What? I’m not stressed! At least, I didn’t think I was stressed. Now that I think about it, I really haven’t rested much and it is my own fault. I have created my own “stress” and didn’t even know it. This is funny because my friend Raquel @D-Mocha Traveler tells me all the time that I do too much and I need to sit down (smh). I guess it is easy to see it in others but not yourself. In talking with my friends, we concluded that women are conditioned to “do”. We work, take care of the kids, cook, clean, do laundry, help with homework, grocery shop…. the list is never-ending it seems. We are constantly doing something. And, I am no exception.
Yes, I do a lot. I get up early (like 4 am early) to work out with Camp Gladiator three or four times a week and I go to bed late (after 10:30 pm most nights). Even on summer vacation (I’ve been off since June 19th) I try to make the most of my days and very rarely am I home all day sitting around. There are violin lessons, doctor and dentist appointments, summer camp, cleaning the house, participating in competitions, vacations, and finally getting a little rest. There is no wonder my body finally said, “Enough, I will make you sit down for a minute!”
This is my story of How Stress led to a Shingles Diagnosis.
My back started hurting last Wednesday (July 5th). I shrugged it off as a pulled muscle from throwing sand bags or slamming medicine balls from boot camp. The muscle pain turned into spasms. I kept going. I just took some anti-inflammatory pills and muscle relaxers and pushed through.
On this past Monday (July 10th), after working out and before taking a shower, I noticed some redness and small bumps on my chest under my left breast. It freaked me out a little, but I thought it was from the heat and sweating (it’s extremely hot underneath my boobs, just saying!). I put some antibiotic ointment on the area, washed my hands, and didn’t think much about it. That night my back was still hurting so bad I had Tony push me in my back with his fist to help relieve some of the pain.
On Tuesday (July 11th ), I got up at 4 am to work out (even though I was still in pain). After boot camp, I came home to shower and noticed redness and a big patch of bumps in the middle of my back similar to the ones on my chest. I yelled for Tony to come see. I was freaking out a lot, now! It seemed like my freaking out was making it worse. I thought—shingles. But I said, “It can’t be shingles because I’m not 50 yet. That’s when I can get that vaccine.”
I couldn’t wait for 8 am to call the doctor’s office to make an appointment. My appointment was at 11:30. That was the longest wait ever. I arrived at 11 am and they got me in a little early. The doctor said, “Yes, you have Shingles.” I really couldn’t believe it. I was then informed by the doctor that he had seen three people under 50 in the last few days that were also diagnosed with Shingles. I left with three prescriptions, an anti-viral medication, steroid pack, and pain medication.
If you have had Chickenpox, you may develop Shingles. Shingles is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV) which lies inactive in the nerve roots in your body. The virus is shaken up when you are stressed, have a weak immune system, take certain medications, and have inadequate sleep. Shingles is more common in older people (older than me 🙂 like over 60 years old), but can develop at any age. The vaccination is for adults age 50 and over.
Just in case you didn’t know, Shingles is very painful and can last for months. It looks like a rash and normally appears like a band on one side of the body. It typically follows the line of a nerve and varies from person to person. It is best to seek medical attention as soon as possible (within 72 hours) to get the anti-viral medication (I went to the doctor the second day I noticed the rash). Even though I started taking medication early, it will not stop the Shingles from coming out. When you get Shingles, you are advised to not hold babies or be around pregnant women. It is not contagious unless you come into direct contact with the blisters, especially when they burst. It takes 3 to 5 days for the rash to turn to blisters and then start crusting over (sounds gross doesn’t it?).
My doctor told me that it will take 3 to 4 weeks before the rash heals and I may have scars and pain after the healing. But, the pain. I feel like I have been in a car accident from the back and like someone hit me and knocked the wind out of me in the front and that is with the pain medication. For me, I have also experienced itching, burning, and tingling in the affected areas, but the pain is much worse. I am writing this on day six and it is still very painful.
Oh, and get this…I can’t wear my bra with the underwire!!! If you know me, you know that I am very voluptuous. I mean, my sports bra has underwire. I had to buy the pullover sports bras that do nothing for me but make me have a uni-boob. SMH! How am I going to go out looking like that? And, I go back to work in eight days? A mess! 🙂 Don’t be surprised when you see me wearing loose fitting clothing with bad, droopy boobs or a uni-boob. Hopefully, I will be able to wear my regular underwire bras in a few weeks and I won’t be in any pain.
If you have uttered the words, “What, I’m not stressed!” You should listen to me. Sit down and get some rest. Listen to your body and have regular check ups especially if you have not been feeling your best.
FYI: It is perfectly okay to watch the Christmas in July Hallmark movies to de-stress. 🙂
For more information on Shingles contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.