I couldn’t believe it. I went to bed thinking I had dermatitis and woke up to discover I had shingles.
However, despite the bad news, I learned a lot about my body and my mind and the reason why I got shingles in the first place.
Firstly, let’s be clear, no matter what anyone tells you – shingles is actually not contagious. Okay, well it is for anyone who has not had the chicken pox, or for anyone who is pregnant, and new borns. But not contagious like you think.
The thing is, for anyone to actually contract it off you, they would need to be sharing your clothes, or touching your icky shingle rashes. And let’s face it, that doesn’t really happen does it? Cause, you know, that would be gross. In-fact, I had the shingles active in my system for at least 4 or more weeks and the rash for nearly a week, before I knew what is was. I came into contact with a lot of people, and none of them contracted the virus from me. No one.
So, what is it and how does it work?
For anyone who had chicken pox as a child, shingles is what you get as an adult. Part of the herpes virus family, and similar to a cold sore virus, when you have chicken pox sometime in your life (especially as a child), it stays in your body for life. Remaining dormant until one day it decides to go active in the blood. Or not go active, depending on your lifestyle and your immune system.
If you are incredibly stressed, run down and exhausted, and aged over 40 years, then the shingles virus can definitely trigger and begin to activate in the system.
The signs are muscle cramps, soreness and nerve pain around the general area where the shingles will eventually breakout – the rash that is. For me, this was the left hand side of my body around the upper leg into the hip and waist and across my tail bone. Thankfully in an area, though still incredibly uncomfortable, it was easily hidden with clothing.
The pain prior to the rash appearing started around 5 to 6 weeks prior for me, and I actually thought it was arthritis.
I already have sciatica and major joint pain issues in the area, so I was feeling incredibly frustrated when nothing would get rid of the pain, like Chiro, massage, yoga or acupuncture. The pain was just ongoing and I had no idea what was going on. I had cancelled so many things with friends, as sitting down for too long at a cafe, or in the car was just too awkward and painful. I already have early stages of arthritis in some joins of the knee and hands, so I seriously thought as I had damage around the hip area, this was what it was.
I increased my vitamin D, C, B and even celery and carrot juice – all herbal remedies to help with arthritis and still nothing. Until a small area of my tail bone broke out in what I thought was dermatitis. It didn’t get worse, but it didn’t get better either.
One evening when I was about to hop into the shower, I undressed in front of the mirror so I could take a closer look at the rash and see what was wrong. I had been out all day in the city with beauty events for Bondi Beauty. Which meant, I had left the house really early (6.30am) and didn’t get home until after 3pm.
The last time I had checked the rash was the night before. When I looked in the mirror I discovered the rash had spread – everywhere. Not good. This is when I knew something was wrong. And I began to feel really run down. My body was aching all over and I was extra tired. More than normal.
I booked an appointment to see the doctor first thing in the morning, and that’s when I found out I had shingles.
In all honesty, when the doc mentioned it, I had a hard time processing it. Sure, I’d heard of it, but I had no idea what the hell it was. But have I learned a lot since then.
I was in two minds about writing this post, as it doesn’t really fit the branding really. Sure, I do write about health and mindfulness, with my travel and occasionally some beauty as well. But writing about a health concern I had, not really what I would normally write about.
However, I have learned so much since getting shingles, and I wanted to share that knowledge with you all, in the event that one of you get it. The thing is, there is so much you need to know about it, and a lot of the time, the information you need to know you won’t be able to get that from any doctor. Though they can help guide you on a path of wellness to help you get better, there is so much more to the healing process of how to recover from shingles.
Why? Because shingles is something that can stay with you for life. No really. If you don’t treat it holistically then you can end up with lifelong pain and reoccurrence of the shingles on multiple occasions.
Okay, so this post is really long LOL. To see how you can treat your shingles holistically and how I did it to recover and get better. Stay tuned for part two next Sunday, where I walk you through the steps of what you can do both mentally and physically to both heal and recover quickly from shingles.