I finally got to the ENT in Austin today. Nice guy. The good news is, he confirmed that my general practitioner diagnosed and treated me exactly as he would have. He also confirmed how difficult I was to diagnose given that I presented a different set of symptoms each time they saw me. My steroids were due to end today (I went from 6 pills, to 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 today) and the antivirals are done tomorrow. However, he wants to make sure they keep treating me so this doesn't flare back up. My symptoms are enough that he feels it might not be ready to give up the fight yet. So he put me on more steroids for the rest of the week (equivalent to a few days of the 5 pill dose - ugh). And antivirals for another week, too. He said that this stuff can last for weeks. Meaning, the healing and getting better stuff can take a long drawn out time. Lovely.
He confirmed that my inner ear and throat is fine. The ear canal is still itchy, painful, tender, swollen a bit, etc. But I can at least lay on that side without waking up in horrid pain. It's not comfy, but it doesn't keep waking me up like it did. He also thought this might not be on the trigeminal nerve as we first thought. He said there is another deeper nerve that affects this area of the face. I didn't ask as my brain sponge was full from learning about shingles and the trigeminal nerve. I also entertained him by telling him I have officially changed the medical term for that little spot in front of the ear from "tragus" to "ear doink". He liked that one.
So I will be Crazy Steroid Lady for another week. And I don't know when my few lesions will disappear. They are hanging on for quite a long while. Fortunately, they are not really out there where people think "ARGH!" when they see me. Yesterday, my friend from church stopped by with a care package (you rock, Beth!) and was surprised that I looked as normal as I look. That was nice to hear!
I confirmed with the doc that I shouldn't be contagious to anyone at this point. The exception being those who haven't had chicken pox or the vaccine. So I should be able to go out in public. I am planning on going to my small group tonight - hopefully it won't be me on one side of the room and everyone else on the OTHER side of the room. HA!
Just thought you'd like to know.
Thank you for the prayers. I have no doubt this has been as mellow as it has been because of all the prayers going up on my behalf.