Thursday, March 10, 2011

Lupus and Shingles (Herpes Zoster)

I have been very busy with both work and family.  And while I diligently and faithfully take my medication daily, little did I know I will be "gunned down" and be confined to home suddenly by this disease - shingles - in the midst of a busy working schedule!  It seems that people with lupus are prone to this disease.  Shingles or herpes zoster is caused by the same virus that causes chicken pox.  When you have chicken pox especially when you are young, apparently the virus does not completely leave your body when you recovered. Some virus hide in your nerves and become dormant like a volcano. When your immune system is weaken, as in the case of lupus patient who is taking steriods and immunosuppressant drugs for a long time and probably due to stress too, the virus will be awaken like a mummy and create havoc to your life and give your pains that can be killing, if not unbearable.

It all started with hypersensitive skin at part of my left hand. Then this hypersensitiveness slowly spread to my whole left hand and arm.  And I also experienced numbness, tingling feelings, pin and needles and ache on my my hand and arm.  As for my left shoulder, I have this stabbing pain and sometime piercing pain from the back of the shoulder to my heart area which can be unbearable.  I ignored the hypersensitiveness of skin initially as I thought it will come and go like those I experienced before.  But when it didn't and spread, I went to see my doc.  He initially thought that it is nerve pain caused by nerve inflammation - probably due to my lupus fare.  He increased my prednisolone to 15mg from 6.5mg and gave me a new medicine, Lyrica for my nerve pain.  I stayed home the next day and noticed that rashes appearing on my left armpit and hands.  I called the doc thinking it might be an allergic reaction to the new medicine I took.  The doc ordered me to see him immediately.  Just a look at the rashes, he concluded that I have shingles.  He prescribed anti-viral drug, valaciclovi and asked me to go back to same level of prednisolone.

I have innocently thought that shingles is like chicken pox.  I was so wrong.  The pain both on the skin and the nerve are unbearable at times.  Sometime when my spirit was weak and the pain was killing (even when I took the painkillers), I secretly wish I was dead so that I need not suffer the pains.  I told my doc about the ineffectiveness of the painkillers (panadeine) and when he changed to another medicine - ultracet - it was effective in reducing the pain but I have adverse reaction to it - dizziness and nausea which was so bad that I was reduced to staying in the bed for almost 2 days.   I guess there is no such thing as having the cake and eat it too. 

I am still on medical leave recovering from shingles.  Typically, it takes about 2 weeks to recover from it.  The pains are still there but the rashes are drying out. I have stopped taking ultracet and relying solely on Lyrica to cope with the pain although it is not very effective.  When I told my doc that shingles seems to be prone among the lupus patients, he said with a matter of fact that it is a "balancing act'.  While steriods and immunosuppressant drugs are used to control lupus flare, it inevitably that they also weaken your immunity and make you suspectible to disease like shingles. It is unfortuntable but it is definitely something lupus patients must deal with and somewhat come to expect it.  Personally, I am quite depressed over it, having to deal with 1 operation and 2 major illness within a short period of 1 year.  Not only my family suffered, my career and work is also badly affected by my "roller coaster" health.

Nothing could change the fact that I have lupus and my life will be more unpredictable with it.  But no matter what happen, I just have to take one day at a time, and live life to the fullest as I could since I do not know what will happen to me next.    


  1. Oh dear ....
    Oh dear ....
    It hurts ....
    Takes a long time to heal especially with lupus!
    Please take good care of yourself.

    I only had my chicken pox last year, therefore, door to Shingles is officially open! Yikes!

  2. Hey, if you have the time, pop by my blog!

  3. Hey lupie,

    You take care too! Don't be too stressed up and shingles will not come. Btw, nice blog! Saw the news on the new drug for lupis too.

  4. Very reassuring to read your symptoms, so like mine with shingles. Hope by now you have recovered, I am only into the second week and as you say the pain is "killing". My right shoulder is screaming with pain and my usual high dose of codeine is not really working. Just a waiting game I guess for the symptoms to subside. For me it was possibly triggered by leading a busy life with lupus and being on steroid medication - so hard to get the balance between looking after self with lupus and having a life!

  5. Has anyone gotten the shingles vaccine... My doctors said I could get the vaccine. I am going on friday March 23, 2012

  6. Hello, I hope you do get better soon. I watched my mother go thru shingles quite a few times with her lupus, the pain for her was unbearable. I wish I could have taken away that pain for her. She passed 10 yrs ago from lupus.
    Please take care & fight this disease.
    Your in my prayers.

  7. I am sorry for you loss Anonymous! I woke up this morning with Shingles! Since I have Lupus, Fibromyalgia and Mixed Connective Tissue Disease, I didn't have sense enough to know I was about to break out! I am g
    lad you shared your story, it helps the rest of us to know what is possible!

  8. Hi I also have lupus and had shingles in my eye which happen back in August 2011 and my eye is still being affected from the shingles. Has anyone had shingles of the eye or know someone who has had it? I have been suffering for almost 10 months and the swelling and inflamation in my eye won't go away I have been on prednisolone drops and it doesn't seem to help. Any suggestions??

  9. Hi everyone, i have lupus also systemic as well as discoid RA, fibromyalgia. My hands have begun to look deformed which it trully bothers me the pain has been bad as of late. I've had chicken pops as a child but not shingles and I do hope I don't have to deal with it the pain I go through now is enough. in the early 90s with the onset of lupus i had red swollen skin all over my body they started off like a mosquito bite then spread heat radianted from each one burnt my skin. I'm going to look on line and see if I can learn more about that. I've been having problems with itching and nothing seems to be helping it. I am using itch cream and a prescription. Thanks for sharing i'm the only one in my family with these issues. Hope to chat soon.

    1. Look up Lichen planus for rash all over body

    2. God bless Dr.Edidia for his marvelous work in my life,my name is rose
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  10. Hi my name is Natalie I have had Lupus for 9yrs, fibro for 10, RP and IBS, . I have a question, I'm in the PFA at my youngest childs school. The president just asked that we have a meeting to start off the school year. In her email she stated she has shingles, I just got over a flare the lasted a few months. I have had the chicken pox as small child. Am I ok to go over there?

  11. For anyone suffering with the debilitating pain of shingles and/or post-herpetic neuralgia, I'd like to suggest finding a good acupuncturist who specializes in pain management. I've been dealing for several weeks with shingles affecting one side of my face, especially my ear. It took a while to diagnose, because the first symptoms were more like an ear infection or severe headache than anything else. Once the skin blisters developed, I was thankful, because they led to an accurate diagnosis, if not necessarily the best treatment.

    I went to specialists to protect my vision and hearing, in addition to seeing a general practitioner. At one point, I was taking 12 different medications, including valtrex, but the pain has been excruciating, and I was experiencing side effects from the meds. I did manage to complete the 7-day course of anti-viral medication, which is supposed to send the virus back into hiding.

    The general public mostly worries about contagion, so once the external signs diminish, they couldn't care less how you feel inside -- they want you back at work. The western-trained doctors gave me some literature about how PHN can last for months or even years, and offered me a choice between two toxic medicines: a narcotic or one of those nerve-pain meds that carries the warning, "increases thoughts of suicide". Gee, let's see -- should I risk drug addiction or death in service of the job that stressed me out and gave me this illness in the first place?

    Fortunately, I found an excellent acupuncturist in my area. After one treatment, the pain was reduced to the point where I can actually think. Hopefully I'll be able to get in a few more treatments before I have to go back to work, because nobody should have to work when they feel like somebody's stabbing them in the head with an icepick. My insurance doesn't cover acupuncture, although some plans do, but to me, it's worth every penny.

    From what I've read, each case of shingles is different, but it's nothing to play around with. The only purpose of pain is to alert you that something is wrong in your body. Once you've dealt with the "wrongness", you have no need for the pain. Acupuncture has worked for me on joint pain in the past, and I have every reason to believe that it will end the pain of shingles/PHN for me soon.

  12. Just been diagnosed with shingles and only just managing the pain, hope it does not continue for too long. What I am across about is that the NHS have discussed giving shingles vaccine to all over 50 years of age. Had I know the vaccine was available I would willing have paid for it even - life for 50+ is more stressful now than ever before, balancing your own life whilst looking after elderly parents and grandchildren. What happened to preventative medicine - about time GPs were a bit more proactive and suggested how to avoid health problems, not attempt to fix them after the event.

  13. I just read an article said people within you in Compromise diseases should not get the shingles vaccine because it has some live virus in it. has anyone heard of this? I was thinking of getting the vaccine but now I don't know.

  14. If you are on steroids, you should avoid shingles vaccine.

  15. Hi Everyone,
    Me too I was diagnosed with Systemic lupus a year and a half ago.I was on oral prednisolone for nearly a year then I started Plaquenil.I got herpes zoster 3 weeks ago while being on Plaquenil alone for nearly 7 months.I received acyclovir for 2 weeks,now the lesions over my abdomen are healing but pain is still there and I have severe like hell itching sensation over the lesions but of course I can't scratch them.Is there any advice?


    1. I was always told never take any live vaccines with lupus.

  16. Hello!I have had lupus [SLE] for 19 yrs.Had open heart in Dec 2012,having surgery in May again,and still have a AAA to deal with.It,s a good size.NOW,I have my firt outbreak of shingles.Pain is unbearable esp.with a flare up that started 2 hrs. after I left Drs. office.I know the give up and I want to die exp. App.I died on the table, and theybrought me back to suffer more.I am taking meds now for shingles,day 2,does this stuff work? I have been of wk.since Dec.Pajn is unbearable,Ijust want to give up.I think often I would love to go in my sleep.Life is gone as Iknew it,the least activity wears me out.I wish everyone good luck and hope my journey ends soon.Thanks for letting me vent,I know i'm not alone with these deseases.

    1. Hi, I hope you are feeling better now. Don't give up! There will be rainbow and sunshine after the rain. Just need to look at the positives. Distract yourself from pain by doing something you are interested or love. I know it is difficult. But you need to try. Look at me now, I am still happily living my life despite the setbacks in life. Pain will go away eventually. Don't be beaten by it!

  17. I was glad to read your story. I was diagnosed with lupus about 20 years ago, and, until recently, I've had few problems. But then, like you, I was totally gunned down when shingles broke out in my ear, then spread to my face, resulting in a loss of hearing (which is making a comeback) and paralysis of half of my face. (This is known as Ramsey Hunt Syndrome. This began about six weeks ago, and I feel that I am improving, but I do miss my smile. I am furious that it has been shown that people with lupus are much more likely to get shingles than the general population, but doctor has ever mentioned this! Doesn't it seem that people who are i a high risk category should be warned and an immunization given?

  18. Thanks for all the posts. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one suffering. It's a shame to hear there are so many others, but the pointers everyone shares are helpful. I am currently going through shingles and will most likely be hospitalized because it is spreading. It is so painful. I am 43, married and with 3 kids so I am trying to be strong. I was recently hospitalized for bad kidney function. I somewhat got that calmed down, then I developed a blood clot and I am now on coumadin and had to cancel my family vacation to Disney World. It was heartbreaking to tell my children. I am also on Cellcept and Prednisone. Now I got a severe case of this shingles that is spreading all over my body coming out multiple nerves and headed to the ER for hospitalization tomorrow. So I am seeing a rhematologist, a nephrologist (kidneys), a vascular doctor and family doctor (blood clot), now a dermatologist (for shingles), and a cardiologist for a leaky heart valve that on the last visit was told would need to be replaced in 5 years. ��

  19. I too am battling shingles. I have sle, 34years. There are many good times, however when the problems arise it is difficult. I don't believe anyone but another lupus patient can understand how we feel. We usually look pretty healthy therefore giving the impression that everything is fine. To those who are dealing with a shingles outbreak and lupus, sit tight and know that this too shall pass.

  20. Thank you for your post, I don't feel so crazy. Living with Lupius and shingles is rough.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. I've had SLE for approximately 4 years and shingles for 2. Its excruciating. I have only been diagnosed but never treated because I have no health insurance. Trust me it could always be worse so cherish the time you do have. I don't feel as though I have much time left considering I'm now getting shingles blister outbreaks monthly and am starting to get sharp pains in my heart/chest.

  23. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  24. Shingles (Herpes Zoster) is the re-emergence of the Chicken Pox (Varicella Virus) in the body, and usually affects a specific region of nerve cells in the body. For Shingles to emerge in the body, one must have a compromised immune system. How to cure Shingles

  25. I Never believed i was ever going to be HSV2 Negative again, Dr. Silver has given me reasons to be happy, i was HSV2 positive for 2years and all the means i tried for treatment was not helpful to me, but when i came on the Internet i saw great testimony about Dr Silver on how he was able to cure someone from HIV, this person said great things about this man, and advice, i decided to give him a try, he requested for my information which i sent to him, and he told me he was going to prepare for me a healing portion, which he wanted me to take for 7days, and after which i should go back to the hospital for check up, well after taking all the treatment sent to me, i went back to the Hospital for check up, and now i have been confirmed HSV2 Negative, friends if you have anything disease contact Dr Silver on any treatment for any Disease he is the one only i can show you all up to, reach him on:

  26. I am indeed very happy for my life; I never thought that I will live on earth before the year runs out. I have been suffering from a deadly disease [HERPS] for the past 2 years now; I had spent a lot of money going from one places to another, from churches to churches, hospitals have been my every day residence. Constant checks up have been my hobby but until this faithful day, I was searching through the internet, I saw a testimony on how a spell caster helped someone in curing his HERPS disease, quickly I copied his email which is (
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  27. Am Susan from Sweden I want to share a testimony on how this great man Dr Ekpiku help me to heal my herpes virus is the solution to herpes cure,Since last 4 months I have being a Herpes was confirm I have be in several hospital but no one can cure it one day I was browsing through the Internet I saw a testimony on how Dr Ekpiku from Africa healer and i saw so many testimony on blogger how is cure a lady called Grace and i asked her if she was cure by Dr Ekpiku,what she said was yes that is heal and be free for herpes,she told me that there is a great spell caster that can cure my herpes Virus,I asked her if she had his email, she gave me his email, so I contact him and i told him I have Herpes virus,and I asked for solutions, he started the herbal remedy for my health, he sent me the medicine,and i start taking the medicine as prescribed by him and 2 week later i was cured from HERPES, Dr. Ekpiku truly you are great healer, do you need his help also? Why don't you contact him through or his cell number +2348073673757,I’m the happiest girl in the world thank you Dr Ekpiku he cure any type of disease HIV/AIDS,CANCER,diabetes,ALS, Hepatitis B, HERPES, PVC/ through his via email;

  28. Hello Everyone, I want to share my testimonies to the general public on how this great man called Dr Osas cure my herpes. I have been a HERPES patient for over 7 Months and i have been in pains until i came across this lady when i traveled to Africa for Business trip who happen to once been a herpes patient, i explained every thing to her and she told me that there is this Great Dr Osas that help her to cure her herpes and she gave me his email address for me to contact him, and i did as she instructed. And Dr Osas told me how much to buy the herpes herbal medication and how i will get it, which i did. And to my greatest surprise was that i took the Herpes herbal medicine for just one week and behold i went for a test, the Doctor confirmed me herpes free and said that i no longer have herpes in my system and till now i have never felt any pains nor herpes again, so i said i must testify the goodness of this man to the general public, if you are there surfing from this Herpes problems or any deadly disease or other disease for i will advice you to contact him on his working email: and i assure you that he will help you. he cure all types of disease or whatSAP him via his mobile number +2349035428122 wish you goodluck
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  29. Hello fellas
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  30. This is real take it serious, who will believe that a herb can cure herpes, i never believe that this will work i have spend a lot when getting drugs from the hospital to keep me healthy, what i was waiting for is death because i was broke, one day i hard about this great man who is well know of HIV and cancer cure, i decided to email him, unknowingly to me that this will be the end of the herpes in my body, he prepare the herb for me, and give me instruction on how to take it, at the end of the one month, he told me to go to the hospital for a check up, and i went, surprisingly after the test the doctor confirm me negative, i thought it was a joke, i went to other hospital was also negative, then i took my friend who was also suffering from herpes to the Dr Omoa, after the treatment she was also confirm herpes free . He also have the herb to cure cancer. please i want every one with this virus to be free, that is why am dropping his email address, ,or calling number +2348141309378 do email him he is a great man. the government is also interested in this DR, thank you for saving my life, and I promise I will always testify for your good work

  31. All thanks to dr lusanda for him bringing smile to my face again, 8years ago i was diagnosed of this painful ailment called varicella-zoster Virus, i have done all i could to get rid of this herpes disease,but all my effort was in vain, i have visited several health clinics but they couldn't help me, but i was so lucky when i saw on the internet, on how Dr Lusanda has cured several individual from herpes disease, i had to contact his email address i found on the internet, after i contacted him, i explained everything to him of how this terrible disease has made me to suffer so much, he assured me of a herbal medcation that would completely eradicate this virus and told me not to worry that everything will be fine,i believed him on everything he told me and within days he sent me the herb and to my greatest surprise after receiving the herb with 18days of usage i was fully cured, thanks to Dr Lusanda for his marvelous herbs, he is truly a life saver,so if you are passing through same situation all you have to do is to contact his email or

  32. Thank you Dr. Okuns herbal your medicine is a good remedy for herpes cure, and Removing Warts you can contact him via E-mail: for any types of diseases solutions or WhatsApp him on: +2348078467513

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  33. I can’t believe this. A great testimony that i must share to all LUPUS patient in the world i never believed that their could be any complete cure for LUPUS or any cure for LUPUS,i saw people’s testimony on blog sites on how DR Aba prepare herbal cure and brought them back to life again. i had to try it too and you can,t believe that in just few weeks i started using it all my pains stop gradually and i had to leave without the LUPUS DRUGS the doctor gave to me. Right now i can tell you that few months now i have not had any pain,delay in treatment leads to death. Here is his email: his WHATSAPP number is +2348107155060


  34. My Names is Monique Curry ,AM from United states .i never believed in love spells or magic until i met this spell caster once when i went to Africa in June last year on a business summit i meet a man called Dr ADAGBA, is powerful he could help you cast a spells to bring back my love s gone misbehaving lover looking for some one to love you bring back lost money and magic money spell or spell for a good job i m now happy & a living testimony cos the man i had wanted to marry left me 4weeks before our wedding and my life was upside down cos our relationship has been on for 7 year i really loved him, but his mother was against me and he had no good paying job so when i met this spell caster, i told him what happened and explained the situation of things to him at first i was undecided,skeptical and doubtful, but i just gave it a try and in 6 days when i returned to taxes my boyfriend (is now my husband ) he called me by himself and came to me apologizing that everything had been settled with his mom and family and he got a new job interview so we should get married i didn’t believe it cos the spell caster only asked for my name and my boyfriends name and all i wanted him to do well we are happily married now and we are expecting our little kid and my husband also got a new job and our lives became much better in case anyone needs the spell caster for some help his email address: OR you can also call or whatsapp him via +2349057354407 or website;