Does anyone remember Nick Shen?
He used to be a popular Mediacorp actor from 1999 to 2012 but has since transitioned into the Chinese opera scene.
Unfortunately, Shen is in the spotlight for some sad news (unlike fellow former actor Jerry Yeo who was thrown into the public eye for being a pilot).
Shen revealed on his public Instagram account that he was suffering from the painful shingles disease.
He bravely shared his story with all his followers and is now advocating for people to take the shingles vaccination.
Here is his story as documented on his public social media accounts.
Former Mediacorp Actor Nick Shen Reveals on Social Media That He Battled Shingles for 3 Months
In two posts on his public Instagram account, former actor Nick Shen shared with his followers what it was like to be a victim of shingles.
For those who are foreign to shingles, HealthHub SG says that is a “painful blistering rash caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox”.
The official name of this is herpes zoster though this disease is caused by an inactive chickenpox virus living on in your spinal cord nerves.
The scary thing is that shingles can occur “for no obvious reason”, though the elderly, those who are stressed and those with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of shingles attacks.
In the first post about shingles, Shen says that he felt an “odd combination of pain, itching, and tingling on my neck and ear” where a rash later appeared.
According to HealthHub SG, the “first symptom [of shingles] is often a burning pain or tingling sensation, or extreme sensitivity in one area of the skin”.
He said that he saw multiple doctors, both Western and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners for his condition.
However, the treatments did not help as the rash spread to his “neck, ear, face and half [of his] scalp” soon after.
The ordeal for Shen was far from over. In fact, it just started.
In a mix of Chinese and English in a second post, Shen says that he battled the disease for more than three months.
This post shared more about how Shen felt and the side effects he experienced due to the disease.
Shingles Was Agonising for Nick Shen
One of the things Shen mentioned was how the pain associated with shingles was “agonising”.
He described it as “beyond description”. It was so bad that he had to “pause [his] work, cancel events, and withdraw from public appearances”.
The rashes that evolved into “excruciating blisters” caused him much grief.
On top of the pain, Shen also had to deal with the scarring due to the blisters.
That must be a tough one, given that Shen works in the Chinese opera industry and has to face audiences on a regular basis.
Shingles Treatment Was Also Very Painful for Nick Shen
Apart from the shingles symptoms being painful, Shen divulged that the treatment for shingles was also not a fun ride.
He consulted “more than 10 doctors”, dabbling in both Western and traditional Chinese medicine remedies.
Some of the treatments to “catch the snake” (as shingles is called “growing snakes” in Chinese) were particularly difficult to bear.
As part of his treatments, Shen had to be hospitalized for more than five days.
Three months on, he is still in the midst of receiving treatment in his “journey to recovery”.
Shingles Also Left Half of Nick Shen’s Face Paralysed
Apart from unsightly blisters and rashes that are painful, shingles can also cause some facial paralysis.
This was unfortunately a side effect that Shen experienced while he battled the disease.
A video posted by zaobao.sg 生活娱乐 on Facebook shows Shen being able to move only the right side of his face as his left was paralysed due to shingles.
While Shen may have been battered by shingles, he was certainly not beaten.
The former actor not only took to his public platform to tell his story to others, he has also been advocating for the public to be more aware of this disease and the counter-preventive measures to take.
For one, Shen encourages the public to “prioritise [their] health” and take the “zoster vaccine”.
This vaccine is a vaccine for shingles and can “help prevent shingles caused by the Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV)”.
HealthHub SG recommends this vaccine for older adults who are aged 50 and above so that they are immune to the painful disease.
Shen also strongly advocated for people to “seek immediate medical attention” if they find that they experience any shingles symptoms lest they suffer in silence.
Apart from medical treatment, Shen’s posts also served to raise awareness about shingles as it appears to be a silent topic for many.
For example, Shen’s own father suffered from shingles but “never shared this crucial information” with the younger Shen.
If he did, would the younger Shen have been saved from some pain and suffering?
Shen also used his platform to remind his followers that shingles could strike at any age. While shingles is more commonly experienced by the elderly, younger people such as Shen are not automatically immune from it.
In fact, Shen says that he knows of a person who suffered from shingles at the “tender age of 19”.
Here’s wishing Shen the best on his road to recovery.