There’s not a day that goes by, when a sharp pain echoes in my nervous system, or I start to feel run down, that I fear my Shingles will make a comeback – the fear is real.
It’s the little things you know, that either change your life, impact your life, or perhaps they have no impact at all. For me, Shingles was one of those things that really made a lasting impact in my life. And not necessarily for the worse either – which I will talk about later.
Although I am in pretty good health and have no major concerns to be worried about (apart from a few lifelong minor issues I am dealing with which were the results of a childhood raised on antibiotics), I really have nothing to complain about. If I had to rate my health between 0 to 10, 10 being outstanding, I would sit at a casual 7.
However, having to deal with being diagnosed with Shingles seven months ago, and learning how the virus leaves a permanent imprint on your health, specifically with the nervous system, has not only led me on a journey of a more mindful lifestyle. It has also left an imprint of fear that one day the virus may return. Because the reality is, it never really goes away.
After hours of research and pouring over information, I have since learned that Shingles is a virus related to the herpes family. What does that mean? It means, that if you had chicken pox as a child, then the virus from chicken pox will lay dormant in the blood system, waiting for the right moment to attack. Many people go their whole lives without it ever rearing it’s ugly head.
Unfortunately for me, it did. And now that the virus has been activated in my 40s (yes, I turned 41 this year), the virus though laying dormant for now, could possibly return again, and could even come back as something worse.
Check out My Previous Related Posts on Shingles HERE.
Here’s the thing though, despite it laying dormant in the system, when I do feel over tired or rundown, I get this sharp nervous pain around the area where the shingles broke out. It’s a pain like none other and one I can’t describe. but when it starts throbbing, the fear starts to develop, and I begin to emotionally prepare myself that the virus may be trying to re-activate. So far though, 7 months on, it hasn’t yet. Phew!
That doesn’t mean that it won’t though. Shingles does leave permanent scarring on the nervous system. And depending on your age, what treatment you had, how you manage your life, and stress, that scarring can either remain for life as constant pain, re-activate the virus, or just throb from time to time to remind you that it was once there.
It’s called postherpetic neuralgia (pronounced: post-hur-PET-ik noo-RAL-juh) and it’s the most common complication of shingles. The condition affects nerve fibers and skin, causing burning pain that lasts long after the rash and blisters of shingles disappear. For many people this pain is ongoing and can lead to neurological damage. For other like myself, the scarring is minor and will only flair up in times of stress, feeling rundown. Or of late, I have noticed it flares up when it’s that time of the month.
Did you watch my video interview with founder of Pure Alchemy TCM, Anissa Au, a holistic specialist? We discussed all things Shingles and how to treat, manage and live with it. Click HERE to watch now.
So, how do I feel 7 months on from having Shingles?
Well apart from the fear of it coming back and the niggling pain which will no doubt stay with me for life now, I am feeling fairly positive that I won’t have another outbreak, despite my mind often getting carried away with fearful thoughts. I do have to remind myself to stay stock of my mental health to ensure I am managing my life stresses as best s possible to ensure it doesn’t come back again.
Mental health being the key component there, for any form of recovery really.
I’ve learned to manage my time better, both personally and with business. I’ve learned that you don’t always have to get everything done right away. Yes, even time sensitive work or personal projects. It’s okay to just slowly work your way through things until it’s done. The stress and mental strain of trying to get something done STAT (as they say in the medical world) when you are already trying to managing varying other things in your life, is simply put, just not worth it.
For me, I will never be the person I was a year ago. A year ago, I could manage multiple projects at once, both personally and with work, and get it done in fast time, before moving onto the next one and then dealing with something else at the same time. Not any more. And I’m okay with that.
After my Shingles recovery, I honestly thought I could return back to that life, but the truth is I will never ne that same person, and I actually don’t want to be. Perhaps being stuck in lockdown for so long as well (on and off in lockdown anyways) for the last 2 years, has also taught me to slow down and find pace in whatever I’m doing. I simply just can’t manage multiple things at once anymore.
No doubt, age also plays a contributing factor here. But I feel it’s more the mind telling me to slow down.
My family has a history of cancer, and other varying medical issues. So, am I upset that I’ve had to change my lifestyle to accommodate for soling down and finding a new pace to enjoy life and work? No, not at all. Perhaps it was a message from my body telling me it was time to make the change, to slow down and take stock of both my mental and physical health. Because the truth is, as we get older, no matter how healthy we are, or how best we manage our fitness and other health matter, the body still ages. There is no cure to ageing. It happens and you can’t stop it. So embrace it.
And boy what acceptance that brings when you finally accept the idea of embracing the idea of ageing. Yes, I am aware I am only 41 LOL. But that still doesn’t change the fact I am ageing. And that goes for any age really. I mean, we start ageing the moment we are born – do we not? So embrace it for what it is.
My Shingles experience has shown and taught me to, for you just don’t know what is around the corner. And I think my body was reminding me that time and life is precious. And if you keep burning the candle at both ends, and running at 100 miles per hour, avoiding all the stop signs along the way. That ageing process will turn negative. When it should be embraced and be a positive thing.
As famous American pitcher Satchel Paige once said about ageing: “Age is a question of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, then it does not matter.”
After enduring years of segregation in America during the 1920s as a black baseball player, Saige finally made his debut in 1948 at the age of 42, and today still holds the world record as the oldest debutant in major league history. He played his final league game at the age of 59 and passed away at the age of 75 in 1982. his statement is a testament to the idea that, you although accept ageing, we don’t stop living. It’s how we choose to live as we age, that’s what really matters.