Chanelle Sadie Paul vividly remembers the King’s Coronation, not for the royal family, but as the weekend her life took an unexpected turn.
The 34-year-old, visiting family in Northamptonshire for the Bank Holiday, noticed a small red mark on her armpit. Ignoring it, she carried on with her day. However, as the evening progressed, the mark evolved into a bubbling and puss-filled rash. Within hours, random red dots began spreading across her back like wildfire.
By the next morning, the rash had extended to Chanelle’s chest. Concerned, she turned to Google, suspecting shingles. A trip to A&E upon her return to London confirmed the diagnosis, leading to a prescription for antivirals and pain medication, reported Metro.
The following three weeks were marked by an oozing rash and constant tingling sensation, covering her armpit, back, and chest. Describing the discomfort as an “out of body sensation,” Chanelle expressed a strong desire to “rip [her] skin off and start again.”
The emotional toll was substantial, with daily tears and an impact on her mental health and body image. As an artist in TV and film, her work was also affected. Initially, Chanelle concealed her scars at work, but with time, she has embraced her changed body and is now comfortable sharing her story.
Reflecting on the experience, she acknowledges the profound impact it had on her, stating, “Obviously, if I could turn back time and never got shingles, that would be 100% a choice that I would make. But it’s definitely changed me – it’s shaped me.”