Friday, May 4, 2007

Stress and Shingles

This week I discovered a recurrence of the shingles, which I initially had almost 2 years ago. I'm wondering whether I have a genetic predisposition to the shingles, because both of my parents have had it in the past few years. When I first had it, it took awhile to get diagnosed because I knew so little about the disease...and at first I thought I had some kind of cyst behind my ear.

Here's a mini lesson on the shingles: when you have chicken pox, the virus lies latent in your body and sometimes returns as the shingles when you are MUCH older. (Usually older than 40 or 42!) It appears as a series of painful sores in a nerve line on your body--can be on the chest, face, neck, or anywhere. I'm fortunate that mine starts behind my ear and goes around my neck (not on my face!). It's important to get it treated as soon as possible, because the earlier it's treated, the less painful and debilitating it is. Some people even get it in their eyes, and it can cause blindness if not treated! Last time around, I had quite a lot of pain and felt awful for a few days (although part of that might have been the anti-viral medication).

This time around, I felt the pain before I got the telltale bumps behind my ear. They are miniscule, but I've been getting more and more of them. The concern this time around is that Nicholas has not had his chicken pox vaccination yet, and it is possible to catch chicken pox from someone who has the shingles (by contact with fluid from the sores). I have covered them up with band-aids, so I'm hoping he's safe! Can't exactly separate an 8-month-old from his mommy, especially when he's still nursing.

Shingles is usually brought on by stress. I've been worrying about a few things lately--nothing major but the stress is obviously making itself manifest in my body. Obviously, I need to take up meditation!

Sorry if all this is way TMI (too much information)!

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