Ahhh, the PAIN!!!: My struggle with shingles
This past Friday I was diagnosed with a case of the shingles. Nope, not the kind you find on your roof. Shingles is an encore presentation of the same virus that causes chicken pox, varicella zoster virus (VZV). When you get over chickenpox, you really haven't killed it off. The virus merely retreats into your nerve cells next to your spine and lies dormant waiting to strike again when the conditions are ripe. When that happens, the virus travels down the nerve endings like its on a highway until it reaches your skin where it forms a rash with blisters and lesions. At this stage it is called herpes zoster and the fluid from these blisters can be highly contagious, but ironically you can only develop chickenpox from this exposure, not shingles.
Despite the fact that the disease only affected small area of my head and the area around my left eye, I can say that Shingles is a REAL bitch! The problem is that at this stage, the virus is attacking my nerve cells and when nerve cells want to communicate that they are in trouble,...they don't speak softly. So what appears to be a small rash with blisters feels more like a nail being driven into my head. I had to shave my head because the weight of my hair was putting an excruciating amount of pressure on the affected area.
My doc, prescribed me some acyclovir and anti-viral med that stops the virus from reproducing. At this stage it looks like my condition is under control. My blisters have scabbed over and the pain greatly reduced, but I wonder??? After doing some research on the net, I find that its relatively rare for someone my age (27) to get this, without using some sort of immunosuppressant drug or being overly stressed or afflicted with some immunity supressing disease (eg leukemia, AIDS). Should I investigate my own condition further?