I shouldn’t be surprised by this diagnosis because, 20-25 years ago, I had chickenpox. TWICE. Yep, I’m special. Once you’ve had chickenpox, the virus stays dormant in your body until stress, injury, certain medicines, or other issues cause you to break out in a rash. A person with a weak immune system (including Yours Truly) is prone to shingles too.
To explain how (I think) this all happened, let me back up a bit:
The weeks leading up to Spring Break were stressful at school, plus I was getting ready for Mom’s visit. My allergies also got worse, eventually sending me to the Doctor. After several days of steroids and antihistamines, I felt much better. Except a painful bump appeared in my hairline, behind my right ear. It was sore to the touch, but I thought it was an ingrown hair. No big deal, right? Wrong. The next day it got a little bigger. A few days later, it was the size of a dime, bright red, and very painful to touch. By Friday, my entire body ached. I had no energy and the right side of my head and neck were extremely sore. I left school an hour early (thanks to an amazing co-teacher) to visit the doctor. My throat was swabbed for Strep and nostrils for Influenza, but both of those tests were negative.
The Doctor examined the bumps on my neck and along my hairline and confirmed my fear: shingles. She wrote a prescription for an anti-viral and pain meds, then told me to stay home and rest. Considering my energy level is nonexistent, and just breathing is tiresome, I’m following her orders. It hurts to turn my head from side to side and, since yesterday, three additional rash spots have appeared on my neck and under my chin. They do not itch, but the pain is intense. I can only explain it as a constant, throbbing neck ache on my right side.
Oh, and did I mention that I’m freaking out about the possibility of missing a day at school because we’re beginning small group tutorials next week, in preparation for state testing? Yeah, I’m stressed. I want to practice reading strategies with them. I don’t want a stranger in my classroom, I want to be there! They’ve worked so hard, I don’t want their efforts to be futile.
Shingles, you are so not cool. This royally sucks.