I really need some support, please help me - Part 179

By marathonmel7 · Jan 16, 2015 · ·
  1. Re: I really need some support, please help me (Heroin)

    Day 44, almost six weeks. Can't believe I've made it this far. I surely couldn't do it without all of you guys so thank you from the bottom of my heart for hanging in there through my entire thread to support me through constant bitching and relapsing.

    Today I woke up to find I was laying on my side with the shingles. Jesus. Talk about pain. This pain is a whole different level. I'd go back to the doctor if I had the time but I simply don't today. I don't know why I didn't ask him for gabapentin but if it gets worse I will go tomorrow and see about getting some. Not sure that will even help but I'm up for trying anything.

    Last night I was itching all over my body so I took some hydroxizine and it actually helped. That combined with xanax actually put me to sleep for seven hours which is unheard of for me to sleep. Hydroxizine never makes me tired but last night I think it was a nice mix. I was able to sleep straight through from 130-830 this morning. Felt so good but I'm still tired. Wish I could continue sleeping but my body won't allow for more. I just have to be grateful for what I did get.

    This morning the pain was out of this world. The only thing that helps is icing the infected area. So, I immediately got up and took my anti-vitals, hydroxizine and got the ice on my side. I drank some coffee, smoked my cigarettes and now I feel better. The topical lidocaine isn't doing a damn thing for the pain. As far as I can tell, the shingles hasn't spread to any other part of my body even though I am itching like crazy. I'm being super careful to not re-use towels and replace my clothing after just one use. I don't want this shit migrating to any other part of my body. That would be horrible. The most common places to get it is your head, torso, and eyes. I have it on my torso, my side/back. Right now my rash is all blisters. I will not pop them or anything. I'm just letting it do it's own thing. From what I've read once they scab over they are not contagious. I don't however, trust the literature and I'm keeping the area covered and away from all others. I probably shouldn't go to work but I can't afford to miss anymore work. I have to go in. I'm washing my hands all the time. Constantly.

    I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. My friend got them when we were deployed to IRaq and she was immediately sent to Germany and then home to Walter Reed Medical Center. You can't have this kind of shit and be in a third world country.

    Narcotics definitely don't help shingles as JD already mentioned. I took some thinking maybe, just maybe they would help but not at all. Useless.

    If I don't feel better then tomorrow I will go back to the doctor. I do however, have a follow up appointment next week so hopefully, I can just stick it out until then. The VA traumatizes me and for whatever reason vets always feel compelled to talk to me. They want to know what branch of service i was in, what wars I was in and various other questions. It's super fucking annoying and I try not to get near anyone. I don't want to fucking talk about anything. Yesterday, when I was there a group of people were chatting about heroin addiction and alcoholism. It was really annoying and I found myself get up and move to the other side of the waiting room. I can't sit there and listen to heroin talk. Nope.

    One good thing that has happened is, I've met a guy from an online internet dating site. He's really awesome. We are so much alike yet our life stories are so different. He's from Spain but lives here. He's been a lot of places and is super intelligent. We've talked every night on the phone for hours and hours. He's coming to see me for the first time this weekend. We've never met but I'm so excited to see him. He's been a huge support to me being sick with the shingles and all. He's checked up on me everyday, throughout the day and was the one that urged me to go to the doctor. I feel stupid writing this but he is amazing and I'm so impressed we are talking. It gives me hope that maybe, just maybe there is love in my future. I've told him things I haven't told other people in my life. I just can't wait to physically meet him. Earlier this week we were talking like 5 hours a night on the phone. It's crazy. Anyways, I don't want to get too worked up because i always get let down. But, he knows about my addiction and it's great to be able to talk about it with him.

    Anyways, I've got to get going. Hope everyone else has a good day. I have to work a longer shift today which I'm not super happy about. But, whatever. I need the money. Hope everyone has a good day and thank you to all that have been there for me. This is a super long thread and it's amazing to me how you all have hung in there for me so long. Truly incredible. I am so lucky. So, thank you to all.


  1. Jungledog
    Re: I really need some support, please help me (Heroin)


    If you don't mind, I would like to educate you and others about shingles. Shingles is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After your chickenpox cleared up, the virus hibernates in your nerve cells. It activates during periods of great stress or immunosuppression. It comes out on a nerve route dermatome and is unilateral (on one side only). It does not spread but it can get secondarily infected with bacterial giving the appearance of spreading. Shingles causes excrutiating pain and because it is nerve pain it responds poorly to narcotics.

    Treatment is focused on high dose antivirals which may shorten the duration of the rash. The pain is best managed with anticonvulsants like gabapentin, lyrica or tegretol. I have had the best luck with prescribing gabapentin but I often must use high doses. The rash and pain can last a month. For an unlucky few, the pain becomes chronic and this is called post-herpetic neuralgia. My father's best friend has been battling this for 2 years.

    Chickenpox is spread through the air. Shingles can be contagious to others who have not had chickenpox if they come in touch with the fluid in the rashes' vesicles. You can't catch shingles from someone with shingles. But shingles can cause chickenpox in people who have never had them. The incubation period is21 days.

    The excruciating pain of shingles is the primary reason to vaccinate your kids for chickenpox and yourself for shingles. Children vaccinated with the chickenpox vaccine may still get chickenpox but they are highly unlikely to get shingles later in life. Children also still die from viral encephalitis in this country secondary to chickenpox infection. It is not the risk free virus people think it is. People who get the shingles vaccine may still get shingles but they are much less liky to get severe pain and the shot reduces the incidence of post-herpetic neuralgia by 66%. I recommend my patients get the shot. Many insurance companies will not cover it in the under 50 crowd.

    Once your rash heals, capsaicin cream also helps the pain a lot. I am sorry you are having to deal with it. I am glad though that you met a new guy and are excited about him. Keep us updated.
  2. BeachWalk
    Re: I really need some support, please help me (Heroin)

    Just an FYI....I had the unfortunate experience of having Shingles misdiagnosed as genital herpes. I know how bad the pain can be. It is excruciating. I wish you relief soon Mel. I took some of those EmergenC packets for more Vitamin C to build up my immune system.
  3. LuLu81
    Re: I really need some support, please help me (Heroin)

    Oh god honey, you have gone through so much. I can only agree with JD in regards to Gabapentin.

    I have Peripheral Neuropathy and I'm on the maximum dose.

    Another thing i was thinking about in regards to your lack of sleep. I know you don't want to take psych meds, but I'm prescribed Amitriptyline, not for depression (i have sertraline for that) but i get it for nerve pain and to help me sleep. I don't use it every night like I'm supposed to as i find it works best to only take it when i want to get a good nights sleep. 10mg and i get a nice sleep and wake up feeling fresh. 25mg or more and i have a deep dreamless sleep, however i wake up feeling groggy, which is fine if i have nothing to do.

    As always, I'm thinking of you and wishing you a speedy recovery.

    P.S. Totally understand your back pain. I have 3 herniated disks in my lower back. Had an operation 6months ago to stop leg pain but my back is getting worse. Waiting to get some injections but i keep getting messed about.
  4. Jungledog
    Re: I really need some support, please help me (Heroin)

    Honestly, if a provider misdiagnosed genital herpes as shingles or the other way around, they need to go back to school (although I am sure there have been misdiagnoses.) While both are caused by a type of herpes virus, they usually have a very different appearance, presentation, and course. HSV-2 or genital herpes presents the first time with an awful viral-like syndrome. People have bad muscle pain, run a fever, and break out in tiny little fluid filled lesions that are located on penis and groin if you are male and in and outside the vagina and groin in women. With a severe outbreak, there may be pain with urination and significant swelling. They will have swollen lymph nodes locally. The rash will NOT be unilateral along a dermatome. Genital herpes rash will only be located on the genitals or the mouth/lips (from oral sex). Subsequent outbreaks of genital herpes can be uncomfortable but are not accompanied by systemic symptoms. Outbreaks can occur several times per year. Sometimes shingles lesions that occur on one side of the buttocks are incorrectly thought to be genital herpes.

    Shingles on the other hand is unilateral. The sensation of pain started before the rash and builds rapidly in intensity. There are no other symptoms and people rarely have a fever or other symptoms. The rash is most often on the back, flank, and chest although it can occur in other areas. Shingles rarely occurs twice although there have been cases reported where people had a repeat case (less than 5%). Again, the key is HSV occurs bilaterally, shingles occurs unilaterally.

    HSV-1 is the common cold sore. This most of the time appears on the face or mouth but it can also transmit to the genital area (again from oral sex). It can also grow on the finger which is called a herpetic whitlow. HSV 1 & 2 can be painful but they are NOTHING like the pain of shingles. Shingles is considered one of the most painful conditions that can happen to you. If a provider is unsure, they can draw blood to determine what you have or they can culture the lesions.

    All 3 viruses can be treated with antivirals. Valtrex is the most common one used for HSV 2 and shingles. I second the idea of using a tricyclic antidepressant such as Elavil. It can help with the pain and treat insomnia and pain. Lack of sleep and anxiety could be the trigger for the shingles outbreak.
  5. BeachWalk
    Re: I really need some support, please help me (Heroin)

    Thank you JD for the information. I had Shingles a few years back. The doctor (Dermatologist) initially told me it was Shingles but after he got the culture results back he said there was a greater chance it was herpes.

    It doesn't really matter since they're both treated in the same fashion. And both are very painful. The bottom line is that they really can't confirm unless they do a blood test or culture.
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