I am a 51 year old female. In the fall of 2000 I noticed a rash on my right breast in the shape of an upside down "T". By the spring of 2001, one half of my right breast was flaming red with no blisters. I was placed on antibiotics by a Dermatologist with no help. There was no itching, burning or pain until the spring of 2001. I began to have stabbing pain in my right breast, as well as under my right breast across my ribs. I also began to have stabbing pain under my right arm as well as swelling. The pain then would radiate down my right arm, resulting in tingling fingers, then numbness in my fingers. The pain, swelling and numbness have continued since (I am unable to wear a bra...period), although the redness dissipated after approximately 5 years. Within the last year I have become extremely sensitive to touch (clothing, breezes) in the same area of my breast and underarm. The intense pain drops me to my knees and occurs approximately 4 times per week. I am in varying degrees of pain every single day.
At first my primary physician thought I had inflammatory breast cancer (negative), another doctor thought I was having gall bladder attacks (negative), then we thought it might have something to do with my breast reduction, but it had been too many years since the operation. She now believes I had "internal shingles" and then developed Postherpetic Neuralgia. I have been bouncing between Percocet and Vicodin for years. My doctor wants me to wean off of the Vicodin, but there is no backup plan (I am taking Gabapentin, but it doesn't cut through the pain). We're stuck. And I’m scared. She recommended that I reach out to other resources.
Could I have had shingles with a rash, no lesions, that lasted 5 years and pain for 8 years?
Is there a way to determine if that is the case? I'm absolutely at the end of my rope. Any help you can give me is greatly appreciated!