Sunday, August 5, 2012

Shingles Schmingles


It has been 3 miserable months since I broke out with the shingles.  My advice if you had the chicken pox as a child is TO GET THE SHINGLES VACCINE!  I got it a couple of years ago & believe it made me have a lighter case.  Even though I had it on my face it didn't spread to my eyeball which could have caused blindness.  Praise God  that didn't happen!

After a coupe of weeks the gross scabs were gone & I was left with red splotches on my forehead, eyelid, temple, & side of nose - which luckily I could cover with makeup.   I still have light red splotches in the affected area &  hope they go away within the next 3 months.

This graphic shows the areas where shingles break out:  (My area was the face - yuk!)

Medications my doctors prescribed for the shingles:

1.  Valacyclovir (Valtrex)(val ay sye' kloe veer) - 1000 mg once daily:

Valacyclovir pill
Valacycovir is an antiviral drug used to treat herpes zoster (shingles). It does not cure shinges infections but decreases pain and itching, helps sores to heal, and prevents new ones from forming.  Because of my suppressed immune system due to chemotherapy & radiation, my cancer oncologist has me taking this for 6 months.  So, I figure I can get off this med right before Halloween - wonder if I can get a scary shingles mask to wear?  NOT!  Prescribed by my cancer oncologist.

2.  Gabapentin (Neurontin)(ga' ba pen tin) - 900 mg, 3 times daily:
Gabapentin is used to relieve the pain of postherpetic neuralgia (PHN; the burning, itching, stabbing pain, or aches that may last for months or years after an attack of shingles).  It does work well to tame the PHN or else one could probably go nuts - especially when the affected area is the face!  However, the side effects really slow you down:  tiredness, drowsiness, & dizziness!  I have been feeling those side effects so severely the past month that I am have discontinued this medication. I think I'd rather itch than be useless! Prescribed by my internist.
3.  Lidocaine  (LIE-doh-cane) - spread on skin as needed:
This medication is used to relieve nerve pain after shingles. This type of pain is called post-herpetic neuralgia. Lidocaine helps to reduce sharp/burning/aching/itching pain as well as discomfort caused by skin areas that are overly sensitive to touch. Lidocaine belongs to a class of drugs known as local anesthetics. It works by causing a temporary loss of feeling in the area where you apply the cream.  This cream has worked very well! Prescribed by my dermatologist.

This pic of me was taken after the scabs fell off.  Now, red splotches are much lighter & swelling is about gone.  I feel blessed that my case was not any more involved than this.  Get your shingles vaccine!

This too, shall pass!  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!