Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Short Version to Describe Shingles

Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox.

After you have chickenpox, the virus that caused it, called varicella, remains in your body.
It's always inside you, lying dormant (or asleep) in your nerve cells.
At some point later in life, your immune system may weaken, allowing the virus to resurface as Shingles.
You may be feeling great, but if you've had chickenpox, the Shingles virus is already inside you and your risk for Shingles increases as you get older.
Most often, the Shingles rash occurs in a band or strip on one side of the body; this band is called a dermatome, which is the area where one of the nerves from your spinal cord connects with the skin.
Shingles usually appears along a dermatome, each of which is located on one side of the body.
Shingles may also appear on a single side of the face, for example, in the area around the eye and the forehead but Shingles can strike any dermatome on the body.

Longer Description of Shingles

Shingles, also called herpes zoster or zoster, is a painful skin rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox (VZV). After a person recovers from chickenpox, the virus stays in the body. Usually the virus does not cause any problems; however, the virus can reappear years later, causing a rash of shingles to break out on the skin. Shingles most commonly occurs in older people or those who have medical conditions that keep the immune system from working properly. Signs & Symptoms: Shingles usually starts as a rash on one side of the face or body. The rash starts as blisters that scab after 3 to 5 days. The rash usually clears within 2 to 4 weeks. Before the rash develops, there is often pain, itching, or tingling in the area where the rash will develop. Other symptoms of shingles can include fever, headache, chills, and upset stomach. For about 1 person in 5, severe pain can continue even after the rash clears up. This pain is called post-herpetic neuralgia.  Prevention: Shingles is not contagious, but the chickenpox virus (VZV) can be spread to anyone who has not had chickenpox through direct contact with the rash while it is in the blistering phase. The exposed person will develop chickenpox, not shingles. Once the rash has developed crusts, the person is no longer contagious. People with shingles should keep the rash covered, not touch or scratch the rash, and wash their hands often to prevent the spread of VZV.

Before you actually see the blistered rash, you may experience a burning pain which almost feels like a bad sunburn.(That is how it was for me)  You may also notice redness or a slight swelling.  Two -Three days later, sometimes even longer, you will then begin to see the rash which appears as blisters. Some people, such as I, may think they have gotten bitten or stung by an insect and believe they can treat it at home. I desperately took my bed apart in search of bed bugs but found none, I tried cold packs, hot packs, Witch Hazel, Benedryl and even Tincture of Benzine but nothing alleviated the paralyzing pain.  Six days later, on June 12th, I visited my primary care doctor who, just by looking at my back, informed me that I had Shingles.  He prescribed 30 blue oblong shaped (400mg) tablets of Acyclovir to take 5 times a day for the virus as well as a prescription for 90 white and light brown capsules (100mgs) of Gabapentin which are time release pain killers for neuropathic pain.

Neuropathic Pain

Neuropathic pain is a complex, chronic pain state that usually is accompanied by tissue injury. With neuropathic pain, the nerve fibers themselves may be damaged, dysfunctional, or injured. These damaged nerve fibers send incorrect signals to other pain centers. The impact of nerve fiber injury includes a change in nerve function both at the site of injury and areas around the injury.

 Pain Which I Experienced

Having Shingles did in fact give me neuropathic pain, as I at times could not even feel my fingertips and my elbow would tingle burn and at times also numb..  I experienced maddening sleep deprivation, anxiety and near depression  I was afraid to walk my dog during the day because under the hot Florida sun, I felt as though the sun's rays were piercing through my loose fitting tee shirts and boiling the tiny blisters on my back. I isolated myself from my family and would not go visit them for fear of contaminating them or even worse, that their embrace would send me through the roof in pain.. Lifting my arms to wash my hair was also painful, though the shower water hitting my back felt as though I was being gently scratched by an angel. This virus can be a maddening experience for those with a low threshold for long enduring pain and discomfort

The pus-filled small sacs of the virus dried up almost immediately after I completed my dosages of Acyclovir, 7-9 days later; but I still have numbing of my left upper arm to my elbow as well as the chest pain which feels like I am having a heart attack.  The pain now usually occurs during the evening when I am in bed preparing to sleep and during the morning when I awaken; it is still so strong that I now dread when evening comes because I know how much pain, discomfort and restlessness I will feel while trying to sleep followed by the morning pain and chest pressure. Weakness and tiredness is also something I am still going through yet, I feel that I am fortunate because the Shingles which attacked me are relatively small compared to pictures I have seen of affected areas of others.

Below are some pictures of the Shingles which surfaced on June 8th, two days after the painful burning. Though they never spread to the front of my body, I still did and do feel pain on the left breast bone.

Notice that they are on the left side of my back. One small cluster of three did also manage to appear under my arm pit as well and that one was the most painful of them all.

Below are some worse affected areas of other people attacked by the Shingles virus

Shingles Vaccine

There is a vaccine for Shingles but I chose not to take it, as I never take any vaccines because you never know what effect vaccines will have on your body 5-10 years down the line. Something I found out about the Shingles vaccine is that Shingles vaccine contains consensual aborted fetal cell tissue as well as MSG.
Monosodium Glutamate, better known as MSG, is a form of concentrated salt. This salt version of glutamic acid is an amino acid the body can produce on its own. If it is processed, it can cause many adverse reactions, including skin rashes, itching, hives, nausea, vomiting, migraine headaches, asthma, heart irregularities, depression and even seizures.

The ingredients of the shingles vaccine according to the product information insert consist the following:

“ZOSTAVAX is a lyophilized preparation of the Oka/Merck strain of live, attenuated varicella-zoster virus (VZV). ZOSTAVAX, when reconstituted as directed, is a sterile suspension for subcutaneous administration. Each 0.65-mL dose contains a minimum of 19,400 PFU (plaque-forming units) of Oka/Merck strain of VZV when reconstituted and stored at room temperature for up to 30 minutes. Each dose contains 31.16 mg of sucrose, 15.58 mg of hydrolyzed porcine gelatin, 3.99 mg of sodium chloride, 0.62 mg of monosodium L-glutamate (MSG), 0.57 mg of sodium phosphate dibasic, 0.10 mg of potassium phosphate monobasic, 0.10 mg of potassium chloride; residual components of MRC-5 cells including DNA and protein; and trace quantities of neomycin and bovine calf serum. The product contains no preservatives.”

The good news is that there are not any thimerosal or aluminum in the shingles vaccine.
The bad news is that there is MSG in there along with aborted fetal cell tissue.   

“The MRC-5 cell line was developed in September 1966 from lung tissue taken from a 14 week fetus aborted for psychiatric reason from a 27 year old physically healthy woman.”

Now that you I have given you a small amount of information regarding Shingles and the vaccine, I would hope it is enough for you to continue to find out more about it before making a decision to get the vaccine.

Me? The Way I C It... I am glad that I did not take the shot and am just letting the virus run it's course until it goes away.

Please boost up your immune systems my friends and know that,
By His stripes I am healed!
The Bible (Isaiah 53:5)

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