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Shingles

Holdtight
Posts: 151
Joined: Aug 2009

Does anyone know about getting Shingles during Chemo because of the low white count? Two days into my second chemo treatment I developed a severe sharp shooting pain that went from the top of the side of my neck into the top of my shoulder down my shoulder blade into my arm. I couldn't take the pain so I went to the ER they said it was musclsketal and sent me home ruling out blood clots. The stabbing pain I thought was a calapsed lung I was petrified. I followed up with my onc the following morning for my neulasta shot and he told me I had internal shingles that attached to my tendon nerves. Does anyone know if this stays in the system and reoccurs. I'm afraid now to get my chemo for fear it is going to erupt again. any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

shrevebud's picture
shrevebud
Posts: 106
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi there:

Sorry to hear about your case of shingles. I had them a long time ago before I got cancer. Like you I had really bad pain in my chest and they spread down my arm. It's part of the herpes virus family and yes it will stay in your body. It might not erupt again, but then it could. Sometimes just regular stress can cause a flare-up. I've known quite a few people who have developed this. Did your doc put you on one of the medicines for it? I would go ahead and take my chemotherapy, but that, of course is up to you and your doc. I hope you get over this soon. Take care. Roy

Holdtight
Posts: 151
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi! Thanks for your reply. Yes people have told me stress can really flare it up and with everything that has been happening to me medically lately my stress has been worse then ever in my life. I was just diagnosed in July. Yes my Dr. did put me on 2 grams a day of Valtrax and Ibupro 600 for inflamation and the pain has subsided. I only feel a little discomfort when I inhale deep. It was really really bad. I didn't like that at all. How long did you have the pain and how did you get rid of it. A friend of my brother's had them way back and still talks about it it was that bad. Thanks for listening. Penny

shrevebud's picture
shrevebud
Posts: 106
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi Penny:

When I had it Valtrex was not out - I think I took Zovorax - which now is an older medicine -I had to take it for like 2 weeks or longer. The pain lasted for a few days - I remember missing work a couple few days because of the pain in my chest. It was like pneumonia pain when I tried to breathe. Luckily, for me it never came back, however I have some nerve damage that has improved over time - that area of my skin can be more sensitive at times than the non-affected area. It's good that you are on medicine and can tell that it is helping. Be well. Roy

Nana b's picture
Nana b
Posts: 3045
Joined: May 2009

I got the shingles on my arm 4 years ago when my grandson passed away, and they have not returned, even under the stress that I have been through. I do know they lay dormant in your system until something triggers it off. They are extremely painful. I was also given Valtrex.

Hope yours go away soon....

califsue
Posts: 80
Joined: Oct 2007

I developed a bad case of shingles after my VATS. My oncologist was very firm about not letting me do chemo if I had any active herpes blisters, which I did. The concern is that you do not develop a systemic case of herpes which can be very serious and life threatening.

It doesn't sound like you have any blisters. My doc also put me on a maintenance dose of acyclovir once the shingles pain had subsided. Since I've been on chemo, I haven't had a recurrence after 9 cycles.

Best of luck to you,
Susan

Holdtight
Posts: 151
Joined: Aug 2009

Hi! My shingles are internal and that's why I'm concerned. I have no outside rash. The pain has discipated completely since I started the Valtrax. Do you think that means the blisters are gone if I had any the CT scan did not show anything. The doc could only tell me I had shingles because of the symptoms. But the pain is gone. Sometimes the neulasta can take pain away too by bringing up the white blood count. So I am concerned I'm going to get the pain again once I start the chemo. I guess I need to talk to the doc. If it weren't for the shingles I would be ok with the side effects so far. Alright thanks so much for your time and I hope you'll be ok. Hugs.

califsue
Posts: 80
Joined: Oct 2007

Holdtight,

I was referring to cutaneous rash/blsters only. If you never had them, than no worries about systemic outbreak. You should do fine. Of course the virus lies dormant in the nerves so there is no guarantee. That is why I am on a maintenance antiviral dose until I am done with chemo. Sounds like my outbreak was a lot more full blown than yours. Mine lasted over two months.

Take good care,
Susan

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