Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Shingles update

I wrote a few months ago about Shingles and how increasingly common it was amongst an aging population. I even inquired at our local Pharmacist to see if the young bride and I could get a vaccination for it here in Australia - it is much more an established part of the immunization program in the US - and discovered that even if it were available - which is isn't - it would cost $600 per vaccine! So to all Australian Health Care providers and Government Departments, it's time to "Lift Your game"!

A couple of weeks later I developed the Tell-tale rash on the front of my chest , to be shortly followed by another cluster of reddish blisters on my back in the 3rd Thoracic dermatome - the area of skin supplied by the chicken pox infected nerve! I seriously considered taking anti-viral medications until I read that although the Meds will lessen the impact of the rash if taken within the first 48 to 72 hours, they probably do not have a big impact on the dreaded Post Herpetic Neuralgia - PHN.

For the first few days the mild itching wasn't a big thing, but then that was replaced by the sensation of someone having used an Acetylene blow torch on the affected area of skin. But the final indignanty was the unexpected shooting pains that began to appear day night! The good news is that a 5km jog does seem to provide enough Endorphins to temporarily reduce the sensation of pain.

The rash is beginning to abate but the PHN persists. Because the area of skin where the the pain appears to be is "normal", I have taken to thinking about those poor young women who have had acid thrown on them for so called "morality" crimes and who must be suffering so much more than I, and this makes me feel less sorry for myself and more concerned for them. My problem will pass and there will be no persisting memory. I can even take comfort from the fact that my antibodies to the Zoster virus will be boosted as a result of this bout of Shingles - but those poor women who survive these brutal attacks will be constantly reminded of their awful ordeals by the dreadful scars caused by their acid burns. My heart goes out to them all - no one deserves to suffer such pain!

Meanwhile the young bride is suffering from a Neuralgia of her own - this one caused by a couple of "squashy" discs in her lower back. So far the spinal injection hasn't worked and she awaits a second "go". If that fails then she could face back surgery to relieve the problem.

Our nervous system is an amazing part of our bodies and silently controls every organ, muscle and cell in it. But when they go wrong, all we have to rely on in many cases is our own body's repair systems and a great deal of time and patience. Medicines and surgery have some place, but their side effects can be fairly drastic too. So in order to maximize the well being of your nervous system, eat nutritious foods to nourish the neurons, and care for your spine so as to reduce the potential dangers from damaged discs. And if you're in the older age bracket, pester your Doc about getting a Zoster vaccine - especially all those people living in Oz, because the more people demand the vaccine, the more likely we'll actually find them on the Pharmacy shelves!
Ampersands & angle brackets need to be encoded.


Anonymous said...

Not sure how you feel about chiropractors but I have a few friends who have found relief from singles symptoms by being adjusted. So sorry to hear you are suffering.

Anonymous said...

That's shingles not singles lol.

Mariodacatsmom said...

Oh dear - I'm so very sorry that the Shingles vac isn't offered in your country at a reasonable price. That is one coverage that we do have and both my husband and I had it a couple of years ago. I watched a friend battle Shingles, and it was not a pleasant experience.