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Day by Day: My Story


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Hi all,

I am new to this site and have not really talked about my diagnosis of HSV-2 openly. I was diagnosed about a month ago as a recent college Grad who just started a new job and living with new roommates that I worked with/ barely knew. Like many of you, I was someone who never thought Herpes was something I would/could contract; I was naive. In college, I was your not- so- stereotypical sorority girl. Yeah, I may have been blonde and wore my letters around almost everyday, but most of my nights were spent in the library until 2am with my biochemistry and neurobiology course load. I did not party much, nor did I have spontaneous sexual encounters. I had boyfriends for most of college, and never was someone who slept around or had unprotected sex. It was not until I started dating my senior year boyfriend that I became more relaxed about condom use. (I am describing myself to show you all why I thought I was invincible). 

He was a dream in my eyes. He was handsome, strong, southern, and sweet as can be, or so I thought. We were friends for many years and decided that we did have feelings for each other. We were inseparable and he was my best friend. I never doubted him and had no reason not to trust him. Unfortunately, I graduated last spring, and he had to spend the summer at our college in NY to finish up his course load, while I moved back to MA. He had taken a job in MA to be closer to me, and at the time I could not have been happier to know that in a few short months we would be together again. Over the summer, he visited me most weekends and we would do fun things like go to the beach, weekend getaways, and of course SEX. The summer flew and before I knew it he was in MA living 10 minutes from my apartment. Shortly after he moved to MA, I began experience strange symptoms. I had vaginal pain, which was not weird since I do have a condition called Vulvodynia, which is essentially like fibromyalgia in the vulva of your vagina. But I was bleeding after having sex. I thought, maybe we were doing it too much. But then, my cervix started hurting. I told my boyfriend and it was like my words hit him like bullets. He broke up with me a week later saying that he needed to "Figure his shit out", whatever that meant. So I finally went to my OBGYN nervous and heartbroken. 

She ran some tests and found that I tested positive for Chlamydia and Ureaplasma; two sexually transmitted infections. I was in shock. Especially since my (ex)boyfriend and I were both tested early on in our relationship just to reassure one another. Clearly something did not add up, but I was thankful they were both curable and I took the prescribed antibiotics. I then texted my ex the results and it came out (finally) he had been unfaithful to me the time we were apart. It was that AH-HAH moment I had been waiting for. As happy as I was to know what was wrong, there was an underlying issue that had not yet surfaced.

My symptoms did not subside after treatment. I was in a lot of discomfort, my cervix still was in pain, and my whole genital area felt raw. I had not had any visible sores so herpes did not even cross my mind. As a last resort, my OBGYN tested me for HSV-1 and HSV-2 on a Thursday (at this time I had no lesions) and by the time of my follow up on Monday, the HSV-2 came back positive, my cervix was covered in lesions, and I had a 102 degree fever. So, as a result of a cheating boyfriend, I contracted Chlamydia, Ureaplasma, and Herpes. I instantly broke down thinking how could this have happened to me? The shock still has not completely subsided. 

I am still trying to figure out a way to cope with this traumatic event (and yes, I think it is a perfect description to see this as at least slightly traumatic). I told my mom and two close friends (both of whom are abroad in Africa taking gap years), so almost all of the people around me remain ignorant of the fact I have this skin condition. I am not going to lie, it is incredibly difficult to not think of yourself as an outcast or to not be ashamed since society has programmed us to interpret a herpes diagnosis as sinful and shameful. I am often scared. I find myself scared for the future, for having tell my future partners or for my next outbreak. But what I am beginning to realize is that looking forward to the "what ifs" and the "maybes" is not the right way to cope. Slowly, but surely, I have been focusing on my present condition; healing from my first outbreak, making sure I am taking my Valtrex, and focusing on ways to keep my body healthy and decrease my stress-load. Successful coping is a day by day endeavor. Focusing on all the future unknowns, like potential rejection and more outbreaks, makes the pain both mentally and physically worse. Clearly, I am no expert and everyone copes differently and I also still fall back to the "what ifs" occasionally, but at least now I am making the effort to change my ways to live a happier lifestyle. I try to focus on getting better and not getting worse. I recently have started seeing this one guy, who does not yet know about my HSV-2, but I try not to focus on that until the time comes. Right now, I look forward to getting to know him while showing him all I have to offer. Herpes is not a death sentence, just a new reality. 

Edited by NotYourAverageGirl
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I'm really sorry about your ex. That is very shitty of him.

It sounds like you are adapting well. I totally agree with not worrying about the what ifs and instead focusing on the good things in your life. Once I started doing that, I became very grateful for everything I already had--a great family, great friends, an education, etc etc. Disclosing will get easier and people WILL be fine with your diagnosis but I think making peace with it yourself is a big part of that. Good job on getting back out there and learning to cope! You're going to be fine. :) This site is great for support. If you ever need to chat with people who understand, we are here.


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