sprints were the fastest I have ever had. Stage Racing in Enduro is tough. Its very technical riding and very physical. We ride untimed to the top of the course, wait for our turn and then race 30 seconds apart to the bottom. It’s mentally draining all the stopping and starting and waiting in line for your turn. Your head plays with you during line up. Then they countdown and your heart just goes nuts. Then it’s a full technical sprint to the bottom. At this particular Enduro we had 3 stages all on separate courses. I was so pumped when I got down from each. I had two other ladies in my category and one was a 15 yr old. She was fast and my only goal was to try to catch her as I knew she was only 30 seconds ahead of me. On two stages I caught her within feet of us both crossing the finish line.
AND I WON!!
SO after this win I was elated. The next day still elated. Monday I was exhausted all day. I kept joking with one of our agents that I could sleep sitting up at my desk after 2 espressos. Oops, this was clearly when I succumbed to the virus. I think I was in the clear and then I raced, taxed my immune system and BOOM! GAME OVER DUMMY!!! So yes it was a full blown MOUNTAIN BIKE NINJA MOM FAIL. Would I do it again, Hell yes. Would I really? Yes, I really would. Doing things any other way just isn’t part of my journey. #1!
Photo taken on one of the stages that day……..