Shingles

Say what? Aren’t they on roofs?

Apparently not always.

I think I mentioned I broke out in a rash and thought it might have been the side effects for the pain meds I was taking.  After googling the possible side effects, I realized it was not and since it was worse today I dragged myself back to the ER.

It took them about 30 seconds to diagnose me with shingles.

Apparently being a cancer patient and undergoing radiation puts you at risk for shingles and it is an uncommon side effect.  Certainly not one that was on my radar, for sure.

Aside from the rash, it causes debilitating nerve pain and that is what I have been experiencing for the past week.

There is a silver lining.

Because I went to the ER within 72 hours of the rash appearing, I am able to take anti-viral medication to shorten the time period the condition will last.  With the anti-virals plus multiple pain medications I should be feeling much better by early next week.

The only limit on my activity is what I can tolerate through the pain and because it is nerve pain moving helps control it.

So after a bit of a break, I should be back to dance early next week and somehow still able to do the competition next weekend.

There is nothing like making things as challenging as possible for me to reach my goal of dancing through this.

My first concern was that I was contagious–afterall, shingles is a reactivation of the chicken pox–and more so because Boss told me he has never had chicken pox–but the doctors told me I am not contagious unless someone comes in direct contact with the rash, which is very unlikely as it is on my back and breast and not in any exposed areas.

Whew! I don’t know what I would do if I had unwillingly and unknowingly made Boss sick right before a competition.

We did have one competition way back in the beginning of 2014 when we both came down with the flu during the comp, but it was the tail end of the comp and we managed.  The entire group almost ended up sick in the end.

I am just glad this is not so much a ‘show-stopper’ as I was fearing, and that I am not contagious.  I had to cancel my lesson today as I was obviously feeling quite miserable, but Boss said we should be able to make it up on Tuesday.  I hope by then I am feeling better.

Truthfully, I am pretty disheartened by this news.  I am glad it is not anything worse (although it’s bad enough!), but on top of everything else I am dealing with it really just seems unfair.  Not that life is ever fair, but I guess I was just really hoping for a break :). That said, I did have a fairly easy time through chemo (as far as chemo can be easy!), so in a way I guess I was due for something bad from radiation.  Just to keep things balanced.  I am hopeful that this all means that my surgery will be complication-free so I can finally move forward with my life without too many lasting issues from cancer.

So today I start taking anti-virals every 4 hours, which includes waking up to take them.  I was pretty much waking up that often to take my pain meds, so it is not too much different.

In 2 weeks, all of this will be behind me and I can look back and be relieved to have gotten through it.

Just have to get there 🙂

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