I have what?

By Ms. Walla
In Health Challenges
Feb 16th, 2015

Woman With A Question

I have what?

Shingles, fungus, staph, floaters and flashes.  Sounds like housing materials, something you might find in a swimming pool or in a Petrie dish!  What do they share in common?  Me.  Yes, I have experienced all of them this past year and up until recently I had never heard of most of them before.   According to some of the doctors I saw to treat these ailments, I’m at about the age when things start to fall apart.  My husband’s comment to that was, “Judy, you’ve been falling apart long before now”!

I started the summer of 2013 being diagnosed with shingles.  I always thought of shingles as an “old folks” affliction and couldn’t believe that this rash could cause so much discomfort and inconvenience in my life.   An adult who had chickenpox as a child has a 1 in 3 chance of acquiring this ailment in their later years.  Doctors recommend individuals who had chickenpox as a child, receive a vaccination so they do not have to endure the pain and inconvenience of shingles.  Shingles vaccines are available at doctor offices and at most major pharmacies.  Cost for the vaccine can run from $200-$250, and depending on your insurance, may be covered.

 Within a month of moving south, I started experiencing an extreme itching in my left ear and had a dark brown, almost black discharge.  I went to three different doctors before being correctly diagnosed as an “ear fungus”.  The doctors had no idea how or why I had acquired this unusual ailment.  In all I took four different medicines before I got relief and was symptom free.  It was during a follow-up appointment for this medical problem that I was then diagnosed with a staph infection in my nose.  Again, I was given more medicine to combat this medical issue, and within a short time this problem was corrected.

After experiencing some changes in my vision I went to an Ophthalmologist, rather than an Optometrist, since I had LASIK surgery several years ago.  During the past six months I had experienced a floating, eye-lash sized darkening or specks that slightly effected the clarity of my vision.  I was diagnosed with “floaters”, a condition that often occurs to individuals 50 years and older.  This happens when the vitreous gel pulls away from the back wall of the eye and little can be done to correct this non-painful ailment.  I remember hearing my father talk about his eye floaters but never questioned him as to what they were or how they effected him.

Shortly after my first experience of floaters, I had a flash in the corner of my eye in the shape of an arc.  Since the occurrence happened in the late evening as I was driving, the intensity of the flash was extremely bright against the black back drop of the night sky.  Flashes occur when the vitreous gel shrinks or pulls on the retina and is more prevalent with the aging process.  I have had only two of these flash experiences, and I must say, that it was a scary experience until I received the medical diagnosis.  According to my Ophthalmologist and research I found writing this post, it is not uncommon if you’ve been diagnosed with one of these issues to eventually acquire the other as well.

 In early Spring I started experiencing some intense pain and weakness in my left wrist and down to my thumb.  Simple movements such as turning a key to open the door or twisting my hand to remove a lid, became excruciating.  Carrying groceries or my grand babies became very difficult as the strength in my left hand was virtually gone.  After putting up with the uncomfortable symptoms for a couple months, I went to a hand doctor and was diagnosed with De Quervain’s Disease, an inflammation of the tendons that run along the wrist and thumb.  Due to the severity of pain, lack of movement and strength problems, the doctor recommended giving me a cortisone shot right into the wrist

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.  The shot itself was extremely painful and my side-effects included a few days of “flu like” symptoms, which I was not prepared for.  My wrist and thumb symptoms immediately disappeared and I remained symptom-free for over six months.

 As women, I think we tend to be open with friends and our conversations often include health issues and life challenges.  I personally have discovered that many of my friends and I share some of these medical issues and it has been comforting and reassuring that I’m not the only 50+ year old women experiencing these changes.

 This past year I have had many “medical inconveniences”; no medical emergencies but several issues which have hindered my lifestyle.  I realize that as we age, our body begins to weaken and fall apart, but I’m hopeful that 2015, any new medical issues for me will be limited.

Whether we want to admit it or not, we are all getting older, and as we do, our bodies are changing and we are faced with issues we’ve never encountered.  To make this transition easier, talk to your friends, stay informed and have a sense of humor.  I mean really, I never knew I had so much in common with roofers, swimming pool items and scientists!!

                                                                        Until next time,


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