My Shingles Story
Yeah…so…this is a little off-topic, but I’m hoping that my story will educate people on Shingles. Shingles are seriously no joke.
On Wednesday, March 13, 2013, I was sitting in my doctor’s office describing what was happening to the right side of my face and neck. “I think that I have Poison Oak on my face,” “I don’t know where I would have gotten it from,” and “It’s a little itchy and I have some major kinks in the back of my neck.” My doctor brought a light up to my face and examined my face and neck. He said, “I think you have Shingles.” Um… Excuse. Me??
Yup. At 29 years of age, I had Shingles.
My Story in Retrospect
My story (in retrospect) had actually started a couple of days prior. On Saturday the 9th, I was wearing a hoodie sweatshirt for most of the day. It felt like there was something in the hood of my sweatshirt that was poking my skin, and I kept moving it away from my neck. Eventually, when I got home, I took off the sweatshirt and didn’t think anything of it.
On Sunday, some girlfriends and I went for a hike out at House Mountain. I again wore a sweatshirt with a hood, but this time the hood didn’t bother me. My neck felt a little sore, and I remember rubbing it a lot; kind of like I had pulled a muscle or something. I thought to myself, “Well, I’m going to my massage therapist in a couple of days, so I will just wait for her to take care of my neck.”
On Monday and Tuesday, I knew that something was up with my neck and face. I started to notice some little bumps and immediately thought that I had poison oak or poison ivy. I started to put Caladryl on my neck and face, and I stopped wearing makeup. On Tuesday night, my husband noticed this hard, small (pencil eraser size) knot behind my ear. And on Wednesday morning, I knew something was very wrong. My neck burned and I had this quarter-sized knot in the back of the neck that was sore and hurt to touch. It was painful to stretch my neck or turn my head to the left. A couple of hours later, I was told that I had Shingles. Shingles! *sigh*
Now, I am sure that you all have watched the commercials on TV about Shingles. Do you remember the one with the retired firefighter telling his story? I do. And you know what? My story matched his. I remember him talking about doing yard work outside and he thought that he had something in the collar of his shirt. And he couldn’t figure out what was going on. Wow. Just like me… “And it is bad. Something you never want to encounter,” he said. Ditto Mr. Firefighter man. Ditto.
Luckily for me, I am a healthy adult. My rash was “minor” compared to others.
Here are a couple of other things that I have learned about Shingles:
1. Shingles can affect people of all ages, but it is most common in people over the age of 50.
2. Shingles follow nerve pathways in your body, so it is very localized on the body. My Shingles flared up in the C3 and C4 area of my body, and only on the right side. That was a very big “clue” to my doctor that I had Shingles. Poison Oak or Ivy tends to appear on numerous areas of the body.
3. You can reduce your chances of getting Shingles by getting a vaccination. If you are over the age of 60, you should get a vaccination.
4. Lysine creme and Lysine pills work wonderfully. It helps take some of the “sting” out of the pain. You can find these items at any local drug store or online!
5. It is painful. And you may need a prescription painkiller in order to deal with the pain.
6. If you take said prescription painkillers, make sure that you are able to handle them. And you don’t pass out from them and hit your head on the bathroom floor and scare your husband to death. #sorryJames
7. I have great family and friends. I have received so many emails, calls, and texts. #blessed
8. Eating bacon helps. 🙂
If you would like more information, please visit the Shingles website.
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Erin Morrison Photography
I promise that I am WAY cooler than getting shingles at the age of 29. I consider myself a pretty cool family and wedding photographer here in East Tennessee. After you get better from your shingles, pop back onto my site and contact me for some photos!