All The Shingle Ladies

This post actually doesn’t have much to do with me having Shingles (I feel like I should capitalize it out of respect, it was so great and hideous) except that for the three weeks since this thing felled me like a tree, That song’s been kicking around in the back of my head as the funniest and most persistent earworm, and I hope to pass it on to you so I can be rid of it. (It hasn’t worked so far.)

I take that back – this post does have something to do with Shingles… it certainly doesn’t have much to do with the sweater I’m knitting that still isn’t finished…though I’m on sleeve island, so not too much longer.

That knitting on this sweater is seen here perched at the top of my knitting bag, where despite going most places with me, it’s still not done.  Mostly, I haven’t been going anywhere except to the hospital to see my Mother-in-Law, and mandatory Bike Rally meetings – oh yes, I can feel your envy from here, so exciting is my life. Here. Look at a flower from my garden.  It will perk things up a bit.

That’s a Snakeshead Fritilaria. It’s the most interesting thing in my garden right now.

What’s more interesting about the last several weeks isn’t what I’ve been doing. It’s what I haven’t been doing – and that’s training for the Rally, fundraising for the Rally, essentially doing anything for the Rally that doesn’t make it amazing for the other cyclists and crew.   (Did I mention that I took an expanded role with the Rally this year? I took all leave of my senses and took on the role of Co-Chair, which is a great honour and a big responsibility and absolutely an indication of how I feel about this cause and the organizing for that has been sort of a lot and I was thinking… wait… What was I saying?) Nevermind. What I’m trying to say is that between all of that and the completed or attempted edits to my family…  No Bike.

Training rides begin at around 30km, and work their way up to 130km.  (That’s about 80 miles, for my American friends.)  One of the most beautiful things about the Rally is that it is totally doable by an ordinary person.  If that person shows up for at least one training ride per weekend (and the occasional two in a row close to departure) then they are going to survive the Rally. It’s a challenge for everyone who does it, but for those of us less gazelle-like than your average long distance cyclist (let’s say you were a slightly dumpy knitter a few weeks shy of her 50th birthday) you have to get married to that training.

Here’s the part where I tell you the scary thing.  The training and I have not been married.  We’ve actually been legally separated, first because I was in Port Ludlow. (Fair. Everyone has a job.) Then I missed one because of Elliot’s first birthday. (Again, legal excuse.) Then I was at the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival, then the very next day I gave myself a stern talking to about how now that I was done all the travel I had to get really serious, and the very next day Carol had a stroke.  Shortly after that I got the accursed Shingles, and if I were going to be explicit about where I got them and the interaction between Shingles and a pair of bicycle shorts you would totally understand why there was zero chance I could get on a bike, and then just as I have started to feel better, Carol had open heart surgery and (she’s recovering so beautifully, thank you) and now… oh man.  I’m getting so stressed out. Here’s another flower.

(That’s a Trillium under my tree. Do you know I used to think there were white and pink varieties? Turns out they’re the same one. They start white, and change as they age. Who knew?)

Now the training ride lengths are already up to 70km and I am freaking out. It seems like a very difficult place to start – and I haven’t properly started fundraising or doing Karmic Balancing Gifts and there are still some in my inbox from last year when my Mum died and I felt like it was all to much to finish and instead of doing what I have been thinking about doing all day, which is breathe really shallowly while I freak out and wonder if I ever make any good choices… I am going to do something else.

I am going to start fresh. I am just going to start.  On Sunday morning I have to leave for Montreal with my Co-Chair and a few other planners, to make sure the route is good and make some arrangements. That means the Sunday ride is out, and so tomorrow it is. It’s going to be 70km. I am going to ride it, and it is going to be okay.  I don’t think it can kill me. I think the worst thing it can be is really, really hard, and that’s okay.  Considering my life since my Mum died last year, I am absolutely specializing in really hard stuff. We’ll just have to hope I’m getting good at it.  When I come home, I’m going to get a post up about fundraising and Karmic Balancing gifts, and in the meantime, please feel free to give Team Knit a boost. This year our mighty family contingent is:





The guys aren’t riding tomorrow – I think they’ll all be on their bikes on Sunday, so tomorrow I’m braving it alone.  I’m going to turn the page, start fresh and boldly go. It’s going to be okay. Right?

Stupid Shingles.

122 thoughts on “All The Shingle Ladies

  1. First: Best wishes for a full and speedy recovery, Carol. Second: Steph, quit hyperventilating. Third: You’ve lost your mind. Fourth: Who gets your stash?

  2. Good for you getting out there and getting in a long ride despite what the year has thrown at you!

    It may be a hard ride, but as one ultra-distance athlete to another, 90% of it is mind over matter. Keep the food and water flowing, positive thoughts (riding for those who cannot) and embrace the suck – because sure as s*** – you can’t pick conditions on rally days, and this ride will prepare you for a not so great day on the road.

  3. I got shingles at age 34 when my daughter was 3 months old. I went to an acupuncturist who helped tremendously, though I wasn’t wearing a bra for several weeks. It’s the worst. Feel better soon!

  4. It might be a good year to organize and not ride or go for a shorter training ride and see how the shingles affected area responds. Sometimes the universe has to be acknowledged when it says “not this time”.

    • My thoughts exactly! Get on the bike take a short ride and find out how the shingles affected area responds. It just might be the year you have to focus exclusively on the organizing and all the non-glamour jobs that go into making the Rally work.

      • My thinking too – you could still fundraise and not ride this year. In fact – if you don’t ride I’ll double my donation….please just look after yourself – I need you for my entertaining blog reading

        • that is exactly what I was thinking…do the fund raising – go along beside them in a car and cheer them on. But forget riding for this year!

          • I was going to say the same… A break on the ride, and available time to deal with all the rest, including donations and ride related things. After such great things, you deserve this break!

    • Ditto. Ride if you think it’s truly what you need, but don’t stress out if you cannot. There are plenty of other ways to support the cause. Take care of yourself.

      • I second this…your immune system sent you a huge message with the shingles. It’s been a stressful year for you. It’s your decision, but I know I would look for ways to eliminate stress in my life.

      • Hmmm…I just looked up the following and I think you should check with your doctor before riding; you really don’t need a lifelong or even a temporary dose of any of these less-than-entertaining possibilities:

        Complications from shingles can include:

        Postherpetic neuralgia. For some people, shingles pain continues long after the blisters have cleared. This condition is known as postherpetic neuralgia, and it occurs when damaged nerve fibers send confused and exaggerated messages of pain from your skin to your brain.
        Vision loss. Shingles in or around an eye (ophthalmic shingles) can cause painful eye infections that may result in vision loss.
        Neurological problems. Depending on which nerves are affected, shingles can cause an inflammation of the brain (encephalitis), facial paralysis, or hearing or balance problems.
        Skin infections. If shingles blisters aren’t properly treated, bacterial skin infections may develop.

        • I had shingles on the right side of my face years ago (at the same time as I was going through Lyme’s disease. It has been 4 years now – and at times (especially when tired), I get shooting pains in my face!

          • I also had shingles on the right side of my face, six years ago, and have postherpatic neuralgia pain off and on to this day. When i am overly tired, stressed, too hot, etc, the pain starts. Feels like a million million amts crawling on my face….

  5. Go Stephanie! It will be hard but I have faith that you will succeed. I’ll be waiting for the next post to see how it went! Ride on with confidence!

  6. Maybe think about pushing the papers around and being the great organizer this year and skip pushing the pedals. Your recovery is more important than you personally riding.

  7. You are wonderful, Stephanie, and the flowers in your garden are lovely. I know from personal experience that Shingles suck. Be gentle with yourself, and ride like the wind, Bullseye!

  8. yikes too much! i’m glad you are doing better (stupid shingles is right). and glad your MIL is recovering nicely.

    thank you for flower pictures – i’m feeling a bit stressed here in the US…..

  9. Stupid Shingles, indeed! You will get off sleeve island and onto the bike saddle when you are ready. For now take comfort in knowing you have comforted me with your bravery and candor in the face of all these things, the awful, the slightly less awful, and otherwise.

    I recently found two suspiciously pox-like blisters on my foot, another one sprouted on my chin. I blamed rosacea, but I’m just kidding myself. My foot hurt so bad for several days I thought either I had gout or had broken a bone.

    I’m counting the days (doctor says 35) from the first blister and hoping that’s the end of it. Thank you for reassuring me I’m not the only one who fears, hates, and grudgingly respects Shingles.

    Someone I believe is very smart recently said their new mantra is “this is hard, this is normal, this will change.” I like it.

  10. One turn of the crank at a time, one foot in front of the next, one stitch and then another- whatever the pace, you wind up with something beautiful 🙂

  11. I was traveling a number of years ago at a skating competition and kept ending up at the CVS – where there was a not-so-legible handwritten sign that said:
    It took me far too many visits to figure out what the sign was trying to say, and I was mighty concerned for the local population of single people.

  12. One does what one can about life and calls it good; it ratchets up the stress to beat yourself up about what can’t be helped. Live in the moment and ride like the wind! We’ll be cheering you on.

  13. Hmm, I’m not so sure that irritating the nerves that were recently affected by shingles is such a great idea. Still, I hope you survive this weekend’s ride none the worse for wear.

  14. It’s great that you do all this work for such a good charity, but do you think you might need to skip the bike ride? (Tough love version: you are doing too much).

    Take care of yourself, it’s ok to do that sometimes.

  15. Oh dear! I have to agree with Julia and Cathy B and Judy above. I am part of the shingles ‘sisterhood’ and it ain’t no picnic. I’m sure all your medical advisors have pointed out to you the link between extreme levels of stress and the onset of the blasted illness. (If they haven’t, you might consider a change in personnel.) Ease up on yourself, lovey, and do what you can do without further hurting your body. with much love! mm

  16. Darling woman, it seems that some of us here at the blog believe your good sense has deserted you. Some stuff we live through, some we endure, and some just hurt horribly, and must be survived. The world will not end if you don’t ride. Yes you are their champion fundraiser, but jeepers. Shingles are awful. Your poor aggrieved body parts might have something to say about that much time in the saddle. Please listen, if those parts complain as loudly as I suspect they will tomorrow. Looking forward to hearing your escapades. Also very glad for all that Carol is doing well.

  17. Dear Stephanie. In the UK we have a saying “You can kill a willing horse “. You have had a very unusually emotional and stressful year, shingles, work Need I go on? Just take it a little easy for once and just Supervise the Ride. I’m sounding like a Mother but you need to be a little kind to yourself. With love Elaine

  18. Dear Stephanie,
    Looks like most of us agree: sometimes you ride the Bike, sometimes you enable others to ride the bike.
    If riding helps you – go for it. If it hurts you – leave it to others. I am sure, we all will give to the cause even more freely if we feel you are not destroying yourself about it
    So, what Julia said: I’ll double if you feel you can’t so it this year…
    Here’s a hug (or handshake, whichever you prefer).
    Take care of yourself!

    • Beautifully said.

      Stephanie, I’m another one thinking maybe your role this year is to raise funds and the spirits of others, not saddle sores or neuropathy. Permanent nerve damage is no fun. (Year 7 for me.)

      You have a talent for raising awareness and teaching us how many little donations create massive possitive impact. Maybe this year you can influence to a higher level or in a nee way.

      Glad you and Carol are doing better. Sending both of you lots of healing thoughts and hugs from Zuid Holland.

  19. Fresh starts are important for everyone. You are an inspiration to all of us, and we’ve got your back. I’m always happy to donate to a worthy cause that’s championed by such an amazing woman. You’ve got this!

  20. It IS going to be okay. I will be donating again this year to such a good cause. Thank you and your Team for championing it so well.

  21. Just showing up. The hard part, and harder because so little drama. Cheering from here, and my newly discovered ahem/personal infection will lift an antibiotic in solidarity with your shingles. Right foot, left foot. Let’s both pound water. I remember when that bike kept falling over and taking you with it — upright and forward, petal.

  22. I’m with those who say listen to your body. And maybe 80 km is too much for the first time back. Start with half of that and see. I would be with those who say don’t ride this year, except you long distance athletes are a different breed and I have to acknowledge what Wildknits said. Of course if it’s 90 percent mind over body, that leaves 10 percent body. And your poor body is sick. Do what you think is best. I will donate to the cause either way.

  23. I’m not going to mother hen you, but there’s a difference between “pushing through because other people live with things that are so much worse”, and “taking care of yourself so that your body can heal well and not suffer more damage.” I’ll leave it up to you to sort out. Continued prayers for Carol. XOXO

  24. The shingles are your body telling you something is out of whack, please listen to it. The race will go ahead with or without you, the world won’t stop, there are people who do your job. Please stop pushing away the grief, it’s not working! I’ve seen this with my nephew, we’re 4 years down the track and he is finally willing to deal with it.

    • Ditto! The shingles are sending a message. Please listen to it because it’s more important that you are here and healthy than showing the world how tough you are. We only want the best for you. We already know you are superwoman!

  25. Maybe getting shingles is the Universe’s way of telling you to slow down and take a less physically demanding approach to helping with the bike rally. Maybe instead of the ride you can do the administrative prep work and cheer from the “cheap seats”. If you completely fall apart you won’t be any good to anyone! There’s only just so much Stephanie to go around!

  26. Good for you! I haven’t gotten on my bike yet this year at all and don’t have nearly the same reasons not to. With regards to shingles, a friend of mine got them just days before her wedding, starting around her midriff, front and back. She has an accupuncturist who also gave her some herbal treatment which she attributed to clearing the rash in days. That being said, I just got the Shingrix vaccine myself (2 doses, not cheap, but apparently more effective than the other brand that is one dose and free). You will now need to wait until next year to get the vaccine because it apparently can bring on an episode if you have had it within a year. My Doc figures it will be put on OHIP next year anyway and the old drug taken off because it isn’t as effective, so you may luck out there.

  27. Steph – I love you but – you know shingles can come back, right? See – the thing is – every year I read about the Rally and I can tell, reading between the lines even when you are not complaining, that you are stressing yourself out and you are pushing yourself far past the bitter end of tired. And that’s in the good years. This is not a good year. I think it would be awesome if the Rally had a leader who was calm and strong and had plenty of time to organize everything, rather than one who was frazzled to the end of her toes.

  28. Remember you can re negotiate with yourself. I’ve had shingles and stress can make them worse or recurrent, so having said that, If you only get to 60,50,40 or even 30km it’s good enough. You may find that starting with 30 and doing two a week might be a better way to gear up. Doing the ride is good, taking care of the Pearl of all of us knitters is better! And on another note I was in Florida and went to Four Purls and had my picture taken with the owner, and of course my traveling sock. No place to add a the picture but, you go with me when I travel… and so does a sock! Hugs TA

  29. Dear Steph: Character, grit, backbone: we know you have it–whatever we call it–in spades. You have nothing, NOTHING, to prove to us and I hope not to yourself either. I can hear the Chariots of Fire music in the background as loudly as the next person as you contemplate getting back on your bike, but honestly, knowing what I know now about shingles (have not had it myself, watched my dad suffer, got the shot), I have to agree with the commenter above who suggested that you not fool around with your health by attempting the ride this year. We will donate lavishly to your teammates in your absence. Please give yourself time to recover. Your bike will be there next year.

  30. I am willing to wager that you will not lose one cent of support or one iota of respect from the blog if you do not ride this year. Please know that we are behind you unconditionally — do what is truly best for you, both right now and in the long term.

  31. We have had a lot of shingles in my family, including an uncle who limps with permanent nerve pain as a result of his. It’s just not anything you want to mess around with. Forget the blog—I would consult a doctor who is an expert in shingles. If a doctor you trust approves of your riding schedule, I say go ahead and try.

  32. I walked over to my local post office yesterday, close to a mile each way – it’s the first time in about four months I’ve walked that far. (Chemo got to me; I was barely mobile for a few weeks, and recovering from that took a while. Plus I’m still dealing with one major side-effect, and that’s slow to disappear.)

  33. Warrior woman! I will donate whether or not you ride. Listen to your body and the words of experience above. The last thing you or your body or, for that matter, your family and the rally need is for you to become disabled. Ride if you will, but listen, and have a plan B. Love you.

  34. Lord Almighty … you have already gone … I know … Keep that shingles pain drug handy, YOU are going to need it and not for shingles. Or after half … way take the Sag.


  35. God love you. I hope you just do what you can this year and not compare it to last year. That way lies madness. Whatever you do, it will be more than most and especially us. No one questions your heart.

  36. Trilliums under a tree in your yard ??? Is it a wildflower ?
    I have rarely seen any here .
    They are found in some woodlands or parks , but not common .
    Keep calm and carry on !

  37. Dearest Steph, Please don’t ride! I’ve watched three loved ones with post-herpetic neuralgia that has continued for years, and it brought me, who’s right up there with you when it comes to eating kale, soldiering on, and ignoring any kind of medicine, to get the newest vaccine. I’m with the others who said they’d double their donation if you’ll just organize and anything else but not bike! We’ll take care of you and the riding team if you’ll take care of yourself.

  38. As someone who was felled by shingles in an extraordinarily stressful time of my life, including family edits and too much travel, I’m going to say that not only is it ok if you don’t ride this year, it may be the best thing for you to do. Shingles are a sign that your body is under extraordinary stress – putting it under more stress is going to make that worse, and it is possible that they had return for another bout. I’m still willing to donate whether you ride or not, and I want you to put your health first. Take the time to recover both mentally and physically and ride again next year. I bet that’s what you’d tell your best friend to do.

  39. You have had a remarkably sh”tty year. Sending some cyber hugs from here.

    But about the 70Km bike ride? You’re looking at it the wrong way (I say, coming from a family of endurance cyclists whose unit of measurement is 50Km). It’s not 70Km. It’s 35Km there, then 35Km back. You see? You can do 35, easy peasy. Then you just turn around.

    All the very best. May you have a following wind in both directions 🙂

  40. Ok listen up

    First of all I am an acupuncturist, we can help a lot.
    Second I’ve had shingles in a slightly worse place than you. Sacral nerves, look it up.

    Shingles is a disease of a compromised immune system. Cancer patients in chemo get it a lot, I got mine because somebody left me on high dose steroids for too long without prophylactic antivirals.

    Your body is trying to tell you something and you really really need to pay attention. The kind of training you’re thinking of embarking on is going to deplete your system further and this is a really bad idea. How about taking care of you this year?

    I’ve got a donation for you if you don’t ride. You can do it next year.

  41. I am so glad to hear Carol is recovering beautifully from what must have been another scary family moment.

    Please be careful with the riding. Consult your doc. Listen to your body and your readers. Even if you step back from riding, it’s not like you are in any way blowing off the rally; you’re the Co-Chair for goodness sake and responsible for even more than usual in a year that’s hit hard. It would be ok to organize and cheer them along, and snuggle the wee one as much as possible. (Well, am sure you do that last as much as possible already, but a double dose couldn’t hurt.)

  42. Since you’ve had such a nasty year, I’m donating to you instead of my usual to Ken. And I’ve doubled it. Wish it were more, but I just retired and things are tight. Anyway, you have my official permission to take care of yourself first. If that means by not riding, then you can be support, which is still taking care of your rally. As chair, I expect you will be doing all that anyway. Whatever you decide, the Blog is behind you.

    Hmmm. I have to touch the Woman. Wish I had a magic wand to make it all better.

  43. I’m a nurse so you’ll have to forgive me because I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about CONVALESCENCE. You’ve done this ride before with all the training, none of the stress and in good health – I know this because I’ve been reading this blog for over a decade now – and you’ve done so, so well. But this time you’re doing it without the training, with steaming great truckloads of stress and in truly sh***y health. Good grief woman, what the h*ll are you thinking? You need to heal after a truly hideous virus, you need to recover your strength and you need to listen to your Blog. Put your feet up and knit. Let others take the strain this year and get well again before you do yourself a damage.

  44. I’m willing to bet you’d still be the top fundraiser if you don’t ride this year. You could shepherd the ride, take care of the riders and organise the hell out of it and people would happily donate for that. At this stage I’d donate more if you didn’t ride and just took care of yourself.

    If you need to ride then ride, but if you need to hit a fundraising goal and help people your poor shingled tush doesn’t need to be in the saddle to do that.

  45. Darling, I, for one of thousands, will continue to contribute if you do NOT ride. 70km right out of the winter box is suicide! Just saying.

  46. Good luck.
    By the way, shingles is definitely a reason to not be doing training rides. I have friends who’ve had them who’ve lost 1/2 their body weight because they were so painful… who’ve had to work from home because wearing clothes at all was painful… who’ve ended up in the hospital because of secondary infections. Don’t treat them lightly… (Sending email now to remind Dr I want the Shingles vaccine.)

  47. I’ve had shingles, and my mother died, then my dad died, and I had 3 joint replacements and back surgery and don’t think I could get on a bike, never mind ride it, and my 50th birthday was — OMG — almost a quarter century ago. So, do what you can for as long as you can, whatever it is will be awesome. I’ll sit here and knit and send some $$$. Don’t hurt yourself! And thanks for the flowers 🙂

  48. I hope Carol is recovering well from her surgery! And that your first bike ride went well. (Others have said it better, but: you do you. Good luck whatever you decide.)

  49. So, IF Steph doesn’t ride this year, what say we collectively choose someone else on the team to be our Steph this time around — and put him / her over the top, #1 fundraiser compliments of The Blog as usual? That might be one stressor alleviated for her? I vote for Pato… just cause I love how he’s done the ride all these years and, well, just cause… (not to mention that she could then ride in a support vehicle, and be in charge of butt salves. Worth sitting it out (no pun intended) right there). (aha — “click or touch… the Truck”. a sign)

  50. Beautiful flowers. The Fritillaria grows in abundance in my area. Uppsala, Sweden, that is. The Swedish name is Lily of Kings meadow (Kungsängslilja).

    Wonderful that Carol is recovering well.

    Stupid Shingles, indeed. My father has had it twice and has promised me to get vaccinated before it strikes a third time. The first time it caused him permanent damage to the ear with a significant loss of hearing as a result. Take care of yourself!

  51. Hi Steph, I feel compelled to comment, as I think Shingles is a body’s way of telling you to slow down a bit. Shingles hits when someone’s a bit run down, physically and emotionally, so I would concur with others who say that maybe you should think about fundraising and organising and publicising from base camp but perhaps cut down the bike riding so you can be in a good position to step up the training again next year.

  52. My dear Stephanie,
    The Universe is SCREAMING at you and you aren’t LISTENING. You are NOT supposed to ride this year. Your destiny is different in 2018, and you need to hear what it is. Please open yourself to what is happening, and spend your time on fundraising, organizing, and caring for yourself and your family instead. Remember they always tell you to put on YOUR oxygen mask first!

  53. Donated.

    As a disrance rider myself, may I suggest letting yourself break in at a more modest disrance, maybe 45 -50K? Your experience tells you that you can dig deep when you have to on the ride. Let your body get re-introduced to the bike in a friendly way


  54. I feel very strongly that, after the year you have had, you should be allowed to use an electric bicycle on the entire route. If that is not allowed, surely you can get a seat on a tandem with some strapping young thing with thighs like tree-trunks doing all the heavy lifting.

    I am a little younger than you and seem to have managed to pull a muscle in my bum just sitting in bed and crocheting (Fairly strenuous crocheting, I will have you know). I don’t know how you do it.

  55. You’re the co-chair, you’re doing so much work to make the Rally happen for everyone, you’ve had such a tough year … maybe you don’t have to ride? The Blog would still donate, I’m sure.

  56. Hi Stephanie,

    I’m going through my own stuff now (which is not the point), and a very caring person told me “it’s like the airplane pre-flight instructions: ‘put on your own mask before helping others'”
    You are awesome about caring for everyone you love (even if you haven’t met them yet). None of that will happen well if you don’t slow down to take time to recover from the dreadful shocks to your person.
    Bike if you feel it feeds your soul, but not out of a over-developed need to meet a commitment you made before your life went sideways.
    (I know it’s really hard to do this–I’m struggling, too!)

  57. Thank you for the fritillaria picture. Still deeply envious.

    Good luck on the ride. Pace yourself.

    Consider a temporary secretary to help withany karmic backlog. I suspect there may be some volunteers.

  58. I see that many others have said basically the same thing, but I’m thinking you may have set up some truly unrealistic expectations for yourself. Ah… duh. I know you’re the queen of that, and it’s one of the reasons we all love you, especially as you usually manage to grab the win anyway. But…

    The love you bring to the ride, the cause, and all the money you raise has a lot more to do with your indomitable spirit than your ass in that bike seat. The camaraderie wold be different, but I’m sure there are others who participate in the ride without actually riding.

    Maybe you’ll go on this ride and it will all come together. But if it doesn’t, and it feels hard and a little crazy, you could listen to your body and just go a different (kinder to your body) way. And the knitters who love you would still support you and your team. I have no doubt on that one.

  59. I’ll see your Beyoncé ear worm and raise you a Grateful Dead song that taunted me while I spent a week in Florida with a coworker who fell ill and wound up in hospital for 5 days. The line was predictably from “Truckin’): “What a long, strange trip it’s been.” These musical interludes alternated with daydreams of me as Samwise Gamgee, determined to return Frodo to the Shire….

  60. I think you need to ask yourself, “How are my efforts best spent?”
    I vote for fundraising activities and organizing, letting folks with tree-trunk legs and shingles-free bums do the actual riding. Many are the riders, organizers are a precious few
    I know, the camaraderie of the ride is amazing. But the ones organizing the whole thing also serve, and this way you live to fight another day.
    Julie in San Diego, from a wheelchair, so I know this ground firsthand…

  61. Okay, Knitting Wonder Woman, there is a reality stare-down going on. I haven’t read all the other posts but…

    Maybe rather than being a rider you should be support staff this year?

    You have a team riding that we can support. You can start afresh next year. And shingles can be stress-induced…

  62. Sorry. But I have to join the NO RIDE team here. My shingles were on my back and the post herpetic neuralgia has endured for over two years now. I avoid any activity that aggravates it – which is hard to do when you live in a country that requires you to wear clothing if you want to leave the house. Sounds like the location of yours would make your life pretty miserable if you did anything to irritate those nerves for awhile until you are sure you are well healed. Believe me when I tell you that you do not want a life of constant nerve pain. There isn’t enough Biofreeze or Lidocaine spray on the planet.

  63. I’ve not had shingles, so I can’t say I know what the pain is like, but I’m pretty confident I’m right in saying that the condition of your groin area (sorry!) will be the deciding factor in whether you ride or not. You will know how you feel when you start training. I wish you the best of luck, whatever you decide to do.

  64. I would bet a LOT that all of us blog buddies will still donate to the cause. We have your back. You won’t be letting anyone down!

  65. I was just reading the comments and thinking I have nothing to add. Then I got to the bottom and it said, “touch the car,” which seems a pretty clear message from the universe.

  66. You GO, shingles woman!
    Can’t wait to see you at Strung Along in about 9 days, even though it will mess up your training some more.
    And, I need to do some stash downsizing. Do you still need karmic balancing gifts?

  67. Everyone can give opinions and advice, but you are the only one who can tell if riding this year is doable or not. Take care of yourself so you will be around for many years to give all the help you do give.
    Best of luck to you, your mother-in-law, your family.

  68. I agree with Noreen….push the papers, catch up, be there for Carol and your family, HEAL, and next year you can ride.

  69. I am from Ontario and did not know that about Trillium flowers — thank you for contributing to my Lifelong Learning!

  70. Dear Stephanie, Through you I discovered Tragically Hip. I am so sorry to hear that Gord has died. I am sad for all of us. Gord taught me more about Canada (home of my ancestors) than I ever knew before I heard his music.
    Love, A.

  71. Whether you go on the ride or not is your decision but I think that you have to consider what might happen if all does not go well. Will it put an additional burden on the organisers?

    • kinda thinking along the same lines. Will it put an additional burden on your team to have a rider with compromised health who cannot realistically adhere to the team’s training schedule? At minimum, consider stepping down from your position as team lead.

  72. Hi Stephanie. There are people who haven’t done the ride, other years because they just couldn’t. Full stop/sometimes life just craps on our goals. Talk to them. See what strategies they used to be a part the ride and how they dealt with it. Everyone has to walk through it, or around it or wallow in the crap that laps up on our planned lives. Everyone. Maybe, you can pull an ad hoc team of participants –“can’t ride this year/ I will contribute my $ ” together and represent them in Montreal and meet the riders who did ride.

  73. Dearest Steph. I have to say that as a long time nurse, a mom, a grandmom… and one who is no stranger to stress myself, I would recommend that you listen to your body. It is saying “no thanks, not this time.” I would like to see you rest and spend time with your family, your grandson, your husband, and just be. Knit. Eat ice cream. Supervise from afar. You will donate the same amount of money. I already gave. Love you. Please rest.

  74. I agree with those writing that shingles is a sign that your body is under too much stress. Taking a year off from riding might be a very good thing in the long run. Your family needs you!

  75. Beautiful flower pictures. Hope your training goes well.
    There are purple varieties of Trilliums but they are becoming more & more rare, but yes the white ones do turn pink as they age.

  76. IMHO (for what it’s worth) your immune system is already compromised and a long distance ride is only going to tax it further. The universe is telling you it is time to take a step back from pushing yourself so hard. Please, take a step back and re-evaluate the need to ride. Maybe this year is your time to support the other riders and yourself by hanging out on the sidelines. Taking care of your is top priority now, the ride will be there again next year. Now go out in your garden and enjoy those flowers! XO

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