shingles...

Old Aug 7, 07, 6:20 pm
  #31  
 
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Techgirl's post was actually from 2003, so with any luck, she's recovered by now, though the nerve damage shingles is capable of could actually last this long.
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Old Aug 8, 07, 6:42 am
  #32  
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Originally Posted by cheepneezy View Post
Techgirl's post was actually from 2003, so with any luck, she's recovered by now, though the nerve damage shingles is capable of could actually last this long.
Here's a bit of a public update on my condition (springing forward from four years ago).

The shingles flare I had in July '03 was actually the first "marker" event in a more complex series of health incidents I had in late '03 and the first half of '04 which included peripheral neuropathy (not shingles-related) in both hands and feet, dizziness, and general fatigue/pain. I started getting shuffled around to the neurologist, to the endocrinologist, to the dermatologist, and finally to a rheumatologist.

After a couple of visits and extensive testing, they determined I had rheumatoid arthritis. It wasn't an obvious diagnosis as I didn't have a lot of the typical symptoms (which is why I went through preliminary testing and/or diagnoses for a brain tumor, MS, metabolic disorders, diabetes, fibromyalgia, and lupus before they got to RA).

I've now been on DMARDS (disease modifying agents) for three years and taking Remicade by infusion for 2.5 and while I still go through flare points, I'm (at present) in remission. I still get viral skin flares regularly in the same site where my shingles originallly appeared. I typically get them when I'm under a lot of stress, sick, or not sleeping enough. Or like the one I'm having right now, right before I'm due/overdue for my next Remicade infusion.

From what I understand from my doctors, having a shingles flare as a marker event for another disorder is somewhat rare - in my case, it was likely my body trying to alert me to the fact that something was wrong with my body chemistry. I now know when I see those red bumps appear on my right side that its time to adjust my diet/sleep/workload - whatever I need to do to take good care of myself.

Thanks for the good thoughts and messages of support (both here and privately) that I've gotten from so many of the FT women. This is a great network. I never thought it was possible for a 31-year-old to develop shingles so it was an eye-opener for me.
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Old Aug 8, 07, 9:15 am
  #33  
 
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Originally Posted by oldpenny16 View Post
For those of us who are 60 and older, there is a vaccine now. It costs about $200 and insurance generally won't pay for it; but I'm sure any who have had shingles will testify that the vaccine is worth it.

I wonder how Techgirl is now.

Is the vaccine effective if you've already had them? My husband just had them for the 1st time - he's 53. And why only for 60 & older?
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Old Aug 8, 07, 2:01 pm
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Shingles Vaccination

The husband of my close friend had a terrible bout with shingles last year and is still in pain. He can't even stand to wear a shirt! Their doctor told him that the vaccination is effective at preventing recurring outbreaks, so someone should have the vaccine even if they've already got shingles. If you notice an odd rash, get to a doctor immediately. Medications are effective if taken in the first 12-24 hours, according to my friends.

My friend's doctor prescribed a salve for the blisters. The person who applied the salve during the active blisters phase then got shingles, so be careful if you're around someone with an outbreak!

The vaccine "Zostavax" was approved in May 2006. It has been shown to be effective for age 60 and above. There is more information at the CDC website. The ACIP (Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a panel of experts who advise the DCD) says that everyone over 60, even those who have had shingles, should be immunized. Zostavax reduced the occurrence of shingles by about 50 percent and post herpetic neuralgia (pain persisting after an episode of shingles) by 67 percent.

You can check with your healthcare insurer to see if they will cover the vaccination, which costs around $150. The CPT code is 90736.
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Old Aug 13, 07, 11:47 am
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re: shingles

I still have occasional tingles of pain on the side of my neck from having shingles 25 years ago. The pain when I had shingles was like nothing I've ever felt in my life in the 25 years since. I'm going to ask my doctor about getting the vaccine even though I'm not 60; I don't ever want shingles AGAIN.
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Old Aug 16, 07, 10:27 pm
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Originally Posted by oldpenny16 View Post
For those of us who are 60 and older, there is a vaccine now. It costs about $200 and insurance generally won't pay for it; but I'm sure any who have had shingles will testify that the vaccine is worth it.

I have had shingles three times, all stress related. The first time I was 27 years old and building a new house with a husband I wasn't getting along with. The next time was when I got a divorce from that husband and the last time was when I was under some incredible stress at work and going through a bad breakup. The three incidents were all about a decade apart. Fortunately I know what I am getting from the first sign and run to the Doctor to get medication. My body responds well to the treatment and I heal fast. I haven't had scarring or severe pain except for pain and discomfort in any area my clothing might be rubbing the shingles outburst.

Old Penny I wonder why you have to be 60 to get that vaccine? I am 10 years and a few weeks away from being 60. I would get it tomorrow and pay a lot more than $200 if it would prevent me from ever getting shingles again. Getting shingles is just awful.
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Old Aug 17, 07, 12:47 am
  #37  
 
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I am curious why no one has yet mentioned Valtrex, http://www.valtrex.com/shingles/speed_healing.html

It seems that if you are worried about getting shingles, you should have this in your medicine cabinet (unless otherwise contraindicated).

By the way, I got shingles a few years ago during a time of no stresss at all and was told it happened because the herpes zoster virus lies dormant from childhood chickenpox and then erupts again in the 40s.

I was also told not to worry about it again. Is this only true for men?

I realize this is the Women Travelers Forum but I am surprised to see all these stories of repeated bouts of this condition.

Also, as a reference point, if Techgirl took Vicodin for pain, that was some pain. I was prescribed this drug once--when I broke a bone.
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Old Aug 17, 07, 5:02 am
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I don't know why the age minimum is 60.

Originally Posted by MissJoeyDFW View Post
I have had shingles three times, all stress related. The first time I was 27 years old and building a new house with a husband I wasn't getting along with. The next time was when I got a divorce from that husband and the last time was when I was under some incredible stress at work and going through a bad breakup. The three incidents were all about a decade apart. Fortunately I know what I am getting from the first sign and run to the Doctor to get medication. My body responds well to the treatment and I heal fast. I haven't had scarring or severe pain except for pain and discomfort in any area my clothing might be rubbing the shingles outburst.

Old Penny I wonder why you have to be 60 to get that vaccine? I am 10 years and a few weeks away from being 60. I would get it tomorrow and pay a lot more than $200 if it would prevent me from ever getting shingles again. Getting shingles is just awful.
My doc was really firm that I had to wait until that birthday passed.

All I can say is 'ask your medical professional'.
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Old Aug 17, 07, 7:02 am
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Originally Posted by Landing Gear View Post
I am curious why no one has yet mentioned Valtrex, http://www.valtrex.com/shingles/speed_healing.html

It seems that if you are worried about getting shingles, you should have this in your medicine cabinet (unless otherwise contraindicated).
Medication has a shelf life, considering the fact that my outbreaks have been 10+ years apart there is no predicting when the next one would be and the medication could be expired. I have good insurance and I can tell from the moment my skin starts feeling "funny", I am hyper-sensitive to anything that goes haywire with my body. I just head to the Dr. or minor emergency center and get treated.

Old Penny I see my Dr. next week, I am asking her about the vaccine and age requirement.
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Old Aug 18, 07, 9:25 am
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I had Shingles last year just after working 60 days straight and just before I was scheduled to leave on a vacation/business trip to Europe. The antivirals did help me keep it short (I was able to leave for Europe three weeks later), but I didn't see a mention of Lyrica. That medicine -- specifically for shingles pain -- got me through.

I also believe that Shingles changed my life. I now often put off to tomorrow what I could have squeezed into today.

Marcia
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Old Aug 20, 07, 3:28 pm
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When my friend had shingles, it was so bad that she presented at the emergency room saying that she was having a heart attack.

Like LandingGear, I too understood that it was caused by having had chicken pox as a child, not by stress. It's a virus that apparently stays dormant for many, many years. Or so I was told.

Originally Posted by Landing Gear View Post

Also, as a reference point, if Techgirl took Vicodin for pain, that was some pain. I was prescribed this drug once--when I broke a bone.
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Old Aug 20, 07, 9:16 pm
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Originally Posted by peachfront View Post
When my friend had shingles, it was so bad that she presented at the emergency room saying that she was having a heart attack.

Like LandingGear, I too understood that it was caused by having had chicken pox as a child, not by stress. It's a virus that apparently stays dormant for many, many years. Or so I was told.

I never had chicken pox as a child nor as an adult in spite of being exposed many times.
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Old Aug 20, 07, 9:24 pm
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This link may be of interest: http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-a...Shingles-Cause
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Old Aug 21, 07, 10:38 am
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Does anyone know where the vaccine is in the Canadian approval process? My mom gets shingles, I wonder how difficult it is for a Canadian to get the vaccine in the US.
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Old Aug 21, 07, 11:17 am
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Originally Posted by Landing Gear View Post

I read the article and I can't disagree with a word it says. Even my Doctor says I shouldn't have gotten shingles without ever having chickenpox. I would call my parents and ask them what they were drinking and/or smoking when they raised me to cause them to forget I had chickenpox but they are both drinking and smoking in another realm these days. That was their story and they stuck to it, no chickenpox!

Last edited by MissJoeyDFW; Aug 21, 07 at 11:22 am
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