It all started on the 19th June, while at a Hollywood Vampires concert in Glasgow. During the second last song, Johnny Depp singing no less, I had a piercing headache. It would go soon, everyone gets headaches and it wasn’t going to spoil my night. However, spoil my night it did, and way beyond.
My partner told me it was a bad idea to keep our travel plans for the following day. I didn’t look at all well. Well? I have fibromyalgia, I never look or feel well, so any additional pain is no more than an addendum. The headache would lift and my camera would be miffed at missing out on the lighthouse.
Music is important in my life, not that I play, but I need to hear music, it lifts the spirit. With this in mind I had created a play list to last the full journey. The music went on, I turned it off, my head pounded. Thankfully I was not driving, it was a long three and a half hour journey
No, I’m not going to bore you with the details of how difficult it was to smile while there or how heavy my camera felt, stopping me from getting decent pictures. However, this blog is about shingles in the eye so I will bore you with the pain I had in my right eye by then. I was sure a sty was brewing. Just what I needed.
I was glad to be heading home the following morning. Not only did I have a sty in my eye but a fever blister had appeared on my lip. I was so tired, but it was Friday and so I had the whole weekend to sleep and recover. The trip was a wash-out.
The temperature rose. It was hot. It was hot for the UK, then it got hotter, by the time we got back to Scotland it was hot for Spain. I was tired, so tired I poured out of the car and into my bed. There I stayed until Sunday. I awoke on the Sunday morning to a circus of blisters over the right side of my face. My head was on fire. The temperature rose a bit more.
A call to NHS 24 had them concerned, shingles, they thought. They arranged an urgent appointment at the local hospital. Who then sent me on the 40 minute journey to the Edinburgh specialists. The temperature got hotter. I passed out, briefly. The diagnosis was ophthalmic herpes zoster, like you, I cringed. I felt dirty, if, indeed, I felt anything at all, then I got it in laymans terms. Shingles, in my eye! They didn’t care about my face, they were worried I might lose my eye. I worried I might frighten children!
Now, those of you who are fortunate enough to be relatively healthy would probably take my shingles and dispose of them in a couple of weeks, maximum. Not so easy for those with Fibromyalgia. I like to think I am a fighter. I have fought fibromyalgia for eight years and won every single battle, being able to continue working, having no more than a few days off that would directly relate to the condition. This, however, this was worse than anything I ever experienced.
It is said that Shingles will cause a fever – I had one. It is said that Shingles will cause fatigue, well hell yes, of course! Come on in and party with the CFS that has been dancing around in my body, why don’t you? Here, take a cup of pain. Oh, you brought your own? How very considerate.
Perhaps, in the end, I was lucky to have fibromyalgia at the time I was hit with the full Shingles virus. Lucky in as much as the lethargy I fought in my daily life joined hand in hand with this new fatigue and knocked me on my back for over a month. I remember very little about that time, other than that it was hot. It was summer. It was hot and I wanted so much to get out there and enjoy the best summer we have had in years. I slept.
There is a condition that shingles leaves behind where it damages the nerves it has played with, this condition leaves the pain behind long after the blisters have moved on and is known as postherpetic neuralgia, this pain may always be with me.
The pain may be blinding but sleep is frequent and dreams, oh the dreams of the memories I have built, those will never fade. Life goes on, we learn to live with that which we never expected we could face. We are human. Life goes on.