Shingles – no thank you

Baldrick photo after
Doctor Andy

My Doctor thinks I may have Shingles, but Dr Andy disagrees.

In some ways I like the idea of having shingles.  Because I won’t seem like a sissy for complaining about having enough pain that I went home early or when I am distracted at work and not doing my best I’ll have a good excuse.  Everyone knows how bad Shingles is.  That’s also why I am an open book and freely disclose private medical matters to everyone I know.

“The Doctor thinks I have Shingles!”


“Just kidding.”

I mean it sounded like Shingles, to him, but I had no rash (yet, he said).  He recommended starting antivirals because the earlier the better, and because they are well tolerated.  But I’m not sure they are well tolerated based on reviews I read on the internet, and I don’t like taking medicines without a good reason, like that I actually have the disease and the medicine works. Antivirals may work, but even the literature is replete with qualifying language.

“Studies have proven that taking an antiviral may help to shorten the length of the outbreak by two days.”

Maybe two days, huh?  And maybe not.

So I decided to wait until it was too late.

It couldn’t be worse than Lyme disease, which I had, and actually the pain reminds me a little of it, though not as bad, and it would be temporary with or without the meds.  And also, even though I kind of liked the idea, I was still hoping it was just a herniated disk, or something.  So I took Aleve.

Interestingly before this pain came on, I decided to eliminate dairy and eat more fruits and veggies in lieu of much meat, and that is the worst diet you can have for Shingles, also according to the internet, because dairy and meat have Lysine and that is well known to help against herpes viruses like cold sores and Shingles. I corroborated this with memories of my mom and brother taking Lysine for their cold sores, back in the 70s – so I know it’s true.  I personally never took it because I wasn’t prone to getting cold sores.

So my dietary changes and the seemingly coincidental onset of symptoms fit.   But I didn’t take the antivirals. Instead, Dr Andy prescribed two slices of pizza for lunch and cheese ravioli for supper, just in case, and I started taking vitamin C again, a habit I picked up in my 20s after which I rarely got any kind of virus, but had recently gotten lazy and stopped taking it, and now I’m playing the waiting game.

Now the reason he thought it was probably Shingles is because some of my words were textbook descriptions of symptoms. “It hurts just from my shirt rubbing against my skin,” and such.  Some of what didn’t seem like Shingles is that although the pain was primarily on my right side, it also spread to my left side, and Shingles is usually localized, although my wife remembers an old wives tale about Shingles that says, “if it goes all the way around, it will kill you.”  I don’t know if that’s because it isn’t really Shingles, but it comforted me (NOT!)

Also, it had been almost a week since the pain started, and still no outbreak on the skin.  So either I am getting control of it all on my own, or Dr. Andy is right again!


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