A few summers ago my husband, daughter and I were swimming in the Gulf of Mexico at Indian Rocks Beach when my daughter said, “Mom, what is that red rash on your back?”
I reached my fingers around and felt a two by two sore bumpy patch in the left middle of my back.
“Oh my God. I hope it’s not shingles,” I said. My husband looked worried; then he pretended to back up a few waves (I can’t blame him for the mock horror. Most people think shingles is contagious. It depends).
“It probably isn’t shingles,” I said. “Celeste told me it’s awful, really, really painful. This doesn’t feel too bad. It’s probably just some contact rash from sunscreen or lotion” I said.
We laughed it off and my husband and daughter went about making fun of me in our family’s way of no-mercy bashing for the (not really) suffering.
I’m not sure why I sensed I had shingles except body instinct, that little nudge that tells you something before you know you know it. Lately my exercise endurance was off, like I needed an extra kick to keep going.
I also had a nagging “muscle” ache in my upper left shoulder region and left rib area (the pathway the virus traveled on me). Also, a close family member told me last year all about her horrible case of shingles.
“It felt like the worst sunburn ever” Celeste said, “crossed with a thousand bee stings and then someone taking a rake across my skin. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t turn over. If I had to live with that pain I’d have killed myself.”