Saturday, November 3, 2012

Stages of Shingles... And Starting From Scratch

Shingles seems to have different stages. I'll document them here just in case someone at some point gets diagnosed with Shingles and googles for information wondering what they might expect... This is what I went through anyway. Very possibly people experience it differently!

First sign: Pulsing/throbbing nerve pain. This lasted ~2 days and was relieved by nothing. It felt the same whether I was sitting or standing, sleeping or swimming. Never suspected shingles at this point but if I ever felt that again, I would. Other than the nerve pain, I'd say my energy levels were pretty normal- I didn't otherwise feel sick or anything.

Day 3-4: Again energy levels weren't too bad, nerve pain subsided some, but itchy blistery rash spots started popping up along the nerve line. Not sleeping well.

Day 5: Energy levels start really dropping. Feel like I have the flu. More blisters appearing by the hour and all clumped together just on one side of body. Finally with google search figure out that the nerve pain was actually the Shingles virus making its way to the skin and that I must actually have shingles. Not sleeping well.

Day 6-7: Probably the worst of it as far as low energy goes. Felt seriously bad all over. Diagnosed by MD by this point and started on anti-viral meds. Also very hard to sleep at night b/c everything hurt all over. Vicodin sort of eased some of the pain but still had a hard time sleeping. No new blisters appearing but they itch like mad. Spent most of the time in bed (useless!) desperately googling for some sort of home remedy that will make this go away. Very little appetite.

Day 8: The newest blisters start to scab over a little (get darker in appearance) and itch less. Energy levels start to come up a little (maybe 70%?) and I managed to get outside and go for a walk. Head also seems more clear but that's likely related to not taking vicodin anymore. :)

Day 9-10: Energy levels more normal (80-85%?). Rash is almost all scabbed over but scabs actually hurt a little more- they don't itch anymore though. Still on anti-virals 3x/day. Experiencing a little of the nerve pain again in the original spot but not pulsing like before- more just like an irritated nerve? Haven't found anything yet that alleviates that.

So there you go. It's Day 10 today and I did manage to get outside and go for a short jog. Well, short in distance (4 miles) not short in duration! Ha! I strapped my HR monitor on b/c it just made sense to me that I don't want to push my body too much at the moment. So even though I feel sort of decent I sense that being greedy and going out and busting out a session that is too long or too hard will most certainly set me back. HR was extremely jacked up today- my goal was to keep it <150 today and I kid you not, I had to take a short walk break every 2-3' to make that happen. So odd, really, to not be able to run at all without HR jumping up to 153... but I listened to what my heart was telling me (it was screaming HELLO I AM STRESSED) so even though I did not feel stressed, I backed way off the effort from what I would have done had I say, just gone out for an 'easy' run by feel. 11+' miles today as the avg pace. I'm trying really hard not to be depressed about that. It is what it is and there's not much I can do about it at this point but just be patient and diligent.

My plan going forward is to heed that HR- I am going to wear it during every session throughout November and goal is going to be to simply accumulate time/miles <HR150 as I know that is a level that will not really stress my body much but will develop back some cardiovascular fitness that seems to have disappeared since Canada. So there you go. With a MAF pace of 11' miles I feel like I'm just completely starting over from scratch. I've been through this process before though and I am confident I can do it again.

19 weeks til IM Cabo.


Damie said...

Glad you recorded this....I bet there will be someone that wished they knew and will read it. :)

PiccolaPineCone said...

oh. my sympathies. nerve pain is (massive understatement) very unpleasant. i've had shingles and it certainly was a distinctive experience. glad you are well over the worst of it.

GoBigGreen said...

Its tough, so hang in there. I caught mine so early i was able to really beat it pretty fast, but at the same time it lingered even after the scars were healed. Did you try the tea tree oil? Hope you are doing ok!

idropboys said...

OH sorry my friend. Sounds hellish- heel well and then focus on Cabo! Cheers

Trent Young said...

Your time line is right on... on problem is that the Valacyclovir kept me a bit nauseated. Not sick nauseated... just uncomfortable.
Added advice... let the scabbing fall of naturally. It is kind of like a carrot... you an mess with the top but the root you mess with is way down there. So let it be... I am right at about 14 days and I can finally see and feel the end in sight.