If you’ve been following me on Insta Stories, Facebook or Twitter over the last few days…you’re well aware that I have shingles as I believe I’ve told absolutely everyone in hopes that the collective “awwwwwwwww” will make me feel a little bit better and take some of this pain away (although so far it’s not working!)
Here’s the scoop…
I’ve been feeling FANTASTIC…better than I’ve felt in years!!! At the beginning of November, I was put on four medications by an ENT specialist to finally do something about all of these sinus issues I’ve had. Within days, I’m breathing through my nose, have tons of energy, can get a full breath in my lungs and am feeling better than I’ve felt in so long that I can barely contain the excitement! I’ve found myself to be “taller” if that even makes sense…probably due to the simple fact that I’m standing and taking in a full breath of air and not partially stooped over to grasp every breath. Life has felt wonderful. I’ve been able to do things that I’ve not been able to do without difficulty…like walk up the stairs without grabbing for my puffer!
And then I woke up with a pain in my shoulder-blade!
I thought I slept wrong. Pulled a muscle putting up Christmas decorations (yes, I have the decorations up early on account of having so much energy!) Basically, I figured I slept funny and continued on with feeling great (albeit sore.)
I complained for days…driving the kids nuts. I had them look at it to see if it was bruised or if there was some sort of mark on it…but nothing. Meg used a funky ball to roll out my muscle and that nearly sent me over the edge but apparently “no pain no gain” when rolling out a tight muscle knot or something like that. I wasn’t really listening to her as the agony was clouding my thought cells!
Anyway, the shoulder blade pain didn’t ease up and I moaned about it for days but Dr. Google gave me a few good stretching exercises and I was popping Advil and Tylenol while continuing with all of my regular activities.
Add then the boob pain hit!
Starting from my breast bone and going across my chest…I woke with this searing pain that sat me up and near knocked me out of bed. Grabbing at my chest I was sure I was having a heart attack…reached for my phone and googled “what side is my heart on”?
In hindsight…with that much pain, I should probably have called 911 but I googled instead…and for future reference, your heart is on your left.
My pain was on the right.
Next…I googled “blood clot in lung” because obviously…this was a blood clot especially with all of my lung and sinus issues and with the new meds I was taking…something had obviously gone terribly wrong.
Except…I wasn’t short of breath.
In the end, Dr. Google and I came to the conclusion that I’d pulled a muscle and obviously, the muscles in the front were overcompensating for the muscles in the back and I just needed to pop more pills and add in a heating pad for good measure.
Basically…I sucked it up and kept going until a few days later when the spots arrived.
Immediately, I headed to the real doctor and he made the call…Shingles.
I’ll be honest…the thought crossed my mind earlier in the week but without the spots…it was difficult to determine despite the cries of “Go to the doctor” that my kids kept saying each time I complained but the thing is…I was feeling so great and had so much energy that I just kept going and pushing through even though I had this little nagging in my ear that something just wasn’t right.
Currently…I’m shut down. It’s my understanding that the better care you take of yourself at the onset of this thing, the better it will be so I’m feet up, jammie’s on…and alternating between my bed and the couch in the living room (enjoying the Christmas decor).
More “pox” came out after the initial diagnosis (doc called them “lesions” but I’m sticking with pox) and the pain meds are making me a bit loopy. The pain itself is absolutely unreal…nothing I’ve felt before and really quite hard to describe without sounding super-dramatic and I’m already dramatic enough.
Let’s just say that on the 1-10 pain scale…shingles is excruciating.
I’m on the mend. I’m taking the anti-viral meds and a nerve blocker that’s helping with the pain. I’m floored by the pain in my right boob which is a wee bit similar to the time I was breastfeeding with blocked milk ducts and mastitis…except 10x worse! Vice grippy…and twisty…and fiery anty! (Basically I currently have a major hate on for Harriet…and she used to be my favourite of “the twins”.)
I had a chat with my friend, Dr. Shelly McNeil, professor of medicine and Clinical Research Scholar at Dalhousie University, and Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases at the Nova Scotia Health Authority, as well as Deputy Director of the Canadian Center for Vaccinology (holy crap that’s a whole lot of smarts!) Anyway, Shelly popped in on a conversation on my personal facebook page when lots of friends were chit-chatting about shingles and basically, she stated that: “All people 50y+ should have shingles vaccine- preferably Shingrix the ‘new vaccine’.” When I asked about what exactly shingles is and why it had to hurt so much she explained, “shingles is caused by reactivating of the chickenpox virus you would have had in the nerve roots around your spine since you were a child and had chickenpox- the reason it is so painful is that the virus spreads down the nerve root supplying sensation to the skin- the inflammation in the nerve and skin is very painful.” AND SHE’S NOT KIDDING!
Basically, trust me on this one…just GET THE VACCINE!
I’m on day 5 of my anti-viral meds and I’m sort of, kind of, feeling like I might be starting to feel a little better but I’m laying pretty low with all of the other health issues I’ve had and I’m downright miserable!
If you want to see it for yourself, follow my Insta Stories where filters aren’t helping, pain meds are making me slur my words and my pup keeps interrupting to say hello!
Thanks to absolutely everyone who has sent messages, dropped off food, and sent their love and support. It means the world.
Now, GO GET THE VACCINE!
My hope…I’ll be feeling better soon so I can enjoy the holidays and can stop singing “Shingle bells, shingle bells…shingle all the way…”
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Have you had shingles? What tips can you offer to help me feel better?
PS…Just to add to the confusion…apparently I’m told that sometimes, when having a heart attack, you can feel the pain on either side of your chest! (Basically, I probably should have called 911 and gotten off the googler instead of trying to pretend I was super smart like Shelly!)