The Running Angel

Just because I don't have wings, doesn't mean I can't fly.

A Bout With Shingles

So for the past week, I have been quarantined at home because I got shingles—a painful, blistering skin rash due to the same virus that causes chickenpox. At first I kept thinking about who I possibly could have gotten this from, but it turns out, I got it from me! According to the doctor, you can’t “catch” shingles. (You can catch chicken pox though, so if a person hasn’t gotten it before, then he or she can get that from me.) The way I understood it, once you’ve had chickenpox, the virus lays dormant in your system. And when a time comes when your immune system is very weak or you are particularly stressed, the virus awakens and re-emerges as shingles.

After I got back from Boracay two weeks ago, I went straight to work. Then, I went out with my friends from abroad. Then I worked some more. Then I took them to Tagaytay. I had very little sleep that whole week, but I still kept going. Before we went to Tagaytay on Friday, I already felt this pounding headache on the right side of my head but I figured it was just because I lacked sleep. I also had an earache, which I figured was a result of helmet diving in Boracay. On Sunday, a rash had already appeared on my face but I figured some insect just bit me (because mosquitoes really like me). I already wasn’t feeling very well but I just took some Biogesic and went to work the next day anyway—it was turnover week and I was already behind! On Tuesday, the rash wasn’t getting any better so I finally took a half-day leave and went to the doctor in the afternoon. Turns out, all the things “I figured” were wrong. What I had was shingles.

Being jilted out of my whirlwind schedule and forced to stay at home felt kind of sad and lonely at first (the fact that the rash started to hurt more and that I am turning 30 in a few weeks didn’t help). But then I started to enjoy the time I had to really rest. Oh don’t get me wrong, I still had to work—those magazine pages weren’t going to be turning over themselves, after all (Thank goodness I had an efficient team to help!). But apart from that, I was also able to read some books, pray and reflect, catch up on some TV shows, watch a few movies, and just spend some quality time with myself.

Perhaps the one thing I haven’t been able to do that I miss most is run… just when I was three weeks into my half-marathon training plan! I was supposed to join two 10-K runs too. But that’s okay, there will be other races. I may have to start from scratch (because I have not had any physical activity for the last three weeks), but that’s okay, too. I’m sure a 3-K will turn into a 5 and then a 10 in no time.

So for the rest of 2012, my goal is to take it easy (although the prospect of holiday shopping and my growing wedding to-do list is beginning to make my shingle scars tingle). Hopefully, I will be able to take to heart the lessons I learned: I cannot do everything. I need to rest adequately and let my body recover. When something feels wrong, go to the doctor asap because my health is more important than anything. Delegate. Prioritize. Focus on things that matter. —A

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