June 13, 2011

Shingles and chemo, the final word

Today I saw award-winning infectious disease specialist Dr Martin Siegel and he affirmed what Dr G said: be careful about chemo and shingles. So I am decreasing from 1 g valacyclovir 3x/day to 500 mg 2x/day FOR AS LONG AS I AM ON CHEMO. Dr S says he has lost patients who restarted chemo too soon after shingles, hence the long term use of this medication now that my shingles are healing and beyond.

No, I am not eligible for the shingles vaccine, even to ease another outbreak. If I get shingles again, I'll just have to live with it. 

Because I knew Dr S would want to examine me, I never put on a lidocain patch today, and even this late in the day I feel fine. Some itching, but nowhere near the kind of pain I'd been having, even as recently as last night. I am still wearing a Fentanyl patch and will talk to Dr G about decreasing the dosing. I still have plenty of lidocain patches and Vicodin for breakthrough pain, but it appears I am healing. Dr S says the itching is a sign of healing. 

Since I appear to be healing, Dr S thinks I may be lucky and avoid post herpetic nueropathic pain. Let's hope so. 

In other good news, Drs G and S agree that I should stay off chemo while awaiting gamma knife (scheduled for Monday 6/20). I won't restart chemo for at least another week after that.


  1. Betty Johanna9:05 AM

    Wishing you all the best for the June 20 gamma knife procedure. And, of course, with everything else as well.

  2. wishing the best. will keep you in my prayers.