Grażyna Szapołowska fell ill in 2015. However, it was only recently that she decided to talk about the disease that affected her. It can happen to anyone, and its symptoms are easy to miss or attribute to other diseases.
Shingles mainly affects people over 50 years of age. It is an infectious disease caused by the varicella or shingles virus. It can even affect people who have had chickenpox. A few years ago, Grażyna Szapołowska, an actress known, among others, for the role of Telimena in Andrzej Wajda’s “Pan Tadeusz”, struggled with it. The artist still feels the effects of her fight against shingles.
Grażyna Szapołowska suffered from shingles
The actress began noticing the first symptoms of shingles while working on one of her books. There was great discomfort, which prevented the artist from functioning normally in everyday life and fulfilling her professional duties.
– I didn’t know what was happening. I felt huge pain on the right side of my body. This pain persisted to such an extent that it prevented me from even sitting in a chair during dinner or any meals. I lay down constantly (…) I was exhausted by the pain and unable to do any work, smile, live or anything – admitted the actress.
In search of relief and a solution to the problem, Grażyna Szapołowska visited many specialists. However, doctors couldn’t say what was really wrong with her. Making the diagnosis was facilitated by the appearance of erythema and rash on the artist’s body (the lesions occurred in the place where the greatest pain was felt). It then became clear that it was shingles, as the rash is one of its most characteristic symptoms.
What are the symptoms of shingles?
A lumpy, red rash on the body is not the only symptom of shingles. It is also worth paying attention to less typical signals from the body that may indicate a developing infection. These include weakness, headaches, low-grade fever or fever, tingling or numbness of the skin. It should be noted that the nature of the symptoms depends largely on where the virus is located. Stands out:
- herpes zoster disseminated – skin lesions may cover the entire body,
- ophthalmic shingles – rash occurs around the eye (accompanied by watery eyes, conjunctivitis, photosensitivity, swelling of the eyelid and/or cornea as well as other parts of the eye, visual disturbances),
- ear shingles – skin changes become visible around or inside the ear (additionally, there is tinnitus, dizziness, facial asymmetry, drooping corner of the mouth, dry mouth, hearing and taste disorders,
- shingles gangrenosum – sores appear on the body instead of a rash,
- hemorrhagic shingles – during the course of the disease, subcutaneous hemorrhages occur.
Of course, the “common denominator” of all the above-mentioned types of shingles is great pain and discomfort, which does not allow the patient to function normally and forces him to give up usual activities.
– I wish that this pain will never touch you (…) I wish that none of you (…) will experience this disease, because I could compare it to childbirth, which I had a very difficult time (…) I would she compared shingles to discomfort that lasts much longer (than childbirth – editor’s note). Childbirth takes seconds, minutes, sometimes hours, but no more. However, shingles lasts for weeks or even months, Szapołowska recalled.
What are the complications of shingles?
Shingles often persists long after the disease has ended. The actress still feels the effects of the disease to this day. “When we bend down so suddenly, for example when we want to tie our sneakers or when we practice some sport, the pain (pain – editor’s note) is unfortunately felt. This is a memory of pain that has remained and that I cannot get rid of to this day,” admitted the actress. It is worth emphasizing that untreated shingles can lead to very serious health damage, for example loss of vision or hearing. The type of complications depends on which nerves are affected.