Shingles are not fun.
I'm sure you know this.
Even if you haven't had them.
Because when somebody does have them, you hear about them.
For good reason.
& if you're me, you've been fighting them on and off since April 7, 2007 without even knowing it.
What can I say.
I'm a damn beast.
I'm going to break down shingles for you quickly.
It is caused by the zoster virus.
It can hide out in an organ of its choice (usually your liver) where it can't be detected for many years before attacking.
When trauma occurs, an environment for the virus to thrive is provided.
You could break a leg or be wrapped up in a nasty divorce.
The virus will leave the organ and travel through the spinal column to its target location and attack.
Eventually you heal.
But the bad thing about shingles is, if you haven't cleared out the zoster virus from your system it will go into hiding again and re-attack.
& that is what was happening to me.
MY SHINGLES BACKGROUND
They were concentrated on the left side of my back, close to the spine around my thoracic vertebrae. (All those rib dislocations.)
They came in the form of pain (obviously), a very deep red-berry colored rash and an itch I could never scratch.
Mine never formed blisters.
At the same time, I would get a rash on my left wrist. It looked like a ton of tiny, fresh gnat bites.
It never hurt, but would itch like crazy.
It usually served as my warning sign that my back would follow within the next 48 hours.
Over the course of 11 years (April 2007 - April 2018) I had them roughly 6 times.
They were never diagnosed until April 2018.
I always associated the red-berry rash with bruising from rib dislocations.
& it's strange I didn't think more of it.
Most of the time rib dislocations didn't hurt, but this pain was the worst pain of my life.
Doctors would say they were unsure what it was and I would carry on my way never questioning their lack of care.
Don't get me wrong, there are some great doctors out there. I know quite a few.
But culturally we hold them with too much esteem.
We are so capable of our own healing.
It's quite creepy how much my intuition speaks to me.
Two days before my appointment I saw my mom at the post office.
She could tell I was in pain.
I told her for some reason I thought it was shingles.
Two days later I saw my immunologist to have my bloods taken for the Lupus Nephritis diagnosis before I headed to Europe for the month of May.
I didn't say a word about the pain or rashes to my doctor; I was not missing Europe.
I had a jean jacket on with the sleeves cuffed one roll.
He grabbed my arm and asked me where the rash came from.
I said I didn't know and showed him the one on my back.
& that was it.
Did I mention that shingles was one of my worst fears in life?
It was actually quite the confidence boost to look back on photos in my medical album on my phone with him and know i've fought it a handful of times over the last 11 years and didn't even know it.
Now i'm just gonna say it.
I'm a fucking badass.
& now I will take a bow.
You are so much stronger than you will ever know.
Every single one of you.
Give yourself the credit you deserve to conquer your life.
We can do hard things.
Tomorrow on the blog we are talking about how I got rid of those nasty bitches.
The shingles, that is.