22 July, 2022

My Shingles Journey on the Face & Eye

Disclaimer: This is written based on my own personal experience. I am not a medical person and some of the information is reproduced from online resources. 

Hey ❤ July has been a nerve-wrecking month due to work commitments. It was only two days after I had a complex wisdom tooth removal surgery that I discovered some pimple-like growth around my eye and forehead - which I initially thought was a completely normal allergy reaction since I had been on high dosage of anaesthesia plus Arcoxia (painkiller). 

And that was Day 1 - I totally did not expect that it would turn out to be shingles.


What is Shingles?

Shingles, aka herpes zoster, is a disease that triggers a painful skin rash.
It is caused by the same virus as chickenpox, the varicella-zoster virus.
So if you had chicken pox before, this virus will stay dormant in your body
until it is triggered - hence forming shingles.

Fun fact.

Direct contact with people who have shingles would not give you shingles.
But if you have not had chickenpox before, direct contact with fluid from shingles can give you chickenpox.

What are the symptoms of shingles?

It started with “small, itchy bumps” in a small section of one side of the body or face. The good thing is that it wouldn’t go around the ENTIRE area (Let’s say if it is around the neck, it will only be either on the left or right side, and not both), otherwise the itch and pain would be so unbearable. 

The situation would escalate immediately to some pain or tingling sensation followed by red rash with small, fluid-filled blisters (see pictures of Day 2-4). 

Mine is on my forehead and near my eye area -  so I am more concerned as the blisters near or in the eye can cause lasting eye damage and blindness. Remember to consult doctor immediately if you notice blisters on your face! 


Day 2:
✔️ Went to panel clinic (normal GP) and got a tube of Acyclovir Cream 5% with some antibiotics.

Day 3:
✔️ Applied the cream 3 times daily but no improvement. More blisters pop up around the forehead and scalp! 
✔️ The tingling and itchiness on the scalp was quite annoying. 
✔️ I had mild headache and sudden shooting pain too - almost disruptive to daily routine. 

Acyclovir 400mg + Acyclovir Cream 5%
Tips: The earlier you take the antiviral medication, the quicker is the recovery.

Day 4:
✔️ Consulted physician in hospital instead (The one I went was Taman Desa Medical Centre).
✔️ Got both Acyclovir 400mg tablets and Acyclovir Cream 5% for best antiviral battle. 
✔️ The tablets need to be consumed 5 times daily for 7 days, so I generally set fixed timings (5.30am, 10am, 3pm, 8pm, and 12.30am) everyday and adhered to it strictly. Please set alarm and wake up for medicine lol. 
✔️ Best taken with meals to reduce gastrointestinal discomfort ya, especially those with gastric issue. 

Day 5-6:
✔️ The level of itchiness peaks. But please don’t ever scratch it. Just be patient and let the itch go away eventually.


Day 7-10:
✔️ The blisters start to dry up and crust over. During this period of time, just be extra diligent in washing your face, applying the cream and taking the medicine.
✔️ Remember to use only extra gentle, eczema-friendly facial wash such as Sebamed, Cetaphil, Avene etc. 
✔️ Went for follow-up checkup on Day 10 and the doctor said the recovery progress was all good. 
✔️ Total medical cost = RM 789 (RM700 initial consultation and medicine + RM89 followup). 


Day 11 and beyond:
✔️ Once the blisters dry completely, they form scabs which are typically flat and dark red / brown / yellowish in colour. 
✔️ Shingles scabs usually disappear completely in 2-4 weeks, leaving no scar. 
✔️ Let the scabs clear up automatically, and do not peel - because scabs help protect the skin underneath.
✔️ Can start using scar removal cream to reduce the scar appearance as early as possible. 

Dermatix Ultra Advanced Scar Gel
Many friends recommended this scar gel - effective in lightening and softening surgical scars.

Someone insisted that I need to get lots of vitamin boost through the cold-pressed juices :)

❤ The above basically sums up the recovery journey - I am still on Day 13 at the point of writing, so my face looks like a Halloween makeup model with no additional effect required lol. 


The Roller Coaster of Emotions

Shingles occur mainly due to the weakened immune system. And what makes our immunity level goes down to the drain can be the lack of sleep, sky-high stress level, unhealthy diet, etc.

And I can totally relate to that. I mean, the highly stressful life I’ve been living for the past 6 months. It comes to my realisation that my mind is actually stronger than my body. In facing day-to-day stress, I can usually rationalise all the negative emotions and suppress the stress within me.  But my body…. I have no idea that my immune system has gone to its lowest point and it decides to give me an alarming reminder.

I have been working for more than 15 hours a day for an urgent assignment during the week of shingles, and little did I know it actually causes more severe headache and pain on the scalp due to stress. 

On top of that, waking up to seeing blisters popping on my face is just so devastating. Deep in my heart, I know I have to stop taking on social media gigs due to this condition - no photo or video creation for up to months. During the same week of being bombarded with work, I can really feel the emotional turmoil but I am not ready to tell anyone about it. For a couple of days, I literally cry myself to bed and wake up crying again, yet remain calm and professional at work. 

Revealing my actual situation on social media takes a little more courage after that, but I am more than blessed to receive overwhelming stream of messages, well wishes, useful advices and life stories that literally made me teared. 

THANK YOU EVERYONE from the bottom of my heart 

USANA Health Supplements including Proflavanol C and Proglucamune

The Next Steps

Start building up my immune system before it's too late again! Being a happy consumer of USANA health supplements, I further increase my dosage and range of consumption. Among all, for better immunity especially during this Covid season, please start taking Proflavanol C and Proglucamune if you haven't. Feel free to contact me if you need any consultation on USANA! 

USANA Probiotic Powder

And lastly don't ever neglect your gut health. I started taking one sachet of probiotics every morning, 30 minutes before meal. Let it fortify my digestive system with healthy bacteria (probiotics), and supports a balanced and healthy immune system! 

All in all, hope you find this article on shingles useful. For those having shingles,
get the correct medication as soon as you can and be patient with the recovery process.
We will get better, slowly but surely. 

Let's stay healthy together!

xoxo,
FiSh

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment here!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...