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All TopicsForum: Just Diagnosed → Topic: GET THE SHINGLES VACCINE!!!!

Topic: GET THE SHINGLES VACCINE!!!!

Forum: Just Diagnosed — Discuss next steps, options, and resources.

Posted on: Jul 25, 2011 11:43AM

vivirasselena wrote:

Before ANY treatment (if you have time)  ask your doctor about the shingles vaccine.  I am into my 18th radiation treatment, and came down with a H O R R I B L E  case across my radiatated chest.

My dermo says EVERYONE in our position should get it.  THESE THINGS ARE HORRIBLE and have been the most painful part of treatment.

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Jul 25, 2011 12:25PM Rushell wrote:

I am so sorry for the discomfort you are enduring hun. I hope your dermi has givien you something to relieve it.

Actually, I'm pretty sure that most people who have a serious illness that interferes with their immune system is encouraged NOT to get the vaccine.

But it is a good idea to check with your Doctor before receiving any vaccines, as they may interfere with your treatment.

A link to info regarding shingle vaccine: (remove this if I was not allowed to post this) http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/should-not-vacc.htm#shingles

Some people should not get shingles vaccine or should wait.

A person should not get shingles vaccine who:

  • has ever had a life-threatening allergic reaction to gelatin, the antibiotic neomycin, or any other component of shingles vaccine. Tell your doctor if you have any severe allergies.
  • has a weakened immune system because of current:
    • AIDS or another disease that affects the immune system,
    • treatment with drugs that affect the immune system, such as prolonged use of high-dose steroids,
    • cancer treatment such as radiation or chemotherapy,
    • cancer affecting the bone marrow or lymphatic system, such as leukemia or lymphoma.
  • is pregnant, or might be pregnant. Women should not become pregnant until at least 4 weeks after getting shingles vaccines.

Someone with a minor acute illness, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. But anyone with a moderate or severe acute illness should usually wait until they recover before getting the vaccine. This includes anyone with a temperature of 101.3° F or higher.

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Jul 25, 2011 12:34PM, edited Aug 18, 2012 12:11PM by SunflowersMA

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Jul 26, 2011 11:10AM Letlet wrote:

I got shingles exactly 5 days after chemo....not pleasant at all....

Dx 8/27/2010, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 6/23 nodes, ER-/PR+, HER2+
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Jul 26, 2011 11:36AM kayb wrote:

I have to add - if you never had chicken pox as a child you can't get shingles.

DX May/2010, synchronous bilateral cancer, triple positive

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Jul 26, 2011 03:05PM Shirlann wrote:

Hi sisters, I posted about this very thing several months ago.  Why this isn't MANDATORY I will never know.  But for goodness sake, get this shot.

Hugs, Shirlann 

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Jul 26, 2011 03:12PM otter wrote:

Geez, now you guys have me all worried.  I had a textbook case of chicken pox when I was little, so I know I'm at risk of shingles.  I dutifully get my flu vaccine ever year -- I even got the special avian flu vaccine the year that it was a separate injection.  I'm not quite old enough for the pneumonia shot, but I know that one's on the radar.

For some reason, though, I've been dodging the shingles vaccine, even though my grandma had a terrible case of shingles when she was around my age.

I guess it's off to the doctor's office again, eh?  (Or, maybe I can get this one at Walgreen's?)

otter

Dx IDC, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 26, 2011 03:15PM LuvRVing wrote:

Yes yes yes yes YES!!!  Get it the minute you receive your diagnosis, before you have a single treatment!  I found out I had BC last June and I got the shingles vaccine the very next day.  I had heard of way too many people who were fighting cancer and then got shingles.  I wasn't going to let that happen.  I also got a flu shot and pneumonia vaccine.  My PCP was on the ball!

Michelle

Michelle - read my blog at www.mch-breastcancer.blogspot.com - Be kind to one another!

Dx 6/15/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-Dx 3/29/2011, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIIb, Grade 3, 4/21 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-Dx 5/11/2012, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 26, 2011 03:16PM LuvRVing wrote:

Yes yes yes yes YES!!!  Get it the minute you receive your diagnosis, before you have a single treatment!  I found out I had BC last June and I got the shingles vaccine the very next day.  I had heard of way too many people who were fighting cancer and then got shingles.  I wasn't going to let that happen.  I also got a flu shot and pneumonia vaccine.  My PCP was on the ball!

Michelle

Michelle - read my blog at www.mch-breastcancer.blogspot.com - Be kind to one another!

Dx 6/15/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-Dx 3/29/2011, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIIb, Grade 3, 4/21 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-Dx 5/11/2012, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 26, 2011 03:17PM SoCalLisa wrote:

My doctor will not allow me to get the vaccine as it contains a live virus and I had liver damage from the chemo I hac

DX 2000-IDC-DCIS-LCIS- 2B..POS NODE--ER+. PR+, HER2 NEG

Dx 11/24/2000, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 1, 1/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 26, 2011 03:20PM JO-5 wrote:

Everyone should talk to their dr. before getting a shingles vac. (One drug store here is offering them)

I am one that must not get the vaccine. I am allergic to most all antibiotics, and had a lingering reaction to radiation. My Dr. thinks I should not take the chance.

JO

dx.04 IDC, tumor 1.4 cm, stage 1, grade 3, lumpectomy w/clear margins, 0/16 nodes, ER+/ PR+ over 90%, HER2 negative, 35 rads w/3 boosts, Arimidex 5 yrs.

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Jul 26, 2011 03:36PM LuvRVing wrote:

Well, yes, I totally agree that you should discuss this with your physician.  And like everything else, there are exceptions. 

The beauty of getting it BEFORE any treatment is that you are probably not already dealing with damage from chemo or radiation. 

It is a discussion that every newly-diagnosed cancer patient should have with their doctor as a "first step" because getting shingles really, really sucks!

I am pretty sure you cannot just go to a drugstore and request it...I believe it requires a prescription.  And the administration is (or was last year) highly regulated by Medicare. 

Michelle

Michelle - read my blog at www.mch-breastcancer.blogspot.com - Be kind to one another!

Dx 6/15/2010, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-Dx 3/29/2011, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIIb, Grade 3, 4/21 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-Dx 5/11/2012, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Jul 26, 2011 03:50PM MaryNY wrote:

I'm another one who would not go for the shingles vaccine. I have an underlying autoimmune disorder which makes getting any vaccine a risk for me.

I think the title should instead be "ask your doctor about getting the shingles vaccine."

Mary ~~ lumpectomy 8/10/2009, Oncotype DX 18, Chemo 10/28/09--2/1/10 AC*4, CMF*4

Dx 5/19/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 2/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 26, 2011 03:58PM MaryNY wrote:

LuvRVing wrote:

I am pretty sure you cannot just go to a drugstore and request it...I believe it requires a prescription.

It looks like the walk-in clinics at some Rite Aids offer the vaccine. 

March. 29, 2011—U.S. drug store chain Rite Aid say more than 2,100 of the chain's 4,700 stores will vaccinate patients age 50 and older against shingles.

And it sounds as though someone can just walk in and request it. Not sure if Rite Aid will know or enquire about a person's medical history. This is why I think the title on this thread telling people to get the vaccine is not right.

Mary ~~ lumpectomy 8/10/2009, Oncotype DX 18, Chemo 10/28/09--2/1/10 AC*4, CMF*4

Dx 5/19/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 2/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 26, 2011 05:20PM Maybe484 wrote:

V, I am so sorry you're contending with this.

I wonder also if shingles might be a cancer warning flag--prior to diagnosis.  I had shingles four years before my cancer diagnosis, and at a younger age than someone without a compromised immune system might have shingles.  I've just finished rads, and my rads fields included where my shingles had been.

I've heard that shingles recurrences are also possible--gosh, I hope not. 

Best Wishes for healing--the pain and itching and the subsequent nerve issues--can be difficult.

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Jul 26, 2011 09:54PM vivirasselena wrote:

Im certainly glad we can get an open discussion about it.  I had chicken pox as a kid, and my dr. said this is just a blow up of that again.

It is B R U T A L, and only on the radiated side of my chest.  YUM YUM!  3rd degree burns AND shingles!  Please all you newbies, before you start chemo or radiation....talk to your doctor about the shingles vaccine or at least starting on VALTREX as a preventative measure.

It's a beast.  You'll thank me!  Love and healing to all of you.  I love you.

michele

I am loved. I am safe. I am healed.

Dx 11/12/2010, IDC, 5cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+
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Aug 3, 2011 03:21PM JO-5 wrote:

I posted once on this thread saying my Dr. did not think I should take the vaccine.....

Well, he has changed his mind.

My husband has come down with a raging case of shingles (and they are not always on the chest, back, head, etc) His started on his butt and the pain is going down his leg.

I do not know if I ever had chicken pox. They took a blood test to see if I have had them. I won't know until Friday.

Now, the Dr. says if the test comes back positive I should get the vaccine. He says it has been long enough since rads to take it, even though I have radiation fibrosis in my breast.  Now I am concerned about the antibiotic neomyicin, which is a component in the vaccine. I am allergic to most all antibiotics (too long to list) but not sure about the neomyicin. The only antibiotic they can find that I can take is Cipro.

So --- all you research wizards -- can you find anything on that? I've looked but not any more info than I already know.

Meanwhile I am being as careful as I possibly can because if it turns out I've never had chicken pox I could catch them from his shingles.

I've read that in order to catch it you would have to touch the lesions, but other places I 've read it can be caught from just being around it!

What do you all know about this?

JO-5

dx.04 IDC, tumor 1.4 cm, stage 1, grade 3, lumpectomy w/clear margins, 0/16 nodes, ER+/ PR+ over 90%, HER2 negative, 35 rads w/3 boosts, Arimidex 5 yrs.

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Aug 3, 2011 03:28PM 3monstmama wrote:

Good advice to talk to your doctor.  But don't anyone beat themselves up over not getting the vaccine.  As well noted, its a live virus and anyone with a compromised immune system should not be getting things with live viruses.

personally, I would be way more concerned about getting chicken pox as an adult than I would be about getting shingles.  Seems that everyone I know who has gotten chicken pox as an adult has ended up in hospital and not for overnight either.  Shingles stinks but it usually goes away.  Chicken pox in adults can kill you.

JO-5 I think its physical contact with lesions and not just being in the same room.  I think its pretty hard to catch them without physical contact, at least I know I had a horrid time trying to catch chicken pox from being in the same room as my friend in 3d grade!  Laughing  if you sleep separate and wash your hands alot, you will probably be okay.

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.

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Aug 3, 2011 05:45PM, edited Aug 3, 2011 05:47PM by JO-5

Thank you 3monstmama,

I am being very careful, probably overkill. I use surgical gloves to put the meds on him, wash his towels and underwear separately from all other laundry, not using the toilet he uses since the blisters are on his rear end,  wash everything he touches with Lysol wipes, and he is very careful about keeping his hands washed.

Alas, too late about sleeping separate. I understand that you have them at least 5 days before the lesions appear and we didn't know he had it until he broke out in blisters. He thought the fatigue was just working too hard and the itchy burning was a heat rash!  Frown However, during that time it was JUST sleeping! Whew! Wink

I have to wait to see what the blood test shows, but in case I have had chicken pox,  I am going to do some hard thinking before I take the vaccine .

JO

dx.04 IDC, tumor 1.4 cm, stage 1, grade 3, lumpectomy w/clear margins, 0/16 nodes, ER+/ PR+ over 90%, HER2 negative, 35 rads w/3 boosts, Arimidex 5 yrs.

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Aug 3, 2011 06:05PM Dilly wrote:

I got my shot about six or eight months after rads. (I didn't have chemo)  If I'd had a bit more info, I would have had it before tx... anyway, I got my vaccine only After talking with both my PCP and MO.

I was in the "over 60" group  but  with an underlying rare autoimmune disorder, and with strong allergic reactions to most antibiotics - nowadays it's Cipro if I need antibiotics. 

So, again, it's a judgment call we each have to make based on our personal situation and the best information we can gather.  Good luck JO!  Sorry you're having to deal with this. 

I'm encouraging my DH to get his vaccine "just in case." He's still waffling.

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Aug 3, 2011 06:21PM JO-5 wrote:

Lost_Creek,

If you could take it with and autoimmune disorder and also allergic to most antibiotics, perhaps I would be able to take it. Thanks for the input.

JO

dx.04 IDC, tumor 1.4 cm, stage 1, grade 3, lumpectomy w/clear margins, 0/16 nodes, ER+/ PR+ over 90%, HER2 negative, 35 rads w/3 boosts, Arimidex 5 yrs.

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Aug 3, 2011 06:28PM susand wrote:

I have know several people who have gotten shingles this past year.  I asked my Doctor if I should get the shot and she suggested that I have a blood test to see if I had immunity (titers) to it.  The blood test showed that I did have titers so I was advised not to get the shot.  I am not really sure about this but do trust my doctor.

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Aug 5, 2011 09:45AM, edited Aug 18, 2012 12:11PM by SunflowersMA

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Aug 5, 2011 10:06AM GramE wrote:

My son had chicken pox twice as a child.   The first time it was medium grade, but the second time it was full force maximum outbreak -- in his ears, between his legs, between his toes, in his hair --he was a mess.   The doctor said males can get it twice, but it is rare.  Females almost never get it twice, very very rare.     

At age 31 he and his wife both got shingles on their faces.   So, I asked if I should get the vaccine, and I had chicken pox as a child.   All doctors said absolutely NO since I have allergies to anti biotics and egg whites and have had cancer.    This includes onco, primary and endocrinologist.    

I am not second guessing anyone or anyone's doctor, but I would seek medical consult before getting the vaccine.       Nancy 

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Aug 5, 2011 10:24AM JO-5 wrote:

Hello ladies,

I got the results from the blood test to see if I've had chickenpox. It was positive. I did have chickenpox. That means that I could possibly get shingles, sometime  in my life. 

The vaccine is not 100%. You can still get shingles but they won't be as serious.

 I have to do a lot of thinking and talking to the Dr. before I get the vaccine. I am so allergic to so many antibiotics - (have had cancer (NED now) and radiation treatments.... although 7 yrs. ago.)

JO  

dx.04 IDC, tumor 1.4 cm, stage 1, grade 3, lumpectomy w/clear margins, 0/16 nodes, ER+/ PR+ over 90%, HER2 negative, 35 rads w/3 boosts, Arimidex 5 yrs.

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Aug 5, 2011 10:45AM cp418 wrote:

I had chemo in 2006 for stage 2 and got Shingles last year.  I did have chicken pox as a child.  I was under the impression that folks with lower immune system should not get this vaccine????  I still have very low WBC counts even at 5 yr mark.

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Aug 5, 2011 10:51AM LauraGTO wrote:

NO VACCINATIONS for me! I run from them.

With hope there are possibilities.

Dx 7/2005, ILC, 4cm, Stage IIb, Grade 2, 1/11 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 5, 2011 11:12AM ICanDoThis wrote:

I got shingles about 3 months after treatment - right after my fourth infection in surgical site.

Wish I had followed the advise here - I think it should be recommended before treatment begins.

 Shingles suck. And they hurt too

Sue

Sue - Proud to be Krista's Mom

Dx 12/28/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 20, 2011 03:09PM, edited Aug 20, 2011 03:10PM by whippetmom

I was just diagnosed with shingles yesterday.  My DH kept nagging at me to get the vaccine.....Cry

So the rash outbreak is only two millimeters from the edge of my breast implant, laterally, near the armpit.  I have the greatest degree of pain over the upper pole of that breast, just at the top of the implant, but no outbreak yet.  I wonder if it is because the nerve distribution was disrupted there at the time of mastectomy.  If so, hallelujah for having dead nerve endings!    I had what is called prodromal pain prior to the outbreak, which was extremely severe. [Unfortunately, this is not a good thing, as it signifies that I have a greater risk of developing post-herpetic neuralgia after the lesions are healed.]  Needless to state, I have been on Percoset for the pain.  The pain has abated since I started aggressive treatment.  I am also using some homeopathic remedies:  L-Lysine, aspirin crushed and mixed with Calendula gel, and I have bulked up on Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Echinacea.  I am going to Whole Foods today to look for some other topicals and also picking up some Braggs ACV. 

If you get shingles and they prescribe acyclovir, demand instead valacyclovir.  The latter is more expensive, but it is a superior treatment over acyclovir and you take fewer doses for fewer days.  Studies have shown that valacyclovir reduces the pain and duration of the pain significantly better than acyclovir. 

Deborah

I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Jeremiah 1:5.

Dx 10/15/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Aug 20, 2011 03:20PM JO-5 wrote:

My husband is going through this right now. He took the acyclovir, an 800 mg. pill 5x a day for 11 days. The sores are almost gone but he has some pain in his leg and back.

The dr. says the meds do the best when you get them started within 72 hours of being dx. My husband didn't make that. He thought the way he was feeling and hurting was because of working too much and hard in the yard and garden. We even went on a mini vacation so he could rest up..... had to come home early.... on Friday because he was sick. He didn't break out until Saturday and had to wait until Monday to see the Dr.

Sorry, Deborah, that  you are having to go through this and I sure do hope it goes no further into that breast! Owweeee!

I still haven't decided to take the shot. I am so allergic to almost all antibiotics.... I have to find out if any of them are related to neomycin.

JO

dx.04 IDC, tumor 1.4 cm, stage 1, grade 3, lumpectomy w/clear margins, 0/16 nodes, ER+/ PR+ over 90%, HER2 negative, 35 rads w/3 boosts, Arimidex 5 yrs.

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Aug 20, 2011 04:26PM thegoodfight wrote:

I was set up to get my shingles vac just before I was dx'd.   Onc said absolutely not going into treatment.  I have asked since and he says no, feels shot itself presents me too much risk.  I see him again this week and will ask again, but I do trust him and will listen about this.

Dx 7/14/2008, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIa, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-

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