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My nightmare started at the beginning of February this year and continues as I type this. I will try to give you a brief but thorough description of my (possible) shingles experience, but since I didn’t realize at the time the massive ordeal this would be, I didn’t pay attention to some things that probably would have been helpful:
First weekend in February: starts out fine except I notice a few bumps around one of my eyes. They remind me of pimples/acne but they are on my actual eyelid and the area around my eye. Couple of days later, these areas look a little better, but new ones are popping up. Again, only around the eye.
Second weekend in February: Pattern continues. One or two will show up, start to heal and a new one or two will take its place. Never in the same exact spot but consistently around the eye area and nowhere else on my face. This time, I get one or two near my left eye. Finally decide I will make an appointment with my doctor office hoping she can give me something to help these bumps.
2/11/19: First doctor appointment: I don’t see my regular provider and I am diagnosed with a contact dermatitis of some sort and given a prescription for Triamcinolone and I am told to not wear any makeup around my eyes as that was probably the culprit and would irritate it. At this point I will admit I did not follow the doctor’s orders. I continued to wear some makeup, but I needed to work and needed to cover up these bumps all over my face! Plus, I knew I had not used anything new that would have irritated my skin and prior to this I NEVER had any ongoing issues with pimples/acne/rashes etc. I used the cream all week long and it was no better. The same pattern continued. By Friday I decided to follow the doctor’s advice. I was home from work with my sick daughter so I decided not to wear any makeup all day and for the rest of the weekend to see if this helped at all. During this entire time I had been feeling a little stressed at work, but this weekend was the worst of all. Long story short, my daughter was very sick and by Sunday my pimples/bumps were now a full blown rash all around my right eye.
2/18/19: Second doctor visit. This time I see my regular provider. Doctor looks at my face and says I have Shingles. She hesitates briefly only because she said Shingles never crosses the midline and because I had bumps around both eyes she wasn’t sure. She said the right eye with the definitive rash made her believe it was Shingles so she prescribed Valtrex 3times a day and prednisone 50 mg for 5 days. Literally within hours of taking the first anti-viral my face looks 100 times better and the places around my eye are drying up fast. I continue to take my meds and I work all week but try to not overdo it and definitely not stress. I only have a few places on my face that attempt to pop up during this week. I would see something in the morning but it would be gone by midday.
Sunday, 2/24/19: I wake up this morning and the right side of my face burns near my eye. When I look in the mirror I can see four or five places starting to pop up. This the last day that I will take my anti-virals but I finished my prednisone already. I had to leave to go out of town for a contract job with the state so I am freaking out about my face but unable to do anything about it. I guarantee stressing about it didn’t help and by the evening I have a cluster of spots near my right eye and some now on my cheek and traveling down my neck. I apply calamine lotion and buy as many over the counter remedies I can find.
Monday, 11/25/19: I call my dr because I am out of town and explain what is happening. I assume I need more anti-virals or something since the bumps are appearing again. At my left eye I have started to get two bumps to add to the circus of bumps all over the right side of my face now. My dr says the reason I broke out again was because she didn’t taper me off of the prednisone so she prescribes me a 14-day taper regimen. For the two weeks after this I did fairly well, but as my prednisone lowered, I noticed more bumps trying to appear. Today I took the last of my prednisone (1/2 of a 10 mg pill) and I woke up to 3 fresh blisters at my right eye. Of course, I could not go to the doctor first thing this morning either because I happened to be subpoenaed for federal jury duty and you can’t miss that. (I swear, I can’t make this up!) When I was able to leave I called my doctor’s office to see about an appointment. My regular doctor is out of town and the nurse says she will leave a note for the other doctor (the one I saw first that diagnosed me with contact dermatitis). The nurse calls me back later and says the other doctor said I need to make an appointment with Dermatology. The waiting list for Dermatology is approximately 3 months. WHAT DO I DO???
I plan to call my regular doctor back when she returns and demand an appointment. (It will definitely be earlier than dermatology.) Here is where I need your help/advice:
- Is this Shingles or possibly something else? I definitely feel the burning/tingling at eruption sites but is it unusual they would keep popping up like this or the fact that they have been around both eyes? I think the fact that the anti-virals worked so quickly seems to solidify it being Shingles but I just don’t know. If it isn’t Shingles, what could it be? I haven’t had a lot of pain which is a good thing.
- What caused this? I am pretty healthy, so I don’t think I have a weakened immune system. I am only 44 years old. Did stress trigger it? I went to the dentist the week before this all started – is that related to the trigger?
- Did the Prednisone just suppress my rash and it still needs to come out? Do I need more anti-virals?
- How long will this last? I am starting my sixth week, and I am still having eruptions. Has that ever happened to anyone else?
- When I finally see my doctor again, what do I need to say/demand they do for me? Since I don’t have definitive answers I’m googling everything and now I have somewhat convinced myself I have an even bigger issue than Shingles and this outbreak is just a result of the larger problem. I’m fully aware that doing this only adds to my stress which triggers shingles…see my problem?? LOL.
Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. I just want to cry over all of this.
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