More than 3.14!

“Shingles”. “Shingles”. Say it. What a horrible word! Why am I writing about shingles? I am currently (end of November 2015) getting shot of a bout of these/this thing. Herpes Zoster. Shiver. NOT Herpes Simplex (the genital ones), thankfully!

I have had chickenpox, not as a kid though. I was treat to getting that aged 26 in a hotel, catching it when working near Blackpool; but that’s a different story (haven’t been back to Blackpool since). So that opened the doors to allow shingles to develop. Wonderful! Or not.

Shmingles Basics
What is shingles? Otherwise known as Herpes Zoster, is a skin manifestation of the dormant chicken pox virus. Chicken pox, once an expected rite of childhood (not me), causes a respiratory syndrome with a widespread rash. The infection eventually resolves and the virus remains in the body, dormant in the roots of nerves at the level of the spine. How dare it.

The virus finds a home in the cells of these nerves, alive and usually quite contained.  In the event of a weakened system (hm(s)m(s)m(s)), the virus can re-emerge in a single nerve root and travel along the nerve path to the skin. This "break-out" may be caused by caused by some stressor to the body such as illness, injury, cancer or may even be caused by emotional stress. Often, there is no predisposing factor. 

The symptoms of shingles may begin with fatigue – saying nowt! From there a very sensitive patch develops on the skin along the nerve pathway. It is actually the skin that is sensitive and painful*, often even to light touch or presence of clothing atop. Finally, the tell-tale red rash with blisters develops. Typically, symptoms resolve after a couple weeks. Typically.

Don’t believe me? Have a squiz, not my best look!  These were quite early in the shmingle process before I had it formerly diagnosed. Then they were a bit itchy, but not unbearable. But, and it is a big but. Then when it got hold of me, I felt rotten, absolutely rotten. Energy? Nope. Desire? Nope. Sleep? Of course not. Why, how, not sleep? It is something I’m hardly good at anyway, let alone the shmingles nerve pain!* 

My MS ribbon!
 *This was/is a shocker. ‘The pain is a localised band of pain that can be anywhere on the body depending on what nerve is affected and can range from mild to severe. (nice) It can be a constant dull, burning, or gnawing pain. In addition, or instead, it could be sharp or stabbing pains that come and go (lush!). The affected skin area is usually tender.’

I had no idea of that element of the virus. Yes, what I am used to with MS pain is not particularly welcome; but this! The “I’m getting eaten alive by invisible creatures” to the hard to describe acute painful sensation while sitting or especially laying, FAR from welcome! But I am winning the battle with the end in sight!** Shmingles battle, the MS war is on-going yet with belief under control J
**Into December at the time of posting, and I am winning!

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