It is so easy to take your health for granted until the moment you lose it. I have felt so lucky the past six months as my health has steadily increased. I’ve felt normal again. Tackling everyday activities without fatigue and adding on more physical challenges day by day.
I try not to take my health for granted. In fact I work really hard on it. Focusing on a good night sleep, eating well, watching what I put in and on my body, and working out regularly. After struggling with the negative effects of breast implant illness for so long, I am so grateful to be back to a hundred percent. My husband and I comment all the time on how lucky I am to be back to full health.
So it took me by complete surprise when I got diagnosed with shingles. It started with a pain in my lower back, close to the area where my kidneys are. At first I thought it was a pulled muscle. It was tender but not terrible. The following day it continued to get worse – the pain hurt even to the touch. I thought maybe I had a kidney infection but I wasn’t showing any other symptoms. No fever, no cloudy urine, no pain during urination, or any other indication that it was an infection. My next thought was perhaps I had a kidney stone. I had a busy day and I was going to see the CEO of Beautycounter speak that evening so I did not get myself to the doctor. I drank lots of fluids and tried little tips and tricks to flush out a kidney infection and agreed that I would go to the doctor first thing in the morning if the pain persisted.
I woke up in the morning and the pain was worse. The pain was traveling down the left side of my leg and a little bit through my arm. All the pain was localized to my left side. I kept checking my back to see if I had a bruise or any indications that it might have been due to impact. I didn’t remember hurting myself, but thought maybe I had done something that I couldn’t remember. Nothing.
I made an appointment with the doctor and was seen late that morning. I told the doctor my symptoms. When he lifted up my shirt to check the area that was in pain, he said he believed I had shingles. I was absolutely taken aback. Shingles!?!?! How could I have shingles? I’m in my thirties. Shingles is what happens to elderly people, right? I was still convinced that something was going on with my kidneys. He pointed out a tiny rash. Although to me it looked like a small bug bite and it had not been there earlier that morning when I had left for the doctor. I was pretty certain that it was unrelated. The doctor left to verify the results of my urinalysis and while he was gone I grabbed my phone and looked up shingles. I had every symptom. Every. Single. One. Chills without fever, soreness in the Lombard area that travels up on one side of the body, sensitivity to the touch, shooting pain, headache, fatigue, and of course my body had started producing a rash.
The doctor prescribed me a course of antivirals and I went home to rest. I texted my father (an MD) on my way home who said of course it was shingles and that it made complete sense. The doctor also encouraged me to get my blood work done with the GP to make sure that my immune system was working normally since I was on the younger side for shingles. This made me a bit nervous, but my mother had shared with me that my brother-in-law had shingles years ago which would have made him younger than I am today and he has no health issues.
I posted on Facebook a quick update of my condition and several people reached out to me letting me know that they had gone through shingles as well some as young as in high school. This completely shocked me but it also made me feel so much better about my condition. I felt kind of funny putting my status on Facebook, but at the same time the little bits of encouragement and love shared by friends and family was so helpful during this time where I am stuck in my bed due to complete fatigue and pain.
Laying in bed for hours on end reminds me so much of the bouts of fatigue I had during BII and also during my recovery phase post surgery. It is my numbing to be in bed for so long and not be able to get anything done other than healing. It just makes me that much more thankful for the health I have on a day-to-day basis. So I’m writing this as a reminder for all of us not to take our abilities and our health for granted. We are so lucky because there are so many people that struggle day today just to get out of bed.
Right now I’m on day 5 with shingles. I have a little more energy today and a little less pain. I feel like I’ve hit a tipping point. The itching is worse than I expected, but I’ll take it over the pain. I’m trying some natural remedies to try to calm the sensation. The hardest thing for me is going to be to continue to take it slow as my body heals. I have a bad habit of jumping back into things sooner than my body is ready. I know that I’m still sick and I need to focus on letting myself heal completely before I jump into my routine full force.