Saturday, October 25, 2008

Shingles

This is my warning post... I have shingles! This is only a warning for those of you who have never had chicken pox or had the chicken pox vaccine. (and I wont be visiting Rebecca when she is in the hospital with Kate... so sad) Fortunately for Rich and Nugs--- they are safe. Ryann has all her vaccinations and Rich of course had chicken pox as a child. So... if you don't have your kids immunized or have never had chicken pox... let me know and we will definitely try to avoid one another!

Shingles is quite nasty. I have been complaining about a rash on my back for almost a week now. It is small, localized and it HURTS! I believe I have a high pain tolerance and I kept telling myself I was being weak- that it would go away- it was bug bites- dermatitis- maybe even some sort of staph infection- but once we figured out what it was I felt a lot better about being "weak". Cause from everything people tell me and what I hear... it hurts.

Here is a picture of shingles... not my shingles... but someones shingles.


Anyway, I am on antiviral medication now, which is safe in pregnancy... but any steroids, numbing medication and pain medications aren't recommended during pregnancy. The antivirals are most effective if started within 72 hours of the onset of symptoms (unfortunately I was trying to be tough so I waited 7 days!) so we will see if the medications help much.

Questions may be answered HERE, but I will answer a few below.

1. How did I get shingles?

Once people get chicken pox they have the potential for shingles. However, the majority of the time it lays dormant in your system and you body protects you from ever getting them. However, in periods of immunosuppresion (chemo, cancer, AIDS, steroid use, pregnancy) the virus can flare up. Or, occasionally in times of severe stress (DING DING DING) the shingles virus can manifest itself. I hardly ever get stressed out, but this whole comprehensive exam for school and not having a job and pregnancy really got to my system. So now I am trying to take it easy and hopefully that will help.

2. Does it hurt?

Haha, I already told you it does, but I thought I would remind you all that it is nerve pain- which means it burns and itches and aches and throbs and not much makes it feel better. One website thankfully reminded me that the pain should only last 3-5 weeks with treatment but may last longer than 6 months! So hopefully by the time I am in labor I won't have this nerve pain anymore. The website here explains more about pain and treatment.

3. How bad has the shingles spread?

on my body I only have shingles in the middle of my back in a cluster about 4 inches in diameter (i think). It is right along my spine and someone very helpful *sarcasm* told me that these are the closest to the nerve roots so that makes them more painful and take longer to go away? Not sure if this is true... but thanks a lot for telling me this great news

4. How am I going to deal with this?

I am having a pity party today. And today only. So tell me you feel bad and are sorry and blah blah blah... but by tomorrow I am done with complaining and if you hear me whining then slap me or pinch me somewhere else so I don't think about it anymore. Unless you are my mom or my husband... then I get to complain all I want because you both love me no matter what I do. :) I am also looking on the bright side. I am very young and healthy and I am sure that my body will fight this off fairly easy.

5. What kind of medication am I taking?
Since Shingles is a virus, I am taking an antiviral... this is the same as what you would take for Herpes, because this is also a virus. So... Valtrex here I come!

Depending on your computer screen- this is the actual size of the ginormous horse pill I have to swallow 3 times a day. Bigger than my prenatal vitamin by a long shot!

4 comments:

april kennedy said...

Oh...I'm so sorry. What a bummer. Hang in there. It will be over soon. All this shall give thee experience! hahaha...good for you to throw yourself a pity party.

AND....I must have missed the Nugs #2 post. Congrats!

Erin said...

Thanks for the info. I did a wikipedia search but this is a much better synopsis. Does this mean you aren't coming to Chicago? I am so glad it means nothing for Nugs No. 2. That's what I was really worried about but I didn't want to ask! You took care of it for me. I'm so sorry! But you're being a real champ. love you!
(and you're allowed to complain to me all you want because I'll love you no matter what too)

Anonymous said...

Oh Brittani!!

Jamie said...

Man, that really stinks. I hope it gets better sooner than later!