And Now I Have Shingles

I don’t know how to effectively tell this ridiculous story without just starting from the beginning and going in chronological order.

  1. Tara and I decided to make margaritas at my house on Friday night. We squeezed the juice out of two bags of limes and made our own simple syrup. The kitchen was a mess, but the margaritas were amazing.
  2. Saturday morning, I woke up and my teeth hurt. It was weird, but I didn’t think anything of it. I went to the beach.
  3. When I got back from the beach, the kitchen was covered in ants (I’m assuming as a result of the sugar and lime juice all over it). I cleaned it up, and sprayed down the wall with ant spray. It was gross.
  4. After feeling stressed out from cleaning, I decided to have another margarita.
  5. John and I went to the mall, and I felt really dizzy. I attributed it to the heat and the fact that I drank a margarita for breakfast.
  6. Heather came over and I had another margarita while we watched a movie. My lip started to tingle and feel weird, but I figured it was because of the lime juice. I watered down the margarita.
  7. I took a shower and got ready to go out. I noticed that the lower right side of my face was kind of sore. I figured I was getting a zit or something.
  8. I tried to chew some gum after dinner, but my teeth (on the lower right side) still hurt, so I spit it out into an empty beer bottle.
  9. I woke up Sunday morning, and I had an itchy bump above my ear. I thought it was a bug bite.
  10. The itchy bump became painful and bothered me all day on Sunday.
  11. On my way home Sunday night, I noticed that my hair was hurting when I ran my fingers through it…on the right side of my head. I figured it was sunburn.
  12. Monday morning, I had an itchy bump on my jawline. I thought it was another bug bite or a zit. Thoughts of mosquitoes inhabiting my bed filled my head, and I made a mental note to change my linens after work.
  13. By noon Monday, my entire right cheek was itchy. I decided I must have touched my face while I was cleaning with the ant spray, and I was having a reaction.
  14. Monday night, my ear started to hurt. I thought, “I guess I have an ear infection, unless a bug flew into my ear, latched onto a nerve and died, which might explain the pain in my jaw.”
  15. I woke up in the middle of the night, and my jaw hurt SO BAD. I Googled TMJ on my phone, and decided I had that. I also noticed I was getting what I thought was a canker sore, which I assumed was a result of drinking all that lime juice. I also Googled “canker sores” and found out I must have a vitamin B12 deficiency. I got a little bummed because whatever reliable medical website I was reading instructed me to steer clear of crunchy foods and lots of salt (as in, no more tortilla chips and margaritas). I fell back asleep.
  16. Yesterday morning, I was so tired, and I didn’t even want to get out of bed. I decided I’d better go to the doctor, since clearly, I now had an ear infection, TMJ, hives/bug bites, a bunch of cavities, a canker sore, and a sunburned scalp. It was all that or some infection in my face that was going to result in my needing to get my head amputated.
  17. I start explaining the symptoms to the doctor — first the itchy bumps, then the ear pain. He looked in my ear and said, “Hmm…Your ear looks fine. Have you been having any jaw pain? Or any other deep pain in your face?”
  18. “Yes!”
  19. “Any tingling?”
  20. “Yes! In my chin and my lip.”
  21. “And none of the symptoms on the other side of your body? They don’t cross the middle of your face anywhere?”
  22. “No…”
  23. “I don’t usually see it this early, but I’m 95% sure you have shingles.”

W. T. F.

He went on to describe shingles and how horrible and painful they are and how they usually last about three weeks. He said hopefully mine shouldn’t get too much worse since I caught it so soon, and he prescribed me some drugs. He said they come from the chickenpox virus, which lies dormant in your nervous system after you have them, and then can cause shingles later in life.

He asked me if I had been very stressed out lately because that can sometimes bring on shingles. Yes. Oops.

He said the first symptoms are pain and dizziness a few days before the rash starts because the virus sits on the nerve. Nerves don’t cross the middle of your body, which is why you only get them on one side.

Yesterday, someone asked me what it felt like. I said it feels like the following things:

  1. Someone sticking a screwdriver in my ear.
  2. Someone injecting something into my nerve along my jawline.
  3. Having five cavities all on the lower right side of my mouth.
  4. Having a few itchy bug bites on top of a few painful zits.
  5. And a little tingly all over — the way it probably feels after someone smacks you in the face.

All at the same time.

I guess my body decided it didn’t want to wait just three more days for a vacation. I guess once my face stops feeling like it was run over by a bus, I’ll figure out what to do.

Join the discussion 12 Comments

  • Nicole says:

    oh Lisa, feel better soon …… this is terrible and painful and miserable. I’m sending you a giant hug. Stay rested and I hope the meds kick in fast.

    • Karen Ferrara says:

      Thank you so much Nicole,I am so happy that I found this.I am now in the midst if This crazy ordeal if Shingles.You described it so well.It was a very good read,actually made me laugh for a few minutes and forget about shingles.I have the same,My hair hurts,my teeth hurts my ear hurts my lips hurt and my jaw.I hope that you recovered nicely.Love Karen

  • Mjd says:

    If your description of what it feels like is accurate, count your lucky stars………that’s a mild case. Some get a lot worse.

  • Danielle says:

    same thing happened to me minus the vacation and margarita’s. cold symptoms in December..everyone is sick. Coughing mild. Sore throat major. Ear ache. Then one day I get these tiny little bumps on the back of my neck. Just around the same time my child brings home a note about lice in the school. I quickly get one of those boxes of shampoo and see no lice. I must have killed it…wrong. The next day the bumps are all over my head ..sore to the touch. My jaw is killing me. My ear – like you said a screwdriver inside…what is going on. The doctor says “I’m fairly certain you have shingles!”…Shingles? I thought Shingles was for old people. I am old. Just turned 50. The cold symptoms and other pains and quick moving sores are the number one symptom. Geez Louise. Hope the meds take it away forever!

    • Lisa D. says:

      Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear that! I hope you feel better soon! Shingles are the worst. 🙁 I was only 31 when I got them, and I got them again that same year!

  • Alida says:

    So glad I found this…same exact symptoms I was having…went to dr today and got diagnosed w shingles too. I’m 39.

  • Doug Auw says:

    I’m going through the same thing right now. How did things turn out for you Lisa. How quickly did you recover? Any recurrences since 2012?

    • Lisa D. says:

      I started taking an anti-viral medication and didn’t get too much worse. I had a red splotchy rash on my face and was in a lot of pain for another week or so after I wrote this. Then I started to get better. Rash was gone in 2 weeks. Pain was completely gone in 3-4. I did start to feel like I was getting the same pain again a few months later, took the anti-viral right away, and never had those full-blown symptoms again. Go to the doctor and get some Valtrex if you haven’t already. I hope you feel better!

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