On my face. I know what you’re thinking – how old is she? I assure you I’m only 33 – not a spring chicken but definitely not over the hill either. Trust me I was as shocked as you – I mean shingles are meant to target “old” people – right? Wrong…very very wrong.
It all started on a cold and dreary day in October – I had what I only assumed was another miserable pressure induced migraine. One side of my face and scalp went numb and was sensitive to the touch. My normal trusty friend (good ol’ Motrin super strength) was not super that day and barely even touched the pain. This “migraine” continued into Sunday and then again into Monday.
Monday I could no longer take it and went to the hospital – the Dr gave me an IV of goodies to treat severe migraines and finally I had some relief. I mean relief until the Dr noticed what I had just accepted was adult acne – he said he had a hunch I had shingles and gave me a prescription for anti virals. Turns out his “hunch” was 100% accurate and I did in fact have shingles. For anyone that has had shingles – you know it gets worse before it gets better. And for all of you that haven’t, I’ll describe it the best way I can…
It’s like a bee is stinging you continuously and when that feeling subsides your face is on fire and when that eases a little the itchy feeling becomes unbearable – I think you get the idea – it’s not exactly a party. I feel like I could have handled it better if it was hiding on my back or blended in with the stretch marks on my stomach but alas that was not my reality. The nerve pain that lasted for weeks after was worse than the greasy hair or rashy face. Every time I would get the nerve pain I would panic and think the shingles were coming back and some times still do – I’m aware this is unrealistic and dramatic but to me it seems plausible. Shingles and anxiety definitely don’t mix and I wouldn’t wish it on any one.
The timing wasn’t horrible, a few weeks before Halloween, the Phantom of the Opera was a good back up costume idea. Many have reassured me it didn’t look “that” bad – just like they tell you you look great when everyone knows you look horrible and have gigantic bags under your eyes – but I do appreciate their efforts. Turns out – when your parents were told (back in the day) to ensure your kid gets infected with chicken pox so they won’t get it later in life was a downright lie – it means the virus lays dormant in your body until your body wants revenge on how you’re treating it and throws it back at you as a reminder to take better care of yourself. And what a reminder it was.
All exaggeration and joking aside, shingles reminded me of a lot of things. It reminded me to be grateful for the healthcare we have and the Dr for catching my shingles early enough so there wasn’t damage to my vision. It reminded me that no one notices your physical appearance as much as you do. It reminded me that wearing no make up can be freeing. It reminded me that so many people have it worse and aren’t fortunate enough to receive a pill that will make it all go away. I am grateful for a wake up call to take care of my body and keep my stress in control. Remember to take time for yourself and to cherish the body you were given.
Until next time….