Monday, November 30, 2009

27 with Shingles

And not the kind you put on your roof.

This post may contain graphic content and probably just TMI. If you are sensitive to TMI, then do not read any further.

I am only 27 years old and I uncommonly have shingles. Go figure I would get something known more commonly in 70 year old men. Geez!

You're probably asking yourself, "What the heck are shingles?" That's what I started wondering on Friday afternoon. According to WebMD, and WebMD is the best internet doctor and source for self-diagnosis, shingles (herpes zoster) is a viral infection of the nerve root. It causes pain and often causes a rash on one side of the body, the left or right. The rash appears in a band, a strip, or a small area. Shingles is most common in older adults and people who have weak immune systems because of stress, injury, certain medicines, or other reasons. Most people who get shingles will get better and will not get it again.

What I have learned is that shingles may be more common in people over the age of 60 who have had chickenpox in the past but you can still get it at the wee age of 27. Apparently, when you get chicken pox (I had it as a kid) the virus that causes chicken pox lies dormant in your nerve roots.

My Shingles Timeline

Last Monday

I thought I might have pulled or stretched my groin muscle on the right side from the dang-o P90X leg workout the day before. My right groin started to feel sore when I would sit down and get up and start walking. I was confident it was from the workout. By the evening time, I was incredibly "sore" and could barely lift my leg to take a step or get into bed without feeling sharp pain and worn out.

In the morning, while sitting at work, I noticed my lower back feeling irritated. When I reached back to scratch it, I noticed a small area that was bright red with a little spot that resembled a small pimple. So, I first thought it was a pimple. After it seemed what I can only describe as somewhat itchy, but more irritating, I asked a co-worker to look at it to see if there was anything weird. She said it just looked like a small rash probably from the tag of the pants I was wearing rubbing that area too much. This totally made sense to me. By Tuesday evening, the rash was sore and irritating. My groin hurt when I walked or sat. I felt very tired as if I was just worn out. I just wanted to lay down...which is fairly uncommon for me.

My groin still really hurt. It just seemed to be getting worse rather then better. The rash on my lower back was getting slightly bigger and more "pimply". By Wednesday evening, I was aching on my right side. Small sharp pains started shooting down the inner part of my right thigh. Sparky agreed that the rash seemed to be getting worse. I was finally starting to think that the rash may not be from my pant tag rubbing my skin too much. I started thinking I might be allergic to something and I started to run through everything I had done in the last week and anything new I might have encountered. I was still sure that I pulled my groin.

Thursday (Thanksgiving Day)

The rash looked a little blistery and getting dressed took a bit longer because of the pain in my right groin. My hip and buttock area start to get a bit achy and sensitive when anything as simple as clothing brushed up against them. Sitting in the car and at Thanksgiving lunch and dinner were incredibly uncomfortable. I kept telling everyone that I thought I pulled my groin; because I was sure I had. It was the only thing that made sense to me. I couldn't wait to get home and put on my pj's (as I am sure everyone was on this day), but I really couldn't wait. While sitting in the car, I had to slouch in the seat to feel like I was kind of laying down. Every bump and turn in the car hurt some part of my right side of the body.

I tried to sleep in because I was uncomfortable all night. I tossed and turned and kept waking up with shooting pains in my groin and lower back area. At this point I was starting to worry. Could pulling my groin really affect the rest of my body like it was? That is the question I kept wondering. I was surprised when Sparky and I awoke, that he wanted to go shopping! I mean really! A man wanted to go shopping on Black Friday. So, I was of course gung-ho despite my pain and tiredness. I normally am up and ready to start the day around 7am. I slept in and had difficulty moving so getting out of bed was difficult. Sparky said he had to do some shopping for me (awwww) and for me to get ready while he was gone. So, I did. Sparky even made my coffee for me before he left to his Babalou Christmas shopping extravaganza, knowing I just needed him to do it on this day.

I struggled to get ready for the day. That's all I will say. I started to google different rashes to see if my rash was allergy related or possibly something else. I found shingles but wasn't convinced I had shingles because of my age. I didn't really know anything about shingles and the only person I could think of that had it was a 70 year old man at work and a friend in his early 30's that uncommonly had it in October.

Sparky got back home and we didn't leave the house until 11am. We got lunch and I was already exhausted. I had been out of the house for half an hour and I was miserable. We shopped at two places and I was done. I didn't even buy anything. We went home and I laid in bed for the rest of the day and night. My pain was worse. I had shooting pains in my right thigh, my right hip, my right buttock, my right groin, and my lower back on the right side. My rash was bigger and starting to spread in spots around my right side and hip.

We had our friend who had shingles in October come by and look at my rash to see if it seemed similar to what he had. He said it was very similar and also all my symptoms. All I could think to myself was how the heck can I have shingles? I went back to lay in bed.

I barely slept the night before. I woke up Saturday morning with pain and a spreading rash. I could barely walk. I couldn't lay on my right side because the rash was spreading on my right side and it hurt too much. I couldn't lay on my back either because that was where the bugger of rash started and was still growing.

Sparky urged me to go to one of the urgent care doctors to see if they could confirm I had shingles and to give me medication to get rid of it and/or to help the pain. So we went to an urgent care doctor and she confirmed it. Definitely shingles. Great.

She prescribes an anti-viral medication and a neuro pain medication to prevent the pain from continuing for a long period of months or years. Apparently, even when the rash disappears after about 2-3 weeks, the pain associated with it can stay for months or years. Scary.

I'm kind of a stubborn dumb dumb Even after all this and getting my meds, I was determined to meet my family at the mall to do some minor shopping. Sparky is such a trooper and accompanied his gimp girlfriend to the mall. Luckily we got a great deal on two doggie beds (a future blog). It didn't take long for me to get tired of the walking. It hurt. You know the pain in my groin I was convinced was caused from working out? It was not a pulled was the shingles. Everywhere I had felt pain, I had developed my blistering rash. The walking was almost unbearable with the rash in my groin. What was I thinking?

I went home.

I hate laying around feeling helpless. The day before was a day and night of laying in bed. My stubbornness kept telling me to not lay around again. So, what do I do? I vacuum. Because it relaxes me. Go figure. Then I convinced Sparky I wanted to go to Target to get a blanket. I. am. weird.

It's all too much. I overdid it all week and the day before. On Sunday, I finally conceded and agreed that I couldn't move. I laid on the couch ALL day. ew. I watched a lot of The Hills re-runs. My brain is slightly dumber now too.

I thought I would be able to make it to work today since I laid around ALL day yesterday. But alas, last night while sitting up to eat, I realized there was no way. Just sitting up hurts. It's quite pathetic. So, I'm laying around on the couch again today. I still have shooting pains in my lower back and my groin area. It's a struggle to get up and walking across the house is a chore in itself.

Shingles in the groin is awful. The lower back is awful too. Any pants or underwear are uncomfortable. Even the slightest brush of fabric is annoying.

Luckily, the rashes are starting to blister...which is a good thing. I've read that the timeline from beginning to end of shingles is 2-3 weeks. Great.

But, I am lucky. This will go away. I keep telling myself it could be worse. At least it's not terminal and it will go away. I should be back to normal in a couple of weeks if not sooner.

Keep on Keepin on.


♥Bree said...

Aww. I am so sorry to hear about this. It sounds awful. Let me know if there is anything you need.

jmcqueen82 said...

Mom has shingles right now too. This is her second outbreak in a year. I am so sorry you are having to go through this Deb. I feel you pain (literally in a way, I have been of my RA meds for a week and a half and am going on day three of "pain on the couch day"). I know it can be difficult to face days of non-productive laying on the couch. I am going through that right now too. Just remember, like you said, it is temporary, it has an end date. Take it easy, get well soon. Gentle hugs to you.

Bridget said...

This sounds awful!! I had no idea shingles was that painful...I just thought you got a little red rash and that was it...jeez was I wrong. Hope you feel better soon!

Teddi said...

I came across your Blog while searching for Shingles Timelines. I hope, at this point, you're back to your "old self." My Shingles started Sunday (its now Thurs). Its nice to see a day by day account. Thank you for taking the time to sit down and write it.

Deb said...

I'm sorry to hear about your Shingles! It's not fun. I now am alway paranoid that I am going to get it again. I would never wish it upon anyone.

I hope you got some medicine for it and hope you're on the upward slope to recovery!

I'm glad the timeline was some help to you. It's tough not knowing what to really expect and there not too much information out there about it.

Thanks for the comment!

Heather said...

I found this by googling "shingles timeline", too.

Interestingly, my course of shingles started the Monday before Thanksgiving, too... only this year.

This is Dante's 13th level of Hell, I'm sure.

As for it being an older person's disease, I'm 35.

Anonymous said...

I'm 29 and have it. I also searched for a timeline to try and figure out if I should take off work. I'm on day 4 or so and the blisters are just starting to really appear. Thankfully I have meds for the pain, though they don't help much. The pain was so great yesterday that I was vomiting and blacking out, so my partner forced me to go to the ER. I'm glad I did. I hate to admit it but I'm really scared for the blisters to enlarge and break. But thankfully, as you said, it will go away.

Deb said...

I am so sorry to hear about the pain you are experiencing. I am hopeful that you have experienced the worst of it and you should be on the path to recovery and reliev now. And, yes, it will go away! Happy healing...if that's possbile.

Anonymous said...

You may be happy to know (as may some readers) that I found quite a lot of relief using after sun aloe gel for sunburn. It cooled the burning and made it possible for me to rest. Thank you so much for listening and for the well wishes! <3 e!

Anonymous said...

Also am just getting over shingles in my groin area. Left leg out break size of a silver dollar. Not fun.

I didn't have too much pain because I used a anti fungal treatment that had a steroid in it which kept the pain low but it still hurt and I could barely walk for three days.

I wrapped it tightly and covered it with a zinc treatment, two 50mg zinc pills diluted in hot water which kills the virus in its tracks. I would wrap inane let it just soak and dry and did that 3-4 times per day and it healed up in about a week. Now I have tingling and anything that happens do there I think the worst. ;-)

Good luck on yours, sounds like you are almost over it. Hopefully like me it is an awakening to how you are living your life and where you are putting the truly important things in life as opposed to the crap that doesn't matter. Life is too short for the crap.

Anonymous said...

i am 32 years old and i have been suffering with the shingles for a week now. i also found your blog when i searched "shingles timeline". i have been on an anti-viral med for 5 days now and i still haven't gotten to the "crusty" stage. arghh... it's so frustrating. thanks for your blog, though. it helps to know i'm not the only one.

Anonymous said...

I'm 18 years old and was just diagnosed today. Have had the pretty serious rash for about 3-4 days now and didn't think it was anything except bug bites because it was only itchiness. What actually brought me in was pain in my groin from a swollen lymph node. Haven't experienced any pain in the rash yet (it's on my left butt cheek), but I know what's to come. Not looking forward to this, especially before Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I'm 18 years old and was just diagnosed today. Have had the pretty serious rash for about 3-4 days now and didn't think it was anything except bug bites because it was only itchiness. What actually brought me in was pain in my groin from a swollen lymph node. Haven't experienced any pain in the rash yet (it's on my left butt cheek), but I know what's to come. Not looking forward to this, especially before Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I'm 18 years old and was just diagnosed today. Have had the pretty serious rash for about 3-4 days now and didn't think it was anything except bug bites because it was only itchiness. What actually brought me in was pain in my groin from a swollen lymph node. Haven't experienced any pain in the rash yet (it's on my left butt cheek), but I know what's to come. Not looking forward to this, especially before Christmas.

Anonymous said...

I am on day #9..everything you described I could have written rash is still spreading and appeared on day 4. I have been trying not to let it slow me down, but by 10am, i am usually ready for a nap. I am also very active and not running is killing me, but the thought of the friction(and the lack of energy) makes it seem like a daunting task! Hope you are healing well and fully!

Anonymous said...

I found this blog by searching for "Shingles pain in groin." I started having severe pain on my left side of my back at work on Wednesday and then noticed the pain in my groin. I am in my late 50's so I was actually concerned I was having a heart attack When I got home from work my husband said he thought I should go to the ER to get it checked out. They ran tests and ruled out heart attack, kidney stones and even blood clot in the lungs. Then the ER doc said he thought this could be shingles - I thought he was crazy. I went to my doc the next day (yesterday, Thursday - Christmas Eve) and she confirmed his suspicions that it is shingles. I don't have a rash yet and am hoping that catching it this early with the antivirals will keep it at bay. Neither doctor had any explanation for the groin pain. Another interesting thing is that I take Valtrex as a profilactic for cold sores (herpes) on my upper lip, and I had bumped up my dosage a few days before these symptoms because I felt a tingling on my lip. My doc thinks this may be why I'm having the pain but no rash. Thanks for sharing your timeline and the info about the groin pain. Very helpful to know I'm not alone and not crazy!!