Monday, September 16, 2013

A Public Service Post

It was my goal after Lake Placid to make an entire year without any physical problems. I didn't even make it 24 hours.

The day I got home, I had shingles.

I know, you may be thinking, "Isn't that like a rash?" Yeah, that's what I thought. What it's really like is the nerves on one side of your body are set on fire by left over chicken pox virus. A few days later a rash breaks out.

When it hit, I felt like I was being kicked by men with steel toed boots. I once passed a kidney stone. This was worse.

The first doctor couldn't make a diagnosis, so I spent a day getting a CAT scan for appendicitis or a stone. Two days later, the rash finally broke out and the second doctor took one look and said, "Shingles, here's a prescription for a painkiller and an anti-viral."

Well, I was lucky. Even though my face was itching, the anti-viral stopped the rash from spreading to there (you can have scarring and go blind if that happens). All I'm left with now is week two of the rash. An unremitting rash with itching 24 hours a day.

That's the horrible thing about shingles; there is not a second's relief for weeks on end.

You can get the shingle's vaccine now at 50. I had had it at 60 thinking I'd never get shingles. From this experience I learned it doesn't keep you from getting shingles, but it makes the outbreak less severe and last a shorter time.

If I hadn't had the vaccine, I think I would have ended up in the hospital

So, public service message.

Talk to your doctor about getting the shingles vaccine!


  1. I had shingles a few years back and didn't even know there was a vaccine. I only missed a day of work but went nearly a month with very little sleep as my rash was in the classic lower back position. I didn't need diagnosis; I told the junior doc at the hospital what the problem was. The anti-virals will make a long-term difference.

    Hope you feel better soon.

    Fellow sufferer.

  2. I had the vaccine too, in my 40s. Lucky me, I've had shingles 4 times (this was before the vaccine). Same place every time. I wished I were dead, then the pain pills made me so nauseous that I wanted the pain back. Luckily the last 2 times, I knew the early symptoms and had a couple of antiviral pills on hand so I could dose up then get a new Rx from the doctor. I am quite depressed to find out you'd gotten shingles despite having the vaccine. My 4 times with shingles were all during periods of high stress either at work or in my personal life. I hope you never get it again! I, too, tell everyone to get the vaccine. It's worth every penny.

  3. I had shingles when I was 15. The rash broke out while we were flying home from roller nationals. That was the year we were trapped in a plane on the tarmac for 6.5 hours before we were allowed to leave on our 2.5 hour flight (due to thunderstorms) after having already flown for 3 hours. Not the most pleasant experience ever, to be sure.

    I hope you feel better soon!

  4. Yow! Like others above I've had the shot (got mine last year), so while nothing is ever absolute, I remain hopeful that I'll be (somewhat) protected. My wife had shingles on her face which led to uveitis. Her conditions are in remission but the ophthalmologist tells her it's not a matter of if but when she'll have cataracts. One of my supervisors at the lab had shingles on her hip and leg to the extent that when she did return to work she walked with a cane for several months. Not fun at all. Get well soon.