My body was under attack.
For starters there was the constant pain on my left side that started in my back and moved to my stomach. There was the weird feeling that something was crawling under my skin. The itchiness. The super sensitivity of my skin – if anything touched it I felt like I was being zapped by electricity. The tiredness only I couldn’t sleep – I couldn’t get comfortable. About three days later the first spots appeared. I had my suspicions. I hoped I wasn’t right only it turned out I was.
“You have shingles,” said the doctor.
I wanted to scream but I sat there silent. Until a few months ago I knew almost nothing about shingles and in many respects I wish it had stayed that way. My husband was also diagnosed with shingles back in December only his was on his face.
“Did I catch it from my husband?” I asked immediately. I had a need to blame someone.
“No, this is pure co-incidence. You can’t catch shingles from someone else that has it,” responded the doctor.
“Yeah right,” was my thought.
What did I do to allow this sleeping virus to wake-up and flourish in my body?
Fact one: anyone who has had chickenpox has the shingles virus lying dormant in their nerve roots waiting to be activated.
Fact two: the virus remains dormant forever in some people – they are the lucky ones!
Fact three: this virus wakes-up when disease, stress or ageing weakens the immune system. Bingo, two out of three for us. The last 12 months have been incredibly stressful. In many respects I’d be quite happy to file 2011 into a memory file that I don’t return to too often if at all. As for ageing – well, we’re both over 50 so sadly we’re on that downhill slope.
My husband keeps saying to me “shingles is your friend”. This irritates me. He believes we both ended up with shingles because our bodies were sending us a message – a wake up call of sorts. Our bodies were trying to tell us that they’ve had enough and we need to look after them better – “You need me in good working order and I can’t do this alone. Take better care of me.”
Over the last 10 days my wonderful husband has looked after me above and beyond the call of duty in an attempt to help me on to the path of being well. This is his gift to me and I love him for it. I was down, and even though he still isn’t fully recovered himself, he was there alongside me.
This morning as Lynsey dropped me off as close as possible to the venue where I would be working today I noticed this poster on the outside of the Archives New Zealand building. I looked at it and thought, “That is what Lynsey has been doing- he has been carrying me.” I felt so incredibly blessed.
My husband carries me in so many ways. He loves me unconditionally. He believes in me and my abilities. He encourages me. He is there through the good times and the bad.
Thank you Lynsey for being the extraordinary man that you are. I love you so much.
12. Every day love yourself.
21. Every day seek the support of others. You are not alone.
35. Every day focus on what matters to you.