Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Or craptastic.  Crappity crap crap crap.  One other word to go with crap.....shingles.  SHINGLES!!!

How the heck did I end up with shingles?  No idea except I had chicken pox as a kid.  And I'm an endurance athlete.  And I seem to have a bit of bad luck.

I thought it was an exceptionally bad case of heat rash after last Wednesday's long ride to Glenhaven (outside of Estes Park, cherry cobbler and/or ice cream and/or cinnimon rolls may or may not have been involved).  It was HOT that day - near 100.  And I always get a bit of heat rash on my legs right under the elastic of my bike shorts.  Not a big deal, it's always gone by the next morning.  But as I was driving home my skin under my arm felt tingly, it kind of hurt.  And the shoulder that had been bothering me the last couple of days was still giving me stabbing pains.  Easy to blame that on a new bike fit.....but that's the easy answer.

I went ahead and self-diagnosed on the internet (we all do!!) and heat rash seemed the logical answer and it would clear up in a couple of days.  Except it didn't. It got worse.  And the tingling sensation now felt more like needles in my skin.  A rush of adrenaline (a phone ringing, a sudden stop in a car - things like that) was very uncomfortable.  Very.  Uncomfortable.  But hey, I'm a tough girl, right?  The good thing was when I was on my bike, or in the pool, or running.....I didn't feel a thing.  But afterwards was more sensitive.

Fast forward to a BBQ on Monday night.  An ER doc happened to be there.....I was wearing a sun dress because I don't want anything touching my skin.......he took a look and said, yep, you have shingles.  WTF?  I thought this was an old person's problem?  (ahem, 42 is not that old)  The dermatologist confirmed it yesterday morning and now I'm on an aggressive treatment (a bajillion pills).  Hopefully the pain will subside soon and hopefully I will start sleeping through the night again soon!

So for those of you that have had chicken pox here's your PSA......if you have a rash on the core of your body that wraps around and only on one side - get to the doctor!!!  (mine starts at my right shoulder blade and wraps around under my arm and on my chest) Oh, and it looks NASTY!  And it HURTS!

What does this mean for training?  The doc says it is up to me and what I can tolerate so after sitting/laying on the couch in a vicodin haze yesterday, I got up and went for a run this morning.  Since my pain receptors are all screwed up, I did low intensity low heart rate stuff.  And it went pretty well.  I'm planning on swimming and biking tomorrow.  I was wishy-washy about racing the Boulder Peak this weekend but this diagnosis confirmed that I will not be toeing the start line Sunday.  And now I know what was going on with me in June - I'm pretty sure my blah blah blah-ness was the start of this!

I'm going to get better - no worries there.  Everything will be JUST fine!!!


Jamie said...

Yikes! That sucks Michelle.

I thought the same thing as you, that it was just an old person's disease. Ugh.

Also bummed to hear you and Sonja won't be joining me in VT this year!

Hopefully your mega dose of meds clears you up soon.

Meredith said...

I was diagnosed with shingles in May, however, I never got a rash and they never figured out what it was. I was in excruciating pain, though (shoulder and ribs area). A round of steroids helped me feel better. Get better soon, Michelle.

Michelle Simmons said...

YIKES! That's no good!?! How does that even happen? Is shingles a virus? Hope you get better soon!!

GoBigGreen said...

Hi:) never commented before but I got shingles in my mid 30's and like u thought it was heat rash. But it hurt and was T4-T5 so I still have scars:(
once the blisters close up I found tea tree oil helpful but it will sting! And why? Who knows! Mine was stress related they said! Get well!