Medical update

After experiencing some physical discomfort over the weekend – a couple of welts turning into quite a clump of them and a pervasive stink in my sinuses – I found out today that I have both a case of shingles on my shoulders and neck as well as a sinus infection.

Ever since the weekend I have had a smell in my nostrils, and the post-nasal drip, which reminded me of death. It’s a sinus infection, a short course of antibiotics the solution.

What was even more apparent, and therefore not quite so surprising, is that the little red marks on my neck and shoulder (which have now enlarged and traveled onto my back) are shingles. The doctor didn’t have to look long before making his declaration and I have to admit the thought did cross my mind. Could I make a case for stress lately?

My doctor was surprised to hear that I had experienced shingles as an adolescent.

“Really,” I said, “a gay kid in high school? No stress there!” We both laughed.

So, overdue for blood work which will set my HIV treatments – I’ve been off them since the spring – there can be no doubt that I will need to get back on the multiple pill merry-go-round again and hopefully get my immune system boosted back up.

In the meantime, I have increasingly painful, unsightly sores that look like hickeys from Count Dracula, and I don’t want to be seen much in public for awhile.

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8 thoughts on “Medical update

  1. I had shingles 2 yrs ago.
    My sympathies.
    I would like to recommend this product which helped me.
    Calamine lotion WITH Antihistamine.
    It`s not the ordinary calamine lotion.
    And baths with lots of baking soda in the water helped and Benadryl tablets helped.
    You may know all of this because you`ve had shingles before but…you may not.
    Take care and don`t scratch.
    Easier said than done.I know.

    Kenn said: Thanks Jamie. Yes I do remember using Calamine lotion (just regular as far as I can remember) and so I’m glad to get the antihistamine angle on that!

  2. Jan Johnstone

    I hope you get that immune system built up and get better soon.
    I had shingles lately and it never happened before. Stress related, too much work, and campaigning for a single school system. In that regard, it was well worth it.
    Get better Kenn!

    Kenn said: Can’t see any stress there 🙂 Thanks Jan!

  3. jeremy

    Your not on medications for HIV and you have shingles. Yes they come in youth and I’ve had them. I know you’ve been through a lot and I feel for you – and you know that.

    But if you don’t manage your HIV like you do your sobriety, you will be dead before you learn to stay sober for long. I did not agree with you stopping meds because everything works together and now you are showing signs of immune response (ie shingles)

    We can manage stress, it seems you failed to do that seeing you had a break out. It could be worse, they could be on your ASS!!

    Don’t let it get that far. And for Christ sakes, take care of your body. Stop the dilly dallying on meds and commit to something before you end up in the ground as well.

    Don’t make me come down there and THUMP you because you know I can…

    Feel better and take your pills and keep your shingles clean, dry and keep them contained. Your HIV is connected to your body so what you lack now, you will pay out in suffering. And this is all your doing.

    If I put it up front as I see it… You know I care about you, but you have been lax in your HIV care over the last year. Now you are paying the price. I don’t want you to suffer any more. Because suffering SUCKS!


    Thanks, Jeremy, I think 🙂

    While I won’t wear every single point, I can accept some.

    I only began the meds holiday when I needed to do so for at least a month (May to June) to see what might have happened when I went without one of them by mistake. My doctor and I could not assume that simply re-starting the med in question would not have repercussions. Sure I could have gone back on meds sooner – my doc left it completely up to me – but the first report showed I was holding my own and my last labs only showed what seemed to be a very manageable bump in what has long been an undetectable viral load and coinciding drop in my CD-4. That was my opportunity to aggressively start treatment again, I grant you, but I chose not to. I have been on medications since the spring of 1990 and, well, was it only my frame of mind that tipped me to enjoy the break? The risks in my decision came to roost faster than I would have liked, but I am trying not to indulge in woulda, coulda, shoulda.

    I’ll be calling my HIV specialist to see if my November appointment should be moved up. I haven’t done my routine blood-work for that yet, though, and I’m not sure, with two infections scrapping inside me, that now would be the best time for such a snap-shot, but I will consult him.

  4. hey kenn- rod here from denver. i had shingles when i lived in sf. the only pain relief i found that worked was crystal meth, but that wasn’t practical. my job, my housing, and my retirement all went away with the pain. so instead, i googled shingles and there were, of course, lots of ideas. i’m not sure if this is helpful, but i would rather try to be helpful than sit by and do nothing. that was my old life. anyway, if you google shirley’s wellness cafe- and do a search for shingles you’ll get some good info.
    also, nutrition is my first line of defense these days. and something organic is always optimum. i’ve been poz since 85 and i’ve been a slave to pharma since 96. i found that my overall health and vitality has been the best when i use a product called xperia from univera life. they will ship. it’s loaded with antioxidants and is basically berries concentrate with some other nutrional additives. i have been taking it for about 1 1/2 years and haven’t even gotten a cold. they come, but they leave within 12 hours. i actually have about 5 big bottles. if you can’t afford your own, i would be happy to ship you one for you to try. i have made it part of my budget and it’s a worthwhile expenditure.

    Kenn replies:

    Thanks for the info Rod. I’ll keep it in mind. Do you know the sugar content of xperia, either added or natural? There are a few good habits I need to acquire, not the least of which is better nutrition.

  5. Haven’t checked in on you in awhile…I’m sorry to hear about your recent health issues and I hope you find some relief soon!

    Your blog is looking GREAT! Keep up the good work:)

    Kenn says:

    Hey Juner!!!

    I glanced at your blog a few days ago, without knowing it was your blog! Yes I’m feeling a bit back on my heels but I believe I have found timely treatment. I’ll bookmark your blog and visit again soon!

  6. Hey Kenn,

    I hope you get better soon. Take care

    Kenn says: Hey thanks. I am seeing quite a bit of improvement and I’ll be consulting one of my doctors tomorrow.

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