I am currently 61 years old and approximately 4 years ago I came down with a very bad rash with blisters on the left side of my back. I had no idea what it was and it kept getting worse so after several weeks I went into see my Family Practitioner (GP) and was diagnosed with Shingles. I was prescribed valacyclovir (1 gram 3 times a day). I had to take the valacyclovir for over three weeks before the Shingles finally went away. Over the next three years I came down with Shingles multiple times. Sometimes bad with extreme ear pain and sometimes just a minor cluster of blisters which would never seem to go away. I was always treated with valacyclovir and each time I broke out it became increasingly difficult to get rid of. I was very concerned about the intense ear pain I was having since it was not normal for me to ever have ear aches. However, my GP just dismissed my ear problem and did not think it was related to the Shingles and or perhaps Ramsay Hunt Syndrome as I have suspected for three years now. Well 6 weeks ago I was hit with my worse case of Shingles ever! I had over 40 lesions on the left side of my back, neck and shoulders. I still have 20 lesions which are not totally healed yet. In addition, I have the worst ear pain that I have ever experienced! I also have pain in my throat (tonsil area) and extreme tinnitus! I find it difficult to chew and swallow. Again I was treated with valacyclovir. This time from a Dermatologist. However, this time I can't seem to get the blisters under control and the last couple of days the pain in my ear was like nothing I have ever experienced. I strongly suspect Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, but I need to get a referral to an Infectious Disease Specialist who can make the proper diagnosis. What a ridiculous process! I've been trying to make an appointment with an Infectious Disease Specialist but most of them in the San Gabriel Valley do not have an office and work from the hospital only. This makes it difficult to see an Infectious Disease Specialist unless you are admitted into a hospital which I may have to do very soon. Two days ago, I was told by an Infectious Disease Specialist over the phone that perhaps my body was not absorbing the valacyclovir properly and maybe I need to get valacyclovir through an IV. She said to look for an Infectious Disease Specialist in the Beverly Hills area or West Hollywood area where most have an office to see patients in. I plan to do this very soon. However, in the meantime, has anyone experienced the same situation were the orally administered valacyclovir (1 gram 3 times a day) does not work and they had to go to Valtrex orally or Valtrex or valacyclovir through an IV with steroids? I would appreciate any comments or suggestions. Thanks.