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What? Shingles??!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I had surgery 2 weeks ago. I had a birthday (24, getting old!) one week ago. Since the surgery, I had this weird hypersensitivity in parts of my forearm and at the location (on the forearm) where the IV was for surgery. Then the hypersensitivity moved to the base of my thumb. On my birthday, the sensitive area of my thumb starting getting red. The redness starting spreading and getting darker, and more painful! I saw the doc who did my surgery real quick about it (for free! he is so nice!) as I was worried about infection from the Iv/being in the hospital. He was baffled, said it didn't appear to be an infection, told me to watch it and go to a Dr if it got worse. Well, it it got worse...more painful (if anything just brushed across it I would almost scream!), redder, and started getting small bumps on it. So I go to the Dr last night it...the first dr was baffled, so she got another dr. for a 2nd opinion. They both came to the conclusion...that it is SHINGLES!! Nobody can believe that's what it is. Shingles most of the time occurs in people over 50 (not 24!) and on the trunk or neck/face area. Not a thumb!! SO I am convinced that it did in fact come from the IV, the virus was on the tube or needle or something and entered through it! lol

Anyway, it is absolutely killing me. And I am in shock that I was just told I had Shingles, haha!
post #2 of 15
Well actually my husband was in his early 40's when we got shingles. Around his waist too.
Did the blisters/bumps break open yet?? I think when docs can treat if its caught early enough but in Neil's case we got an OTC cream called Zostrix that he applied to the affected areas. I just remember it was painful.
Have you have chicken pox when you were younger??
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
I did have chicken pox when I was young. The blisters have not opened yet but have been getting closer to the surface for a few days. They gave me Valtrex to take and a pain medicine. I just think it's weird it's on my thumb!!

It sucks too...tomorrow we are driving to my sister's place to pick up some kitchen cabinets and a bunch of other stuff. So 1. it will be hard to carry those boxes b/c it kills me when something touches it and 2. my nephew is 2 years old so I don't want to give him chicken pox!
post #4 of 15
has he been vaxed for chicken pox?
my grandfather got shingles when he was in his 70s on his legs.
post #5 of 15
Anyone who has had chicken pox can get shingles. It's not an "age related" thing.

My niece had it when she was 20 and I had it when I was in my 30's. Stress is usually a factor, and nothing is more stressful on the body than surgery.

Did they give you acyclovir? They should have otherwise you could end up with residual nerve pain for the rest of your life. Not a very nice thing.
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by roxsam View Post
.tomorrow we are driving to my sister's place to pick up some kitchen cabinets and a bunch of other stuff. So 1. it will be hard to carry those boxes b/c it kills me when something touches it and 2. my nephew is 2 years old so I don't want to give him chicken pox!
You shouldn't go. And you shouldn't be around other people right now because you are contagious, and it's not just your nephew you have to worry about. You could end up being around someone with a compromised immune system (chemo, HIV, AIDS or something else), and they could get chicken pox from you if they haven't had it.

So quarantine yourself.
post #7 of 15
The annoying thing about the shingles vaccination is that it is currently only for people over 60.
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
I know it is not necessarily "age related" but it "typically" occurs in those age 50 and over. That doesn't mean it can't occur in younger, but is is not as likely. Add that to the location of where mine is...and you get a weird case of Shingles (as I stunned 3 doctors!).

The docs said nothing about me being quarantined, or not going to work or anything. Now I know that it can be contagious so I am being careful, but I certainly can't just stay home as I don't have doctors notes! Also I have to go see my sister (to pick up some really needed stuff and drop a kitty off with my dad) so I am going to put something over my hand and try to avoid contact with my nephew. I will not be coming in anyone who is immunosuppressed, I will only be around my family.

I wish they would have given me some kind of cream!! It is really killing me now, and still loooking worse! (it is on the base of my thumb by the crack where it bensd, so I can't really bend it anymore due to pain!)

For those of you that have had Shingles...how long did the pain last?

Thanks for everyone's responses.
post #9 of 15
My son got it when he was 18, we were shocked too. He also had had chicken pox 3 times to though. I hope you feel better soon!

Manda
post #10 of 15
My mother wishes to ask if you've had 'Bell's Palsy'...
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by roxsam View Post
For those of you that have had Shingles...how long did the pain last?

Thanks for everyone's responses.
My shingles were on my abdomen and left side. Not a huge area, but maybe spread around an area the size of my palm. Very itchy, but very painful like knives when I tried to scratch and the intermitttent pain was like being stabbed with needles.

I'm a nurse and I actually worked about 4 shifts with Shingles. I suspected that's what it was, but I couldn't get into see the occupational health doctor or my own doctor, so I just covered it up with some bandages so that I couldn't shed the virus to anyone.

I ended up being off work for 1 week and went back when the blisters had started to dry up and I was no longer contageous. Just for good measure though I did continue to keep the area covered up with abdominal wound pads just to be safe, and I stayed away from anyone who was pregnant or having chemo.

My niece had come in from Calgary with her 2 small children at that time. My brother wanted me to go there for dinner but I didn't. I didn't want to risk giving her kids chicken pox. I felt really badly because it was a few years later before I finally got to meet my little niece and nephew.

I can't remember how long the pain lasted. I think about 3 weeks or so, with periodic stabs for several weeks after that. Then it stopped. My doctor did start me on acyclovir right away so that helped. Had she not done so the pain would have been much worse.

So far as the pain goes, not much you can do about it because it's nerve related pain. So you need something that will work on that type of pain. Unfortunately stuff like Ibuprofen and Tylenol don't. The best pain relief for nerve type pain actually comes from anti-depressant type medications.
post #12 of 15
DH had them and Dr. gave him something that made him sleepy.
But he still snored....LOL
K.
post #13 of 15
My daughter got shingles at the age of 5! She had chicken pox at 18 months, and at about 5 she was repeatedly exposed to chicken pox...so we think that's what triggered the shingles.

The say that a very physical or emotional stressor can cause shingles. I'm sure that an operation would qualify as both!
post #14 of 15
My DH had shingles just a few weeks ago - on his left arm! We were confused as I thought it only occured on the torso or face, but in rare cases it pops up elsewhere.
For him, the pain didn't last too long - less than a week. The blisters are still healing, but looking OK.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Wow! That is so young! I found out yesterday that my sister had it a couple of years ago too (so when she was 2 years older than I am now!)

Glad your DH is feeling better...and i hope my pain goes away that fast!
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