Wednesday, May 22, 2013


A very strange things happened to me today. 
I went outside to water the plants I put in by the mailbox (I painted the mailbox post, got a new cover for the mailbox, and planted some phlox and russian sage at the end of April).
When I came back in my arm hurt. It looked like I had gotten several bug bites. Mosquitoes love me. The strange thing was that there were so many "bites" and they didn't itch. But the area was very hot.

I snapped a picture and ask my mom and sister what they thought. I decided to rub some Benedryl on my arm hoping that if it was from a strange bug that would help.  
The next morning it didn't look any different. I showed some friends who thought it might be poison ivy or chiggers. I didn't think it was simply because it didn't itch at all. Finally I decided to call the doctor's office and ask them what they thought. I told them I didn't want to come in. We were leaving to go camping in just a few hours. I still had to pack the food and some other things. I described it and they asked me how soon I could get there. Twenty-five minutes later I was sitting in the exam room. 

My doctor took one look at it and said, "You have Shingles."
She asked me if I had been under a lot of stress lately.

Well, I just finished the Food Drive, the Pinewood Derby activity, I'm packing up to go camping, and getting ready to take over as Senior President for our C.A.R. society. Oh, and did I mention I am a mom of two active girls, and it's the end of the school year with all those activities and things to do, and I have 3 different callings (or assignments) at church.

Why would I be stressed?

Okay, so I'm just a girl who can't say no.
I'm in a terrible fix.

Good news is I caught it early. I can now take a 7-day supply of some really strong, really huge anti-viral pills. She said I am fine to still go camping. Just keep the rash covered whenever I am around people. It is NOT airborne contagious, only contact. And be careful around babies who haven't had their chicken pox vaccine yet. The rash should heal in a week or two. The nerve pain can last a few months (much longer if you don't catch it early).

Actually, I was pretty scared by this diagnosis. My grandmother suffered from shingles for the last 10 or 11 years of her life. I remember how much pain she was in. I couldn't even hug her without hurting her.

Mine is not that bad. I have a weird tingling sensation (sort of like pins & needles) that radiates down my arm. When I sleep the inside of my arm feels tender when resting on my side. I wouldn't really say it is painful. Just uncomfortable. Bothersome. Annoying.

The doctor and I are hoping this just goes away. And I may never have to think about it again. I may or may not get it again when I'm older. My chances are the same as everyone else who has had the chicken pox (or the vaccine). But there is a possibility that it might come back in the next couple of years. If that happens, then I'll have some tests done to see what's wrong with my immune system.

I took this shot just 3 days later.

How am I doing now (7 weeks later)?

It is something that comes and goes when I least expect it. Some days I'm fine. Other days it hurts. Like when I went to the grocery store last week. All of the sudden my hand hurt really bad every time I pushed the cart. Like hurt to tears. Then another time I was timing at one of Emma's swim meets. I was fine and then my left arm and leg got all pins & needles. Not that it really hurt, but it was uncomfortable and I kept trying to shake it out which didn't make any difference. It's always my left side. That's where my rash was. Didn't realize it would affect my leg too. The hardest part has been that my neck is really stiff and has been causing headaches. I'd say I maybe had about 8 or 9 days in June that I did NOT have a headache. Some of them were really bad. It's getting better now. But I couldn't watch the fireworks on the 4th because I had a headache and the flashes were making it worse. Anyway, the rash has almost completely disappeared, but the nerves can take a while to heal. If I'm still having trouble when school starts I will need to see my doctor again. I've been going to the chiropractor too. A lot more now because of the shingles. He said the location of my rash was connected to my C5/C6. That's where my neck is the tightest. So, he's been working on it. It seems to help for about a day and a half then it gets tight again. It's so weird. Like I'm fine and I'm not even thinking about it and then I'm sitting in church on Sunday and my elbow starts hurting.

Even now, while I am writing this, my leg has started tingling and radiating from my upper thigh down to my toes.

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