And Then Came Shingles…

About 3 weeks ago I started having some strange sensations on my head and face. It felt like someone was running a meat tenderizer on my scalp and stabbing my forehead with an ice pick. Initially I thought it was a crazy migraine. Stranger things have happened to me, and I just thought this was another cruel spell being cast by the migraine wizard. But, two days later I developed a rash on my forehead, so then I assumed this was a wacky form of psoriasis. A super painful form of psoriasis I had never experienced before. Again, not very alarmed, and not even planning to head to the doctor. Just doused my scalp and rash patches with clobetosol and off I went. Another day in the glorious life… after all, I have a 4 year old to chase after;)

Two days later, while J was at preschool the pain was getting seriously intense. I had taken Aleve, but it wasn’t touching the fire and ice storm on my face. Then, in the back of my head my rheumatologist’s voice started echoing. If you ever feel icky, go see your primary. You need to be careful while on a biologic. Ahem, let the panic set in. I realized I’d been ignoring my body and probably some kind of bug for almost a week. I logged into my doctor’s schedule, snagged an appointment with my primary and headed in.

I told him all the things I thought were wrong with me, migraine, psoriasis, ear infection? He listened patiently, as usual, and then told me that he didn’t think this was any of those things, and that I had shingles. Cue a major panic attack, right in front of my doctor. It wasn’t pretty, but this was my first illness since starting Humira, and the FDA has properly scared me senseless that I will die if I get sick while taking it. You can’t order your meds, watch TV, or look at a magazine without being reminded of the risk you are taking with your treatment.

Luckily I have a very level headed doctor who calmed me down and got me going on treatment and to see a ophthalmologist right away. I luckily did not end up with shingles in my eye, only scalp, forehead, and eyebrow. It has taken a long time to heal given the immune suppression, but I should be able to start back on my Humira just after Thanksgiving. And I am counting down the days. Even with the concerns of illness while taking a biologic, it gives me the ability to live a mostly normal life, so the risk is worth the reward in my book. Everything from walking farther than a block, having the energy to play with my son, staying awake past 7:00pm, and being able to open his apple juice are all possible because of Humira.

So, on goes the roller coaster of chronic illness… This one was a ride I hope I never experience again;) For a few days during this I definitely did not feel chronically well at all. It took a lot of extra effort of journaling, gratitude lists, meditation and prayer to get back to a level head. And tons of support from my husband, family and friends. Oh, and a freezer full of food that I always have on hand. I can’t wait to share with you how I make this happen and how many times it has saved me! When your health is compromised it rocks your foundation, especially when you are 38 and have a young family! The realization that this is not the last complication I will experience is daunting, but one day at a time is my motto. Today is a good day, and I will enjoy it.

Take good care,

Kristin

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