I have shingles. Ugh!

 What I have learned:

  • Sharon VSince I found out two days ago, nearly every third person I’ve mentioned it to has had shingles, hence the staggering national average that says 40 percent of Americans will experience the itchy painful illness at some point in their lives.
  • Shingles is not the first thing that pops into a medical provider’s head when you go in complaining of an ear ache or other pain, especially when you are otherwise in excellent health. I saw three providers before I happened across an article my husband was reading about shingles shots. In reading it, I found that I had five of the eight symptoms listed. When I went to the ER here, I mentioned the possibility and guess what? By golly, Mrs. Vander Meer, you do have shingles!” I’m on meds and they are working, but I suffered about seven days of outrageous pain before treatment began.
  • Shingles does not always reveal as a cluster of pulpy sores as seen in medical site photos. It is on my scalp and hidden by my hair, which may be why nobody spotted it, despite my saying “My head is on FIRE!” But I digress. I’m much better now.
  • Stress IS a contributing factor. We all have stress and it doesn’t always lead to shingles, but let this be a reminder that every day counts, every moment can make or break you, don’t let tension rule your life.

I want to thank my friend Em Krall. When I was feeling my worst, she worked her magic and helped me get rid of a lot of tension.

I want to thank by friend Kathy Allen, who called last night out of the blue and made me laugh and feel her long-distance hug.

I want to thank my friend Mary Schipper, whose encouragement and positive outlook let me see the bigger picture. It’s more than “this too will pass,” it’s more about appreciating what you have right here, right now.

I want to thank my nephew and great nephew, Seth and Carter, for bringing us food and mail and newspapers.

Shingles is by no means life-threatening and most of us get through it without too much angst, but it does get your attention. The pain is indeed, painful. The blisters can be unsightly. The healing may end but neurological reactions may continue. There’s no guarantee you won’t get it again. (This is supposed to be the upside!) It does make you stop and think about being joy-filled and a joy to be around. I confess when this all started I was a bit of a grumpy puss, which is not like me at all. So, to anyone I snapped at, forgive me.

My poor husband has suffered from this as much as I have, maybe more. The poor guy has been house bound because I didn’t feel much like getting out, and I’m the official driver! Can anyone say CABIN FEVER! I’m mostly kidding. His greatest concern is for me, so I thank him most of all for being patient and doing everything he could to take care of me. I am truly blessed.

– Sharon on the mend


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