Thursday, May 14, 2009


Hello Everyone
In medical school they used to say that if you knew syphilis, you knew all of medicine, because syphilis involved so many body systems. I am starting to feel that "Janet's cancer" seems to cover a lot of territory.  I guess as everything happens to me, I have been trying to also explain the situation medically. I guess, so the readers can see the situation from a doctors perspective.

I saw the oncologist yesterday and and she diagnosed the problem I have had ever since the colonoscopy as a herpes infection. Most likely Herpes Zoster, which is otherwise known as Shingles. Basically, if you think about it, my body has been through a lot in the past 2 weeks.
First of all an echocardiogram I had indicated I had pulmonary hypertension, which is a horrendous diagnosis, and I spent a week in incredible stress, I had a colonoscopy, (complete with bowel prep) then two days later I had radiation treatment.  (then 4 days later chemo)

The day following radiation I broke out with a terrible inflammation of the rectum, and rash of the skin around.  I have more or less had this for a few weeks, Ken and I have been TRYING to figure out what it was, however not knowing if it should be a concern, because it seemed to be getting better gradually.  I was getting concerned that I would be starting radiation next week, wanting to make sure it was healing, I asked the radiation oncologist and she said it looked like herpes.  I guess Ken and I knew all along it looked like herpes/shingles, but did not have any idea how it could be. 
She said it is an often occurence when someone is on  Chemo Or radiation. The bodies defenses are so low, it just comes out.
I thought I would explain these infections. There are 3 Herpes infections that are most well, known
Herpes simplex type 1 is what causes the usual coldsore, and the virus lives up in a nerve root and comes down and causes the coldsore when the persons defences are down.
Herpes simplex type 2 is basically the same as type 1, but it tends to affect the genital area.
The two can be interchanged, in that a person with a cold sore can infect another person anywhere, usually where mucous membranes exist....lips, nose, rectal area, genitals.
I have actually seen people in the past with herpes simplex infections on regular skin, such as the middle of the abdomen...
The other main herpes infection is called Herpes Zoster. It is the one that causes chickenpox.
Any person who has had chickenpox in the past can at some time in their life get shingles.
A person gets run down, the immune system is run down and they get shingles. The virus lives in a nerve root all their lives and comes out on the skin as a rash.

The interesting thing about herpes infections is that the rash is pretty much the same. So it is really hard to tell the difference between herpes simplex and shingles when the site of occurrence is not typical.
When a person has cancer, is on chemo, and on radiation the risks are great of getting either shingles or herpes simplex , and the presentation is usually far from typical

Although it has been a very uncomfortable  2 weeks, and though this diagnosis creates all kinds of questions (Ken nor me have never had even so much as a coldsore), it is kind of a relief, as I was beginning to think that it was something to do with the cancer and perhaps it had spread to the rectal area.
THE OTHER possible cool part of this is that I was reading last night about Herpes and cancer and turns out that they are refining the herpes simplex virus and using in to treat resistant childhood cancers AND prostate cancer and ovarian cancer. So Herpes Simplex is being considered an anticancer treatment.
Who knows perhaps this was a gift.

I know this was a rather personal topic, but I also feel it is an often misunderstood infection, so thought I would be open about it..

Love and peace
Janet Bates
jankenb @

1 comment:

  1. I think you're awesome!
    Thanks for sharing this.