What’s it like Having Shingles? Shingles Survivors Share their Story

One in three Americans is prone to shingles or herpes zoster in their lifetime. 1 million cases of shingles are reported each year in the country. It simply means that shingles is common disease. It is a viral infection caused by the virus, varicella-zoster virus, which also triggers chicken pox. It occurs as blisters, rashes, and red spots followed by itching and pain. Shingles usually occur on the small areas of the body.

What’s it like having shingles? We think that the below given personal experiences of shingles patients will give you an idea about that.

A Cycle of Pain and Pills…

“The first symptom I had was pain in my right leg, and it sort of started in my upper leg and it went in both directions. It went down, and it went up. I had been very active the day before and decided, “Oh, I bet I’ve pulled something.” So, I called my doctor, and she said, “We better look into it.” The next morning I had a rash on the instep of my foot, and with the shingles study you are supposed to call them immediately if you have a rash. So, I called them and they made an appointment for me to come in to see the rash.

While I was there, they found another spot of rash that I did not know about on my upper buttocks. They decided they would do a scraping, and it was shingles.

The pain started on a Wednesday. I called them on Thursday, and I came to the NIH on Friday. The question was whether I was going to be able to drive because of the pain in my leg and whether it would be safe to do. I did drive in, and they then gave me some antiviral pills, and I was much more comfortable driving home than I was driving to the NIH office.

Immediately. I took a pill, and they waited to see if I was going to have any allergic reaction. I didn’t, and then I took another pill. It was about two hours later. And then I started taking it on a regular hourly basis.”

—-Sue Spicer in an interview with NIH

Healing Was Much Quicker than Expectations…

“The little bumps went on up onto my scalp, and some became blisters like chicken-pox blisters. That area of skin and scalp was sensitive to touch, and I had a low-grade headache for a few days (very unusual for me). For a few days I experienced sharp, piercing pains in my right ear every five or ten minutes. They made me wince, but lasted less than fifteen seconds. I did not get any blisters in or around my ear, which was fortunate. Shingles of the auditory nerve can be devastating.

By the second week, I knew I was getting better, and by the end of the third week, most of the signs and symptoms were gone, though my neck still was sensitive to touch. I was fortunate, because shingles can often last for a month or longer, and post-herpetic pain can follow for many months or even years.”

—-John Robbins in an Interview with Ed Dodge

As If I Have a Broken Rib…

“A week ago (9 Sep 2016), following a couple of days of unexplained back and front pain round my torso, and a row of spots, I was diagnosed with shingles. Luckily the diagnosis was only two days after the spots appeared. so I was prescribed with acyclovir. I am now in discomfort and tired but have nothing like the symptoms I read about on the web. When describing the pain to friends I said it felt like having a broken rib. This got me thinking, since the pain under my right breast is precisely where I fell very hard on the side of the bath in June. The immediate pain was breathtaking and the pain continued for c. 6 weeks, with bruising. I presume I cracked a rib but didn’t go to the doctor since I was aware there’s not much that can be done and the pain was manageable with paracetamol.”

—-One Case Study Published on the BMJ.com

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