Shingles, schmingles

I have a case of shingles AGAIN.  This time it’s on the left side of my head and face, affecting my eye.  I’m on 500 mg of Famvir, three times a day. As my doctor said, it will get worse before it gets better. These pictures don’t really quite do it justice.

More about shingles on this blog.

What is shingles? There’s a really good explanation of shingles here on Wikipedia.

Shingles on my face

More shingles

Shingles affect my eyelid

zoster, shingles, varicella

58 Comments

  1. Margaret

    Oh Beth, I am SO so so sorry! I know it’s painful because both of my parents have had shingles. My mother had them twice, as I recall. Super bummer! Thinking of you in Italy,
    Margaret

  2. Beth

    Oh boy! Yeah, I’m going to pluck my eyebrows once this heals!

  3. sunshine

    Oh Dear Beth! We are so sorry!!

  4. Grace Deasy

    Hello,
    I suffer from facial shingles at least 6 times a year. I take valtrex 500mg once a day, and 3 times a day during an outbreak. Stress is what triggers my shingles. I think I have nerve damage now from the shingles. I have been suffering for 5 years now. Currently I have another out break thus been looking on computer for more answers. I also take amitriptline 50 mgs at night and that did help for a while. I also take gabapentin as needed for pain, but right now the combination of all these drugs is not helping me at all. My face is still killing me. Wanted to know if you had any other information that may help me.
    Thanks
    Grace

  5. Beth

    Hi Grace,

    Have you had the blood tests to find various viruses that might be dormant in your system? Have the diagnoses of shingles been just visual or has someone sent a sample in for testing?

    I’m just curious. I had read someplace that if shingles is recurring, other things need to be looked at.

    It really stinks, doesn’t it!

    Beth

  6. Laura

    Hi Grace,
    I was diagnosed with Shingles yesterday, and I’m really glad that I have something to blame for all the aches and pain and this rash on the right side of my stomach. The rash is itchy and sometimes tingly. I am 48 yrs old, I thought too young for this, but I guess I was wrong. MY clothes hurt my skin, why I didn’t figure out this diagnosis I don’t know. The pain started weeks before the rash. I feel for all who have this annoying virus.

  7. Beth

    Laura, did you get an anti-viral to take? (famvir, acyclovir, valtrex) They say it can help you NOT to get post herpetic neuralgia.

    Do you have any of those stinging, stabbing pains at times? Mine would be so sudden that I’d sometimes yell out “ouch!”

  8. Loren

    After about 4 days of a mysterious rash I finally forced myself to my doctor to find out I have shingles. The doctor was boggled because I’m only 24. I was prescibed Valtrex and Prednisone, but after hearing about all the horrible side effects of the steroid I’m scared to take it. My doctor said it was for the pain. I’m getting into the blistering phase today but it’s just more uncomfortable than really painful. More of my pain is coming from a deep muscle ache in my shoulder blade. The welts and blisters are on my right breast area. Does anyone have any advice? I have no idea what to expect.

    • Samantha

      I’ve never had chickenpox before – I was given the vaccine when I was really young. I had my first outbreak at 19. I’ve had two more outbreaks since I turned 21. All of the outbreaks have been on my face very close to my eyes. Luckily, I haven’t experienced unbearable pain with any of the outbreaks and they haven’t gone into my eyes (Yet…).They gave off a very tingly and itchy feeling. I was put on valtrex all three times, at 500mgs three times a day.

      • Beth

        Is the vaccine a live virus? They didn’t have that when I was a kid. I had a pretty severe case of chicken pox.

        Tingly and itchy describes it for me too, but add on the sharp, stabbing pains.

        Are yours always on the same side? Have you had the lesions biopsied?

  9. Beth

    hi Loren,

    Steroid side effects are for long term use. There are some mild short term side effects. You might feel a little jittery if you take them. It all depends on the dose and for how long you take them. If you happen to be diabetic, make sure to test often. Glucocorticosteroids can increase your blood sugar.

    I’ve heard many stories about younger people having shingles. Even teens. One thing you can do is have the shingles vaccine to try to prevent it from happening again. In most cases though, you don’t really see repeat bouts unless your immune system has been weakened by disease or chemo or something. They believe the shingles outbreak activates antibodies against future outbreaks.

    Just make sure to take the Valtrex until the rx is done. It’s the best chance for preventing post herpetic neuralgia, which can be quite painful. Some people are prescribed pain meds to help with that pain. Try a lidocaine patch, too. It’s not a trivial thing. I’m hoping your doctor knows that.

  10. Caroline

    Hello

    Im 31 and have had shingles at least twice a year since i was 20. It’s always on my face but since the first outbreak the subsequent ones have never been as bad.

    I have spent the last 11 years working out what causes it, without sounding crazy, i get it when i have lots of negative thoughts in my head thus leading to stress and it almost comes out like a release form the thoughts. I know that sounds mad but i assure you i have been monitoring it for a while.

    You should look at your diet, i have learnt that they heal much quicker when your diet is good, green veg and a strong multi-vitamin (but these take 3 months to take effect so you need to take all the time).

    I would also suggets that as soon as you feel ‘the stabbing pains’ that you relax – this seems to prevent them coming out too bad.

    As for steroids and vacinations, i dont believe any of that is good for you, all your body has to do is then work hard to get rid of the chemicals in these and prevent the side effects taking place.

    I feel for all of you, shingles sucks!

  11. Maddie

    Hi everyone,

    Well i have read all of your post and i feel for you.
    I am a 13 year old girl who had shingles on Boxing Day 2007 so i had it when i was 12. I noticed that the spots were coming up all around my eye and throughout my hair. I thought they were migi bites and told my mother. When they started to get worse and progress my mother was concerned but she could not take me to the docters for it what Christmas day. So the next day mum took me to the docters and they told me i had shingles. I had to take these tablets, i hated it because i dont take tablets, as i would say at home “I dont do tablets!”. So my Christmas was consistive of rest, tablets in ice cream, regular visits to the docters and sleep. I slept a lot throughout Christmas feeling as miserable as ever.

    Shingles – GAY!

    i hate them

    anyways i better be off

    cya all

    Maddie

  12. Gina

    Beth, so sorry to see that you have outbreaks on your face. I have always been told that is the most dangerous place for shingles. I’m sure it is very painful and I hate that for you. I have been a shingles recipient for the last 9+ years, tried every treatment out there, and been to physician after physician, specialist after specialist. Nothing seems to help. It seems that it all started while my dad was very ill and I stayed with him overnight 2-3 times per week, worked 12-14 hours a day in a hospital administrative position, my husband worked and was in engineering school at night 5-6 days a week, and I had two children who played sports and required me to run from one end of the county to the other. I say all of this to show that I ran myself down so bad, never getting enough sleep, not eating properly, and most of all being stressed to the max all the time. My immune system bottomed out, hello shingles. I also have psoriasis so when this first happened, I thought it was something to do with psoriasis because of the horrible itching and the way the blisters turned into scales…..and I did not get treatment. When I had a breakout on my face, I asked a physician that I worked with what he thought it was and he said shingles. I really think it was too late by then for any of the anti-viral medications to really work well. I have taken as much as 1,500mg of Valtrex per day for over a year and still had outbreak after outbreak. My shingles appear on my far lower back and have affected my sciatic nerve and I have pain down into my right leg to the knee and now its traveling into my left leg. Have had epidurals, no help. Muscle blocks, no help. One option was to clip a nerve and chance having a limp. Now I go to a pain specialist and he has me on a treatment plan that helps somewhat. Still have outbreaks all of the time but dealing with the pain is a little better. Sorry to go on and on but I am very happy to find somewhere to share stories and treatment plans.

  13. Gina

    Beth, so sorry to see that you have outbreaks on your face. I have always been told that is the most dangerous place for shingles. I’m sure it is very painful and I hate that for you. I have been a shingles recipient for the last 9+ years, tried every treatment out there, and been to physician after physician, specialist after specialist. Nothing seems to help. It seems that it all started while my dad was very ill and I stayed with him overnight 2-3 times per week, worked 12-14 hours a day in a hospital administrative position, my husband worked and was in engineering school at night 5-6 days a week, and I had two children who played sports and required me to run from one end of the county to the other. I say all of this to show that I ran myself down so bad, never getting enough sleep, not eating properly, and most of all being stressed to the max all the time. My immune system bottomed out, hello shingles. I also have psoriasis so when this first happened, I thought it was something to do with psoriasis because of the horrible itching and the way the blisters turned into scales…..and I did not get treatment. When I had a breakout on my face, I asked a physician that I worked with what he thought it was and he said shingles. I really think it was too late by then for any of the anti-viral medications to really work well. I have taken as much as 1,500mg of Valtrex per day for over a year and still had outbreak after outbreak. My shingles appear on my far lower back and have affected my sciatic nerve and I have pain down into my right leg to the knee and now its traveling into my left leg. Have had epidurals, no help. Muscle blocks, no help. One option was to clip a nerve and chance having a limp. Now I go to a pain specialist and he has me on a treatment plan that helps somewhat. Still have outbreaks all of the time but dealing with the pain is a little better. Sorry to go on and on but I am very happy to find somewhere to share stories and treatment plans.

  14. NANCYJONES

    BLESS YOUR HEART. i CAN UNDERSTAND WHAT YOUR GOING THROUGH. i HAVE MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS AND AM TAKING INTERFERON AND I BREAK OUT WITH SHINGLES CONSTANTLY i HAVE HAD THEM IN MY EYES EARS NOSE ON MY FACE IN MY HAIR NECK BACK DOWN MY THROAT CHEST STOMACH AND LEGS IT TRULY IS A HELLACIOUS ILLNESS. i HAVE TRIES SO MANY DIFFERENT THINGS AND NOTHING WORKS. I AM 39 YEARS OLD AND CANNOT IMAGINE THE REST OF MY LIFE LIEK THIS.
    i TAKE FAMVIR AND STEROIDS TO TRY TO RID THEM OFF. BUT NOTHITN SEEMS TO WORK. I WILL TRY ANYTHING AT THIS POINT FROM WIVES TALES TO MEDICAL SCIENCE.

  15. Robin Kay

    Robin Kay February 8th, 2009
    I am so glad to have finally found that people can relate to what I am going through. I am 45 years old and was diagnosed with shingles 12 years ago. I have had several outbreaks. some twice a year. I did go 2 years now without an outbreak. My frustration is that my doctor has been confused about continuous outbreaks and said that usually someone only gets shingles once. I have a scar on the back of my right leg half way between my buttocks and knee to prove him wrong. After 2 years with no outbreak, I started about 9 months ago having pain in my right leg. Tingling in my right foot. I thought it was my sciatic. I drive school bus for the past 10 years and also thought that it was from sitting. This was getting worse. I went for a CT scan and it showed a little disk degeneration but nothing that should warant such pain. 5 weeks ago, I woke up and could not put pressure on my right leg. The pain as I said to my husband was like hitting your funny bone, but extended from my hip down into my foot. After several trips to Dr. and many antiinflamatories, tylenol # 3, I asked him if it could be related to the shingles in my right leg. He said no he did not think so. He has me booked to see a neurologist but not for 10 months. He then changed my pain meds to something stronger. Needless to say the pain was getting worse. I have been off work since. I was frustrated and really felt it was similar to the pain of my previous shingles outbreaks but much worse. Never to the extent that I could not walk…Low and behold…. 12 days ago, the back of my leg,, in their favorite spot… i started to itch…then burn,,, and yes 9 days ago my shingles re appeared. They are dried up now and the pain is a little more tolerable, but I still cannot put pressure on my right leg.. I have forced myself a little and it now feels again like my sciatic but also I still have tingling in my right foot and I feel like my calf or shin is broken when I stand on it too long. At night when I lay down I get charlie horses in my calf and buttocks muscle. In the morning the pain is terrible. It takes me a good hour before I can put any pressure on that leg. I am still hobbling around and off work. This is the worst pain I have ever felt and feel there is no end to it. The depression part is also killing me.. I am a mother of 3, and for the most part a very active person, inspite of previous outbreaks which usually only affected me for 3 weeks or so, but was able to continue working because the pain was somewhat tolerable. This time it has robbed me of my life. I have been a sitting zombie on antiviral meds, pain meds and not been able to do anything. I have found no support through this from my Dr. who still claims inspite of the recent shingles outbreak that in his opinion the shingles and the pain I feel are not related. Please tell me I am not crazy… I just feel I know my body and my shingles better
    Thanks for listening

  16. tonia

    I have shingles on my face right now. I have been getting them for the past ten years and always on the face. They always flair up in the exact same spots. I dont have any warning signals or pain, just the blisters, then the pain. Then I guess my immune system goes into overdrive and the side that is afflicted swells up enormously! This time however, I woke up to the piercing pain, and was scared to touch my face. I just knew it would be full of blisters, but nothing. They came about 4 hours later. So i immediately started putting a 20% glycolic acid on the blisters. It hurt sooooo bad, but i was determined to stop the blisters from spreading. I went to the doc the next day, he put me on Famvir and Darvocet. The glycolic acid did seem to stop the blisters from growing. It wasnt nearly as bad as past cases. Five days later, the swelling is down, it just looks like burns now. The pain is still there. Going out in the cold wind causes an instant face pain on that side. This was just my latest experience. I hope to return to work as soon as the skin heals.

  17. Mary

    Help…think I may have shingles? Had 4mm x 4mm patch under eye yesterday, another added today slightly smaller. Feels like a burny sensation, and skin feels fry and sore to touch. No blister though. Am aged 39. Have I just had a reaction to a face cream? Although it seems strange there has been no outbreak anywhere else on my face, if it were a face cream. Before I read your site tonight, I had a feeling over my cheek (on that side of my face) that I was having an low graade electrical charge pulse through my face. Is it shingles? Hope you can help?

    • Beth

      I wish there was a way to know for sure. If you think that’s what you have though, get to the doctor for an anti-viral rx, such as Valtrex, Acyclovir or Famvir. They can also do a biopsy to test for it, but most doctors know it when they see it.

  18. cm

    I am wondering if anyone else finds this to be a “sidekick” to MS?

  19. Beth

    I wouldn’t be surprised about that. If MS is considered an autoimmune disease, then I wonder if there’s a normal enough immune system left to deal with something like herpes zoster?

  20. minnesotadon

    Hi Beth,

    I have only a little personal experience with this, but a popular home remedy for shingles is coconut oil. Google it and you’ll see lots of references, and even a few studies. Not coconut milk, but the oil. Cook with it, use it in place of other oils, or just eat a little.

    In theory, and perhaps in reality, some of the oil is converted to a soap-like molecule in the blood stream. The herpes virus that causes shingles is easily killed by soap. I blogged about it a little bit in this post.

  21. Gino

    Dear Beth. Im feeling ur pain right now. Mine started on feb 12 th I thought it was acne. So I played with Hot water squeezed it every thing. Couldnt take it no more went to a sunday Clinic And was diagnosed with shingles. It is over my left eye and back through my hairline. Took VAltrex til it ran out. But I still after 3 week? Itch and feels like Fire ants running from my eyebrow to my head. To top it off My son got Chicken pox also My wife and hers are horrible, My daughter 14 is also getting them. This all happened 2 weeks b4 I lost my job of 13 yrs. I guess My quiestion is how long did it last you?

    • Beth

      It’s been about a year since I had it, and even though I’ve had it 3 times, it’s hard to remember all the details. I think it took about a month before the blisters healed up. There was discoloration after that. It almost looked like scarring. The areas where I had the rash STILL itch and feel sensitive sometimes! I remember that bad stinging you’re talking about. It was very uncomfortable. Yes, we do have to be careful about coming into contact with anyone who hasn’t had chicken pox when we have shingles. I’m sorry about your wife and daughter being infected! Don’t worry though, it will be over soon. At least taking the Valtrex is supposed to reduce the chance of post herpetic neuralgia.

  22. Terry

    I am 47 years old and just got diagnosed yesterday with shingles on the left side of my forehead down to my left eye. Initially, I my left eye hurt so much that I went to the opthalmologist who thought it was TMJ. However, I did not have a rash or the weird stinging skin yet. The next day I went to my family doctor and he put me on Valtrex. I returned to the opthalmologist and he put me on a 6 day course of methylprednisolone. My face looks like a pepperoni pizza and the pain is horrible, especially the headache behind the left eye. I sure hope the meds work. Good luck to all on this site.

  23. tiffany

    I am 32 years young and i was just diagnosed with shingles i hve it on my lower back. My Dr. took one look and told me what it was i have prescripitons for prednisone, #3, and valtrex they hurt so bad. Does anyone know how long the pain will last

    • Beth

      Hi –

      It could take a few weeks until you feel better. Some people have what they call post herpetic neuralgia though, which can result in pain lasting beyond the disappearance of the rash. Sometimes it’s necessary to get a rx for a pain med. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for that if you need it, ok?

      Even a year and more after my cases of shingles, I still have an itchy feeling in the various places!

      Beth

      • Emily

        You are so right. I wrote a note earlier about my shingles. I have had the pain from shingles for almost 15 months. The pain seems to be getting worse. I am taking medication and doing exercise -gentle stretches. The pain feels as if something is wrong with one of my ribs on the right side.

        There was an article in the Washington Post Health section a few months back. Some doctor wrote about his journey with shingles and pain medication.

        Post-herpetic neuralgia can last for years and taking pain medication may be apart of that. I suggest the matter gets well discuss with the doctor.

  24. Judi

    I hope everyone on this blog is over their outbreak by now and feeling better.
    I was just diagnosed yesterday with shingles. I have it around my right eye and up over my forehead and across my scalp. Very, very, painful. I have been really stressed out at work for at least 1 year and contribute this to stress and negative feelings. I was on anxiety medication for a month prior to this and quit 2 weeks ago because spring is here and I was feeling that I could cope and bring a new fresh outlook to my life. I think the shingles was starting 2 months ago with pain down my right shoulder blade off and on.
    Has anyone else had this experience?

    • Mia

      Shingles is soooo painful, especially when on face, scalp and eye…like in my case.. I am on valtrex (anti viral) and was referred to an eye and ear hopsital, where I had inflammation ( a complication) in my eye…I was prescribed a cortisone drop and now apparently the inflammation is no longer there. The important thing is to know that the sooner you get on the anti-viral the better. Fortunately, I started on the anti-viral on the second day the rash appeared…now its day # 7 and I have only one small scab on the side of my face and no rash.
      Good luck to everyone who comes down with what I call a hell of a disease! Its dangerous, painful and uncomfortable. The best advice is to remain diligent with your medications and careful not to infect the blisters-otherwise that leads to complications. Also important to make sure that your immune system is okay-so get tests that assess your immune system. My issue was extreme stress! Stress is soo bad for you…

  25. Julie

    I am 36 years old and suffering with shingles right now. I have always broken out with them at least once a year since I was a teen. It seems that sunlight will trigger mine. It’s always in the springtime after I have been out enjoying the pretty weather. Currently my eye is swelled up like a baseball and the pain is unbearable! Good luck to everyone that suffers with this disease from hell!! I feel your pain!!

  26. Kevin

    I’m 55, and got the Shingles on the left side of the face down into the eye 4 weeks ago. It took 3 days for the rash to pop up so the doctors knew what it was. The pain was worse than anything I’ve had, and I have four fused vertibra. The eye is affected. Very painful, sensitive to light and runs constantly. The pain is better, but still significant after four weeks.

    This blog has helped, as I know that nothing I’m going through is unusual – I have to be patient and hope it goes away.

    • Beth

      Don’t be surprised if the area still feels tender and itches for even years afterwards! The left side of my face still itches. A place on my right arm where I had shingles before feels very sensitive. It’s right where a short sleeve hits it, and it really bugs me. Finally though, the area on my right rib area where I had shingles in 2005 has stopped itching. It’s no fun.

      Don’t be afraid to ask your doc for pain meds for shingles, I say as I scratch the itch on my left eyebrow for the 90th time today.

  27. Karen

    Finally Today , My 15 yo daughter was diagnosed. It took 3 vists to see a MD and this last visit this evening was to ER.
    She has shingles for sure , but on her wrist and hand. This is the worst thing Ive ever seen, its so painful for her aside the fact it looks litterally gruesome. I was told by one peditrician he thought it was ” photosythesis of the skin due to the use of “limes” at her place of work. WTH ?? The first doctor diagnosed ” spider” brown recluse bite. WHY I ask is this so hard to diagnose ?
    Then I gave up, and went to hospital ER when the second set of blisters appeared today.
    So over a 8 day period , the blisters came , burst , dried then closer to her hand they reappeared again for a even worse outbreak.
    I just hope someone can tell me how to prevent, or at least try to prevent this from happening to her again.

    ??

  28. Jason

    I had to go to the ER today because of Shingles. I also have it on the left side of my face, eye, forehead. Does anyone else see a pattern here from a lot of the posts? All I know is Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox when we are kids, which doesn’t die but stays dormant in the body. I also have psoriasis on the back of my scalp so my immune system is already messed up and boom here comes shingles. It is really painful.

    Whats worse is this is depressing and that is the worst thing for me to be in this situation. :(

    • Beth

      I’ve always understood that anything that weakens your immune system can bring on the shingles. — If you’re having treatment for cancer, for example. Stress can cause an outbreak, too.

      Older people with weakened immune systems are most likely to get shingles, with those over 80 often five times more likely to get shingles than those aged 40 and younger.

      Shingles can strike any part of the body, but the areas most often affected are the rib cage and the face. About 40 percent of the cases affect the eyes.

      http://news.healingwell.com/index.php?p=news1&id=530421

  29. Jay

    I just returned from my second visit to the hospital and the doctor told me what I had was called shingles. It started as a small bump on the side of my head (temple area) like 4 or 5 days ago and started growing larger and uglier so on the third day after I noticed the bump and quickly went to the ER, the doctor was not to sure what it was because it was small so he gave me Bactrim just in case it was a bacterial issue. I just went back because it grew larger and this time it was obvious to the look that what I had was shingles. I was giving Apotex and vicodin for pain. I’m 39 years old and have been going through some heavy stress for the last couple months. From the blogs that I’m reading I’m almost positive that stress in the blame for this virus.
    What I am worried about is I don’t know to much about if this can be passed to anyone else. It’s my first time with this virus and right now I am thinking of more and more questions that I should have asked my doctor. I have children who I love to hug and a girlfriend that loves to be close to me. I don’t want to infect anyone so I try to distant myself but it gets depressing not being able to show affection when you are so used to doing it. Children don’t understand why this is happening to daddy and I don’t have many answers for them or my girlfriend so I am here looking for answers and sharing my pain with those that do understand what I’m going through.

    • Beth

      Jay, You can actually give someone chicken pox if they haven’t already had it, but you can’t give someone shingles. If your kids haven’t had chicken pox, please don’t let them come in contact with the blisters. That’s a really simplistic way to put it. You can read more here:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varicella_zoster_virus

      • Jay

        Thanks for the information? What else should I be expecting? My son never had the chicken pox but I think he had a shot for it. How can I make sure he doesn’t get infected by me?

        • Beth

          If he had the vaccine, he should be ok. For sure, wash your hands after you touch the affected area or try not to touch it if possible.

          I think everyone’s experience with shingles is a little different. How long have you had it? Mine would start to clear up within a couple of weeks, but I’d have itchiness and skin discoloration for a long while after.

          • Jay

            going on 6 days now. I’ve been invited to go out but I’m afraid the sun would irritate it.

          • Jay

            Another question I have is that I only got it in one place.Should I be expecting more areas to get infected during outbreak?

          • Beth

            I don’t think so. There’s never been a progression like that for me or anyone I’ve known who had it. How’s it going? Is it getting better?

  30. diana

    Dear old shingles bearers or new comers into this horrible stuff.,
    I believe it is absolutely related to: a) an overdone inmune system, due to diffrent possible issue like previous viruses, like b) a very strong and feverish flu,c) too many medicines,specially the one that have to do with hormones and steriods, self abuse wiht overdoing it with stress, tiredness, bad eating habits, non ecological food, or trash food,worries too many if these conditions are kept up during a very long period of time, mor than a year or two, or three… the inmune systme kind of gets over wind up, so what we have to do is get harmonious habits of eating, sleeping, resting, relaxing, enjoying, loving and recieving love, meditating, ding exercise, all a big program that inlcudes all the simple things that us the ones who have had tepeated issues discover in our parade searching for a solution to definitely get rid of this non wanted sickness, for further information in a more detailed way just email me, i will share my discoveries in my struggle wiht shingles that has been going on for about sxteen months, but is getting better each time, I know because my happiness desire and my sensing my body without the feverish feeling, or exagerated coldness when I take a quick shower has dissapeared, plus i feel much stronger, more alert and the episodes are shorter and much milder, so it´s gradually getting to the goodbye point. love for you and me. diana3leeyoung@hotmail.com

  31. Vickidu52

    I started 3 wks ago on Thursday (today is a Tues) with what I thought was a bad back strain. The spasms in my mid back were so bad that I took my husband’s muscle relaxants that really knocked me out til Sunday. Monday the pain moved around to the front of the body. Then I noticed six little red dots, no blisters or anything else but my area of skin was oddly numb feeling. Then there would be stabbing pains along with the feeling of spasms of where I figured my liver was. I was perplexed and wondered about kidney stones? Did they hurt like that? So got an appt with my Dr Thursday and he diagnosed shingles and started me on Valtrex 3 x a day and Vicodin every 6-8 hours. Three weeks later and I’ve been on one roller coaster. The first week I sounded more like I had touretts syndrome with my outburst of sounds when the stabbing pain took over. Now I’m reduced to feeling like my interior orangs under the breast all the way through to the back are “pulling” into a strain. Now and then a severe pain will erupt for a nanosecond. The skin now is feeling sorer. It’s been feeling like a sunburn but when I get up and move about, it starts having a raw flesh feeling. I’m on my second round of Valtrex and still on the Vicodin, sometimes taking it right at the six hours for the most part, a few times can go longer but definitely the pain, though it’s constant is not that where I was actually making verbal sounds but it’s still very severe. My family is really getting tired of me being “down” and seem to think I need to be up and about to get over this but once I try to dress, it only aggravates it worse. I have no idea what brought this on, I thought I had the most stree-free life ever and I am particularly into watching my diet, though I never get enough rest.

  32. Beth

    Oh, that sounds awful! It could take a while for you to get to feeling better though. Sometimes there’s even post herpetic neuralgia. It can be mild or severe. I’ve known people who have had to remain on pain meds for a while after shingles. I didn’t have to take any pain meds at all, because my outbreaks have been limited to smaller areas and the stabbing pains weren’t too, too terrible.

    Let your family know that it will be over in its own time, and you’re just going to have to take it easy as much as possible.

    Ask your doctor if the shingles vaccine could help prevent a recurrence in the future. That’s something I don’t know about and would love to hear what he/she has to say.

    Get more rest!

  33. judy

    My stepson who was diagnosed in Aug has just developed shingles. I have had shingled myself and know they can be painful. I will pray for you

  34. Rida

    Hello Everyone..

    I was diagnosed with Shingles three weeks ago. I had little bumps that I thought were spider bites that itched like crazy on the left side of my belly!
    My doctor prescribed me antibiotics and Valtrex and fluticasone Propionte cream. I am not one to take pills so I procrastinated and was in denial. I started the cream and it helped 90% with my itching and swelling. My bumps were going away so I though it was ok not to take the meds. Well another week passed and I got a blister on my hand. It started off like a burn but I already knew what it was. I immediately put tea tree oil about four times a day with the cream off and on and it dried up. I started the Valtrex and it seems to be keeping it under control. I have new little spots that have appeared on the back of my neck and hair but I just apply the tea tree oil. I am also taking organic unfiltered apple cider vinegar three times a day with 2tblsp in water. I hope this helps because it has helped me. I am going to pray for all you! guys..

    • Beth

      You mean to say you have shingles that are recurring constantly? That seems unusual, and you might want to get someone to biopsy the site so you can get a conclusive diagnosis. If it really proves to be herpes zoster, you might need to be on Valtrex all the time. I used to take Famvir, because I could take fewer tablets a day.

  35. Kimmy

    I was just diagnosed with shingles yesterday ..ive read a post here that someone had pain in her neck for months before her breakout! I do rollerderby so pain in the neck is normal…now I look back this was no normal pain. The blisters are horrible behind my left ear and down my neck in between my left and right side all on my scalp on my left side .The pain is unbearable without pain meds I was prescribed Norco that didnt help im now taking moriphine…and the lidoderm patchs help. Zovirax 5 times a day antibiotic…I hope this helps on Day 2 of taking the antibiotic ,day 4 since the pain in the neck and spots!

    • Beth

      As an antiviral, Famvir is good. You only have to take it twice a day.

      The pain can be searing at times, I know!

  36. Emily

    I had shingles in 2009. It covered my right side from the naval to spine. It left scars with large bumps of skin and sever pain. The doctors say it is postherbthic neuralga (PN). Anyway, I have been in pain for over a year and it seems to get worse as the days go on. Exercise does help some.

    Other than PN, I feel great! I have MM and I am being treated for it. DD was Aug 2006.

  37. Beaux

    Beth, The left side of my face looks alot like yours. I have been dealing with shingles for 12 years. My first breakout was 12 years ago when my Mom was given a month to live. I think losing her hurts more than anything. Since that time I have had breakouts on the left side of my forehead 3 to 4 times a year. I am on the list here at the hospital where I work as a nurse to recieve the Zostavax as soon as we recieve it. I am currently dealing with an outbreak as well. The things we have to endure in life…I could think of better things! My best to all of you dealing with this rotten disease. Get the vaccine!

  38. Susan Kelly

    I was diagnosed with shingles 7 weeks ago. On my right butt cheek. after it healed I had a patch on center of my back now the worst outbreak under both arm pits . I also now see a long row coming out on my forearm. I am totally confused because I read several people mention them on the face but under the arm pit ever. I keep thinking this cant be but it really is as i said under the arm and covering the entire shave area. No I cant shave, though it seems to have stopped the growth as the area is totally swollen and full of lumps that hurt, sting and the itch is unbelievable. I did not fill the precriptions as I thought it was too far along to make a difference. But it is getting worse not going away. my question is i have single ones on my legs and arms then i have entire armpit are with many . Do most people have them in clusters and then just one here and there. By the way I now am scared and going to Dr asap for medicine.

Comments are closed.