You heard me. Shingles. I have shingles. I unknowingly had it for several unbearable days before I was officially diagnosed. I mean, I knew something was wrong, but it took me a little while to admit that it wasn't getting better on its own. (Blake was also generally unhelpful, though he has since made up for it. See below.) Upon flashing my doc the affected area of my body, I was immediately diagnosed with the weird illness I thought only made its name amongst the elderly and immune-system-compromised. I won't go through all the details but in an attempt to educate my readers who will someday be 89 and actually need to worry about developing shingles, I will share just enough to let you know what I've been dealing with here.
The Top 10 Shingles Shitlist
- This is the website my doctor pulled up to share with me. Though the site was helpful, it made me a little nervous that my doctor had to Google it... to summarize: Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox. If you've had chicken pox - like I did when I was a kid - it can lie dormant for years and then reactivate as shingles.
- It is contagious via skin-to-skin contact with open blisters, but you cannot catch shingles, only chicken pox if you haven't had it. Good thing you've been avoiding me, huh?
- You will also be relieved, as I was, to know that it is not life threatening.
- My itchy rash (which is just about gone now, thank God) wraps around the left side of my torso. It's pretty symmetrical and doesn't cross over the center line. It was interfering with nursing, if that tells you anything. It also interfered with my ability to wear proper undergarments. No, I will not post a photo, creeper.
- The pain that causes is a burning ache on my left side. The other day, I was washing dishes and thought I was having a heart attack. Then, when I was tie-dyeing onesies (more on that in another post) I thought my left lung had collapsed. I can't get comfortable, though moving around feels better than sitting still. Kind of like labor. In my shoulderblade. Weird.
- Doc Googlepants prescribed an anti-viral, though he said that most anti-virals work best when taken within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms. So, given that the rash started MORE than 48 hours ago, I'm probably out of luck on the meds. I've been taking tylenol for the pain. I probably won't take any of the leftover pain meds from the C-section.
- I could have another week of this. Or two. Gads.
- My left eye has been persistently twitching for over two weeks now. I totally think it's related.
- I don't really have a compromised immune system so the "cause" of this reactivation? Stress. It must be. That and the lack of sleep and my devotion to caring for my baby girl at all hours of the day and night.
- Since finding out what exactly it is that's causing all this pain, I've been milkin it for whatever it's worth. What is having shingles as a 30 year old worth if I can't put my feet up, get online, and have my husband bring me the credit card and buy me ice cream? Nothing.
Guess I should have stopped the nursing and gone to the doctor when I thought my lung was collapsed. Even better, guess BLAKE, the MEDICAL DOCTOR in the family, should have suggested it... at least he's bringing me ice cream.
Tazed and confused,
P.S. Since I started drafting this post, I've learned of a good number of other folks my age who have also suffered from shingles. People, we are too stressed. We must learn to relax or we'll never even make it to 89!