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Day 15 - Shingles... again?!


Betty7

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I feel like I got hit by a truck. I slept until noon today and could have slept even longer. I've barely gotten off the couch. It's just getting worse as the evening is going along. My back started to ache in the middle of the afternoon... still aching a lot. I am trying to hold off taking ibuprofin, but I'm not going to last much longer. I shifted around a little on the couch and noticed that the skin under my right arm is tender and sore to the touch. There's no rash there yet, but I swear if I get shingles again I'm done. I can't do this again. 

Around the middle of my first Whole30, I came down with shingles pretty bad. I wanted to quit so badly but I muscled through and finished. I haven't had them since. But I know in my heart that's what's happening. I'm going to wake up tomorrow or Tuesday with a painful rash under my arm, and I'm going to lose my mind. I just don't know what to do. I don't understand how this can possibly be happening again.  How can eating whole foods be doing this to me? I'm completely heartbroken right now.

For the mods, here's a link to my food log: 

 

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I"m sorry you're not feeling well.  

Shingles is caused by a virus, not by eating meat, veggies and fat.  If you have the virus, it can crop up due to stress, other disease, aging etc... It is unusual for Whole30 to provide enough additional stress to wake up the Shingles virus. Do you have other stressors in your life that could cause it?  Have you been to the doctor?  You may want to find out if there are tests they can run to see what's going on.  Eating bread, bagels, rice and sugar is not going to make you healthier or feel better.  

It would be so easy to blame this on Whole30 but it's really unlikely that what you're eating is the cause.

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Well there is definitely a difference between causation and correlation. I don't mean to blame Whole30 for causing it, but there is definitely a correlation. And I'm stumped. And sad. And frustrated!

The last time around, I was fighting with my now ex-boyfriend... a lot. I was very depressed. After it was all said and done, I just chalked it up to that stress. This time around, though, I am under almost no stress at all. My job is good. I feel good about my single life. 

If this does end up being another shingles outbreak, I will request further blood be drawn and ask the doctor if there's anything else I can do when I go to get my script for antivirals. Maybe I'll look into the vaccine, but I don't know if I can get it. I got blood drawn last year, and everything was normal. I'm a bit overweight, but I have no other health conditions that I'm aware of. I'm only 34, so this is very strange to me... and scary. 

Anyway, in the mean time, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this pain in my side is gone when I wake up in the morning, and I'm freaking out for nothing.

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Yes, I do agree that it's a bit strange that it's happening around your Whole30 again... what was your eating like before?

Hopefully you can calm your mind tonight so that you're not loading on additional worry stress... Please let us know here what ends up happening and if your doctor has anything to add.

A tip on visiting with the doctor (unless your doctor is progressive) is to frame your food around doing an elimination diet for 30 days to see what food sensitivities you have.  Often if the doctor is not progressive, as soon as you say 'and I don't eat grains or dairy' they'll lock on to that and can get a bit of tunnel vision... and we both know that there's nothing about giving up foods for 30 days that's going to cause shingles... maybe a very rare reaction to food you ARE consuming could cause it... 

I really feel for you, I can't imagine how uncomfortable you must be!

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My diet all through 2016 was terrible. After my breakup in the summer time, I was eating whatever I wanted. My ex is a vegetarian and was critical of what I ate. For four years I ate very little meat and lots of bread, beans, and dairy. So right after we split, I went on a bit of a glutenous binge in almost a rebellious fashion. Then came the holidays and I was very in the habit of eating and drinking my fill with reckless abandon. My decision to do another W30 was more necessity than desire. I needed to force myself to do better. The W30 is very regimented and works for me in that aspect since so much planning is necessary.

I am eating a lot of nuts now which is very different than previously, and I cook everything in coconut oil. I just read an article that nuts and coconut are high in arganine, which is something you should avoid during a shingles outbreak. If you shouldn't eat it during... maybe higher consumption is a trigger?? Who knows. But there are probably things I can try to limit.

I'll keep you posted. Thanks for caring!!

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Ya, maybe give nuts and their nut butters (and coconut) the boot for now and see what happens... Nuts are notoriously hard on the digestive system in general and are not a great source of fat given their imbalanced Omega 3 6 ratio, so it won't be horrible to drastically limit them in your case.

It's possible based on your history of eating that doing a Whole30 is just stressful enough to push you into an outbreak.  Maybe when you go to the doctor, find out if a stronger immune system will help prevent this in the future... The Whole30 way of eating should boost your immune system in the long term (assuming you stick with some version of it afterward and don't go back to your old ways) so even if this ends up being shingles this time, continuing on might be the best in the long run to protect you from this dormant virus awakening in the future.

Good luck and I"m following along to see how things turn out and if there's anything else we can help with, don't hesitate to ask.

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I'm an idiot. My immune system kind of sucks. I have gotten bouts of alopecia on and off since 2008. And when I don't have one (like now - I haven't had one in at least 2 years), I forget about it. So I misspoke before. I guess I do have at least one underlying thing going on, which is probably closely tied with what is going on with this. It makes more sense how this is just stressful enough to trigger an outbreak. DUH. :rolleyes:

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Not to point at W30 for your shingles outbreak AT ALL (a lot of foods we cut out in W30, (in chinese medicine) can be linked to shingles outbreaks), but I did just want to chime in that if you're eating a lot of "hot" foods (spicy things, too* much oil, too  much beef or lamb compared to a mix of meats) then a system that is sensitive to those things might be more likely to get triggered by them. Again, you may not be eating spicy things at all and it could be much more linked to an underlying issue combined with general stress, but I would cut out spicy food and stick more to chicken or fish rather than beef or lamb and see what happens.

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I eat some Frank's Red Hot once in a while, but overall, I'm not a big spicy food eater.

I spent the evening sleuthing, reading about food and shingles. As I said above, I read an article that associates foods high in arganine (chicken, turkey, pork, nuts, gelatin) being foods to avoid during a shingles outbreak. Foods high in lysine (lean beef, fish, and eggs) are supposedly foods to increase. I've been eating a ton of nuts, chicken, turkey, and pork, and I would assume bone broth has gelatin in it. Supposedly, arganine helps viruses in the herpes family (chickenpox/shingles is the herpes zoster virus) replicate much faster than normal, and lysine helps counteract arganine. So I took a couple of lysine supplement pills to counteract the arganine, and will continue as the bottle recommends until this either goes away or a rash breaks out and I need to go see the doctor. But hopefully that will help keep it at bay and help me get back on track with my W30. 

I'll keep you all posted.

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http://www.herpes.com/Nutrition.shtml

This is frigging fascinating! The foods highest in lysine-arganine ratio are dairy products!

It all starts to make sense. I cut out all the foods with the highest ratios, increased a bunch of the foods with the lowest ratios, and since my immune system is already compromised, I'm more susceptible to a breakout in the first place. 

Man, knowledge is power. I'm of course going to see the doctor if making adjustments based on this info doesn't work, but I feel empowered. It very well could be the way I'm eating that is responsible, and now I have the start of a plan to adjust and move forward. Boom. 

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That's some pretty impressive research, @Betty7

I always try to be cognizant of arginine/lysine as well because of cold sores, I had no idea that it was for shingles also but now that I think about it, that makes sense.

I know that if I'm going to get a cold sore outbreak that it also is most likely to happen a few days before my period. Strange but maybe your cycle also has some impact?

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Thank you, @ladyshanny. My period is due in a few days, give or take, so it very well could have to do with that.

I'm still in some pain and very fatigued, but still no breakout. I took the day off work yesterday and had some bone broth and rested. I've completely eliminated nuts and cut back on vegetables in the gourd family. I hope this helps. I ran out of the house this morning and forgot to take the lysine supplement. #facepalm

I've been thinking about it a lot, and the pain on my side was preceded by a dull aching pain in my back - right in the middle of my spine. I've periodically had these weird dull backaches throughout my life. It feels like someone is grabbing my spine and squeezing. When I got shingles the last time, my rash started in the middle of my spine (in the same exact spot) and crept around under my arm on my side. I had the pain in my back the whole time, and I've had it the last few days. I'm wondering now if this life-long struggle with dull back aches has something to do with lysine-arganine and the shingles virus. I saw the chiropractor who couldn't find anything wrong. So it's something I'm sure going to pay attention to going forward!! 

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