Monday, 10 March 2014

This wasn't the plan

Well I had planned this post to be my nominations for the first ME CFS FMS blog awards, but unfortunately I haven't got the energy to put that post together right now since I'd have to gather quite a few links. I hope to do that in the near future though!

The reason things aren't going to plan, as those of you who follow me on twitter will know, I've come down with shingles. Like anything with M.E. the virus seems to have taken longer to come out and will probably linger longer than it would normally as my immune system tries to get the virus in check. 

I've had the nerve pain associated with shingles for over two weeks now but the rash has only just started appearing on the right side of my back and side. Boy is that making it feel worse! The skin seems to be getting more sensitive as more spots appear and the itching...words cannot describe how much energy I must be consuming trying not to scratch! 

I was putting calamine lotion on to soothe the itching and I may go back to doing so but it's like a double ended sword (is that the right saying?). The calamine lotion does an amazing job at soothing the burning and itching however because it is so cold it really irritates the nerve causing some of the most horrendous pain I have ever felt. Once it's on I struggle to stand up because of the pain, I cling onto the walls for support to get myself from bathroom to sofa where I can curl up on my left hand side til it eases off a bit. 

Obviously shingles isn't nice for someone with a healthy immune system, without M.E. but I didn't know it could make me feel this much worse and have such an impact on my (already low) energy levels. Strangely and I'm sure this will probably sound an alien concept to a lot of people, although shingles brings along some of the 'same' symptoms as M.E. including fatigue, it feels different to the usual symptoms I experience even if they are being given the same name. 

Due to the pain and itchiness I'm averaging around 5 hours sleep a night if I'm lucky - last night I got 1 and a half hours before just dozing! I'm going round feeling like I've been hit by a triple decker bendy bus, or at least this is how I imagine that would feel. Yet I'm still having to do the everyday things and keeping up with studying is proving a challenge in itself but I need to do these things; not because there's no way around doing them (I'm sure there is) but they act as a distraction from the pain and itching. Rather than sitting here stewing over not scratching, I'm putting the energy (or whatever it is I'm now running on since I'm not sure I have any actual energy left...) into doing something which stops me focusing on the itch.

Anyway this post has been my latest distraction, giving me something else to focus on. Typing seems quite easy today and the words have just flowed. Yesterday was a different matter entirely, so I'm appreciative that I've managed so much today. 

Before I go, one last tip for anyone out there; healthy or with a chronic illness: try not to get shingles ;)