I Just Want the Old Me Back!
Her voice, once upbeat and positive, was filled with anguish and despair as she said, “I just had another nerve block treatment to try to stop this never-ending, excruciating pain—and I’m still in torment. In the blink of an eye, this disease totally changed my life. I feel like life as I knew it is over. I just want the old me back!” One of my friends is suffering from long term nerve pain, which is one of the most common complications caused by Shingles. Although Shingles can occur at any age, seniors and baby boomers are the primary groups seriously affected by it. Very recently, I have encountered this disease among my friends. Quite frankly, I’ve never really known anything about this disease. Nonetheless, I’m now convinced everyone over the age 60 should rush to get a Shingles vaccine. Shingles is a little known and underestimated foe. It is not a “pretty” disease and you definitely want to avoid it. Almost every adult is a “shingles carrier.” If you had Chicken Pox, then you are carrying the Shingles-producing virus. It’s probably dormant right now, lurking near your nerve cells. Over 90% of the North American population has had Chicken Pox, so you stand a fair chance of developing Shingles at some time during your aging process, or any time your immune system is compromised by sickness, stress, or medications. You don’t catch Shingles; rather, your long-dormant Herpes Zoster virus wakes up angry and attacks you without warning. Painful, ugly skin rashes erupt on the face and/or other parts of the body. Unfortunately, these itchy, burning, blistering rashes hang around for about a month on the average. If you do develop such symptoms, run—don’t walk—to get treatment right away. There are helpful medications which are designed to lessen the extent and severity of the disease. After researching the disease for this blog, I highly recommend the $150 vaccine, which can cut the risk of long term nerve damage by 67%. Anyone over 60 has a 50% probability of getting hit by this stealthy enemy. Why risk scarring, skin infection, loss of vision or hearing, facial paralysis, and long term nerve pain (known as Post Herpetic Neuralgia or PHN)? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended that all adults over 60 get an injection of the Zostavax vaccine. Even though I am just 59, I have called my primary care physician to arrange to get this vaccine. The vaccine is safe. It has been proven effective in preventing horrible nerve damage for 2 out of every 3 older adults who receive it. I just spoke with my friend again. She is still suffering. She asked me to beg, not urge, you to call today to get the Shingles vaccine.