First things first. Happy Chinese New Year!!! This year is the year of the horse. I wish those who celebrate a happy, healthy and prosperous new year! 恭喜發財! 龍馬精神! 身體健康! 心想事成! My only wish for the year of the horse is continued recovery.
Alas, after my Hickman Line infection during the first half of January…and my great news last week…I now have shingles. It doesn’t stop, does it? It’s just another bump in my journey I guess. After all, it hasn’t even been a year after my transplant, so I guess it’s way too early to be considered “out of the woods”.
This past Sunday afternoon, I noticed a mild burning sensation and pulsing pain on my left-side torso. I got Daniel to check the area out and he saw small pink blisters. I knew immediately it was shingles – I had all the classic symptoms. So, I immediately left a message for my PMH nurse that day. She called me back first thing the next morning, and told me to go to PMH ASAP.
When I got there, I registered at the front desk and was immediately shooed into the back elevator hallway to sit in a chair there, away from all the other immunosuppressed patients at the BMT clinic that morning. They did not want me to infect them, which totally made sense to me. Then, the nurse called me into an examination room within minutes (a first for PMH), and she looked at my torso. “Yup, it’s shingles,” she said.
Then, Dr. Lipton came in and looked at my torso and he said, “Yup, it’s shingles. Good thing you caught it so fast, otherwise, there might have been serious complications.” The reason why I caught it so fast was because both Daniel and I have had shingles before so we kinda knew what the symptoms were. After I was given a prescription for famcyclovir, an antiviral drug, I was told to “disappear quickly” so as not to infect anyone at the hospital. So we did…
I’ve been on the meds for 5 days now and while the burning and pulsing pain have subsided somewhat, the rash just seems to be getting bigger. I have to go to PMH again next week for a follow-up and perhaps another round of famcyclovir. Unlike healthy bodies, immunosuppressed bodies like mine take a long time to respond to medication.
So, that’s my story for this week and I’m so sorry it had to happen during what should have been the most joyous and festive season of the Chinese calendar. While I am uncomfortable as a result of the shingles, I am not fazed by it. Till next time!