Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My Battle With Shingles

It started with back muscle pain and I blamed myself for spraining it when I carried a 10kg detergent from the car boot.  For the next two days, the pain still persists and my colleague took me to one sinseh  for “nerve massage.”  This lady put some ointment on my neck and shoulders and rubbed all the way to my waist…for a 25 minutes job, I was charged RM45!  Ok, never mind… she told me to come for a few more times to loosen up the nerves but I decided not to… cos I still felt the pain the moment I stepped out of the door…
Went to General Hospital to get some muscle relaxant and painkillers  so that I could have a good night sleep and doctor advised me to put some hot bottle to “relax” the muscles.  Got a hot bottle from my sister and put it on my chair back and I leaned on it..  so comforting that I did it for two hours straight before I called it a night.  Then the “torture” began when I switched off the lights.  The pain was so excruciating,  I don’t know how to describe it, it was like  “burning sensation” at the back shoulders,  kept on burning underneath the skin and they came on like spasms…  oh gosh, I kept turning left, right, front, back…. I felt my whole back was on “fire.”  Did I “overheat” my own skin???

The next morning I was shocked to see five  red marks, few as big as “5 sen coin”.. horizontally from the right side back to the front...!  OH GOSH!  What are those, I wondered then…  then the word “shingles” came to my mind and needing some confirmation, I went to see Doc… one look at them, he confirmed that I had Shingles!  He wanted to give me a jab immediately (poe jum), he said my body resistance was low, either that, or I was too stressed up… hmmm… was I?  But I declined the jab and went to the pharmacy to get the shingles treatment as prescribed by the Doc. 
small as it seems but gives BIG pain!

Bought a course of 20 tables (400 mg) but to no avail.. the pain and the pokey marks were still clearly visible,  not working at all… then feeling helpless, I went to the General Hospital.  The doctor told me that my earlier dosage was definitely not enough,  it should be 800mg  (5 per day) and he also gave me some painkillers and ointment to apply.... 

bottom right: Lovir (Aciclovir) 800mg tablets (5 per day)
the other two packets are to "kill the pain"

This time I checked the Internet  (no joke, serious)  It says that the medicine works effectively if  taken regularly at every 4-5 hours, (I have to get up at odd hours during the night to take them)  No waiting till morning as I had done earlier… no wonder the pills didn’t work then!  And one more thing, must apply ointment every now and then , it helps to dry or shrink them and obviously they did after two days!

There is a Chinese saying... "Don't let the shingles (snake) spread (curl) round your body,  once it does, it will bring death."  (Isn't that scary!)

Well, today is 3rd week…I have finished all the tablets …. The red spots are like small tiny pimples now… more or less dried or disappeared ... no more "gnawing" pain, now more bearable.... I can endure that….  And I guess the pain will slowly dwindle away in no time  (I hope)  it will depend on my body strength and mentality, I suppose....…

Yes, one more thing... shingles can be contagious indirectly!  You will not get shingles from me but you might be infected with chicken pox virus.... so meaning to say, if you have chicken pox before, then you need not fear getting shingles from me.. but if you have not chicken pox before, then stay far-far from me!  Unfortunately, my colleague who took me to the massage, she is now down with chicken pox.... so sorry for her, I didn't know that I have shingles then.... 

After experiencing Shingles Torture, I told myself that....
1)   I should eat more and not fear weight gain... (supplements too!)
2)   I must not stress up at work... I should retire soon!   LOL...
3)   I must not put off anything I love to do.... anything can happen anytime and there will be no time for regrets... 

In conclusion... Love Yourself !


  1. I had shingles too 2008, I think...and of all the time to get it, that was when I went to Penang to spend Chinese New Year there with my daughter. No pain...but uncomfortable especially when it some kind of spasms.

    My daughter had chicken pox soon after (It's contagious!)and one lady doctor she went to diagnosed it as an allergy and gave her ointment and medication for that! Tsk! Tsk! Had to send her to see my specialist-doctor friend, Dr Bernard Chan, one-time blogger... Thank goodness I had him around there!

  2. Looks so serious. Sorry to hear the great torture you went through. Hopefully everything will be fine by now. Take good care of yourself. God Bless!!!....

  3. Oh dear. I heard so much about shingles from my family but never had or saw one before. Luckily you are getting better. Must take care of ourselves, especially at this warm weather.

  4. stp: yes! it is contagious in a way that the person will not get shingles but chicken pox.. oh, by the way, my colleague who took me to massage, she contracted chicken pox! ooopsss.. i guess it is from me.. sigh..

    irene: that is why I got to refrain from certain food... :)

    rose: yes, chinese saying.. body too heaty can get also...

  5. well, i'd say love yourself, but more importantly love your health too!! haha.. anyway, hope i won't be hearing anymore health problem from you anymore~~ :p

  6. good to hear that you are getting better..take care

  7. Poor you. WIlliam had that when he was a little boy and he remembered how torturous it was :( I hope you'll fully recover soon Claire.

  8. Oh POOR Claire!!! I really feel for you, and your ordeal of going around trying to get help. My friends have had this and also my own daughter-in-law. The doctors here have said that your recovery depends on how soon you are treated. I completely agree with all your conclusions! Do not put off what you want to do, you never know the future. We have a shingles vaccine here, to prevent it! Wish I had gotten it, but the doctor says right now my immune system is not that great. You are strong and exercise and walk so you will recover in no time I know it!

  9. sk: love ourselves.. so should take care.. :)

    wenn: thank you!

  10. merryn: maybe due to the heat... cannot be stress hor...

    ginny: oh, i dint know they have shingles vaccine..

  11. I can imagine how that hurts, well make sure that you follow doctor's advice, take rest and take your medication and you'll be good as new

  12. Oh, i didn't know that shinglesis contagious...

  13. Good that you are better... Take care...

  14. mecoy: thank you!

    sharon: thanks! I am better now..

  15. Take care and hope you will be well soon. God be with you.

  16. its that painful ha...then i will stay far far away from you coz i not yet get CP.

    cham lo...not enough sleep plus pain and hvae to get up odd hours take med...get well soon

  17. Western medicine will cure and some traditional experts are good in catching the 'snake' by using incense or matches and its instant cure. Get well soon.

  18. This is a good post to share that it is contagious! I was horrified and shocked to hear that. I must be alert who is around me now.

  19. elaine: thank you...

    kathy: sudah well.. initially only sun foo...

  20. bananaz: my mom kept asking me to go catch the snake.. but i said finish medicine first..

    tm: you wont get shingles but u might get chicken pox.. :)

  21. You are so lucky you notice this very early. My mum's case was really bad until it attacked her eye nerve until she almost could not see, not to mention the inner pain on her body :(

    It took more than 1 years for her to recover, sigh...

  22. Sorry to hear about your battle with shingles! :x

    I don't have first hand experience but I know it can be a very painful one.

    We don't hear a lot about it here while in Australia, there's heaps of posters on the doctor's walls on shingles.

    Good thing you're on NSAIDS for painkillers, I hear some people get put on opiates, which has a lot of problems.

  23. chinnee: so serious! oh gosh.. the pain must be very intense.. thank God she has recovered.. i heard it takes a long time .. i still have the pain.. but endurable...

    HB: what is NSAIDS? oh, i got them from the GH.. but I only took 4 tablets for night pain.. other than that, I bear with it...

  24. Glad to hear that you have recovered from shingles. My husband have it last time when we were in UK and the UK GP did not give him any medication and ointment, just asked him to go home and rest and it will heal naturally and it did. I don't think I have chicken pox yet although I took vaccine for chicken pox when I was in my twenties a few months before I went travelling and I did not get chicken pox when my husband had shingles so I guess the vaccine worked?

  25. Mun, it healed naturally? wonderful then.. no need to pump the body with lots of ubat! now i must poe back my body... start by drinking chicken essence from today... :)

  26. Awww...hope by now you are getting better, Claire.

    I really have no idea about Shingles...scary it sounds.

  27. I've been so busy lately, totally missed coming here. Hope things are getting better now. I've bought my custom domain from GoDaddy 2 days ago, now still trying to figure out how to configure my blogger a/c. Headache!


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