Monday, September 04, 2006
The Shingles Bond
I didn't do much for my day off. I spent it working out and then recovering from my workout. I watched a bit of tennis which enabled me to see James Blake, who is my kindred spirit. (He won, btw)
Much has been said about Blake's struggles in recent years -- a serious car accident, injuries in training, his father's death from stomach cancer and his own battle against shingles, which nearly paralyzed him. Somehow, he perservered and is back to winning tennis matches again.
Blake and I are the only two people I know of who are under the age of 60 and have dealt with shingles. I got it when I was 17 and I didn't know anything about this virus. All I knew was that I wanted these blisters to go away. The rash was on the side of my stomach and stretched around to the side of my back. It didn't itch, but it hurt. It hurt to the point that I often held my shirt away from my skin because the mere touch of the fabric ached. I was also cold all the time and spent much of the spring bundled under covers with my teeth chattering. I finally went to the doctor and I learned that this is a disease that usually affects the elderly. To this day, I have no clue how I got it. It left a few tiny scars.
My case wasn't as bad as Blake's. He had shingles so bad that it nearly paralyzed the left side of his face and almost caused permanent nerve damage. That virus is no joke. I still get goosebumps when I think about it. So if I ever happen to meet James Blake, maybe we can compare cases. Then I'll show him my scars and he can show me his. Then we'll ride off in the sunset together ... 'cause the man is foooine.
(Photo courtesy of http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41502000/jpg/_41502354_blake_getty_200x300.jpg)