...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

My final facial diagnosis

I went in to the doctor's office this morning for a follow-up on all of my exciting facial drama.  The redness in my face has receded and is nearly gone.  My cheeks still tingle a little bit on occasion, but nothing big (in truth, that tingling does make my worry monitor twinge slightly).

As I chatted with the physician she said that after much discussion the three of them (the two physicians I have seen in the office and then the supervising doctor) are fairly certain that I had an interesting and mild case of shingles after all.  Because of the way the case presented and progressed, they are nearly positive that shingles it really has been and that because it was caught VERY early the Valtrex (anti-viral) was able to temper the virus and subdue it.   

My face one week after on onset of my malady.
That seems pretty  miraculous to me relative to what I have read and heard about shingles, but according to the doctor it is not unheard of.  Apparently, shingles often responds VERY well to Valtrex when the medicine is started withing a couple of days of the onset of the disease (my very first symptom was Saturday night, diagnosis Monday afternoon and meds just after that).

And so, here is my very own public service minute to all those who may one day face a similar diagnosis.  

I feel awfully lucky to have stumbled into the outcome that I have following a diagnosis which (frankly) scared me a bit.  So, here are some things that I experienced which lead me to promptly
seek treatment which lunged me into the drugs which nearly eradicated my illness in less than two weeks.

*My first symptom was an intense burning/tingling/numbing feeling along my jaw.  It was really painful.  Shingles, of course, isn't limited to the face -- it can show up in ANY nerve -- but that burning/tingling/numbing feeling is often what people describe first, but then ignore because it sometimes goes away after a day or two.  Don't do that!  If you get a powerful, uncomfortable, painful tingle don't push it aside.  May as well have it checked out just in case.

*Shingles normally presents with blister or sores on one side of the body, but mine didn't.  Mine was an inflamed, tender rash-like mess that started on the tip of my nose but bled into my cheeks and face.  Don't assume that because you don't have blisters, you don't have shingles.

*As the rash spread, there was an electric, hot, sting that stayed in front of the progression of the rash.  It did wander its way along the nerve (boy did I study pictures of facial nerves), but it was always ahead of the redness.  That sting got much more intense in the heat (like when direct sunlight shone on my face or when I climbed into the scorching air of a hot car).  That electric feeling along a nerve is another symptom you should not brush off.

Anyway, while there is still a possibility that this was a staph infection of the face (without blisters, whose fluids can apparently be tested for the presence of the shingle virus, there is no 100% diagnosis) I guess the consensus among the professionals is that I was lucky enough to face one of the tamest versions of shingles they have seen in some time.

Sounds good to me.

Me and my youngest cutie pie and my nearly back to normal face.

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