July 9, 2020
I had shingles when I was 42. It left me with postherpetic neuralgia, which normally goes away in a few months. I am one of the unlucky ones, my postherpetic neuralgia has lasted years, and at this point, I believe I will deal with it for the rest of my life.
I live with chronic pain; when I have a flare-up, I have pain, burning, tingling, and numbness in various areas of the body. I am now more prone to migraines and have been diagnosed with complex or compound migraines. Shingles can increase eye pressure and lead to glaucoma. After I had shingles, the optometrist began talking about not liking how the nerves in my eyes looked, even though my eye pressure was in the high range of normal. She convinced me to go to a glaucoma specialist after a couple of years. I now put medicine in drop form into my eyes to prevent any additional damage to the eye nerves.
I take medicine to control my pain. Most of the time, my symptoms are under control, and I feel good and don’t have a lot of pain. Occasionally, I will have a flare-up. The pain is intense and it just lasts. My feet, legs, arms, back, and face burn. The pain will be in patches and it will crawl from one area to another. I will have sharp stabbing pain in some areas that feel like someone is sticking me with needles or a knife. Parts of my face will feel numb. It is the worst when the numbness and burning is around my eyes. The pain is draining and I just feel bad. It makes it hard to sleep and I have fatigue. Trying to focus is hard when pain is so intense. Trying to be cheerful and professional is so hard when I just feel like ripping off my skin to stop the pain.
Last week, a flare-up started. I have been fighting the pain since. As I write this, both my feet are burning, my left calf is burning on the outside, my right thigh is burning, my left arm is burning, the right side of my face is burning and the left side around my eye brow is burning. I have been having a lot trouble sleeping and trying to focus on work is hard.
Many people understand that shingles is very painful, but don’t realize that it could cause longer term or permeate damage. If you get shingles in your eyes, you can go blind. If you get shingles, you have a 1 in 5 chance of have lingering pain. For those who have lingering pain, it usually goes away in a few months, but sometimes, it can be years, or the rest of your life.
If you have had chicken pox, I strongly recommend that you get the shingles vaccination. They are now giving it to people over 50. Save yourself from the pain, if you can!