gonna relax if it kills me

“You need to calm down,” Tony, my massage therapist told me today in the kindest voice, as he worked on my screwed-up body, muscle by screaming muscle. “Try not to get so stressed. You’re stressed, aren’t you?”

He doesn’t know me AT ALL obviously.

Let me back up 12 years. When I was about 4 months pregnant with Livi, I started getting this awful (AWFUL) pain in my lower back that would send spasms down my cheek (the butt kind) and leg. Sitting was unbearable. I remember being on vacation with Gabe’s extended family at the beach and lying down on the floor of his uncle’s van anytime we drove somewhere.

This sciatic nerve stuff has haunted me ever since. Comes, goes, comes more than it goes.

Fast forward to yesterday. My back hurt when I got up in the morning, and it got worse as the day progressed. I ran errands all afternoon in Gabe’s car (our van was in the shop getting very expensive things done to it), and every time I climbed in or out or just sat there, I wanted to cry.

Then I was getting a pizza out of the oven for dinner, and I did cry. Screamed actually, then started sobbing. The spasm was so bad I couldn’t move. The pain was everywhere, but my knee was the worst. Felt like I’d been shot (or what I imagine that might feel like).

It got bearable again but not better, so I called my good friend Tony this a.m., praying he could work me in before we leave for the beach tomorrow.

THE BEACH. More on that in a minute, but I just want to go on record saying that I know it’s not “wise” to advertise online that you’re leaving town. Someone might rob you! I see the logic in this, but you have to understand that we own exactly two items of any value: Gabe’s laptop and his camera. And those will be with us. So it’s gonna stink to be the guy who breaks into our house and finds NOTHING for his trouble..

Plus our neighbor, JaJa? Killed a lion with his bare hands, growing up in Kenya. And our other neighbor? Has a ferocious dog that will kill you with his bare teeth if you look at him funny.

So, Tony. My mom introduced me to him about 6 years ago, after a chiropractor screwed my back up ROYALLY. Like my shirt was hanging three inches lower on one side of my body after he “fixed” me. THREE INCHES.

Tony massages muscles in the front of me that correspond to ones in my back, and he moves my knee all around while he’s massaging, and he goes through my jaw to get to my leg. Makes NO sense, but works every single time.

I only see him when it’s an “emergency” and I’m really good at hurting myself really bad right before I leave the state–or the country.

So Tony miraculously had an opening this morning (I found out later that it was because the lady scheduled for my slot got in a car accident–she’s okay, but man, I need to watch my prayers!).

He checked me out first and said I was about an inch out of line, something or other was rotated, something else was some other verb, but surprisingly, I wasn’t torqued. Always a silver lining.

He asked me if I’d been carrying any babies. Not really, I said. Just a friend’s little one here or there at church. And then I thought for a minute and said, “Um, no babies, but I did carry my 54-pound SIX YEAR OLD from the parking garage to the ER and back on Monday.”


At one point, he touched a spot that made me want to cuss my brains out and informed me that I had not only pinched my sciatic nerve but my femoral nerve, which would explain the stabbing pain in the front of my knee. Good to know. No, really, it’s good to know. I love it when I find out things are really wrong with me, and I’m not just whining about nothing.

He fixed me all up in an hour (I’m still sore but no awful spasms), gave me 4 exercises to do, said I really shouldn’t be wearing cheap flip-flops (heartbreaking), and told me I need to get out of the van and walk around once EVERY HOUR (it’s a 9-hour trip) down to the beach (Gabe says he’s smoking something, but I’m not messing with his orders). And that water is good for me. Perfect.


So, the beach. Back in 2007, my mom and dad, 2 sisters, their husbands, and the five of us went to the beach together. My dad wanted to do it again when he retires in a couple years, then decided he didn’t want to wait. So this year it is! And ALL 20 of us are going. Mom, Dad, Gabe, Marla, Livi, Ava, Nina, Josh, Jess, Anna, Ethan, Gavin, Stewart, Bethany, Isabelle, Jack, Daniel, Stephanie, Mia, and baby.


And trying to figure out how to fit in all the fun we possibly can while cooking delicious food and taking millions of gorgeous pictures and making sure everyone loves everybody else and still RELAX.

Perhaps I should focus on the relaxing (and pray a lot).

So, I’ll be taking a little blogging break, but GO JOIN OUR SUMMER READ-ALONG!! I’m really, really looking forward to hearing your insights. The only thing better than reading a great book is reading it in community.

Talk to you soon, friends!

9 thoughts on “gonna relax if it kills me

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  2. Laura

    Ugh…I hear you on the sciatic nerve issues! I first had trouble during/after my first pregnancy, and now it flares up whenever I’ve lifted something heavy or strange (usually gets bad the next day or so). Then I’m in pain for a few days, and you’re right – sitting down is the WORST! My doctor also said I should stop sitting with my legs crossed, but it’s such a habit!

  3. Joy

    So glad you are feeling better. My Mom has struggled with sciatica for years and it is horrible. Have fun at the beach and with all the family. I had a thought, well a couple thoughts, on your “cheap” flip-flops, I own a couple pairs of Teva’s version of flip-flops. They have double webbing so you aren’t scrunching your toes to keep them on. 🙂 And get a pair of Chaco’s, most of the adventure trip leaders from CFS use them all summer. Amazing!! Not cheap but an investment. I have had mine for 6 years now.

  4. Shannon

    I LOVE what you said about Tony going through your jaw to get to your leg! I am a massage therapist, and people look at us like we’re crazy when we explain muscle connections and WHY we’re working on this part of your body when the problem isn’t there! ha ha! Listen to him about the water, seriously! and you have probably already left, BUT if there are specific trigger points that are bothering you, take along a tennis ball and place it between you and the seat of the chair/between you and the floor on those spots, it’ll help relieve pressure from the trigger points! Not as good as a massage therapist, but great for on the go! 🙂

  5. Nina

    Wow, that’s a lot of pain. I’m glad Tony was able to work his magic. Good chiropractors are gold. Hope you have an unbelievably relaxing (and healing) time at the beach.

  6. Keri

    It is certainly never boring at your house!! So thrilled that you guys get to head to the beach. Have an incredible time soaking in family and food…..and water. Love you!

  7. Hannah

    Have to admit I laughed out loud when you wrote that line about watching your prayers… Although it wasn’t your prayers that did that, it was just an example of how God uses bad (the accident) for good (you got an appointment!).

    Will pray for healing for your ENTIRE family – in every way during this break at the beach.


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