Writer. Social commentary. Wellness. Psychology. Positive disruption ~ to break apart expectation and bring forward new insight.
My Family Discovered My Shingles (And Why You Should Care)
This summer my husband, daughter, and I were swimming in the Gulf of Mexico at Indian Rocks Beach when my daughter said, "Mom, what is that red rash on your back?"
I reached my fingers around and felt a sore, bumpy patch, approximately two inches square, on the left part of the middle of my back.
“Oh my God. I hope it's not shingles,” I said. My husband looked worried; then he pretended to back up a few waves. (I can’t blame the man. Shingles can be contagious. More on that later.)
“It probably isn’t shingles,” I said. “Celeste told me it’s awful, really, really painful. This doesn’t feel too bad. It’s probably just some contact rash from sunscreen or lotion,” I said.
We laughed it off, and my husband and daughter went about making fun of me in our family’s no-mercy way of bashing the (not really) suffering.
I’m not sure why I sensed I had shingles. Perhaps it was some kind of instinct, that little nudge that tells you something before you know you know it. Lately, my exercise endurance was off, like I needed an extra kick to keep going.
I also had a nagging "muscle" ache in my upper-left shoulder region and left rib area (the pathway the virus traveled on me). Also, a close family member told me last year all about her horrible case of shingles.
"It felt like the worst sunburn ever,” Celeste had told me, “crossed with a thousand bee stings and then someone taking a rake across my skin. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t turn over. If I had to live with that pain long-term, I'd have killed myself."
Celeste isn't one to milk attention for physical ailments. She's a healthy, vibrant, chronically positive person who usually downplays illness. But more than a year has passed since her case of shingles, and she still feels twinges of nerve pain—not excruciating, just bothersome reminders of a hellacious few months.