You Know You Have Chikungunya When…. ( check out my update)

Update: Yesterday ( Wednesday) we couldn’t take the pain anymore. It was our 24th day with our second relapse. All of our local friends told us to get Valerpan injections, a type of steroid. They have been almost pain-free since their injections for months after the injections. I have been nursing my aches with natural teas, vitamins, and Aleve at night…to no avail. Nothing relieved our pains.

So, we sucked it up and went to the pharmacy to buy the Valerpan and the syringes. I laughed at the display case in the front of the pharmacy because it contained every drug known to man that would help to alleviate Chikungunya symptoms.

We purchased two vials of Valerpan, after googling the adverse side-effects, which by the way are few. We also purchased syringes and Meloxicam pills, an effective drug that can enter the small joints where the virus is trapped and release the toxins. For $18 total, we were stocked up and ready to experiment with our new medications. No doctor’s appointment or prescriptions were needed.

Our expat nurse friend, Theresa, administered our injections. She took the Valerpan about a month ago, and is almost symptom-free.  She told us to expect relief in 2-4 hours. I was exhausted after our trip into town, so I fell asleep on the couch when we returned home. Three hours later, Ron and I both began to notice less arthritic pain. This morning we are almost pain-free.

I have been born again. Hallelujah! I have so much energy from the steroid, but I’m going to take it easy and not overdo. I decided to take the Valerpan injections during the full moon phase, because that’s when my body rids itself of lots of water. I am a Cancer and greatly affected by the full moon.

So far, so GREAT! I am saving the Meloxicam pills for a time when I may need them to reduce additional inflammation and arthritic pain. I will be sure to keep you updated on our progress.


I feel like my life is spiraling out of control…
IMG_0556and I blame Chikungunya. Ron and I have had extremely painful relapses and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. If you’ve never experienced chronic pain, I will try to describe what it feels like with my pictures of our Chikungunya vacation to Guatemala.

                            You Know You Have Chikungunya When…

…you’ve mastered the walk like a zombie

…you can’t brush your teeth because you can’t hold a toothbrush, or any other brush
IMG_0933…you must have help to button clothes or put on a bra
…your tennis shoes don’t fit anymore because your ankles and feet are swollen
…there is an obnoxious metallic taste in your mouth
IMG_0630…it is painful to hug and to clap and you feel like a stiff mannequin
IMG_0926…people laugh when they see you trying to walk because they have been through the same thing
IMG_0625…coffee cups and cell phones slip out of your useless hands
IMG_1012…stairs and hills are taken one excruciating baby step at a time
IMG_0792…the toilet seat is lower than you remember it being
…and you can’t wipe your butt, so you resort to using the shower like a bidet
…new sounds come out of your mouth like UGGGG and HUMPFFFF when you try to move
…you resort to grunting instead of talking
…you have a little chat at the tomb of Saint Pedro the healer about this nasty disease with the weird name
IMG_0696…your life is a tangle of new pains every day
…you cry after reading that symptoms can last over a year
IMG_0860…deep sleep is only a dream of the past
…rest is the only solace and comfort in your day
…a blanket-like fog covers your brain
IMG_0938…it is impossible to sit for more than 10 minutes because of the pain in your hips and upper legs
IMG_0211Yet, Chikungunya has taught me new things and broadened my horizons.
…you can pronounce and spell C-H-I-K-U-N-G-U-N-Y-A like a champ
…you learn to type 30 words a minute with one finger
…you are fascinated by scientific studies of chronic pain and you know every arthritic drug by its Latin name
IMG_0190There is light at the end of the tunnel because
…you begin to understand and empathize with people who endure chronic pain
…you learn patience and to live life one day at a time, always hopeful for a better day tomorrow
IMG_0205The better days will come. I am sure of it.
This is an excellent blog if you are interested in reading about the symptoms of Chikungunya. My Chikungunya Blog
Feel free to add to my list if you have had Chickungunya or are experiencing this debilitating disease now.



33 thoughts on “You Know You Have Chikungunya When…. ( check out my update)

  1. Sounds like Arthritis which I have been battling for 22 years – all of those symptoms have happened to me, just not all at once. Different parts work/fail to work at different times. I’m glad the steroids work and don’t cause any horrible side effects and that it will only last a year. But your post is sure making me rethink Nicaragua – mosquitos love me!

  2. So glad you’re finding relief, just keep a check on your BP and glucose. Had a really bad bacteria infection that took 4 weeks on different antibiotics. Afterwards did a detox to rid my body and organs of whatever had accumulated there. Felt better after.
    Daily morning detox- 19 days
    mix all in 8 oz water
    1 TBS lime juice
    1 TBS apple cider vinegar
    1 tsp pure honey
    1/8 tsp turmeric
    1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
    1/8 tsp rosemary

    Stay well amigos

  3. Sounds absolutely awful! Is it caused by mosquitos? Did you get it in Nicaragua or Guatemala? I didn’t mention yet to you but I’m invited on a press trip to an all women’s surf camp this February in Nicaragua! I am planning on going and it is on the pacific coast.

    • Nicole, it is the most bizarre disease I have ever encountered. Yes, it is caused by a nasty mosquito bite. We both got it in Nicaragua in July, and we had our second relapse the 4th of October, right before we went to Guatemala.
      Oh, Nicole, I am so excited. Will you be near San Juan del Sur? That is very close to us and only a ferry and a bus ride away. We are definitely going to meet. I will guarantee you.

  4. Ah Deborah you did it! Love it. Better than I imagined. I love how you used photos from your trip. I laughed super hard at the tomb of San Pedro. Did you leave him liquor or a cigar as others do? Girlfriend we WILL get thru this! I have to say I have a benefit! Hypothyroid or not, former athlete and now doing nothing, it has given me a wonderful gift of 0 interest in food. I drink my food now. A batido in the morning. One at night. My older kids ask me, did you eat today? Are you eating? Don’t forget to eat….you won’t get better. Losing weight without hardly moving, finally 6lbs down in just over a month. I call it my Chikungunya benefit.

    • You go girl. Read my update. I couldn’t take it anymore, so we got the Valerpan injections. It’s a miracle. Time will tell if we have a worse relapse, but I had to have some relief. I have the Meloxicam pills at hand should we notice an increase in the pain.

  5. Just did a quick study….
    for travellers concerned and u should be ,,,, this is the fasting spreading dis ease ,,straight from Africa its hitting the Carribean , America , AND parts of central america,,,google it!!!!!!


    Stay away from bodies of water that attract mosquitos ,,,dawn and sunset hours,,,when they come out ….ALSO OIL OF LEMON ,,,EUCALYPTUS,,,,AND
    para-menthane-diol products ..can be used



    This is a worldwide dis ease folks….

    Hope its helpful….

    • Thanks so much for this info, Heidi. Yes, during the rainy season we all need to take precautions. But, no matter how many precautions we take, we seem to get all the nasty mosquito born diseases because we can’t live in a bubble. I think it is to be expected if you live in a tropical country, sooner than later you will get some form of a tropical disease.

  6. Oh Debbie, I’m so sad to hear this. But as always you somehow find a way to embrace the positive 🙂 . I’m sending you lots of healing thoughts and praying that the discomfort subsides soon! Hugs from Panama!

  7. ahem.. i’m in the hostal right now w/toothbrush in my mouth and hands free b/c that and a hair brush feel foreign in my hand. the body protests, ‘nooooo!’ and yes, we chuckle and can spot that chikungunya waddle from blocks away.

    a hot bath helps me a lot,,
    when my pain was worse (back in june) i had spikes of high blood pressure. i realized later that it was pain related, and now all’s fine. mine is more discomfort now instead of the dreaded attempts to bend a hands, fingers or ankles. … my fingers swell at times, but my feet and ankles have not. metallic taste – bingo, didn’t connect that w/chikV. are you losing any hair?

    and the sample of the epidemic at the local clinic:

    gotta run see what’s happening at el matal. i didn’t sleep last night (working on photos and the post) so will return for a long nap!

    • Lisa, read my latest update. I know that everyone has different reactions with this nasty disease. I tried for almost 4 months to go totally natural with my relief with teas, vitamins, lots of rest, and Aleve at night so I could sleep. But, nothing worked. The steroid injections were a life saver for me. Hugs to you my dear friend.

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