Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Tale Of Shingles Times Three

Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, here again to share another adventure in Brenda's life.

This week again, for the third time, she experienced an outbreak of shingles.  For
those of you who have had them, you know how painful they can be.  They can
also wear on your nerves, which this time they certainly are doing that for Brenda.

The first outbreak was the worst, all because she really didn't know what she was
facing.  By the time she went to the doctor, he was suspecting shingles, but wanted
to be absolutely sure what he was dealing with.  He popped one, so he could send it
to the lab.  They were on her right upper thigh and boy did that hurt, when he did
that.  Three days later the lab test came back positive for you guessed it, Shingles!

He had put her on an antibiotic, so she would not experience infection.  Since she
was on a biologic for her RA, that meant no injection for that week or possibly the
next.  This was over the 4th of July in 2009.  Not really a way to celebrate a holiday.
She also had to take pills for 7 days, three times a day.  They are horse pills, as they
are so huge. 

The next time she got them, was less than a year after on her left ankle this time. 
She caught those early this time.  She was once again, put on those horse pills for
7 days, three times a day.  Again, not able to do her injection with her biologic for
her RA.  Being on this type of medication, can cause your immune system to become
compromised and therefore, makes it harder to fight, when you experience any type
of infection, cold or the flu.  It's just one the drawbacks of being on a biologic, that
has worked so wonderful for Brenda, for all of these years. 

The other night she pretty much knew that the third time had come, as they say,
"three's a charm" not in this case really.  This time she has them on her stomach. 
The one thing about shingles is that usually, the outbreak will only occur on one
side of the body, provided you catch them, before they have a chance to spread.

They also can attack anywhere.  If you had chickenpox as a child, as Brenda did,
the virus is already inside of you.  She had chickenpox so bad, that she had boils
and still has scars to this day.  Her Mom kept her out of school for 2 weeks, but
when she went back, she still looked like she had them.

The doctor did tell her the last time she had an outbreak, it was likely, she would
experience another one.  There is a vaccine out there, but according to the statistics,
the verdict is still out, if she should receive one, because of the fact that she is on a
biologic.   They usually recommend the vaccine at age 60.  Brenda is 52, but they
have done some on people younger than that.

She is truly frustrated and is seriously thinking of asking her rheumatologist, who
she is seeing next month for some advice on this issue. 

Not only are shingles painful and itch, they also, as I mentioned before, can wear
on your nerves.  The pain can also linger on for months afterwards.  The first time
her pain was with her for months.  She said it was like they were burning, when
they first started. 

She has been trying to rest more, during this time period.  Her sleeping has not been
great for quite sometime.  Today, she went out to do something about that.  She
purchased a new mattress, box spring, and a good frame.  She also got some really
good firm pillows, that she got to take home with her.  She had a chance to try those
out already, as she managed a nap and just loves them. 

She hopes to get the mattress sometime next week.  I am really hoping this will help
her, as she hardly ever spends a full night in bed, as she just can't sleep, between the
pain and everything else she has been going through.  I really am not surprised that
she got shingles again.  There usually are triggers.  She has experienced so much in
the past year.  GOOD AND BAD! 

We hope that this tale has helped you to understand a little bit more about shingles.
They are not pleasant, but with anything that Brenda has endured, she will fight this
like a true warrior, that she is! 

Thanks for all of your kind thoughts and prayers, during this time.  Brenda really
appreciates it. 

Until next time, this is Trevor, The Tell Tale Dog, wishing you all good health!